Early in the pandemic my reporting about the state of the beauty industry was centered on the lack of preparation and guidance the government was providing beauty workers, and how that might play out in the months ahead. Now, we’re six months into the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Life goes on despite institutions breaking — our hair will get longer and our nails grow and break as we doom-scroll, and our use of face masks have changed our skin-care routines entirely. 

Ask a beauty worker what life is like right now, and they usually tend to get glassy-eyed at the weight of their reality. Teen Vogue caught up with salon owners and stylists to see how they’ve been holding up and adjusting to the times. The answers have varied, but the gist of it is: “It’s really crazy,” says hairstylist Topher Gross, on the phone…

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