“I’m smiling under my mask,” Kelli Owens said as she pinned back a client’s hair.

Selena Ubias was waiting for her next client and said, “It’s definitely been excruciating not being at work, especially when you love what you do and it just … stops.”

Owens is the owner of Hair N’ Motion Salon & Spa. Ubias is a licensed aesthetician who works at Salon Envy, which is owned by Kimberlin Murray.

They both said they were happy to be back at work. Yes, there has been strict guidelines imposed on all close-contact professionals in the beauty industry.

“We’re thankful to be back at it,” Owens said. “We’ve got our stations spaced out. We had to move two out of the room and into other rooms. Thankfully, we have the space to do that. But a lot of safety precautions, following all the guidelines, but it’s been a wonderful time to be back.”

Ubias, who provides services like facials, skin treatments, eye brows and full body waxing, skin consultations, said following safety guidelines and sterilization are top priorities.

Owens and Ubias both have been asking their clients what they’ve been up to the past two months.

“After trying to adjust to no working, I’m really glad to be back at work,” Ubias said. “Throughout the whole quarantine, all my clients would make sure I was OK. They would message me on Facebook or text me. I tried to stay in touch with my clients, this is what I know, give them updates. Ever since we’ve opened it’s been a flood of appointments.”

She said she used her downtime to examine herself.

“I feel like our world is so caught up in work and everything is so fast-paced, this quarantine really made me stop and think that, ‘I’m not just my job. I’m a person, too,’” Ubias said. “It’s really made me think about who I am and what are my other passions and what I like to do besides just work.”

Owens said reuniting with her clients has been emotional at times.

“We’ve all shed some tears,” she said. “I’ve asked every client what’s been their favorite thing they’ve done or experienced during the quarantine. That’s been fun to hear.”

She noted some positive things really have come out of the pandemic fight, much of what she has heard has been geared around family.

“A lot of family time, a lot of kitchen time with kids, afternoon walks, things like that,” Owens said. “Everybody, consistently, said I don’t want to get back to how it was. I want to keep that little slower pace.

“The biggest thing I’ve heard people have missed is relationships. Even with all our technology, there’s nothing like a face-to-face visit. We’ve missed hugs. We still can’t hug, but that in-person connection is so important.”

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