“There's a lightness in the air,” said Joanie Kavanaugh, owner of Complexions Facial and Waxing Services in Waitsfield. According to Kavanaugh, more and more clients calling to book facials have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine. “Thank goodness,” said Kavanaugh.

In June 2020, Kavanaugh was not offering facials. “Though Governor Scott has given us the OK to offer facial services, I do not feel comfortable doing so at this time,” said Kavanaugh on June 15 in an interview with The Valley Reporter.

“It's impossible for clients to wear a mask during a facial. Let's give this a little more time.” Kavanaugh will reevaluate her approach in three to four weeks,” the 2020 article read.


Now, a year into the pandemic, Kavanaugh’s approach has changed. “I am accepting new clients now who are fully vaccinated, and will continue to see current Vermont clients that follow strict COVID protocols,” she said.

During facials, Kavanaugh wears a N95 mask and face shield. She’s also created a facial friendly mouth mask for her customers. “I have designed a customized rubbery lip mask that's applied as soon as the clients mask is removed. Though much of the virus lives in the nose, not talking during facials prevents airborne spray, decreasing risk of spreading,” said Kavanaugh. “The lip mask will still be worn until we know more about the variants. I’ve purchased a microdermabrasion machine to replace most extractions, as extractions illicit sneezing.”

The lip mask serves more than one purpose, however. “Clients find it very relaxing, focusing their breath and thoughts inward, which is healing for the mind and body,” said Kavanaugh, explaining how the lip mask helps clients note their breathing habits.

Running Complexions during the pandemic has still come with challenges. “One of the biggest changes is having to lock my door,” said Kavanaugh. “Clients call or text when they arrive, and I then escort them in. I'm up and down those stairs so many times a day it's increased my daily steps 10-fold.”


However, adjusting to state-sanctioned sanitary guidelines has not been as hard as she expected, noted Kavanaugh. “Since I've always practiced strict sanitary guidelines, the new COVID guidelines hasn't impacted me too much in that aspect. I've added an air purifier the runs 24/7, and space clients out with one hour between facials and 15 minutes between waxing appointments for time to clean and allow the air to clear," she said. “I feel comfortable and safe with these spacings of appointments too.”

Although business has been slower during the pandemic, Kavanaugh is learning to appreciate the secret blessing of this unexpected down time. “This down time has been priceless in some ways.  I've reevaluated my life, my business model,” said Kavanaugh.

In July, Complexions will turn 12 years old. In addition to facials and hair removal, the store offers various skin care products. “I sell Environ, a Vitamin A, C, E and antioxidant-focused product line of cleansers, serums, moisturizers,” said Kavanaugh. “I ship products as well.”

For more information about Complexions, Kavanaugh encourages people to visit  complexionsvt.com. “I'm grateful for all my clients that have supported me during closure with product purchase and continue to do so,” she said.