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The Effects of COVID-19 on the Texas Hair Care Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge faced by the United States since World War II.  The virus and the government shutdown and stay at home mandates have had a powerful negative impact on the U.S economy. Texas businesses, often immune to national economic downturns, are not immune to the effects of COVID-19. With this in mind, the Hobby School of Public Affairs is undertaking a series of surveys targeting vital businesses in the Lone Star State in the wake of the pandemic.

The third survey in this series concentrates on the hair care industry.  In order to conduct the survey, the Hobby School partnered with the globally renowned Houston-based Farouk Systems to contact hair stylists, barbers and owners of salons and barbershops.  In all, 101 individuals agreed to take the survey between May 26 and June 14, 2020.

Key Findings

  • One-third of stylists and barbers believe it is not safe to reopen the salon or barbershop where they work, one-third think it is safe, and one-third are in the middle.
  • More than 90% of stylists and barbers feel that for economic reasons that have had no choice but to return to work.
  • A majority of stylists and barbers (54%) would have preferred to have waited to go back to work, but felt that with other stylists and barbers going back, they had no choice but to return.
  • Six out of ten hair care professionals say it is not possible for them to practice social distancing and still earn what they earned before the pandemic.
  • Ninety percent of the respondents were familiar with Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther who in April defied Governor Abbott’s order for salons to remain closed and was initially fined and sentenced to serve a week in jail. A majority (57%) of Luther’s fellow hair care professionals surveyed here disapproved of Luther’s decision to open her salon, with 46% strongly disapproving.  Only 12% approved of Luther’s decision to open.



Media Release


Research Team

Principal Investigators

Kirk Watson, Dean, Hobby School of Public Affairs

Mark P. Jones, Senior Research Fellow, Hobby School of Public Affairs; James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy's Fellow in Political Science, Rice University

Pablo M. Pinto, Director, Center for Public Policy & Associate Professor


Gail Buttorff, Co-Director, Survey Research Institute & Assistant Instructional Professor

Francisco Cantu, Co-Director, Survey Research Institute & Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Renée Cross, Senior Director & Researcher

Jim Granato, Associate Dean & Professor

Richard Murray, Lanier Chair in Urban Public Policy & Professor, Department of Political Science

Yewande Olapade, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Savannah Sipole, Research Associate

Agustín Vallejo, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Sunny Wong, Professor