Style Q&A: Debbie Penzone

Sherry Beck Paprocki
Columbus Monthly
Debbie Penzone at the Short North location

As an owner and president of Penzone salons and spas, Debbie Penzone has been busy these days making notable investments in safety protocols. She has also taken time to oversee the launch of an e-commerce site called shoppenzone.com. 

Despite the science and new technology for killing COVID-19 germs described below, mainly we wanted pandemic haircare advice. Here’s what she had to say. 

It’s been ugly out here. Are we over the initial panic that many women had last spring regarding their gray roots?

Yes and no. By the time this article publishes, we’ll have been back in business for nine months. So the women who panicked during the initial quarantine have visited to cover their roots many times since then. On the other hand, many women had a realization during quarantine and decided to embrace their natural beauty and show their natural roots. 

If a person has decided to go gray, naturally, what are the steps you recommend?

There are a few ways to go gray, naturally and gracefully. Go cold turkey. If the goal is to go all-gray, cut out the color all together. Our artists recommend a big chop—cutting off as much as you’re comfortable— to free yourself of any previously colored hair on the ends. This will make the grow-out process much quicker. 

If a more gradual approach feels more comfortable, highlights can help bridge the gap over time. Each visit, go lighter and lighter to begin matching the tone of your natural roots. We recommend regular trims even more frequently than normal, to keep trimming out the previous color. Temporary shampoos and dry color sprays can help in the growing-out process. 

How many months will it take to go completely gray if that’s your natural state?

This really depends on how quickly someone’s hair grows, as well as the cut and style they wear. Shorter cuts like pixies and bobs will happen much faster than medium- to long-length hair. When a guest gets to natural gray or silver, we have services and treatments to help enhance their natural color for shine. 

What about those people who still want continual root cover-up. How can they do this the right way?

Come to Penzone. We’re keeping the health and safety of our team members and guests an absolute top priority. Since we’ve reopened [following the shutdown], we’ve been following rigorous safety protocols. We’re most proud that our salons are protected by microSURE [disinfectant] and iWave Air Purification Systems. 

How can a person best protect themself and the health of their clinician or stylist when visiting one of your salons?

Self-assessment is key. We’re requiring temperature checks for team members and guests. Masks are worn during all services that allow it. Our trainers have developed in-room protocols to uphold safety for high-touch services. For facials, a mask is worn up until the moment the service is performed. Our estheticians wear masks and face shields as yet another form of safety. During massage, when a guest lays face-up, a mask is worn. When a guest lays facedown, a special pillowcase cloth is draped over the headrest.”

Are your salons offering private hours for good clients?

Yes! When we reopened in May, we introduced early bird hours—opening as early as 7 a.m. We encourage any compromised guests to take advantage of these times. All other measures we have in place keep everyone safe.