Negligent Hairdressers: Your Rights

Visiting the hairdresser should be a pleasant experience where we come out looking and feeling considerably better than when we went in. Many of us know what it feels like when our hairdresser trims a little too much hair off or the style we wanted isn’t quite there but what if you are injured at the hairdresser what then? Here we look at the facts surrounding hairdressers plus what you can do if you suffer hair loss or disfigurement following a visit.

Hairdressing an Unregulated Profession

Hairdressing is another profession that is totally unregulated by any official body. This makes it easy for anyone whether qualified or not to set up a business providing hairdressing services. It seems amazing that a multi-billion pound industry should not be regulated, while providing a duty of care to its customers ought to be paramount!

Many customers are injured every year when they visit their hairdresser due to negligence. Accidents also occur in salons including

  • Cuts and bleeding due to the hairdresser slipping with the scissors
  • Dermatitis caused by products used
  • Hair loss
  • Burns caused by products applied
  • Allergic reactions to products applied to the hair

Burns Hair Loss and other Reactions

Allergic reactions suffered by customers when visiting the hairdresser are caused in most cases by the chemicals in hair colours or perming solutions plus bleaches and extension products reacting with the skin or hair. Hair colour products can cause the hair to break or fall out if left on the customer to process too long.

Customers may suffer burns to the scalp or face, while even baldness can be the result of scarring to the scalp. Customers have been burned by hair straighteners and curling tongs too which can be really painful. In extreme cases customers have suffered drastic swelling of the face and neck and in rare cases death has occurred due to hair dye allergy.

Safety Measures Your hairdresser Should Follow

If a customer is visiting a salon for the first time a good hairdresser will ask a few questions such as if they have any known allergies or any health problems that may mean certain products can’t be used. A patch test should always be done when a colour is to be applied to the hair. Customers should visit the salon the day before to have some of the hair dye product applied to a bit of skin usually the inner elbow in order to see if they have an allergic reaction.

It is advisable to have this test applied every time you intend to have hair colour applied as even after years of colouring people have been known to become allergic. Most manufacturers of the product recommend a test is done every time you intend to use hair dye.

It is the customer’s legal right to have products applied with sufficient care and attention. Many injuries are preventable if hairdressers follow the correct procedures. They should not leave products on too long as this can cause damage to the hair and scalp, while products such as perm solution can cause burns and the hair to break and fall out if left on too long.

Salons are subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. This act regulates the use storage and disposal of chemical solutions therefore substances such as perming solution come under this act. Salons have to be sure their electrical equipment is also fit for purpose having items such as hairdryers and straighteners checked regularly.

My Hairdresser has Injured Me What Can I do about It?

If the damage is not very serious a customer can always return to the salon to request the hair be redone or ask for a refund. If there is more than one hairdresser working at the salon you could request another hairdresser see to your hair when you return. If you have suffered a burn or scalp damage it is advisable to seek medical help immediately, while if breathing difficulties occur get straight to hospital as this could signify a severe allergic reaction.

If you are injured in any way by your hairdresser you can seek legal advice and take them to court. Customers can not only suffer physical harm but also emotional harm too due to the stress caused by what is sometimes a very visual injury or disfigurement. All this is taken into consideration when a compensation claim is made.

Your claim may be looked at in terms of how long it will take your hair to grow back when it has broken off or fallen out. Hairdressers should have an adequate insurance policy in place in case a customer makes a claim for negligence.

Check the Hairdressers Credentials

When you are visiting a salon for the first time there are checks you can do to ensure you are in safe professional hands.

  • Most reputable hairdressers will have their qualification certificates displayed on the wall if not ask to see them
  • Ask to see the insurance certificate they should have in case a customer makes a claim
  • Ask to be treated by a qualified hairdresser not an unsupervised junior
  • Look for certificates that indicate they are a member of the Hairdressers Federation
  • Always ensure you have an allergy test before any procedure that involves chemicals

Interesting Hairdressing Myths and Facts

  • Trimming your hair does not make it grow faster. It may make your hair look healthier, while the average hair growth is half an inch per month
  • Plucking out grey hairs will not make more grow back it is an old wives tale
  • Using a home hair colouring kit is just as good as having it dyed by your hairdresser. Practice makes perfect, while hair dyes these days are no different bought off the shelf to those in salons. As long as you follow the instructions to the letter, take every care and do the allergies test every time there is no reason why you shouldn’t use a home hair colour
  • It makes no difference if you use the same products all the time. Your hair doesn’t need the latest salon product if you are happy with your regular product
  • No product will get rid of split ends only trimming them off will do the trick
  • Branded hairdressing products are cheaper to buy in the supermarket than at the hairdressers
  • You do not need to lather rinse and repeat in order to get your hair clean
  • Colouring your hair does not damage it as todays products are full of conditioning treatments that are beneficial to hair
  • Brushing your hair with one hundred strokes a day is totally unnecessary
  • Rinsing hair in beer does not strengthen it
  • Washing hair daily does not dry out your hair if you use the right products
  • Tight plaits, pony tails and buns can cause baldness due to overstretching and tightness of elastic which can break the hair or pull it out