Why beauty salons need to keep health and safety in mind

The beauty industry is growing at an exponential rate, and is worth a huge £27 billion in the UK alone. Thanks to the rise of selfie culture, more people are looking to these beauticians for cosmetic upkeep, whether through basic beauty treatments like hairstyling or more complex ‘tweakments’, such as laser therapy or cryogenic lipolysis — commonly known as fat freezing.

If you’re a salon owner, you’re probably enjoying the surge in business from clients requesting these increasingly complex treatments. But with that comes the responsibility of making sure you’re following health and safety codes more closely than ever. Here, we’ll go through some of the most popular beauty treatments, and take a deep-dive into how safe they really are.

Hair bleach and dye

You might think this is a straightforward treatment, especially since it’s so regularly done on a DIY basis, but a botched hairstyle can actually cause huge problems, not least of which is a tarnished reputation. For new clients in particular, you should make sure that they won’t suffer any adverse reactions from the harsh chemicals you use in these treatments, whether during a bleach, dye, toner, or perm job. Any hair and beauty products have the potential to cause an allergic reaction, depending on each individual person, thanks to the irritants found in them.

There are two main types of reactions to beauty products: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. The easiest way to avoid these reactions is by conducting a patch test before you complete the treatment. This involves taking a small sample of the product you’ll be using, and applying it to your client in a discreet location, so that if there is a reaction, it won’t be hugely visible. In order to keep any reaction as contained as possible, the patch test should only cover a small amount of skin. This reduces your chances of having to deal with any legal action from a client who displays an allergic reaction. In fact, according to insurance provider Salon Gold, many policies formally require a patch test to be conducted on your clients, otherwise you run the risk of voiding your policy.

Makeup and applicators

As a makeup artist, you will need to keep your tools and products as clean as possible in order to prevent the spread of germs between clients. It’s likely that you’ll have plenty of customers in a single day, especially during busy periods like prom or wedding seasons, which means that products will be more likely shared with more people. Used makeup actually hosts a variety of “superbug” germs, which can cause a huge range of problems, from skin infections to blood poisoning, depending on the bacteria and where the product is being applied.

For example, not properly cleaning mascara spoolies or reusing the same disposable wand on multiple clients can introduce germs to the tear ducts and delicate eye area, making it easy for the germs to enter the bloodstream. It’s also important to keep your dirty tools separated from the clean ones, preventing the risk of cross-contamination. If you don’t have time to clean your brushes or sponges between clients, Online Makeup Academy suggests having 70% alcohol in your kit to saturate and sanitise equipment while on the job. However, you should also make the effort to conduct a deep clean on everything at the end of the day.

Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal is an increasingly popular method for a more permanent solution to hair removal, particularly compared with traditional salon treatments like waxing and threading. In fact, the market is due to be worth $3.2 billion by 2026, so it’s no wonder that more and more salons are offering it to their customers. But as these treatments involve the use of lasers, having the wrong training or health and safety procedures in place can be disastrous for you, your employees, and your customers. You must ensure to keep your workspace clean and sanitised, and offer the correct aftercare information to your clients.

Many laser hair removal treatments require shaving of the area before using the actual laser. For this, you will need to ensure that you use a new razor for each client to avoid cross-contamination, as well as keeping the workspace clean to avoid any bacteria infecting the client. The use of safety goggles is also important to avoid damaging the technician and the client’s eyes from the harsh lights, especially on treatments near the face. Failure to do so can cause long term damage to their vision, for which your business would be held responsible.