MPs reject calls for tighter checks on hairdressers

01/12/11

A move to tighten the law on who can work as a hairdresser has been blocked by MPs.

At the moment only 10% of hairdressers are registered which some professionals say can lead to danger in the salon.

Twenty-three-year-old Vicki Smith went to get highlights done for a wedding and needed a skin graft for chemical burns because it was not done properly.

She said: "The nurse asked, 'Which of your friends did this?' They couldn't believe a salon did it."

Vicki now has a permanent bald patch on her head.

"When I go out I can only wear my hair in certain styles," she said. "I have to be careful when the wind blows because people can see it.

"I won't go back to a salon now. I can't stand the big black chairs, even the smells of a salon."

'More vigilant'

David Morris, a Conservative MP who used to run a salon himself, wants hairdressers to be regulated in the same way as doctors and dentists.

He thinks they should have to prove their qualifications before they practise on the public.

    • If you have had too much of your hair cut off or you don't like the style, you should be able to go back to the hairdresser and ask them to put it right.
    • If it is something more severe like hair breaking off, or burns and blisters on your head, see a doctor as soon as possible.
    • If the hairdresser is not prepared to help, contact the Hairdressing Council
    • You may need to take things further by possibly speaking to a solicitor.
    • Take photos to show how your hair has been affected, or get another hairdresser to confirm what has been done to your hair.
What do you do if you're unhappy with a hairdresser?

The issue was raised in the Commons on 30 November but the plans were blocked by MPs, who said there was no need for a change.

At the moment qualified stylists and colourists are invited to join the British Hairdressing Council, but this is voluntary.

Sally Styles from the council said: "In other European countries and America and Australia, you need to have basic qualifications before you practise on the public, but in the UK you don't and we believe that is wrong."

There is no guarantee that the proposed changes would have stopped Vicki getting hurt, but she is also backing the calls for more regulation.

"It would make hairdressers more vigilant. This potentially wouldn't have happened to me if this girl had a bit more of a scientific knowledge of the product she was using."