We offer free legal advice from expert female lawyers and no win no fee personal injury claims against hairdressers, covering treatments including straightening
. We also regularly take legal action against beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo studios on behalf of injured clients.
Bartletts Solicitors was one of the first law firms to handle such claims, and our solicitors are proud to have successfully represented thousands of injured women in compensation claims against negligent hairdressers and similar establishments over the years.
The hairdressing industry and the estimated 50,000+ hair and beauty businesses in the UK are completely unregulated, meaning that hairdressers are not required by law to hold any specific qualifications. MPs (backed by the campaigning efforts of the Hair Council) have tried on a number of occasions to legislate for hairdressers to be regulated, but have so far failed. With only 10% of hairdressers registered, the voluntary register run by the Hair Council is ineffective, while the body itself has no legal power to take action against hairdressers.
Hair salon clients therefore continue to be put at risk of being injured by poorly trained, inexperienced or incompetent hairdressers, and will often have no option other than to take legal action in the event of a botched hairdressing treatment causing an injury and the associated consequences.
Consumer protection legislation (especially the Consumer Rights Act 2015) provides individuals with legal rights if they have been injured through no fault of their own during a visit to a hair salon. Where the negligence of the salon or its staff was to blame, the injured party would have grounds for taking legal action against the hair salon and its owners. Compensation settlements will normally be covered by the hair salon’s public liability insurance.
Human error and the dangerous chemicals contained in many hair products are the two main causes of hair and skin damage from hairdressing treatments. Often solutions containing strong and corrosive chemicals are applied for too long by hairdressers, potentially causing excessive dryness, breakage, hair loss and damage to skin on the scalp.
Such solutions may also have been incorrectly prepared by a stylist, making them unsuitable for a client’s hair or skin type. In extreme cases, burn injuries caused by unsuitable or misapplied hair solutions can lead to long-term or permanent scarring and baldness.
Lack of attention or skill on the part of a hairdresser can result in scissor cuts or hot iron burns and potential scarring, while poor hygiene standards at hair salons increases the risk of instruments, equipment and surfaces transmitting fungal, viral or bacterial infections from person to person.
Hairdressers must also follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) to prevent customers and staff from being exposed to harmful substances which may cause illness and long-term conditions such as asthma.
Allergic reactions to hair product ingredients
such as PPD (contained in many hair dyes) can cause very serious symptoms and will often require immediate hospitalisation. The possibility of an adverse reaction to chemicals and other ingredients contained in hair products is the reason why hairdressers should carry out skin patch and hair strand tests on clients 48 hours before a treatment is due to be performed. This will also determine the suitability of an individual’s hair and skin type for a particular treatment in terms of safely achieving the desired results.
Scalp (seborrheic) dermatitis is a permanent skin disorder which can be caused by treating the hair with strong, harmful and unsuitable chemical solutions. This chronic skin condition results in red scales and itchy skin flakes (dandruff) appearing on the scalp, damaging the hair follicles and impeding hair growth. Similar to detecting allergies, a properly conducted skin patch test should allow a hairdresser to determine whether a hair treatment solution is suitable for a client’s hair, thereby minimising the risk of the latter contracting scalp dermatitis.
The question of responsibility and legal liability for an injury sustained at the hairdresser will depend on the unique circumstances of the case in question and its consequences.
While an error may have been unintentional on the part of the hair salon or stylist, clients are owed a duty of care entitling them to expect to receive reasonable care while visiting the hairdresser, and to have their hair attended to by a competent and skilled stylist. Where that duty is breached and the client is injured as a direct result, the hair salon can subsequently be held to have acted negligently and be obliged to pay compensation.
A successful compensation claim will normally involve a visit to a trichologist (a hair and scalp specialist) to assess the extent of the damage done, and this in turn will help with calculating the amount of compensation due to the injured claimant.
Apart from physical pain and suffering, a person injured at the hairdresser is likely to experience a degree of mental trauma from being partially disfigured. This often leads to loss of self confidence, time off work and the cancellation of previously made plans such as special events and holidays. All these factors are taken into account when determining the size of a compensation award.
Compensation awards will vary in size depending on the individual circumstances of each case, including the nature of the injury, its long-term implications, and the degree of blame that can be attached to the stylist and hair salon. For less severe hair damage caused by dye, tint, wax or a similar product where the hair will regrow, compensation awards will vary between £3,710 and £6,890, partly depending on how long it takes for the hair to grow back.
More serious hair damage, potentially involving dermatitis to the scalp, burns, hair loss, thinning, and an emotional impact including anxiety, depression and loss of confidence will lead to compensation awards of between £6,890 and £10,340. Compensation may exceed this amount if, for example, skin grafts are required, or the mental anguish and psychiatric damage caused by the injury have had a profound and long-lasting effect.
A client of Bartletts suffered hair loss and scalp damage following a hair colouring procedure at her local hair salon after an excessively strong bleaching product was applied directly to her roots. Ms T’s first lightening treatment did not produce the desired results, and she agreed with the stylist’s suggestion that a further treatment was required to achieve the intended colour. Although a hair strand test had been carried out, the results should have indicated to the salon and stylist that Ms T’s hair was not strong enough to withstand repeated applications of the potent chemicals contained in the bleaching product used.
Ms T was happy with the results following the second procedure, but noticed that her hair appeared dry and brittle. The following day, clumps of her hair began to fall out and the skin on her scalp was itchy and inflamed. She subsequently saw her GP, who informed her that her hair and scalp damage was the result of overexposure to toxic chemicals.
Ms T complained to the salon and was offered restorative treatments, but the damage done was significant and irreversible in the short term, prompting her to seek legal advice from Bartletts Solicitors. We agreed to represent Ms T on a no win no fee basis and contacted the salon in question and its insurers outlining her claim. Ms T had the foresight to obtain the results of her strand test from the salon, and expert analysis of the results clearly showed that her hair was not in a strong enough condition to bear the chemicals contained in the specific bleaching product used by the stylist.
This meant that it was highly likely that Ms T’s hair and skin would be damaged by repeated applications of the bleach, and represented a failure on the part of the salon to exercise reasonable care and skill amounting to negligence. Ms T was also assessed by a leading independent trichologist (hair and scalp specialist) who confirmed the extent of the damage caused by the bleach. Within a few months the salon accepted liability for the situation, and Ms T received £4,750 in compensation.
Mrs E made an appointment at a local hair salon for a wash, cut and blow dry. When she left the salon after the treatment she noticed that her hair smelled of chemicals, and assumed that this was the result of a conditioning product that had been used during the procedure. When she was washing her hair the following morning however, strands began to burn and break off, causing her to lose a considerable amount of hair. This happened again when she washed her hair a few days later. Mrs E sought specialist advice from a different hair salon, and was referred to a trichologist (hair and scalp damage expert). She was told that her hair follicles had been badly damaged by chemicals, and that the salon had in fact applied a perming product to her hair. She was also advised that her hair would take years to regain its former strength, thickness and overall quality.
The hair salon refused to accept responsibility for Mrs E’s hair damage after she complained to them, and as a result she contacted our hairdressing accident specialists for legal advice. We went on to represent Mrs E in a no win no fee personal injury claim against the hair salon’s owners, and began a correspondence with them and their insurers. We stated that the stylist had committed a negligent error in applying a hair perm product to our client’s hair, when they should have in fact been applying a conditioning treatment. Mrs E’s hair damage and hair loss was a direct result of the stylist’s mistake, and the salon’s owners were ultimately responsible for the negligent actions of their employee. After a few months of correspondence, we were able to obtain an admission of liability, and Mrs E later received a cheque for £4,000 in compensation.