Children's lives could be at risk

As a salon owner, one of the battles I come across weekly is the colouring of under 16's, now i'm not saying no to be awkward. Im saying no as a responsible professional hairdresser.

Standards across the industry have seemed to slip over the past number of years and i understand why, business is TOUGH, we want to do as many clients as we can when they want.

With this need to survive and get as many clients through your doors one of the services we provide has suffered, and that is consultations which have becoming nothing but a "hello, same as last time" approach. This is the foundation to a great hair cut, colour, or any technical service. Invest 10 - 15 minutes discussing and relating to your client about what it is they really want, and don't want. Find out lots of things about them, hobbies, education, age, family etc. Pictures are always seen as embarrassing by clients "oh i got a picture...cringe" Not at all, if anything bring more. The more we can understand what you want and don't want, will make your experience 1000 times better. I will go more into consultations in my next blog.

One of my biggest issues at the moment is the colouring of under 16's. Yes social media had led us all to believe the world is full of under 16's getting their hair coloured, and your right!! But being in the UK we have specific laws and ones of the LAWS is to not colour anyone under the age of 16.

Its seen as we shouldn't but lets do it, whats the worst that can happen.

Check the manufacturers instructions in your colour line, it will say not to colour anyone under the age of 16. If a salon goes against this and anything happens, and they think to claim on their insurance, that insurance is void.

Let's highlight the main issue here. Start being professional...

Colouring under 16's

No dye products should be used on under-16s, according to manufacturers and the industry's professional body.


Hair dyes contain chemicals that in rare cases can cause severe, even life-threatening, allergic reactions.

Hair dye manufacturers say they are not intended for anyone under the age of 16. The European Commission insists that this warning should be put on all hair dye packaging.

I believe the off the shelf colour companies should take responsibility also, and label them like cigarettes, a bold warning to PATCH TEST (over 16's) and ID checking, but that doesn't solve the issue of parents buying colour for their children. Hopefully if we make enough noise about this, it will make its way to the parents.

The Hairdressing Federation, the profession's own body, goes further.

It tells its members that hair colour products should never be applied to anyone under the age of 16.

But when an undercover schoolgirl tested this out by going to a number of salons - just one out of 17 salons acted on it, and told her she was too young.

Manufacturers also state that a patch test must be carried out, this is for home dye kits and those used by professionals in hair salons.

The hairdressers own federation goes further saying that "allergy testing is a must for every salon".

If we all go by the same rules, then this issue doesn't become that awkward "But my daughters friends hair was coloured by her hairdresser" I see this all the time in my salons, and i stand by the fact, and I am proud that we don't colour under 16's.

The more we colour at a younger age, the easier it is for them to become allergic to these ingredients, another common answer we have from over 16's about patch testing.

"Ive had loads of colours in my life time so i'll be fine"

This is response makes it even more vital to be tested, as with a build up of chemicals in the body, one could set off another creating a reaction.

As hairdressers, we aren't trying to be awkward, we want you as a client, but in some cases, it's a life or death matter.

I hope this has given you some insight into professional practices by hairdressers.

If you want more information



Paul Watts - Kettering - Oundle - UK

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