Hairdressing disasters could lead to compensation claims


A trip to the hairdressers should be a real treat, not a real nightmare. But more and more people are suffering injuries at the hairdressers and could claim compensation for things like scalp damage, baldness and burns.

Amazingly, UK hairdressers are not regulated – in fact, anyone can open a salon and call themselves a hairdresser. In other European Countries hairdressers must have a professional qualification, be registered and are regularly monitored.

Here in the UK registration the Hairdressing Council is voluntary and currently fewer than 10% of hairdressers in Britain have registered. Many experienced hairdressers in this country are now calling for tighter regulation in their industry to reduce the amount of injuries inflicted by 'cowboy' hairdressers.

Hairdressing injuries happen because of the use of powerful bleaching, colouring, straightening and perming solutions. In inexperienced hands these solutions can cause anything from minor burns to serious and permanent injuries.

Schoolgirl Charlotte Gilchrist suffered a severe allergic reaction to a hair dye at a salon which left her face blistered and she was unable to open her eyes for five days.

In December 2009, Charlotte claimed compensation for her hairdressing injury and was awarded £20,000.

She believes her injury was a result of not being offered a patch test by the salon before her hair was coloured. Patch testing should be essential and yet a survey carried out late in 2009 found that 25 out of 30 salons approached in Wales did not carry out a patch test to see if the customer could be allergic to the hair dye.

Katherine Hindhaugh suffered a reaction to a hair dye which left her with a burned scalp and she almost cancelled her wedding as a result. We don't yet know if she will claim compensation for her hairdressing injury.

If you are having your hair dyed or another chemical treatment at a salon, it is well worth asking if the hairdresser has an extended policy on their insurance cover should you need to claim compensation. Hairdressers don't need to have negligence insurance and so may not even be able to pay you compensation if you are injured by your hair treatment at the salon.

However, if you do suffer personal injury at the hairdressers such as scalp damage, baldness, burns or an allergic reaction because you were not given a patch test or your treatment was not carried out properly, you may be able to claim compensation. Ensure that you report the incident to your hairdresser and see your GP as soon as possible.

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