5 Vital Tips to Prevent Lawsuits and Accidents in Your Hair Salon

April 13, 2018

It's a common feeling that your hair defines you. For models, it's even a critical component of their image that can make or break their careers. When you give a client the hair they've always wanted, they will love you and remain loyal for years. The stakes can get much higher, though, if something goes wrong in the salon. All it takes is one tiny slip with the scissors, one slip on the floor or the mistake of leaving those chemicals on a client's head for just a little too long to create serious legal claims against hairdressers.

Can you sue a hairdresser for damaging your hair? The truth is that people can and often do.

For example, Women's Health magazine reported that Brazilian model Ikeda sued the famous New York City salon J. Sisters for $1.5 million when she got chemical scalp burns and bald spots that ended her modeling career and caused "emotional trauma." Don't become one of those salons mentioned in the tabloids for hair ruined by a hairdresser.

Top 5 Common Hair Salon Misfortunes You Should Prevent

1. Don't Let Your Clients Feel They're Victims of Overzealous Cutting

Most clients want a trim and don't realize just how damaged their hair really is. It might be best for their hair growth if you take off more length than they initially wanted, but you must do your best to communicate this point well with them first. Let them decide in the end because they're paying to get what they want not what you think they should have.

To help your client feel more satisfied with their new hair length, ask them to sit straight without crossing their legs to prevent their hair from falling down at an odd angle. Try to avoid talking while you cut to achieve greater precision. When you see they have damaged hair, try to show them where it is in the mirror and illustrate with your fingers how much you're going to cut so that you can both agree on the new length.

2. Don't Send Clients Home With an Unintended Hair Color

Since everyone's hair colors differently, take a little time to discuss a client's options before jumping to pick out a color formula. Many people use a box dye and forget to tell you that it's still in their hair, so ask them first to determine the strength of the dye you'll need for them. Ask them if they notice their hair breaking often to get an idea how sensitive their hair is to dyes.

Also, whenever someone makes a booking to color their hair, remind them to bring a photo of the kind of hair they want when they come in. It's the most effective form of communication. Then, tell the client how much upkeep the style they're asking for requires to help them decide if this new look is really what they want.

It doesn't hurt to make a photo album for your salon to illustrate hair coloring definitions so that your patrons can point to what they want when they can't describe it to you. Most people won't be able to tell you the difference between "ombré" and "sombré" coloring techniques for the ends unless you can show them what it looks like.

3. Stop Heat or Chemical Damage to Hair

You know that coloring hair requires chemicals that often cause some amount of damage to hair, but your client probably won't know this fact nor understand the implications of what that means when they've already dyed their hair so many times before. If you dye their hair before treating their damage, then they will notice that you've made it much weaker. It's always a good idea to explain a bit about why they need a conditioning treatment before coloring when you notice a lot of damaged hair.

Since they may forget to mention it to you, you should remember to ask them if they've used a keratin straightener and how long ago that was, too.

4. Reduce the Risk of Bodily Cuts and Other Injuries

Slips and falls can happen at any time and may lead to accidentally cutting yourself or a client. Make sure that you have policies in place to keep your floor swept and dry at all times to minimize these risks. Check your chairs regularly to make sure they don't need repairs, and make sure that all of a client's valuables or anything else they could trip over stay out of your working area.

5. Don't Allow a Chemical Burn on Scalp Incident to Occur

Many good salons can stay busy all day, so it's easy to forget how long a chemical treatment has been sitting on your client's hair when you're attending to different things all at once. However, once you've burned a client's scalp and their hair starts falling out, they may never forgive you nor forget you.

That's why you should get those little "egg timers" and use them. The friendly chime will remind both you and the client when it's time to move on and save yourself the trouble of dealing with a nasty chemical burn from products like relaxers.

Check the client's scalp before applying a product that could cause a chemical burn. Look out for any sores or signs of irritation and point them out to your client. You may need to reschedule with them for their own safety, and they will appreciate your concern.

Protecting Your Salon Against Liabilities

No matter how much you try to prevent these common claims against hairdressers, it's also important to prepare yourself for accidents with the right insurance. If you wait until the worst has already happened, it will be too late to save yourself from a mountain of legal fees. Professional liability insurance is both practical and affordable, so take a moment to consider what it can save you from.

These professional liability insurance options from Hiscox can protect you from lawsuits due to many different hairstylist injuries:

• Hiscox provides hairdresser insurance coverage with professional liability and general liability options.
Professional liability coverage protects against claims of bodily injuries, emotional trauma, lost wages and leaking of sensitive client data.
General liability coverage protects you from claims of property damage, personal-injury medical expenses and slander.

By following the tips mentioned above and choosing the right insurance protection for claims against hairdressers, your salon will have the most important tools needed to serve your clientele better.