Leicestershire salon owner Barrie Stephen’s campaign urging UK hair salons to put client welfare first has been bringing together a traditionally fragmented industry.
“The campaign urges every UK salon to publicly commit to skin testing every client before a colour service” says Barrie. “This isn’t difficult or costly to implement, but is a simple action that could potentially save a life.
He’s not exaggerating. The data shows that there has been an increase in the number of people suffering from contact allergies relating to hair colourants in recent years. Allergies can occur without warning, even in individuals who have been dying their hair consistently for a long time. Reactions can vary in severity, giving rashes and irritation, swelling, permanent disfigurement, or in some very high profile but rare cases, even death.
“Here at Barrie Stephen Hair, we put our clients first” Barrie continues. “But while their safety is paramount, there is also an important note of warning for the hairdressing industry. No win no fee claims against hairdressers are on the increase. Implementing and documenting a Colour Responsible Policy protects your business and the integrity of your stylists.”
This industry-driven approach has won round some of the big names on the independent side of hairdressing. Sophia Hilton, The Queen of Colour from Not Another Salon in London is also backing the campaign. ‘Barrie Stephen gave me a big awakening on why we need to get the whole country skin testing.’ say Sophia.
Debbie Digby-Smith of Feather’s Colchester recently released a book Forewarned is Forearmed about how she successfully dealt with a frivolous legal claim against chemical services delivered by her business. She has supported the campaign since the beginning and recently joined with Barrie Stephen to meet with representatives of the National Hairdressers Federation and Colourstart, the developers of an industry-standard allergy indicator, to discuss the issues.
Barrie’s next step in the campaign is to bring the national chains on board. “A Colour Responsible Policy is simply a responsible way to work – yet we’ve heard nothing from the big national chains of salons. Independent salon owners are all enthusiastically taking up the cause, because they build strong relationships with their clients and want to keep them safe. At the moment, it seems like the larger chains aren’t interested in this, and that’s incredibly distressing for me to see.”