SASSITalk – Safety For Summer Services: A Refresher Course

Waxing Safety

When the weather warms up, people change up their beauty routine. For salons, that means more pedicures and more waxing, plus a shift in hair care services. With new and old clients requesting different services, spring is prime time for reviewing your safety procedures. Here’s a refresher on three popular services:

Whether a bikini or brow wax, burns are the biggest risk of waxing. This is one of the most common insurance claims we see from salons. The best way to avoid this is to ensure the only people performing waxing services have the appropriate licenses (cosmetology, esthetician or waxing).

No matter how long you have been using a particular brand of wax or how reliable your equipment is, techs must always check the temperature of the wax before they apply it to the client. The easiest way to do this is to test it on the inside of your wrist, like you would milk for a baby bottle.

Hair straightening
Both keratin and Brazilian blowout hair straightening and smoothing treatments often contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. If your salon has not opted for formaldehyde-free products, make sure you provide or have access to masks and adequate ventilations. All stylists should use masks while performing these treatments. Salon owners should test air quality in the salon periodically to ensure the level of formaldehyde is within OSHA guidelines.

Over the years, the media have had a heyday with the idea that pedicures can lead to bacterial and fungal infections. Though most salons follow good sanitation practices, pedicures do carry a risk of infections. To avoid spreading infections to a client with dirty tools, you have a few options:

  • Clean and sterilize tools thoroughly for every single customer.
  • Invest in pre-sterilized, disposable tools.
  • Give regular clients the option of purchasing their own box of supplies to keep at the salon, so they do not have to use the same tools as other customers.

Between every pedicure, sterilize your foot baths, paying special attention to the jets. These are well-known for harboring bacteria.

If a client does get hurt by a service, don’t panic. Take charge quietly and quickly. If it is a minor cut or bruise, apply antiseptic and a bandage. If it is a more serious injury, or if a client calls to say a minor injury has turned into an infection, refer the client to a physician. Never attempt to treat an infection yourself. A staff member should complete and file an injury report as soon as an incident occurs—this will help defend your salon in the event of a claim or lawsuit.

How does your salon prepare for summer? Tell us on Twitter @SASSI_Brownyard.

Sean Brownyard is executive program manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. He can be reached at

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