It's easy to think that all you need to do to run a successful beauty salon is knowing how to make anyone look and feel beautiful. While that is the main part of it, there is another aspect that all salon owners should be aware of - a safe and healthy workplace.
Ensuring that the staff and the customers' health and safety in a salon is a key element to making this kind of business a success for two reasons. First of all, the law requires it. All types of businesses must ensure that their workplace is a hygienic environment.
Second, a beauty salon has all sorts of customers going in and out throughout the day. The likelihood of someone carrying bacteria, viruses, and other infectious agents increases with the amount of foot traffic you have. In addition, your staff are exposed to clients. They perform various treatments from the hands and feet to the most intimate areas of the body, depending on the services you provide. In such an environment, it’s not unlikely that cross-contamination can take place. If your staff and/or your clients are getting sick due to exposure in your salon, how likely is it that they’ll be coming back and recommending you to their friends and family?
The importance of hygiene in a beauty salon cannot be stressed enough. And it is the responsibility of the owner as well as the staff to ensure that safe and hygienic working practices are followed at all times. To help you keep these things in the forefront of your mind, make a daily duties checklist similar to the one we have below.
Hygienic working practices:
- Keep your salon clean at all times.
Obviously, you need to keep the walls and floors of your salon clean after the end of each workday. The same goes for all work areas. But to ensure that your premises are clean and hygienic at all times, make sure to thoroughly clean treatment areas between clients. Using wipes for disinfection to keep your salon chairs hygienic can help prevent the spread of anything from flu to fungus. Sweeping the floor will not only prevent any slips due to accumulated hair, it can also prevent the spread of bacteria as people traipse around the salon from one area to another. Even the reception desk and the door handles should be disinfected.
- Disinfect all of your equipment between uses.
Tools such as combs, nail files, tweezers, cuticle pushers, scissors, rollers, clippers, and makeup brushes come into contact with multiple people in a day. This means that all of your salon equipment should be thoroughly disinfected/sterilized between uses to avoid cross-contamination. Some of your equipment will require high-level disinfection such as footbaths which can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Towels and other linen in your salon should also be cleaned regularly in detergent and hot water as these can harbor germs and cause mold to grow when damp.
- Practice personal hygiene.
Of all the safe and hygienic working practices in a salon, personal hygiene is the most important. You and your staff will be the ones who will be in contact with the various people coming into the salon. You'll also be the ones handling all the tools inside the salon. As a result, you're more likely to spread an infection than a customer. To ensure your hands are clean and free of any dirt, debris, or infectious agents, you need to make sure that all of you wash your hands regularly, especially between customers, after using the toilet, and after handling food. Make sure that your nails are trimmed, and your uniforms are clean.
- Disinfect your customers' hands and feet.
This might seem awkward to some, but it is a step that cannot be skipped. It is your responsibility to ensure that your customer's hands and feet are clean before you apply any treatment (i.e. pedicure, manicure, foot spa).
- Use disposable products as much as possible.
The best way to prevent cross-contamination is to get single-use equipment. Disposable strips for waxing, razors, emery boards, mascara wands, and the like will help prevent any infectious agents from getting spread. It will also lessen the time your staff spend on disinfecting tools. Using single-use applicators when applying liquids, creams, and the like will also prevent cross-contamination.
- Dispose of all waste daily.
This is self-explanatory. How are you going to keep your salon hygienic if the trash is left to become a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and the like?
- Wear gloves and masks.
You should wear disposable gloves when coming in contact with mucous membranes (when waxing intimate areas). You should also wear disposable masks to prevent inhaling airborne organisms that can spread infections such as colds and flu.
Hidden threats in beauty salons:
Every day, many people will pass through your salon - both staff and clients. And they will bring with them thousands of germs. It's inevitable. While a lot of these germs will be harmless, there are some that can be classified as beauty salon hazards. Without proper disinfection, these germs can spread and contaminate your entire salon. To help you stay aware of what hidden threats are there, we've created a shortlist of the most common types of infections that occur in salons and where they come from.
The common bacteria that can be present in a salon include:
- Staphylococcus aureus - can be spread through direct contact, using contaminated eye makeup or facial lotion, coughing, and sneezing.
- Streptococcus pneumoniae - can be spread directly when coughing or sneezing or indirectly through used tissues.
- Escherichia coli - spread by oral-faecal contamination caused by not washing hands after using the toilet.
- Salmonella - spreads from person to person by oral-faecal route.
- Pseudomonas - can be water borne.
The common viruses should be a concern in your salon include:
- Hepatitis B - it can easily be passed by getting into contact in blood or other body fluids. Even just microscopic droplets can transmit infectious diseases.
- Hepatitis C - this can also be transmitted via cuts or open wounds though the risk is small.
- Herpes - the herpes simplex virus can easily be passed from one person to another through the skin to skin contact.
- Verrucae or warts - can be found in the hands and feet and can be spread to other people through skin-to-skin contact or through contaminated surfaces.
Fungal infections can also be encountered in a salon:
- Candida albicans - can cause infections in the nails, skin, and mucous membranes and spread through the use of contaminated tools.
- Ringworm - can infect the scalp, foot (known as Athlete's foot), skin, and groin. It can be spread through direct skin-to-skin contact.
Your salon won’t be immune to infestations either. Lice and the scabies mite are both spread through skin-to-skin contact. The scabies mite, in particular, can also be spread by contact with certain items such as towels that have been used by an infected person.
Dirt, the common cold, and flu aren’t the only things you have to worry about when it comes to keeping your salon a safe and healthy place for your staff and customers. If you want to ensure your business’ success, you will need to create a plan that will help implement hygienic practices in your workplace. More importantly, make sure that you and your staff follow these rules to the letter.
Beauty Salon Hygiene Essentials Check List