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In the UK, the hairdressing industry is currently unregulated. There are no general licensing requirements and no statutory requirement for hairdressers and barbers to hold specified qualifications. The Hairdressers Registration Act 1964 provides for a UK register of qualified hairdressers, but registration is voluntary. The Hair Council, originally set up under the 1964 Act, is currently campaigning to make registration mandatory. There have been various attempts to introduce a Bill to regulate hairdressers but without success.

Hairdressing salons and barbers, like other employers, are subject to normal business regulations such as health and safety requirements, employer and public liability insurance, etc. In addition, local authorities may place registration requirements on hairdressing establishments. Planning permission requirements may also apply. Provided salons comply with these requirements they can start and continue in business.

Hairdressers provide a consumer service and, as such, must adhere to consumer protection legislation. Specifically, they are subject to the sale of goods and services provisions of the  Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

This briefing paper provides a general outline of the current regulation and training of hairdressers in the UK. In the event of a dispute, it sets out a customer’s consumer rights. Finally, this paper provides a summary of recent Parliamentary initiatives regarding this sector.

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