This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.
The hairdressing industry is currently unregulated. There are no general licensing requirements and there is no statutory requirement for hairdressers (including barbers) to hold specified qualifications. The registration of hairdressers is voluntary.
In terms of consumer redress, hairdressers provide a service and, as such, are subject to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Local authority byelaws may impose certain requirements on hairdressing establishments. Normal business regulations would also apply, including health and safety requirements. Further information is set out below. There is also the Commons Library briefing, Regulation of hairdressers.
The Hairdressers (Registration) Act 1964 provides for a voluntary statutory UK Register for qualified hairdressers. It is estimated that only 10 per cent of hairdressers are registered.
The Register is maintained by the Hair Council, which was set up by the Act in 1964. The Hair Council does not receive Government funding; it is funded solely by registration fees. Importantly, the Hair Council has no legal power to act on behalf of consumers.
UK Register for qualified hairdressers
Any hairdresser or barber may elect to register with the Hair Council provided he or she has evidence of training to an approved standard, which is a standard approved by the Council.
Information about how to register, including its claimed benefits, is given on the Council’s website.
Training and qualifications
Consumer protection legislation
Hairdressers and barbers provide a service and must adhere to consumer protection legislation. Specifically, they are subject to the sale of goods and services provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) and to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The Commons Library briefing, Regulation of hairdressers (section 2.1) outlines consumer rights under the CRA 2015.
In the event of a dispute, the Hair Council has no legal power to act on behalf of consumers.
How to complain
In the first instance, the consumer should complain to the hair salon. If the complaint cannot be resolved, the salon must provide the consumer with details of a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider.
ADR involves the use of a mediation service to attempt to reach a compromise, and thus avoid legal action. It is important to note, however, that the hairdresser is not legally obliged to use such a mediation service.
There is a Commons Library briefing, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and consumer disputes which provides detailed information.
Citizens Advice can provide legal advice free of charge. The home page provides a search option which works by town or postcode to find a constituent’s local Citizens Advice.
There are also telephone helplines for each constituent part of the UK:
England (Adviceline): 0800 144 8848
Wales (Advicelink): 0800 702 2020
Scotland (Helpline): 0800 028 1456
Northern Ireland: Citizens Advice provides a list of independent agencies that may be able to provide advice.
The Commons Library briefing, Legal help: where to go and how to pay may also be of interest to constituents.
Initiatives for change
According to its website, the Hair Council is actively campaigning for mandatory registration of hairdressers.
There have been various attempts in Parliament to introduce legislation to regulate hairdressers, but without success. There is more information about Parliamentary initiatives in the Commons Library briefing, Regulation of hairdressers.
The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.