Hairdresser Hazards

Wrist strain is a common stylist hazard.

Being a stylist may seem like a safe career - no weapons, friendly chatter, and trend research are the norm - but there are several hairdresser hazards that interested beauty school students should be aware of before launching their career.

Career Hairdresser Hazards

While the dangers of being a stylist may not be as grave as other careers, they are still issues to be concerned about.

Slip and Fall

Hair salons can be dangerous places to walk as water, hair products, clipped hair, and other materials make floors slippery. Tile floors, in particular, can be hazardous, causing falls that lead to broken bones, twisted ankles, and other injuries.

To avoid:

  • Wear rubber soled, comfortable shoes that offer good traction.
  • Keep individual and common work areas clean by mopping up spills immediately and sweeping up loose hair.

Chemical Hazards

When working with chemicals, hairdressers are vulnerable to chemical burns from undiluted solutions, stings from chemicals coming in contact with eyes or other sensitive membranes, allergic reactions, and breathing problems from chemical fumes.To avoid:

  • Wear gloves when working with strong chemicals.
  • Wear breathing masks if necessary.
  • Keep work areas well ventilated.
  • Wash spills immediately with clean water.

Sprains and Strains

The repetitive nature of cutting hair can lead to stress on muscles and joints which can in turn create strains and sprains of wrists, shoulders, fingers, and elbows. Furthermore, stylists that stand for long periods may experience knee, ankle, or foot pain, and even the lighting in a salon may create eyestrain.To avoid:

  • Keep clients' chairs at the proper height and adjust as necessary for maximum comfort.
  • Stretch and relax wrists, arms, and hands frequently to avoid cramping.
  • Wear comfortable clothes that do not restrict movement.
  • Adjust lighting to natural levels without glare to avoid eyestrain.

Tool Hazards

Heated styling tools - curling irons, hair dryers, etc. - can easily become hairdresser hazards if used improperly. Furthermore, poorly maintained tools can quickly overheat and become fire hazards, while sharp edges and loose connections can create additional dangers.To avoid:

  • Unplug tools when not in use.
  • Use proper stands and storage containers for all styling equipment.
  • Have tools professionally repaired or replace them when worn.
  • Always use the proper tools for each style without improvising.

Contagious Situations

Stylists frequently come into contact with clients' skin and hair, which can spread contagions that may lead to serious illness. Airborne contagions are common in salons as well, but these hazards can easily be overcome.To avoid:

  • Clean all equipment including combs after each client.
  • Wash hands frequently with antibacterial soap.
  • Wear aprons, gloves, or other protective clothing if necessary.
  • Take adequate vitamins and eat a healthy diet to build resistance to common illnesses.

Dissatisfied Clients

An angry client is one of the most common hairdresser hazards. Stylists build a base of regular clients through word of mouth and personal recommendations, and a disgruntled client can easily sabotage a stylist's reputation. In extreme cases, a client may even seek legal action if they feel they have been mistreated.To avoid:

  • Communicate clearly with clients through multiple questions that clarify their desires.
  • Verify different stages of the process with the client to ensure ongoing communication.
  • Behave in a professional manner at all times.
  • Be honest about skills and procedures and do not attempt styles you cannot complete confidently; offer referrals to other stylists instead.

Hazards for Clients

Stylists are not the only ones who face hazards: the clients that trust their new look to stylists also have risks, but basic precautions can help prevent accidents and dangerous situations.



Getting a new hair style may seem simple and safe, but there are several hazards customers face in every salon, including burns from hot water, shampoo in the eyes, cuts from scissors or hair clippers, and potential falls.To avoid:

  • Let the stylist know right away if the water temperature is uncomfortable.
  • Close eyes while having hair washed or other chemicals applied.
  • Avoid sudden movements while the stylist is working with sharp tools; warn them if you are about to sneeze, for example.
  • Carefully watch where to step when walking across the salon to avoid accidental falls.


Clients with sensitive skin or multiple allergies may risk allergic reactions at a hair salon if they are not prepared to deal with the hazards of new chemicals and hair styling products.To avoid:

  • Inform the stylist about potential allergies before beginning any hair treatments.
  • Know the formal names of products and ingredients that cause your allergic reactions.
  • Suggest alternative products that are safe for you to use or bring preferred products to the salon to ensure minimal confusion.

Poor Style

Of all the hairdresser hazards that clients may face, coming away from the salon with a bad hair style is the most common. While an occasional bad hair day is nothing to be concerned about, an improperly cut style can take weeks or months to grow out and overcome.To avoid:

  • Communicate clearly with the stylist about your preferences and expectations before they begin.
  • Be honest about prior hair treatments such as use of hair dye or other chemicals that could affect how the stylist treats your hair.
  • Bring pictures of hair styles you like to give the stylist a visual reference of your preferences.
  • Be honest about the type of care you prefer to give your style after it is finished so you can easily maintain the look.
  • Ask for referrals from friends and family before choosing a stylist.

Whether you are interested in becoming a stylist or simply want to avoid hairdresser hazards on your next trip to the salon, careful planning and consideration can make a new hair style fun, beautiful, and most importantly, safe.

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