A client of Hairdressing Claims was successful in securing over £2,000.00 following a skin burn at a local hair salon in December 2017.
During a routine cut and blow dry appointment at Blow Dry Express in London’s Canary Wharf, the negligent actions of her hairdresser, a freelance stylist on duty that day, resulted in a 20p-size burn on our client’s forehead caused by a hot hairdryer which had not been properly fitted with a diffuser.
The full extent of our client’s injury was revealed when she removed her makeup in the evening. In addition to the pain experienced by the burn, our client’s suffering was made worse by missing out on a holiday, and facing embarrassment in the workplace and at social events.
The former – her holiday – was a planned Christmas break abroad in a hot climate with family which our client was compelled to cancel after being advised to keep out of the sun. The latter – working and socialising – meant she was constantly questioned by colleagues as to what had caused the noticeable burn mark, thereby becoming self-conscious.
As a senior financier at HSBC who regularly meets with customers face to face, our client suffered further awkwardness during client meetings because of an understandable concern about her appearance. Psychological problems are common among clients who suffer unsightly damage to their hair or burns to the face.
There was outside-of-work impact from the incident too, as our client began avoiding social occasions, stopped going to the gym and didn’t attend yoga classes whilst she recovered from her injuries.
As well as these work and lifestyle limitations, our client also continues to experience anxiety when visiting the hairdresser’s for fear of a repeat episode. Previously, she enjoyed getting her hair done and had sometimes frequented the salon twice a week.
Despite initially denying responsibility, analysis of the evidence confirmed Blow Dry Express’s liability. When her case was taken to trial, District Judge Worthington sitting at Central London County Court ruled that the salon’s owners, BDE Enterprises Can Ltd, should pay our client £2,064.00 in damages including £31.00 to reimburse the cost of the initial appointment, plus her legal costs for bringing the matter to court.
Although accidents are one of life’s inevitabilities, they should never happen at the hairdressers. If, like our client, you’ve suffered a burn or injury during a hairdressing treatment and you want to sue your hairdresser, please get in touch with our specialist claims against hairdressers legal team.
You can read more about our client’s experience via the links below:
If you’re considering legal action against your hairdresser, today’s blog will help you take the essential first step towards your compensation claim. As specialist hair damage and scalp burns solicitors, we’re regularly asked what constitutes grounds to make such a claim. You can’t sue your hairdresser for a poor haircut but you can if your stylist has been negligent, and caused harm or injury.
You see, whilst a trip to the hairdresser is fairly routine, accidents and negligence can happen. To help you better understand when legal action is a viable option, here we outline the 6 main reasons to instruct a law firm and launch a case…
1. Chemical injuries
Chemicals are part of many hair treatments, for example hair dyeing, perming and straightening. It’s a stylist’s job to know how long certain products can be left on your hair as well as recognising that every person’s hair is different and some people may be allergic to particular chemicals.
Patch testing should always be performed on a very small area of your hair and scalp around 48 hours before any treatment to check for adverse reactions, even when organic products are being applied. Where no testing’s been carried out, burns, blistering and other irritations such as dermatitis can occur on the scalp. Hair loss and hair damage are other common outcomes.
Hair styling tools – that’s hairdryers, curling tongs and hot irons – emit high temperatures that cause serious damage if used incorrectly. Hair should have an extra barrier applied such as heat protection spray, appliances should not be used for too long on individual sections of hair and equipment should never come into direct contact with the skin.
Otherwise, resulting burned or brittle hair will break easily and fall out. Similarly, burned skin will be extremely painful and take some time to heal.
3. Cuts and bleeding
Hairdressers are trained in how to cut and shave hair in the right way but that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes every now and then. A lapse in concentration or misjudgement, and insufficient training in the use of sharp objects in the first place can result in a cut to your neck, ear or face by scissors or other styling implements such as razors and shavers. Such injuries can obviously vary greatly in severity.
4. Faulty equipment damage
Salons are expected to conduct regular testing and maintenance of electrical appliances. This is defined by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The aim of this legislation is to keep people safe whenever equipment is operated in the workplace. Where hairdressers are concerned, this applies both to the client (you) and equipment operator (stylist).
A slightly different approach will be exercised here as the liability can belong to either the business owner (for lack of maintenance) or equipment manufacturer (due to a manufacturing fault).
5. Slips and trips
An unnoticed spillage or unswept pile of hair is a potential trip hazard. Although salons have a responsibility to provide a clean and safe environment, a popular business with back-to-back appointments is more prone to become neglectful because there’s scant time for cleaning up between clients. Signposting slippery areas is a solution but can be forgotten too during busy periods. Fall injuries include bruises, sprains and broken bones.
6. Beauty parlour syndrome
Vertebrobasilar insufficiency, otherwise known as ‘beauty parlour syndrome’, is caused by inadequate neck support and hyperextended backwards neck positioning over the basin during washing. An artery can be torn or compressed leading to blood clots. Symptoms include severe dizziness, loss of balance and facial numbness. In extreme instances, strokes.
If you subject your hair to strong chemicals, excessive heat, over styling and a myriad of other harmful forces, it’s practically impossible to avoid damage in some form or another. The easiest way to revive your hair is to cut off the damaged areas. Depending upon the level of damage sustained, though, this can amount to a substantial length which is heart-breaking if you love your hair just the way it is.
Before you resort to drastic measures and get out your hair shears or book a hairdressing appointment, we’re here to help you out with some handy tips about alternative, less radical methods of repairing dry, brittle, porous, lifeless hair.
As part-and-parcel of this advice, we also explain the causes and signs of damaged hair so you can try to steer clear of harm in the first place and identify symptoms on your own hair respectively.
To begin, then, what are the triggers to hair damage? In the main, damaged hair is the result of:-
Bleaching and dyeing: Chemicals are present in most hair colouring treatments, some stronger than others. Bleaching is, by far, the most harmful because it raises the cuticle and removes the colour pigment from the shaft. Your hair becomes weakened as a result.
Although less severe, hair dyeing isn’t totally harmless either. The aim of hair dye is to make your hair shaft porous in order to take on board the new colour. Your hair’s natural protective layer is stripped away, leaving your hair exposed.
Perming and straightening: With these procedures, you’re altering your hair structure to make it either curly or straight by applying chemicals that break then re-join the bonds in your hair. To change the properties of your hair, these chemicals go right into your cuticles which can be harsh.
Over styling: Brushing your hair too often, tying your hair up all the time and using too many hair accessories is bad news for your hair as well. Similarly, shampooing your hair more than needed gets rid of your hair’s natural oils. Heat is equally detrimental to your hair by opening up your cuticles, drying up moisture and damaging your hair shaft. It’s hairdryers, curling irons and flat irons that are to blame.
External forces: The sun, wind and cold have an adverse effect on your tresses. Other environmental factors play a part too. Think sand when you’re beachside, air pollution in the city, chlorine in the swimming pool and multiple other scenarios. If your hair isn’t adequately protected when it comes into contact with these forces, it’s in big trouble.
Bad hairdressing: If your hairdresser’s negligent and fails to perform pre-tests prior to chemical treatments, over heats sections of your hair during styling and / or uses blunt scissors, your hair and scalp are in peril. We’ve written about this previously. Access our earlier blog post here.
Next, how do you even know if your hair is damaged? Look out for these clues:-
Rough texture: The easiest way to know if your hair’s damaged is to hold it upside down and run the ends through your fingers. Does it feel rough to touch?
Dulled shine: Your hair shaft stops shining when your cuticles are damaged. Does your hair lack lustre and shine even after deep conditioning?
Split ends: Take a bit of your hair and gently twist it. Look carefully at the ends of hair that stick out. Are the ends split in two?
Lack of moisture: Damaged hair does not seem to be conditioned, no matter what you try which is a sure sign of damaged cuticles that are unable to seal in moisture.
Easy breakage: The tensile strength of your hair shaft reduces when the outer layer is damaged. Does your hair snap when you comb it or, worse still, if you run your fingers through it?
High porosity: As the cuticle is lifted, it’s much easier for moisture to pass. External moisture collects in the hair shaft and it starts to swell which gives your hair a frizzy appearance.
Too many tangles: Unlike healthy hair where the shafts are smooth, the rough cuticles of damaged hair get tangled up and result in knots. The dryness makes it hard to get these tangles out.
Finally, to get to the crux of the matter, here’s what you can do to fix damage to your hair, none of which involve having your hair chopped off:-
Avoid chemicals: These are your hair’s worst enemy. Do not use when your hair’s damaged. Approach with caution when your hair’s recovered. Choose solutions with only natural ingredients where possible.
Avoid hot styling tools: Put away your high heat-emitting styling products, let your hair dry naturally and try out styles that don’t require heat. It’s au naturel all the way.
Protect your hair: If it’s simply not possible to relinquish your hot styling equipment, make sure you use heat protection spray. In the same vein, you can’t live your life indoors, so use hats, scarves, swimming caps, leave-in conditioners or whatever the occasion demands in an attempt to be kinder to your hair.
Spot the warning signs early: The sooner you identify hair damage, the earlier you can start taking restorative action. Hair can be nourished back to health with oils and deep conditioners. Again, natural ingredients are best. If you’re late to notice damage, it’ll soon spread and, at this stage, you’ve got no option but get an acute haircut.
Get a trim: Even if your hair damage isn’t extensive, it’s a good idea to kick off the hair revival process with a trim to tidy things up. This will at least remove the sections of hair that take the strain the most: your ends.
Choose lightweight shampoos and conditioners: Opt for sulphate-and-other-chemical-free products with moisturising formulas that suit your hair type. It’s important to make the right choices as you’ll no doubt wash your hair at least twice weekly.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Consume protein-rich foods to nourish your hair back to health. The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true. Eat a balanced diet generally and take regular exercise. When you’re feeling healthier and fitter, your hair will look stronger too.
Instruct a reputable hairdresser: Hair treatments should almost always be done professionally for a greater chance of success. Your hairdresser must be properly qualified, have insurance in place and use top notch products to keep your hair out of the danger zone. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your hair’s at stake.
At Hairdressing Claims, we regularly encounter clients who’ve suffered hair damage, hair breakage, scalp burns and scalp blisters due to lack of care on the part of their hairdresser. If you find yourself in this distressing situation, please contact our legal team in complete confidence and take the first step towards claiming compensation for harm caused.
As most of us adhere to a regular hairdressing schedule to keep our hair in good condition and maintain our preferred style, the process of going to the hairdresser’s every 4 to 8 weeks, year after year means it’s almost inevitable that, at some point, we’re going to experience disappointment with the treatment given.
Only on extremely rare occasions to an unlucky few, however, does an appointment with a hairdresser result in our lives being irreparably altered. But that’s exactly what happened to a 47-year-old nurse from West Lothian, Adele Burns, as reported recently.
The alleged cause of harm to Adele was the impact of the sink on the back of her neck when she had her hair washed six times during what was supposed to be a routine cut-and-colour treatment that went wrong.
You see, if not given adequate neck protection when having your hair washed in the basin at a salon, you’re at risk of experiencing what’s been called ‘beauty parlour syndrome’. By being uncomfortable and extending your neck backwards for a long period, the arteries in the neck can be stretched, blocked or even cut. This means the blood supply to your brain is stopped, causing blood clots and strokes.
Depending on where the stroke affects the brain, the damage caused can be both physical – with slurred speech and paralysis amongst the symptoms – and emotional – such as depression, anxiety and aggressive behaviour. The range is vast. Some stroke victims have minor issues; others suffer long-term debilitating outcomes.
Where Adele’s concerned, her life was “turned upside down” by being unable to drive, and struggling to speak, read and write. Because of this, she could no longer work and became completely dependent upon her husband so the couple were forced to sell their family home.
The salon, Rainbow Room International, was negligent in two ways. First, Adele wasn’t given a strand test which could have helped the hairdresser better understand how her hair would react to dyeing thus avoiding the need to repeatedly wash her hair in order to achieve the correct colour. Second, they failed to offer a front-facing sink or provide suitable neck protection on the backward-facing sink which could have prevented overextension of the neck’s arteries.
With legal representation, Adele is pursuing a £1 million claim for life-changing damages. This serves as a warning to salons who ignore their duty of care and to hairdressing customers who should know about possible risks to their health from maltreatment. It’s also a reminder to anyone who’s injured by their hairdresser to speak out, like Adele, and seek compensation too.
We’ve reported similar cases previously on our blog. Read our earlier post about £90,000 damages awarded for a salon shampoo injury case.
If you’ve been hurt during a hairdressing appointment and would like some free initial legal advice about your next steps, contact our team in confidence today. Email email@example.com, call 0800 970 9102 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.
At Hairdressing Claims, we’re all about promoting safe, responsible hairdressing and hair styling whether you’re visiting a salon or DIY-ing at home. As experts in claims against hairdressers, we’ve seen lots of serious hair and scalp injuries resulting from negligent hairdressing or misuse of styling products. Believe us, you really don’t want a serious hair disaster to happen to you.
That’s why we’re sharing news about the urgent recall by the European Commission of Brazilian Blowout, a hair straightening product that’s been found to contain 35 times the allowed concentration limit of the chemical methylene glycol.
You see, when methylene glycol is used in smoothing solutions, it can release a toxic substance called formaldehyde which is capable of causing cancer. The permitted concentration of methylene glycol is 0.2%. Brazilian Blowout measures 7%, 35 times more.
Due to its serious risk to health, anyone who’s bought Brazilian Blowout can receive a full refund even without a receipt. Find out more on the Recall Alert website.
On the same subject, undergoing Brazilian hair straightening at a hairdressing salon also poses health risks which it’s important to be aware of beforehand. We’ve written about this previously. In our article titled “Everything you did (and didn’t!) want to know about keratin treatments”, we describe how the straightening procedure is performed and advise to check exactly what’s contained within the formula your stylist is using.
When Dr Lucinda Shaw’s hair ‘came out in chunks’ a few days after a hairdressing appointment, she sought compensation from the salon, Posh Hair and Beauty in Camden. As a result, she was awarded £1,200 for her hair loss ordeal.
In preparation for her friend’s wedding and following web-based research into hair straightening options, Dr Shaw booked a Japanese Yuko treatment whereby Keratin is used to permanently straighten hair. Salon staff failed to apply any patch testing and spent several hours performing the procedure. At one point, Dr Shaw complained that it started ‘smelling a lot’ and was advised the salon was actually doing a L’Oréal treatment instead.
Shortly afterwards, the effects of Dr Shaw’s maltreatment became apparent as her hair began falling out in the shower, leaving it short all over, not in the condition she’d anticipated and the incident unfortunately ‘cast a shadow’ over the wedding celebrations. Now, several months down the line, Dr Shaw is still growing her hair back to its original length.
This sorry tale serves as a reminder of the type of serious harm caused by hairdresser negligence. Hair breakage and hair damage such as that experienced by Dr Shaw is exactly what happens when hairdressers don’t carry out hair strand and skin patch tests before embarking upon treatments involving chemicals.
At Hairdressing Claims, we support individuals who’ve been injured because of hairdressers’ incompetence and lack of care. The damage can be extreme – for example hair loss, scalp burns and scalp blisters – and the consequences far reaching – often resulting in loss of earnings as injured parties take time off work when suffering with emotional distress and physical pain. These are strong grounds for making claims against hairdressers.
If you’ve been hurt by your hairdresser, be it from dyeing, bleaching, straightening, perming or other chemical treatment, contact our specialist legal team today. We’ll give free, confidential advice to help you decide whether or not to sue a hairdresser.
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