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Hairdressing horror? How to complain

While recommendations and reputation might help you to choose a hairdresser, neither are foolproof. So, if things go wrong, how do you complain about a hairdresser?

Abstract hair combs

Hairdressing is unregulated

The hairdressing industry in the UK is not officially regulated. This means that there is no trade body to help with gripes when things go wrong.

In addition, anyone is free to practise as a hairdresser without registration, qualifications or training.

The Hairdressing Council

The Hairdressers Registration Act was passed by parliament in 1964, with the aim of endorsing hairdressers and reassuring consumers.

Under the Act, the Hairdressing Council was created to establish and maintain a register of qualified hairdressers.

Registration, however, is voluntary. As a result, only 'State Registered Hairdressers' (a small proportion of the industry) are officially recognised as qualified to practise hairdressing on the public.

How to complain about hairdressing

If any hairdressing service is not of satisfactory quality, you can complain.

Complaints received by the Hairdressing Council range from:

  • alleged overcharging
  • poor perms
  • bad cuts
  • extensions falling out
  • physical damage to the hair or scalp.

How to complain depends on whether your hairdresser is one of the 10% who are State Registered.

If the hairdresser is State Registered, you can take your complaint to the Hairdressing Council. They'll contact the hairdresser for a response. While the hairdresser could be struck off the register, this wouldn't stop them from practising.

If the hairdresser is not State Registered, redress can only be obtained through the courts. Speak to Which? Legal Service for advice.

In either case, evidence is important:

  • Keep 'before' and 'after' photos
  • Consult your doctor or arrange for another hairdresser to certify the extent of the problem.