Would you use a stranger’s toothbrush? No? Well, did you know it’s almost the same thing if your hairstylist uses a brush full of someone else’s hair on you?
As a client at a salon, there are many things you deserve, and I’d like to touch on this important one today. Have you ever sat in your stylist’s chair and observed her reaching for a hairbrush, only to see the previous client’s hair staring right back at you? Working in the beauty industry over the years, I’ve seen many a brunette pay good money for a style, only to leave with someone else’s blonde hair on her shoulders. (Not in my chair, of course!)
If you’ve never considered this possibility, let me offer you some food for thought. We hairstylists sometimes have no way of telling if a walk-in client has a scalp condition. If we do see signs of flakiness, we may use a treatment shampoo and ask the client to purchase it. We know the shampoo will not cure the scalp condition immediately, but at least we are treating it. While the client’s hair is being dried, however, the brush rubs against the scalp, and it may remove any excess debris (e.g., dead skin cells).
Some of it may collect in the bristles. Then the following client walks in, never suspecting that seemingly innocent brush has a dirty little secret. Did someone say “cross-contamination”? That’s why I would never use the same brush twice in a row—and your hairstylist shouldn’t either.
The next time you go to a salon, if you see the stylist reach for a brush full of hair, I recommend you simply ask him, “Can you please use a clean brush on me?” The stylist will either apologize and quickly grab a clean one, or he will start combing the hair out of the brush. If he does the latter, that’s not enough, so I recommend that you insist on a clean brush. If he resists, it’s up to you to decide if he’s worth not having a clean brush. (You know what I think!)
You’re not being a nuisance by asking this simple question; you have a right to a clean brush every time. Yeah, I said it; a clean brush is your RIGHT. The State Board of Cosmetology requires that clean and dirty brushes be kept separately from one another to avoid contamination, so this is more than just your right: it’s the LAW.
Some hairstylists may roll their eyes and say it’s impossible to use a clean brush on every client. Not true; I have a back stock of fresh brushes so that I never run out. At the end of the day, I replace the soiled brushes with clean ones.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and set the standard; you deserve a healthy scalp, and a salon visit that makes your hair even better than when you went in.