Hair salon hygiene warnings


Queenstown council in-spectors have issued 31 hygiene warnings to local hair salons – and picked up three unlicensed establishments.

According to council documents supplied to Mountain Scene, 20 hairdressers in the Wakatipu were inspected between February and June.

Only four salons achieved a complete all-clear on hygiene – several others received multiple warnings.

Salons must be inspected annually to ensure compliance with the Health (Hairdressers) Regulations introduced in 1980.

The most common hygiene defect found in this year’s inspections involved cleaning and disinfecting combs and other equipment.

As an inspector told one salon, “Equipment should first be scrubbed free of hair etc to enable the disinfectant agent to effectively kill micro-organisms.”

Combs, scissors and other equipment should then be fully submerged in disinfectant - but only for about 15 minutes – before being rinsed, dried and stored in a clean, dry container.

At two salons, inspectors expressed concerns staff weren’t getting proper hygiene training. 

“Ensure combs are cleaned and disinfected between clients,” one salon was warned. 

“We have received a complaint that scissors covered in the previous client’s hair were used on a new client.”

Under the regulations, all dogs except guidedogs are banned from salons – yet a dog blanket and dog bowl were spotted at one place, with the salon owner being warned as a result.

Some salons were just downright slack on basic cleanliness. At one place, a sink used for handwashing had dirty
cups in it and the fridge and shelves were grubby.

Another had no soap or towels for the hand washbasin. 

Yet another hairdresser was ordered to “deep clean” the area where client drinks are prepared.

Three salons found to be operating without a licence officially registered their premises almost immediately.

As might be expected of a law now 35 years old, the Health (Hairdressers) Regulations appear rather prescriptive.

For example, hairdressers are told how - and how often - to wash their hands and are required to “maintain a state of cleanliness”, not put combs or scissors in their pockets and refrain from “using tobacco in any form while hairdressing”.

Serving refreshments in an area “where hair is being cut” is also taboo.  

Mountain Scene has chosen not to name individual salons in this introductory story on hairdresser hygiene – many deficiencies were historic and have been remedied.