Professional Image

Health and Safety

Before you commence work as a beauty or holistic therapist or a nail technician, you will need to be aware of the legislation that you must comply with for the safety and wellbeing of yourself and your clients.

You will also need to have an understanding of what is expected of you as a beauty professional. This includes how you should conduct yourself in front of clients and interact with fellow professionals.

Health & Safety is very important for yourself, staff and clients, so it is vital that every business has a good policy in place.

Everyone in the salon has a duty of care to work in a manner that does not endanger the health, safety or welfare of themselves or others.

They must not interfere with or misuse any items of equipment provided in the salon. This applies to equipment for providing treatments to clients as well as specific safety equipment such as fire extinguishers.

As an employer, you have the responsibility of ensuring that you are complying with Health & Safety Law in your place of work. You should be aware of the Health & Safety At Work Act (1974), which lays down the minimum standards of health, safety and welfare required in the workplace. It states that business premises and equipment must be in a good state of repair, and the Act must be implemented by the employer.

Health and safety law is enforced by Environmental Health Officers who visit the workplace. Anyone who employs 5 or more staff must have a written health and safety policy. This should identify how health and safety is managed, including any individual roles staff may have, such as responsibility for first aid or fire safety. All employees must co-operate with their employer with regard to health and safety and should report any hazards immediately.

Risk Assessment 

Risk assessments should be carried out to identify what may cause harm in your workplace, who is at risk, how accidents could happen and the actions you need to take. You should record all of this information and all staff should then act on it. You can find templates for risk assessments on the website for the Health & Safety Executive at I got my risk assessment template from the national hair and beauty federation (NHBF) if you become a member you will be able to assess this. 

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)

It is the responsibility of the employer to make formal arrangements for maintaining and improving safe working conditions and practices. This includes any training and risk assessments.

Health and Safety Law

Reporting Of Injuries, Diseases And Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (1995)

Employers should report any such cases to the HSE Incident Contact Centre. This includes loss of sight, amputation, fracture and electric shock. In all cases where a personal injury of any type occurs, it should be recorded in an accident book.

Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (1981)

Whatever the size of your business, you should always make sure you have a First Aid kit on site, as well as an eyewash bottle. You should ensure this is fully stocked at all times. You should have at least one ‘Appointed Person’ on hand to take charge in an emergency who holds a HSE-approved basic first aid qualification.

You can contact the HSE on for a list of suitable training providers.

Health And Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992)

This covers the use of display screens and computer screens. This specifies the acceptable levels of radiation emissions from the screen, as well as identifying the correct posture and the number of rest periods.

Provision And Use Of Work Equipment Regulations (1998)

This states the duties for any users of equipment. It identifies the requirements in selecting and maintaining suitable equipment, as well as the training and safe use of it.

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) At Work Regulations (2002)

This requires employers to identify activities which require special protective clothing, which must then be made available.

Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations (2008)

These regulations require that cosmetics and toiletries are safe for their intended purpose and comply with labelling requirements.

Fire Safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005)

All premises must have adequate means of dealing with a fire and all members of staff should know where these are. This can include fire extinguishers and blankets, however, you should only operate a fire extinguisher if you have been properly trained to do so. All equipment should be checked and maintained regularly.

Fire Drill notices should be clearly displayed and should inform people of what to do in case of a fire. All staff should be trained in the location of alarms, exits and meeting points.

Electricity at Work

Electricity At Work Regulations (1989)

Electrical items are potentially hazardous and should be used and maintained properly. You should always ensure that you are fully trained on a piece of equipment before operating it.

All electrical equipment should be regularly PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) tested to ensure it is safe to use. If any equipment is deemed to be faulty or unsafe, you should stop using it immediately and report the problem. Make sure the equipment is clearly marked as faulty until the problem has been corrected to avoid it being used by other members of staff.


Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) COSHH regulations cover the essential requirements for controlling exposure to hazardous substances, and for protecting people who may be affected by them.

You should carry out a COSHH risk assessment to identify all chemicals, products or other substances which could cause harm.

A substance is considered to be hazardous if it can cause harm to the body. It poses a risk if it is inhaled, ingested, in contact with the skin, absorbed through the skin, injected into the body or introduced to the body through cuts.

Always check the ingredients and instructions of all products to see what they contain and ensure they are stored properly. If the product could cause harm, it should be listed on your COSHH assessment, together with what the risk is and who is at risk.

Next, decide on the degree of risk and how to minimise that risk. If you can, try to replace high risk products with lower risk ones. Never leave chemicals identified as hazardous in areas accessible to the general public. Do not forget, COSHH substances include both those used for treatments and cleaning.

Sale and Supply of Goods

Consumer Rights Act 2015

This states that goods must be as described and of satisfactory quality. They should be fit for purpose and safe for use. It is the responsibility of the retailer to correct a problem where the goods are not as described.

Trade Descriptions Acts (1968 and 1972)

These Acts prohibit the use of false descriptions of goods or services. Information must always be accurate, false comparisons must not be made and misleading price comparisons must not be made. A product may not be described as being of a ‘reduced’ price if it has not been available at the higher price for a minimum of 28 days.

Equal Opportunities 

The Equal Opportunities Commission states that a workplace should have a written equal opportunities policy which includes a statement of the commitment to equal opportunities by the employer. All employees should be aware of this policy.

Equal Opportunity means that you cannot discriminate against anyone upon the basis of their sex, race, disability, age etc.

Disability Discrimination Act (1996)

You should ensure that clients are not discriminated against on the grounds of disability. You cannot use this as a reason to refuse to provide a service, provide a service to a lesser standard or fail to make reasonable adjustments. The premises must be able to facilitate access for disabled people.

The Equality Act 2010 (EA) gives disabled people important rights of access to everyday services. Service providers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to premises or to the way they provide a service. Sometimes it just takes minor changes to make a service accessible. What is considered a reasonable adjustment for a large business such as a bank, may be different from what is a reasonable adjustment for a small salon. It is about what is practical in the service provider’s individual situation and what resources the business may have.

Smoking Regulations

All areas of work in the UK should now be smoke free by law. If you do have a smoking area, this should be clearly marked. You should display signs prohibiting smoking within your business.

Health and Safety Welfare

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

This act sets down specific requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature of indoor workplaces and states that "during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable."

The treatment room itself should have enough room for you to comfortably move around your client. The temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius.

Your treatment room should be clean and the floor dry and not slippery. You should ensure that the room is well ventilated and a comfortable temperature should be maintained.

The lighting should be suitable for the treatment to be carried out and some treatments may need additional lighting, for example, for electrolysis or eyebrow shaping an illuminated magnifying lamp will be required.

It is important you ensure windows, doors, walls and gates are fit for purpose. Fire exits and fire fighting equipment must be available and accessible.

An adequate supply of drinking water will need to be available to staff. Washing and changing facilities with hot and cold water, soap and a method to dry hands should also be supplied.

Facilities where staff can take a break and eat must also be provided.

Manual Handlings Operations

This piece of legislation is designed to prevent muscular or skeletal injuries. All staff should be fully trained in manual lifting and a risk assessment must be carried out.


Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (1982)

A special treatment licence will be required if you carry out any form of massage, electrolysis, ear piercing or semi-permanent make-up as these treatments may produce blood and body tissue fluid. You should contact your local borough council to check what the requirements are in your area.

Consumer Protection Act (1987)

This Act aims to protect the customer from unsafe or defective services or products. All staff should be trained in the treatments they carry out and the equipment used in the salon.

Music Licences 

If you play music anywhere in your salon, you will need to ensure that you hold the correct licences to do so. These licences give legal permission to play that music. Playing music in a salon is classed as a public performance, and this includes music on television channels, radios, CDs, MP3 players and music on hold.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. The Performing Right Society (PRS) collects and distributes money for the use of music and lyrics on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. Playing recorded music in public legally requires you to obtain both licences.

General Date Protection Regulations

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is effective from May 2018 and replaces the old Data Protection Act 1988. GDPR is designed to give even greater safeguards to personal data, such as the information kept on client record cards. Your salon businesses must comply with GDPR requirements and you could face a fine of up to 20 million euros if you don’t.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation applies to all the personal data you have on record as a business.

It is essential that you understand and comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations – GDPR.

The Guild has written a course that has been specifically designed to cover the way the GDPR requirements affect salon businesses. This course is available from the website

The GDPR For Salon Businesses course includes a GDPR checklist and sample privacy policy that can be used for your salon business. Log into your account on to enrol on the course.

Treating Minors

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland a minor is anyone under the age of 18. In Scotland a minor is a person under the age of 16. Sometimes you will get requests for appointments from clients who are younger. If the client is under 18, you should always obtain written permission from their parent or guardian for the treatment to go ahead and they should accompany the minor to the salon for the appointment. It is also recommended that you check your insurance policy wording to see if there are any age restrictions detailed in it.

Salon owners should insist that appointments for under-16s are booked out of school hours

We recommend that intimate waxing such as Hollywood and Brazilian waxing should not be carried out on anyone under the age of 18.

Tanning treatments should not be carried out on under-18s, in line with guidance from the British Medical Association and the HSE.

Hygiene and Sanitation

Good levels of hygiene and sanitation are vitally important in any salon business. This will help to protect both staff and clients from cross-infection, as well as making sure you adhere to the law and protect the professional reputation of your business.

The Environmental Health Department of your local council is responsible for ensuring that businesses comply with the relevant laws.


To keep your tools clean you should regularly sterilise them. Sterilisation is the complete destruction of all living micro-organisms. The most reliable method of sterilisation is moist heat using steam under pressure. The Autoclave can reach a maximum temperature of 140 degrees centigrade.

An autoclave requires proper training for all persons using it. You are required to keep autoclave sterilisation records. Always check with your supplier that tools are suitable for placing in an Autoclave.

Glass Bead Steriliser 

All instruments should be thoroughly cleaned by manual means to remove any visible contamination before they are sterilised.

An alternative to an Autoclave is the Glass Bead Steriliser. It is suitable for tweezers and scissors. Once sterilised, equipment can be stored in a UV cabinet.

Note: The most effective method of sterilisation is the autoclave.

Hygiene and Sanitation

Disinfection is the destruction of most living organisms and is suitable for floors, walls, doors and non-metal tools and equipment.

The process of disinfection reduces the population of most living organisms to safe numbers and does not eradicate spores. An example of this is bleach.

Antiseptics prevent the growth of micro-organisms and does not kill them all. You would use an antiseptic prior to piercing ears.


Ensure that all surfaces, including taps, door handles, light switches and general equipment are also regularly disinfected. Equipment can be cleaned with surgical spirit.

Disinfectants must be stored carefully and must be made up freshly prior to use. They generally require to be diluted with water and manufacturers guidelines must be followed carefully to ensure safe use.


All uniforms, towels and couch covers must be washed in detergent at a minimum temperature of 60 degrees centigrade and then tumble dried on a hot setting. If your towels are white they can be washed on the hottest setting your machine will allow. Never let wet towels stand for days before drying.

Washing Hands

Remember to always wash your hands before and after every treatment. This should involve a thorough 20 to 30 second wash of the hands and wrists using hot water and liquid soap from a disposable dispenser, followed by a thorough drying with paper towels.

Certain areas of the hands are more prone to harbouring micro-organisms. These are between the fingers, the finger tips, the thumb, the back of the hand and the wrist.

Sanitising gels are very useful to effectively cleanse the hands and usually take the form of an antiseptic, they will prevent the growth of micro-organisms and are safe to use directly onto the skin and can be used prior to treatment by the therapist and client.

Salon Hygiene 

Always use clean towels and bedding, and add disposable paper covers to your couch for each client.

You must not allow staff to eat or drink in the treatment room. A separate room should be provided for staff to take their breaks in and this should be well away from the treatment area.

Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires Disease is a fatal form of pneumonia and is contracted if someone inhales contaminated water droplets

As water is present in many beauty salons you should be aware of how the disease grows and also how it's growth should be prevented by performing a risk assessment.

Legionella Bacteria

Where does it grow?
Shower Heads, Sprinkler hoses, taps and hot water cylinders.

What are it's food sources?
Sediment, scale, other bacteria and certain natural organic by products found in some hair care products.

More information can be found here

Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves should be worn where there is a possibility of contact with blood or bodily fluids, either during a treatment or when administering first aid. Gloves should always be replaced after each client.

Due to an increasing number of cases of latex allergy, it is advisable to use disposable gloves made from another material such as nitrile or PVC.

If you or the client show any signs of allergy or irritation as a result of contact with disposable gloves stop the treatment and remove the gloves before seeking medical advice.

Clinical Waste

Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992

Anything contaminated with human tissues should be designated as Group A clinical waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992.

Group A clinical waste includes the following:
  • human or animal tissue

  • blood or other body fluids

  • excretions

  • swabs or dressings

Clinical waste should be placed in yellow refuse sacks and sealed with plastic ties or a heat sealer. You will need to appoint a specialist contractor to remove clinical waste from your premises.

Examples of contaminated waste in the salon are used wax strips, tissues, cotton wool and first aid dressings.

Group B clinical waste in the salon includes the following items:

Electrolysis needles, micro lances, pedicure blades, disposable ear piercing cartridges and broken glass.

Any Group B clinical waste should be put in purpose made sharps boxes and then sealed. All clinical waste must be disposed of using a waste carrier registered for the carrying and disposal of clinical waste.

Never place clinical waste with general rubbish. General waste should be placed separately in a pedal bin which has a bin liner in it. Your local council will be able to advise you about the waste disposal services that they offer to businesses.

How Infection Occurs

Whenever the skin is pierced there is risk of cross-infection, for example, during electrolysis, ear piercing and micro-pigmentation treatments.

Infection can also occur by direct contact. An example of this is when an infection is passed on from person to person when someone hasn’t washed their hands thoroughly after using the lavatory and they come into contact with faecal waste.

More serious infections can occur if there is direct contact with an open wound.

Infections such as impetigo and cold sores can be contracted from dirty equipment and unwashed towels.


You can infect others when coughing and sneezing as the bacteria and viruses become airborne and other people can inhale them.

It is always important to cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief when sneezing or coughing and remember to wash your hands well after doing so.


You can become infected by eating contaminated food or water. This usually results in food poisoning.

If your hands are contaminated after using the toilet and not washing your hands you can infect yourself and others.


Bacteria are single cell organisms that are capable of multiplying by themselves. Bacteria exist all around us and can be found both inside and outside of our bodies. Some Bacteria are harmless, however some will cause disease.

Examples of harmful Bacteria include:-

Staphylococcus aureus

This is spread by direct contact and coughing and sneezing. It can cause skin infections.

Strepococcus pneumoniae

This is spread by infected droplets from coughs and sneezes.

Escherichia coli

This is spread by not washing hands after going to the toilet. It can cause urinary tract infections, septicaemia, kidney disorders and diarrhoea.


This can be water borne and infects wounds, burns and can cause urinary tract infections.

Harmful Viruses

Viruses are minute particles which reproduce within a living host cell. They are not treatable by antibiotics, and can take the form of blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV.

Hepatitis B is found in bodily fluids and the virus can be destroyed by autoclaving.

A vaccine is recommended for therapists involved in electrolysis, micropigmentation and ear piercing, as they are more likely to be exposed to Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C can also be present in blood and can be spread through cuts and open wounds. This can also be destroyed through autoclaving.

HIV is generally spread through contact with infected blood or sexual contact. The virus interferes with the immune system and impairs the body’s resistance to infection.

Protecting against Infection

You should ask your clients whether they carry any viruses or bacterial infections, so that you can then take extra precautions such as the wearing of gloves or medical grade facial masks, or delay treatment in the salon until the infection has been treated by a medical practitioner.

The greatest risk of cross infection occurs when the skin is cut or pierced, and so the equipment used for this must be sterile. Using single-use disposable equipment or sterilising equipment is recommended between each client.

If either you or your client has a cut or open wound it must be covered with a plaster to prevent cross infection.

Equipment such as needles for electrolysis and micropigmentation, micro lances used for milia extraction, and equipment for ear piercing can be purchased in single-use sealed sterile packs. These should only be opened immediately prior to use and disposed of as contaminated waste.

Personal Apperance

Taking care of your personal appearance is not only important for presenting a professional image, but also to help maintain good standards of hygiene.

Always ensure that your skin, hair and nails are clean at all times. Your uniform should also be clean and well presented. What you choose to wear should not only be functional, but also present a professional image of yourself. As you will be on your feet for much of the day, make sure you wear comfortable and smart shoes.

Hair should always be clean, tidy and tied back where necessary. Jewellery should be kept to a minimum to avoid it being damaged or harming a client during treatment.

Nails should be neat and kept short, particularly when offering hands on treatments such as massage or facials. Always make sure that your hands are washed thoroughly before and after every treatment.

You are an advertisement for your business, and therefore you should always make sure that your personal appearance maintains a high standard.

Ensure that you avoid bad breath by brushing your teeth twice a day. Avoid eating strong flavoured foods before work, and if you are a smoker, use breath fresheners or mouthwash to eradicate the smell before treating a client. Smokers should also ensure that the smell is removed from hands and clothing.

Posture and Uniform

You should make sure that you shower and use deodorant on a daily basis, and hands should always be washed thoroughly with hot soapy water before each client and after using the toilet.

Make sure that your posture is correct when sitting or standing to prevent muscle fatigue, repetitive strain injury and stiff joints. When standing, keep your head up, shoulders slightly back and chest up and out. Your abdomen should be flat, hips level and feet slightly apart. When seated, use a suitable chair or stool with a good back support. Keep your lower back pressed against the chair back, keep your chest up and shoulders back and keep your feet together and flat on the floor.

Your uniform should be laundered regularly and short sleeves are preferable to long sleeves.


As a trained therapist, you should maintain a good level of professionalism at all times. You are a representative of an industry, and should work to uphold its good name.

The Guild

The Guild is the main professional association for the industry, and you can join any one of the three branches depending on the qualifications you hold. These are:

  • Guild of Beauty Therapists

  • Guild of Holistic Therapists

  • Guild of Nail Technicians

Becoming a member of the Guild shows your clients and colleagues you are a true professional. Guild membership also provides you with insurance cover, and a range of essential business support services.

Personal Safety

Wherever you are working, it is important to keep yourself safe at all times.

If you are travelling to appointments, you should ensure that your car is in good condition – you do not want to take the chance of being left stranded by an unreliable vehicle. Keep it regularly serviced, and try to ensure it is fitted with some sort of alarm.

If you have an appointment with a new client, make sure you know where you are going. Plan your journey beforehand, and if possible, try to complete a practice run at an earlier date. Being able to find the address you are looking for means you will not have to stop when actually travelling to the appointment, and also lets you see whether you can park close to the client’s house, or whether you will have to walk any distance.

When parking your car, try to leave it as close to your clients home as possible. This limits the distance you will need to walk alone, and also makes it easier to make a quick getaway if you do feel threatened. Also, remember to park somewhere that is well lit. Even if you arrive in the day time, bear in mind that you could be leaving after dark, so plan in advance.

When visiting a client, try to make sure that valuables and equipment are not on display in your car. This will only serve to make your car a target, and could leave you substantially out of pocket, through lost equipment and therefore postponed clients.

Mobile Phones

There have been many advances in modern technology which can aid us in personal safety, but the mobile phone is the most useful.

If you are a mobile therapist, it is vital that you carry one, even if only for emergencies. This not only allows you to keep in touch with someone at home, but it also provides you with a subtle escape route if you are visiting a client for the first time and feel vulnerable in any way.

A mobile phone can be useful for many things including:-

  • in case your car breaks down

  • identifying nuisance callers

  • registering client contact details

  • general emergencies

Male Clients

Many therapists set a policy on male clients. Lone therapists often feel more comfortable working on women only. Others choose to only take male customers that they already know.

Whatever you decide, make sure that it is something you are happy with. Trust your instincts and if you are not comfortable remove yourself from the situation.

Personal Space

Mobile therapists should always let their client lead the way through their home. Make sure that your client is actually there before entering.

When setting up your equipment, make sure you have a clear path to the exit.

Personal space can be an issue; where possible try to maintain a comfortable personal space for both you and your client. This will help to prevent the client feeling threatened, and will also keep unwanted advances at bay.

If you do feel threatened in any way, then keep in mind that your safety is the most important thing. Do not be afraid to terminate the appointment at any time.

If you are in a client’s house then leave straight away, grab only your personal effects such as your phone and keys. Do not attempt to collect your equipment, as it will only slow you down. Remember to report any incidents to the police as soon as possible.

Do not let fears of personal safety hold you back from your career. Many therapists work for years without ever encountering a problem. Simply remember to be on your guard, and do everything you can to avoid dangerous situations in the first place. Beauty therapy can be a rewarding and satisfying profession, so make sure that you keep it this way, by keeping yourself safe.

Working from Home

If you are working at home, make sure you can see who you are letting in, if you do not recognise the person, or cannot get them to confirm who they are, then do not be afraid to refuse them entry.

It is important to keep your treatment room separate from the rest of your home. However, you should try to make it clear that someone else is at home with you, or due home, even if this isn’t the case. Clients are less likely to become aggressive if they think you are not alone.


Prior to each treatment, a thorough consultation should be carried out with your client. This should take place somewhere private so that they are able to disclose any issues comfortably. It is very important that you record all the client’s personal details and keep them updated regularly.

The information from each consultation should be included on a record card, and the client should be asked to check and sign this.

Consultations should always be confidential, and enough time should be booked to accommodate this alongside the treatment.

During the consultation you should establish whether the client has any medical conditions which may be contraindicated, and whether they are taking any medications. If, at any point, you are unsure of whether to go ahead with a treatment, you should refer the client to their GP.

Remember, as a therapist you are not qualified to diagnose medical conditions, always leave this to the medical profession. In some cases it will be necessary for you to obtain written permission from the client’s own medical practitioner prior to treatment being carried out.

The consultation should also establish whether the client has any allergies that may be triggered by your treatment or products. With some treatments, patch tests are required, and so this should be carried out and the results recorded on the client’s record card. Always check your insurance policy wording to ensure that you are complying with any specific patch testing warranties that are contained within it. If you do not comply with a warranty in your policy wording you will not be insured.

You should establish what the client wants to get out of a treatment. For example, does a massage client have areas of tension that they wish you to deal with? This will help you to deliver the best possible treatment.

You can also take this opportunity to discuss what the treatment involves, so that the client knows what to expect. Remember, you should never oversell the benefits and results that a client might expect from a specific treatment.

The client should be given the opportunity during the consultation to ask any questions they may have.

Patch Tests

Most insurers have a warranty relating to eyelash or eyebrow tinting that requires you to perform a patch test at least 24 hours prior to carrying out an eyelash or eyebrow tint on a client for the first time.

Remember also that repeat patch tests will be necessary if you change any of your tinting products or indeed any other products that you use to carry out treatments as they may contain active ingredients that may cause irritation to some clients.

Signed Consent

It is very important to obtain signed, informed consent from your client at the consultation stage in order to establish that the client understands what is involved in the treatment they wish to have.

This will also demonstrate that the client understands any possible contra-actions that may occur during or after the treatment and that they are happy for the treatment to go ahead.

Written Consent

The client should be asked to sign their consultation card to show that the information they have given is correct. This will help to protect you legally if it transpires that the client has neglected to inform you of a medical condition or any medication that they may be taking.

Where a client has an existing medical condition, you must ensure that the client has given you a copy of the written consent from their medical practitioner. The record card could also become a vital piece of evidence if ever a client made a claim against you for personal injury. It would be required by your insurers to prove that you had carried out the necessary checks to ensure that the treatment was suitable and safe for the client.


When dealing with clients in the salon, you should always make sure you speak clearly and concisely during a treatment. This means that your clients are not disadvantaged if they are from a different cultural or religious background, are a different age or gender, or have any disabilities. After you have been through each stage of consultation, you should check to make sure your client has understood what has been said.

You must be able to empathise with your client when communicating with them and this can include use of appropriate body language. Your body language can also be used to demonstrate your professionalism, thus allowing your client to feel more comfortable when answering personal questions.

If your client has any disabilities which may make the consultation more difficult, try to ensure they have someone with them who can help. For example, if the client is deaf, ask them to bring someone with them who can sign.


Before offering treatments on members of the public, you should ensure that you are properly insured. This will give you financial protection in case something goes wrong with the treatment, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.

It is also advisable to become a member of a professional trade body like the Guild of Beauty Therapists. Guild Members abide by a professional code of ethics and enjoy many valuable membership benefits.

There are different types of insurance cover which therapists may require in order to carry out professional treatments.

It is important that you understand what insurance you need and this information can be obtained by talking to your insurance provider to ensure it meets your individual requirements.

The following information is a general overview of the insurance requirements for beauty therapists, holistic therapists and nail technicians. For information on the insurance cover available for your business, call the Guild on 0845 2177 383.

The Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists Limited is an Appointed Representative of Park Insurance Services, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.


Treatment liability covers you in the event of a claim being made against you by a client who you may have injured during the course of a treatment. Examples include burns, scarring, cuts etc.

Public liability covers the insured therapist in the event of a client injuring themselves whilst in the treatment room, for example tripping or slipping.

Product liability covers you in the event of a client claiming that a product used in the treatment or sold to her for home use has caused an injury or a reaction.

If you employ staff, you will need by law to have employers liability. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees while they are at work, so this insurance is compulsory. Employers liability covers you against claims that may arise from your employees if they are injured at work or suffer a work related illness and where you are found legally liable.

Property Insurance

You may also wish to insure your equipment and professional and retail products against damage, fire, flood or theft.

If you are the owner of a high street business you will need to seek information about additional insurances you will require.

No policy offers complete coverage without exclusions or restrictions and therefore each policy will be subject to certain terms and conditions which you need to ensure you fully understand.


The Guild of Beauty Therapists is the UK trade body for beauty therapists, holistic therapists and nail technicians. The Guild is the largest insurance provider in the industry and has more than 20 years of experience. The Guild’s insurance policy provides up to £6 million of cover against treatment risk, public liability and product liability and has been specially put together to meet the demands and needs of beauty professionals.

The Guild’s insurance policy provides cover for all the popular beauty, holistic and nail treatments and allows you work anywhere in the UK either in a salon, spa, or from your home, or on a mobile basis.

You can get a quote for Guild Insurance and Membership by visiting

The Guild

The Guild is the UK trade body for professional beauty therapists, spa therapists, holistic therapists and nail technicians. Membership of the Guild is only available to therapists who hold accredited qualifications. The Guild brand is recognised and respected throughout the industry and by salon clients as a sign of a professional service.

The Guild has been established for over 20 years and has over 10,000 members in the UK and internationally.

If you are a qualified Beauty Therapist, Holistic Therapist or Nail Technician, you can apply for Guild membership and insurance. Acceptable qualifications include GTi, NVQs, SVQs, VCTC, ITEC, CIBTAC, CIDESCO, City & Guilds, EDXECEL, SQA, IIHHT, & IHBC. Other acceptable qualifications are certificates obtained from suppliers and private training schools that have been accredited by the Guild. If you are planning to enroll on a private training course, you can visit and check the Training Directory to see if the school is accredited and if your qualification will be accepted for insurance.

If you are a student who is enrolled on a recognised training course, you can join the Guild as a Student Member.


The Code of Ethics is provided to advise members of the Guild of Beauty Therapists what is acceptable professional practice.

It is intended to ensure that the public are protected from improper practices and to establish and maintain proper standards of behaviour.

Any breach of the Code of Ethics will be deemed professional misconduct and membership may be suspended or terminated.

Members are obliged to uphold the dignity of the profession and shall conduct themselves in conformity with good taste and professional decorum.

Members agree to act honourably towards their clients and fellow practitioners.

Members agree to maintain the confidentiality of their clients at all times.

Members must refrain from criticising the work of fellow practitioners.

Members must not undertake treatments which are beyond the scope of their professional training.

Members who do not hold a relevant medical qualification must advise clients to consult a medical practitioner in such cases.

Members should enquire before treating a client for the first time if the client is under the care of a medical practitioner.

Members must not treat any client for a condition which, to her knowledge, is at the time under the care of a medical practitioner without the knowledge and consent of that practitioner.

Members must not give injections or prescribe pills, ointments or lotions which should be prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Members must not engage in activities which are illegal or immoral. Members must not work in, or be associated with establishments which offer services which are illegal or immoral.

Code of Ethics

Guild members are highly regarded for their skills, qualifications and professionalism. As a Guild member, you will be issued with a Guild Membership Certificate which you can display in your salon or treatment room. Guild membership also entitles you to use the Guild logo in your advertising, branding, website and social media channels.

Guild members are also entitled to use the letters after their names according to the membership branch they belong to. So if you were accepted as a member of the Guild of Beauty Therapists you would be entitled to use the letters MGBT after your name. The designated initials of the other branches are:

MGHT – Member of the Guild of Holistic Therapists
MGNT – Member of the Guild of Nail Technicians
MGTL – Member of the Guild of Therapy Lecturers


Guild membership includes a free subscription to Guild Gazette magazine, the UK’s highest circulation trade magazine. Membership also includes a subscription to the interactive Guild Gazette digital magazine which is available online and through the Guild Gazette app.

Guild members can also keep up to date with all the latest news through our social media channels, and subscribe to any of the five email newsletters which cover news stories, classified adverts, special offers, training alerts and magazine notifications.

The Guild runs four Professional Registers for Beauty Therapists, Holistic Therapists, Nail Technicians and Therapy Lecturers. The Professional Registers allow members of the public to find therapists, nail technicians and training professionals who have been independently verified by the industry trade body as being suitably qualified and insured to carry out treatments and training safely and effectively.

All Guild members who hold insurance are entitled to have their names placed on the appropriate Professional Register. The register you join will depend on the branch of the Guild you belong to. If you have membership of more than one branch, you can have your details listed in each of the respective registers. Having your name listed on one or more of the Professional Registers is an ideal way of demonstrating to clients, colleagues and students that you are a true professional. If you run your own business, an entry on the Professional Registers is one way you can attract new clients.

Professional Registers

Professional Development

The Guild is the UK’s largest professional beauty accrediting body and we are passionate about training. Guild Members can update their skills and knowledge of the industry through access to up to 12 hours of free CPD training every year The Training Directory on allows you to find training courses from over 400 schools and colleges that have been accredited for membership and insurance purposes.