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Health and Safety advice Specific to Barbering

barbers health and safety


A consultation is a MUST before you start ANY service! It is a verbal agreement between yourself and your client. You must use this time to ensure you know exactly what your client wants and explain to them anything that may affect the finished result that they expect.

During the consultation you should ask open questions to ensure that you get the most information you can. This can help with finding out previous illness or medications currently used and will also help you to be able to suggest better styles that may suit them.

Sanitising solutions

Barbicide is the most commonly recognised sanitising solution and is used to clean and disinfect your tools. To dilute the solution concentrate, similar to how you would dilute squash, mix one part Barbicide to eight parts water. The solution needs replacing daily. You can put combs, brushes, scissors etc to disinfect regularly. Although these solutions say they will not harm your tools, it is not recommended that you leave them soaking for long periods of time – a minimum of 10 minutes is an effective amount of time. Remember to clean and sterilise your combs between every customer.

Protect your customer

When providing any treatment for your client make sure they are protected.

use a clean gown to protect their clothing.

Neck strips and tissues are also commonly used to prevent cross contamination between your client and the gown / Cape. When cutting facial hair protect their eyes with cotton wool pads or eye defenders.

One Man, One Blade

It is so important to always use one blade per client regardless of how much or how little you use the blade. Always discard the finished blade after use. This is not only for your client’s health and hygiene but also required by law.

You must always dispose of your blades in a properly labelled sharps box and disinfect the razor after use. Make sure this is out of the reach of clients and children.

It is good practice to replace a new blade on in front of your client so they too can be confident and assured that you are following good health and safety.


Always, always, always wear gloves when using an open razor. This is the law and protects yourself and your client. If you wear gloves from the beginning then it will become natural for you to work with gloves on and will not create any problems.

Tools and Equipment

Remember It is vital that you clean and sterilise all your tools, equipment and work station after every client. Not only does this look professional for your clients but also ensures that no cross contaminations occur.

Clean combs after each client with a brush to remove debris and then sanitise.

Cleaning shaving brushes must be done after every shave. Always clean your shaving brush with warm soapy water and then put it into a UV cabinet to make sure it is completely free of germs and bacteria.

Barber Chairs

Barber chairs are a key feature of the barber shop, so it is worth time and investment to ensure the chairs that you purchase are high quality, comfortable and functional. It is important that chairs have a head rest, foot rest, are height adjustable and have a reclining back - these features will ensure maximum comfort for your client and allow you to carry out additional services such as shaving. When shaving or cutting facial hair, the reclining back is needed to ensure your client is positioned correctly for maximum comfort to yourself and your client. Try not to lean over as this can cause back ache; move around the chair where possible. Position your tools for ease of use to make sure you don’t overstretch.


A good quality pair of clippers will save you a lot of time and money. Clippers should be an investment for a barber as they will be in frequent use. Before you make a purchase, spend some time researching what is on the market and find the best one for you. You will need to ensure that your clippers remain in good working order and some basic care and maintenance will keep your clippers performing their best for longer.

Keeping the clippers clean

Check clippers are clean, sanitised and free from any excess hair between every haircut. If necessary, use a cleaning brush to remove any hairs or dirt that are in harder to reach areas. If left unchecked this can cause damage to your clippers. Clipper spray will disinfect the blade as well as prevent rust, wear and tear and also keep your blades cool.

Checking the blades are aligned

You should check the alignment before every haircut. If they become unaligned, they can cut your clients skin which is both painful for your client and very unprofessional. To check the alignment of your clippers, move the taper lever upwards and hold the clippers sideways and look down the length – the static blade should always be over the moving blade about 0.5mm. If not aligned correctly, use a screwdriver to remove the blade and realign. Be careful when you screw the blade back on. make sure you alternate between screws to ensure the blade doesn’t twist. Always remember to regularly visually check to ensure the blades are aligned correctly.

Foil Shavers

Extra care should be taken using foil shavers as continual close cutting can cause ingrowing hairs which can lead to infection. The foil shavers need to be cleaned thoroughly after every cut. These can be sanitised by removing the head clean out debris and place in sanitising solution or spray with sanitising spray.

All electrical equipment including clippers and hairdryers should be PAT tested every year to make sure they conform with safety standards.


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