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Providing a Safe Cosmetology Environment

Blood-borne pathogens. Fungi. Chemical burns. Disease. (Eek!)
Many are unaware of the possible negative consequences that may occur if a Cosmetologist is not following recommended infection control processes. Cosmetologists work hard to make sure every client enjoys a safe service, but common viruses such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, and parasites can be transmitted. Nova Scotia Cosmetologists are professionally educated, trained, and licensed so that they may provide a safe and pleasant cosmetology experience.

The Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia, along with other organizations and government departments, set the sanitation, disinfection, and sterilization standard. This helps Cosmetologists and salons/spas follow best practice requirements to reduce the risk of client injury or infection during services. The Association also conducts regular salon/spa inspections to ensure rules and regulations are being enforced.

Make sure you see the following in your salon/spa:
  • Licences: All practicing Cosmetologists must hold a valid licence issued by the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia
  • Permits: All Nova Scotia cosmetology businesses must be registered with the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia and hold a valid permit to operate
  • Licences and permits are required by law to be displayed in an area easily visible to the public
  • Cosmetology tools, implements, work surfaces, and equipment must be clean and placed in covered/closed containers
  • Each client must be provided with clean sheets, capes, towels, robes, neck strips, etc.
To make sure your salon/spa provides a safe cosmetology environment, the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia recommends you review the Salon and Spa Compliance Handbook.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Some clients carry infections that they may bring into the cosmetology environment. Infections and/or diseases can be spread when an infected client's skin, blood, or body fluid comes into contact with a Cosmetologist's hands, tools, implements, or work surface(s). If cosmetology tools, implements, and work surfaces are not properly cleaned and disinfected between each client, a Cosmetologist can unintentionally pass on to clients germs that cause infections. Your skin is the first line of defense against infection. To decrease risk, you should avoid getting cosmetology services when the skin is broken, irritated, or infected.

When you enter a salon/spa, it is important to know that Cosmetologists use many different tools and implements. Some of these are single-use, which means they cannot be disinfected. Examples of single-use tools are applicators used for waxing services, or nail files and buffers used during manicure and pedicure services, among others. Single-use tools cannot be used on more than one client, and must be discarded in an appropriate, labelled container. Remember: clients reserve the right to ask for new tools, and/or refuse a service if they see unsafe practices.

Many cosmetology tools and implements are reusable, but they must be properly cleaned and disinfected between every client. Examples of reusable items include towels, hairbrushes, straight razors, clippers, and shears used during Hairdressing services; and towels, blankets, nail clippers/nippers, metal foot paddles, and makeup brushes used during Esthetics services, among others. For reusable tools and implements to be properly cleaned and disinfected, they must first be cleaned with water and detergent to remove dirt and debris. Next, they must be treated with a chemical solution called a disinfectant to kill germs that cause infection.

It is important to note that different tools, implements, and work surfaces need to be treated with different levels of disinfectant. For example, tools, implements, and work surfaces that come in contact with blood or body fluids must be treated with a high-level disinfectant, while tools and implements that do not puncture the skin may be treated with a lower-level disinfectant.

Client Safety Checklist

Make sure the following safety practices are being performed during your cosmetology service(s):

Hairdressing Services

  • Capes and gowns are clean, and new ones are being used between each client
  • New neck strips or clean towels are used between each client
  • The following single-use items are being discarded after use:
    • Foil strips
    • Straight razor blades (must discarded in an appropriate sharps container)
  • The following reusable items are being cleaned and disinfected between each client:
    • Combs and brushes
    • Trimmers and clippers
    • Crochet hooks

Waxing Services

  • The Cosmetologist must wash their hands before and after the service
  • The Cosmetologist uses gloves during the service
  • Applicators are never dipped back into the original pot of wax once they have touched the client's skin - "no double dipping"
  • Never dip your feet into parafin wax - parafin wax must be applied with a spatula
  • The following single-use items are being discarded after use:
    • Cotton pads to apply cream or lotion
    • Roll on wax
    • Cloth wax strips
  • The following reusable items are being cleaned and disinfected between each client:
    • Tweezers
Client Tip: Contact with blood and body fluid is common during waxing services. This is why it is so important that the service provider wears gloves. The temperature of heated wax is not hot enough to kill bacteria from the skin - this is why the same applicator that touches the client's skin should never be dipped back into the original pot of wax.

Manicure, Pedicure, and Artificial Nail Services

  • The Cosmetologist and the client must washes their hands before and after the service
  • The client's nails are checked for signs of nail mold/fungus (if found, the service is refused)
  • The following single-use items are being discarded after use:
    • Emery boards (the same nail file cannot be used on multiple clients)
    • Wooden cuticle pushers
    • Nail buffers
    • Foam toe separators
    • Paper and/or foam slippers
    • Sanding bands for electric files
    • Pedicure razor blades
  • The following reusable items are being cleaned and disinfected between each client:
    • Nail clippers and nippers
    • Metal nail and drill bits
    • Foot paddles
    • Acrylic/gel nail brushes
    • Glass and diamond files
    • Finger bowls, and foot baths/basins

Facial Services

  • The Cosmetologist must wash their hands before and after the service
  • The Cosmetologist must use gloves during the service when there is a chance that the skin might be broken (for example, during pimple or blackhead extraction)
  • The following single-use items are being discared after use:
    • Wooden applicators
    • Face pads
    • Water in the facial steamer
    • Sponges
    • Needles and lancets for extractions
  • The following reusable items are being cleaned and disinfected between each client:
    • Bowls and brushes
    • Tweezers and spatulas
    • Extraction tools
Client Tip: Needles and lancets used for extractions must be in sterile packaging and may be opened in front of the client. They must be thrown away immediately after use. Contact with blood and body fluid is common during facial services. This is why it is so important that your spa worker wears gloves when necessary.

Contact the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia’s Compliance Officer or Executive Director should you require further information.
Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia
126 Chain Lake Drive
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada, B3S 1A2
Office: (902) 468.6477
Fax: (902) 468.7147
Toll Free: (800) 765.8757
General Inquiries
info@nscosmetology.ca
Dana Sharkey, Executive Director CAE
dana@nscosmetology.ca
Robert Samson, Compliance Officer
robert@nscosmetology.ca

Hours of Operation
Mon. 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Tues. 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wed. 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Thurs. 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Fri. 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

Schools

Academy of Cosmetology
Hair, Esthetics, Makeup Artistry
363 Windmill Road, Dartmouth

Cape Breton Business College
Hair, Esthetics
93 Johnston Street, Sydney

CBBC - Halifax
Hair, Esthetics
1046 Barrington Street, Halifax
Eastern College
Makeup Artistry
7067 Chebucto Road, Halifax

Eastern Esthetics
Nail Technology, Hair Removal
19 Crane Lake Drive, Halifax

Hair Design Centre
Hair, Esthetics, Makeup Artistry
278 Lacewood Drive, Halifax
Hair Masters
Hair, Esthetics, Nail Technology
26 Archibald Ave., North Sydney

Elevate Beauty Institute of Cosmetology
Hair, Esthetics, Nail Technology
77 Crescent Drive, New Minas

NSCC Annapolis Campus
Hairdressing
50 Elliott Road, Middleton
NSCC Burridge Campus
Hair, Esthetics
372 Pleasant Street, Yarmouth

NSCC Marconi Campus
Hairdressing
1240 Grand Lake Road, Sydney

NSCC Pictou Campus
Hairdressing
39 Acadia Avenue, Stellarton