Professionalism & Code of Ethics

Each professional organisation should produce its own code of ethics based on expected standards of behavior.  These are referred to as a professional code of ethics.  They are not mandatory but help towards maintaining high standards in the industry.  Any individual within the organisation should:

  • Always work within the law
  • Never treat, or claim to be able to treat a medical condition
  • Respect client confidentiality
  • Show respect for other professions (chiropodist etc)
  • Maintain high standards of Safety & Hygiene
  • Apply certain treatments only with written consent from a GP
  • Support and show loyalty to other professional beauty therapists
  • Never poach another therapist’s client
  • Maintain a professional manner
  • Respect client’s modesty


Personal Appearance & Professionalism

Taking care of your personal appearance is important for presenting a professional image, and maintains good standards of hygiene.  Always ensure that your skin, hair and nails are clean always.  Your uniform should also be clean and well presented.  What you choose to wear should be functional and present a professional image of yourself.  Comfortable smart shoes are recommended.  Hair should always be clean, tidy and tied back when necessary.  Jewelry should be kept to a minimum to avoid it being damaged or causing harm to a client during a treatment.

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

Personal hygiene is very important when working closely with clients.  Make sure that you shower and use deodorant on a daily basis.  Make sure that your posture is correct when sitting or standing to prevent muscle fatigue.  Uniforms should be laundered regularly.


Always ensure that the service you offer are cost effective.  Make sure that you consider all your overheads, the cost of your time, your local area and clientele when setting a price for your treatment.  The price you charge for your treatment should cover all overheads and include reasonable profit margins, whilst also being appealing to the public.

Personal Safety

Wherever you are working, it is important to keep safe always.  If you are travelling to appointments you should ensure that your car is in good condition, ensure that it is regularly serviced.  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 an address you are looking for means that you are less likely to be late.  Try to park close to your client’s home, this limits the distance you need to walk alone.  Try to remember not to leave valuable and equipment on show in your car.  Keep your mobile phone to hand.  It allows you to keep in touch with someone at home and also provides an escape if necessary for you to contact someone.  You should decide if you wish to treat male clients.  Lone therapists feel more comfortable working on women only, others choose to take male clients that the know.  Trust your instincts and if you feel uncomfortable remove yourself from the situation.

Working from home

If you are working from home, make sure you can see who you are letting in.  If you do not recognise the person or they do not confirm their name you should refuse entry.  You should keep your treatment room separate from the rest of your home.  If you imply that somebody else is home, clients are less likely to become aggressive.  If you feel threatened in any way you should terminate the appointment and ask them to leave straight away.  If you are in their home, you should leave immediately.  Remember if necessary to report any incidents to the police as soon as possible.  Do not let personal fears hold you back from a great career.  Many therapists never come across these situations, simply remember to be in your guard and avoid dangerous situations.

Dealing with clients

When dealing with clients in a salon you should always speak clearly and concisely during a treatment.  This means that your client is not disadvantaged if they are from another cultural or religious background, are a different age or gender or have disabilities.  After you have completed consultation you should check to make sure that your client has understood what you have said.  Your body language can also be used to demonstrate your professionalism, allowing your client to feel more comfortable when answering your questions

Insurances & Memberships

Before offering treatments to paying members of the public, you should ensure that you are fully 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 body such as the guild.  They offer many valuable member benefits and offer a professional code of ethics.

There are different types of insurance membership cover which therapists may require to carry our professional treatments.  It is important to understand which type of insurance you need and this information can be obtained by talking to your insurance provider to ensure it meets your individual requirements.

Treatment Liability

Covers you in the event of a claim being made against you by a client who you may have injured during a treatment, examples include burns, scarring 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 room or sold to her for home use has caused an injury or reaction.

Employers Liability

If you employ staff you will need to have by law employer’s liability insurance.  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 employees if they are injured at work or suffer work related illnesses and found that you were liable.

Stock & Equipment Insurance

You may also wish to ensure your equipment and professional/retail products against damage flood or theft.


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


The GDPR (General DATA Protection Regulation) came into force on 25th May 2018. If you’re Salon/Business collects or stores any type of personal data from people in the EU – you will need to comply with GDPR regardless of the Brexit status at the time. If you don’t comply – there can be financial penalties.

The information you collect could include names, email addresses, contact details, postal and digital IP addresses etc. The new regulations are designed to give control of personal information back to ordinary people, prioritising them over the interests of businesses.

Therefore, it’s important for you to be aware of this new legislation and adhere to it accordingly. There are some positives – being compliant shows your audience that you are a trustworthy organisation that respects their privacy and personal information

What this means for you:

  • Conduct a personal data audit. List what data you collect about your clients either through your website, consultations or through 3rd parties – basically list every single possible way you obtain client data whether that is through your website, in written form or through your mobile phone.  Do you have a newsletter feature on your website? Do you operate an online store and collect customer data in order to process orders? Where is that data stored? Does it go directly to your email or stored in a database in your website? Think about whether all the data you collect is necessary.  If you feel that some of the information you currently collect and store isn’t strictly necessary, you can take steps to stop collecting it and purge it from your databases.
  • You will need to add a privacy policy to your site – many GDPR privacy policy templates are available by searching Google.  It is suggested that you create a page in your website called PRIVACY POLICY which will appear in your main website menu.  Your website must be SSL compliant – if it starts with https:// and has a padlock next to the website address in your browser then you’re fine… if not, contact your website provider to upgrade.
  • Contacting all your clients making them aware of GDPR, your new privacy policy and requesting consent to be able to continue to communicate with them.  You can either do this my emailing everyone and asking them to reply back confirming its ok for you to process and store their data or you can ask them to click on a link requesting them to opt-in using a newsletter facility such as
  • Understand what must be done in the event of a breach.  GDPR requires the data controller to have defined processes in place in the event of a data breach. The data controller has a legal obligation to report a data breach within 72 hours. For more information about this, take a look at an article on the reporting of data breaches.
  • Children.  GDPR, for the first time, brings in special protections for children’s personal data – particularly in regards to commercial internet services such as social media. If your organisation offers services to children and relies on consent to collect information about them, you will need to gain the parent or guardian’s consent in order to process the child’s data lawfully. GDPR sets the age at which a child can give their own consent to this processing at 16. This means that your privacy information page must be written plainly enough for a child to understand.
  • Record Cards. Remember to add your disclaimer to the bottom of your record cards so that clients can opt in or out of having personal data stored.  Here is an example for you to use:


I agree to YOUR BUSINESS NAME HERE obtaining, holding and using my personal information for the purposes of this consultation and suitability checking for any future treatments I may have.  I understand that I have the right to withdraw my consent and have my details destroyed.

Yes/No *Please circle.                                    Initial:                         Date:


Further Reading

ICO guide to GDPR. Be sure to download the GDPR 12 Step Guide


Sterilisation Methods

There are several ways to sterilise and sanitise your tools.  Tools must be washed with warm soapy water before being sterilized, as sterilisation will not remove dirt/skin or product from the tools.

Sterilisation: Destruction of all living organisms.

Sanitisation: Destruction of some, but not all micro-organisms.  Suitable for tools which do not come into contact with blood or bodily fluids.


Wet Sanitation: Barbicide is a diluted solution in which tools should be left for at least 15 minutes at room temperature.  Barbicide is known to kill fungus, bacteria and also immune diseases such as HIV & hepatitis.  This method is ideal for sanitising tools such as nail clippers, cuticle nippers, scissors and cuticle knifes.



Dry Sanitation: UV Cabinets are a suitable method of keeping sterilized tools in a sterile condition until they need to be used.  Implements are simply laid out under a UV light for 30minutes.  The UV only kills bacteria on the surfaces it covers, so tools will need to be turned to ensure all surfaces are kept sanitised.



Heat Sterilisation: Autoclaves are a fantastic method of sterilisation by method of bringing implements up to extremely high temperatures of 121 degrees centigrade or more in a pressurised steam cabinet to kill any bacteria.  This method is not suitable for plastic implements though – only metal!  They are very costly, but very good.  Another heat method is the glass bead sterilizer, a smaller cheaper alternative where tools are immersed into small glass beads that are bought up to a high temperature.  Again this method is only suitable for metal implements.