Protecting industry integrity

Often new treatments or procedures performed in salon have no recognised training standards. Should the industry set up a body or board with its own self-regulatory credentials? How else can we protect the integrity of our industry professionalism?

This question, put forward by Tina Viney at APAN, was one of six discussed over lunch at Professional Beauty’s fourth industry round table.

Our eight industry supplier and salon owner experts – including Lycon Cosmetics’ Lydia Jordane, Aesthetic Enterprises’ Tracy Lee Dobbin, Ex Import Niche Products’ Otto Mitter, Skin Fitness’ Linda Fenech, InSkin Cosmedics’ Maria Cocciolone, The Skin Clinic Concord’s Belinda Merlino, MediSpa Solutions’ Mariza Nuttall and Face To Face Skin & Body Care’s Maree Mondello – agreed there was a desperate need for national standards or a regulatory body.

But out thought leaders said even though the industry would applaud this initiative, it hadn’t got off the ground yet because there were so many variables to consider.

Maria raised the issue of choosing a board that hasn’t got a vested or political interest, while Linda said credentials didn’t mean anything unless you were going to promote it to the consumer.

Tracy said anyone in the beauty industry would have an agenda, while Maree said she wasn’t sure if she wanted a governing body as it would potentially stop her from performing treatments in her salon.

Mariza said if people were paying a fee to be part of an organisation, salon owners wanted to get something for that, while Lydia said it could cause a lot more problems and a lot of unhappiness in the industry.

Belinda said she liked the idea of earning further certification through education, while Otto said it was important to show therapists how to use the products and machines correctly in the first place.

Read their edited responses below or watch the video for the full discussion.


“I don’t think there’s anyone that’s going to say, ‘No, we don’t need industry standards or rules or regulations.’ Absolutely yes is the answer, but how and who? How do you choose a board that hasn’t got a vested interest, that hasn’t got a political interest? How do you choose the people? How do you choose the experts that have no hidden agenda?” I believe in the US they need to display their individual therapist licence. If they lose it, they can’t operate, whereas in Australia, you don’t really know if you’re dealing with a therapist. You don’t have to have your diplomas or your credentials on the wall. If I look the part and I sound like the part, I must an aesthetician. Perhaps we should start with a national standard. For instance, in Western Australia a doctor can only use a laser. In Queensland, you need to be certified, in New South Wales, anybody can do it. You go to the international beauty expos and the suppliers will sell a device to someone from the public. It’s unbelievable.”

“What does it mean to the consumer? How do they know if you are registered with this board? What do you have to do in order to be a part of it? It doesn’t mean anything unless you are going to promote it to the consumer. There’s a lot of complaints happening in the medical industry, it’s happening to doctors and nurses when it comes to things like laser treatments.”

“How can you have impartiality when the people that are coming into it are interested in the industry, therefore they’re involved in the industry, therefore they have an agenda?”

“Should there be a governing body? Yes. Do I really want it? No, because at the moment, all I’m being told is if we do have it, then they’re tying my hands, they’re taking treatments away from me, they’re talking about taking away a big chunk of what I do and giving it to another sector. Until we get neutrality, and has the best interests of our industry at heart, it’s not going to happen. I pay for health inspections in my salon and I pay for two visits, regardless of whether they come once or twice. I’ve said to my council I would like a certification that tells my clients that I run my salon in a certain standard, but even that is a no-go. Ultimately, to bring up the standards, you have to bring up the hours of education that people are going to put into their business and into their staff. It comes down to the individual – they have to front up and they have to produce evidence of courses they have done, books that they read, videos they have watched – knowledge is being accumulated constantly. We’re not ready for a governing body – we’re ready to bring the whole industry up to a standard in education, and then we’ll have launch pad to move forward.”

“If people are paying a fee to be part of an organisation, salon owners want to get something for that. Whether it’s education, a newsletter, even connecting other salon owners together – you want something for your money. You’re only going to pay for so long before asking, ‘What am I getting for this? Am I throwing money away?’ We say we want a governing body but if we do have one, they may stop you from doing treatments that you’ve been doing for years.”

“I don’t know how you can have fairness with a self-governing body, but if you’re going to get an external board, there’s a lot of power at play. You could have a lot more problems and a lot of unhappiness in the industry. When a client comes into a salon, they don’t ask if you’re licenced. They generally have trust in the salon or spa. They get a treatment and they’re happy about it whether you’re licenced or not. As a manufacturer, we have an audit every year. It’s very stressful.”

“I like the idea of earning further certification through education. My husband is in the food manufacturing industry. He has to go through very stringent testing to supply one of the major supermarkets in Australia. But then for that to happen, he’s got to close down for a full day. They go through everything with a fine tooth comb. I don’t want the beauty industry to necessarily go in that direction; we should be upgrading our skills and our training regularly and be recognised for it.”

“The associations I’ve seen in various industries always have the best intentions. The intention is to have great regulations, safe practise. But you can have somebody that is registered with this and they can have a bad day. They may not complete the treatment correctly, they might make a mistake. You can have those regulations in place, but from a product developer and manufacturer point of view, I find that we have an obligation and a responsibility to ensure that our products are safe. We teach people how to use these correctly and that is our way of regulating that, to ensure that everyone’s best interest is there. That’s very important.”

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