In a salon setting, there may come a time when a minor, anyone under the age of 16, requests beauty treatments. Different salons have varying policies on this matter, but the general consensus is that all minors wishing to receive treatments should have written or signed consent from a parent or guardian, affirming their approval for the treatment.
Although it's not a legal requirement to have a responsible adult present during treatments, such as waxing or facials, it's highly advisable. Some parents or guardians are comfortable with their child receiving treatment without their presence, but in such cases, it's essential to ensure that an appropriate adult is nearby throughout the procedure, especially if the client is under 16. This approach not only safeguards the young client but also your own well-being.
Each salon will have its own policies and procedures regarding the treatment of minors. It's vital to be aware of who you are treating and where the treatments are taking place, whether it's a public area for a nail service or a private room for waxing.
Some salons may choose not to perform any beauty treatments on individuals under the age of 16, or they may limit the types of services that can be offered.
Since there is no legally mandated minimum age for receiving beauty treatments, it falls to the therapist to ensure that they adhere to various government guidelines and acts aimed at protecting the welfare and safety of children.
Obtaining consent from the responsible adult is essential, but the child's consent is equally important. This ensures that they are willingly seeking the treatment and haven't been pressured into a decision by an assertive parent or guardian. If the child expresses any reluctance to receive a treatment, it's imperative not to proceed under any circumstances. If they are willing to continue, it's crucial to explain to the child what the treatment will involve, its potential benefits, any contra-actions, and any available alternatives.
As a therapist, it's your responsibility to ensure that the young client fully comprehends all this information before giving their consent. A straightforward, honest explanation of what to expect before, during, and after the treatment is necessary. It can be helpful to show them the products or equipment you'll be using, explaining their purpose, and providing a sense of what the treatment will feel like, particularly if it may involve some discomfort, such as waxing.
Providing written information that the client can review and discuss with their parents or guardian at home is also a good practice. Make it clear that they have the right to change their mind at any point. Periodically asking them if they are "OK" and "comfortable" during the treatment is a wise practice, giving the client an opportunity to ask questions or halt the treatment if they feel unhappy. If they request you to stop at any point, do so immediately. Your priority isn't to complete the job but rather to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the client.
If you have concerns that the parent or guardian hasn't provided proper consent, it's entirely reasonable to contact them to confirm that they have indeed read and completed the consent letter themselves.
Remember, you are not obligated to treat any client, regardless of the consent given. If you believe that a treatment is unethical, inappropriate, or potentially unsafe for someone under the age of 16, then it's crucial not to proceed with the treatment. When in doubt, a good measure is to ask yourself, "Will this treatment genuinely improve the well-being of the client?"
Here at IBA we believe you should not teach minors any beauty courses until they are 16 years old and do not teach any advanced courses until they are 18 years old. This will keep the standards high in the industry and anyone below these ages would not be able to receive insurance which therefore would make the accreditation void.