B.C. beauticians seek industry regulation standards
Published Sunday, February 26, 2012 6:00PM PST
A new spa and skin care association is pushing for government regulation of the beauty industry that currently serves countless British Columbians with little oversight.
Between the industry's deregulation in 2003 and 2008, the Cosmetology Association of BC says complaints increased by 300 percent. They include burns caused by hot wax and serious skin infections spread by reusing dirty instruments.
In order to regain the trust of consumer's, newly-launched E-SPABC is trying to convince the province's beauticians to sign onto a self-regulation program supported by Consumer Protection BC.
Spa co-owner Ailish Wallace, who has already signed up for E-SPABC and its voluntary inspections, hopes this will raise the standards of the beauty industry.
"I've seen such a decline in our ethics and in our regulations since the licensing left," Wallace told CTV News.
She has heard many complaints, such as those about estheticians reusing towels and nail files.
"The most horrifying are the waxing stories; hearing about reusing of wax -- taking the wax and putting it back into the heater -- hair and all. Now some clients do bleed when they get waxed, so that in itself is really, really brutal," Wallace said.
Lucy Griffith, the vice president of E-SPABC, wants to rebuild public confidence by standardizing education as well as regulation and licensing.
"We've had this grey area of people being in a deregulated field for seven years, so we basically want to bring them in, make sure they're working to make sure they're professional, covering all areas of personal health and safety," Griffith said.
Inconsistent training is also an issue.
"You could go to a school for two weeks and get the same certificate as a school you went to for two years," she added
If enough estheticians and beauty schools join E-SPABC, the Industry Training Authority will consider formally re-regulating the industry.
Since the group recently started, members of E-SPABC will start putting up decals and 5 Shield stickers in their windows in the coming weeks. Logos will have barcodes people can scan on their smartphones that will take them to websites with customer ratings. In the meantime, consumers can check spas on the Fraser Health website to see inspection reports.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Penny Daflos