Why you should never skip the consultation

As part of your beauty treatment training, you would have been taught to check with your client whether they have any contraindications to the treatment they are having before starting it.

A contraindication is defined as a medical condition that may restrict or prevent a treatment being carried out. These vary depending on the type of treatment being performed.

No therapist wants a claim to be made against them, so to minimise the risk of receiving a claim, it is important to carry out a full consultation with your client prior to the treatment. It is during this consultation you will be able to obtain any information regarding your client’s medical history and whether they have any allergies. It is important to record this information on your client’s consultation record.

During this consultation, if your client declares they have a condition or takes medication that may affect the treatment then you need to think back to your training and decide whether you need to adapt or restrict the treatment to take account of the condition or possibly whether to carry out the treatment at all.

When to say no

You may have to restrict the treatment, for example, if your client has a nut allergy. No product should be used during the treatment that contains any nut-based ingredients. Prior to the treatment, if you have discussed this with your client, you would be aware that your client has a nut allergy and you can restrict the treatment accordingly. If you use a product during the treatment that does not contain nuts then this will reduce the risk of your client having an allergic reaction and in turn will reduce the risk of the possibility of a claim being made against you.

Some conditions prevent the treatment being carried out at all. For example, if your client has ringworm (tinea capitis) and came to you for a hair colour then this condition would prevent you from carrying out the treatment. If you hadn’t asked your client during the consultation process whether they had any medical conditions and you proceeded with the treatment then this could result in an adverse reaction being caused along with distress to your client and again the possibility of your client making a claim against you.

Although, if you have insurance in place that will provide you with cover should a client make a claim against you, you do not want to have a claim if you don’t need to. Checking for contraindications prior to the treatment can easily prevent the possibility of a claim being made against you. A client making a claim against you may cause you stress, is time consuming and may not only affect your reputation, but may cost you in the long term as it may increase your insurance premiums in the future.

Trainer view

We spoke to one of our accredited trainers, Lucy Blake of Brighton Make Up School, to get her take on contraindications – 

"Not asking clients to fill in a client consultation form before any treatments could cause potential repercussions for you and your reputation. Whether this is for a hair up appointment, bridesmaid’s hair, evening make up, hen make up or one-to-one or group make-up lesson to name a few," says Blake.

"Whatever the nature of your treatment it is paramount to ask your client ‘do you have any allergies?’ ‘Do you have medical conditions that may affect us carrying out treatment on you today?’ ‘do you have allergies or reactions to make up or certain brands/types of make up?’ And so forth.  

"Imagine a scenario when you have applied a beautiful make up to a bride on her wedding day and because you failed to ask her about contraindications before starting, she reacts to the foundation you have used and comes out in hives or welts. This would not only cause your bride massive stress on one of the best days of her life but she may need medical treatment and affect her whole day. 

Your reputation would be tarnished and you could even have voided your insurance policy by not completing the record card. By simply filling out a form, asking your client to sign and date it and keeping it up to date (if they are a returning client by checking each time for any changes) you can save yourself a lot of possible problems.    

If you don’t know exactly what ingredients are in a product, for example an eyeshadow palette, and your client is allergic to an ingredient that may be in it then it simply isn’t worth the risk to use it.  

As we all know from our training, there are many contra-actions and contraindications that we, as professionals, must follow. They are in place for a reason – to protect your client from injury and to protect our reputations and business. As your insurer will probably tell you: if in doubt, leave it out. 

Christina Ryan is senior account handler at insurance broker Inevexco, which administers Professional Beauty Direct insurance, for beauty therapists, nail technicians, hairdressers, salon owners and students. Find out more at professionalbeautydirect.co.uk