The ethnic hair industry is commonly known for its growing number of unregulated service providers and informal levels of unqualified professionals rendering services to consumers, who are placed at risk due to lack of knowledge and thorough hygienic practices.
“These form part of the primary challenges facing the industry,” says Tshidi Molefe, founder of Enzi Hair & Beauty Institute. “It is because of all these challenges I observed, as well as the professional service I myself desired, that prompted me to start a training institute to provide a solution not only to myself, but the industry as a whole.
“The majority of the unqualified practitioners or service providers are self-taught, as the barriers to entry into the hair and beauty industry are non-existent. There is a perception that anyone who can plait hair or cut ‘chiskop’ is a hairdresser, which is entirely incorrect. The hair and beauty business requires an educational skillset to effectively, professionally and efficiently provide a service.”
Molefe maintains that the top three hygiene tips for consumers to observe in the salon are: brushes and combs need to be sterilised and stored in a disinfectant; razors and scissors must be disinfected after every use with sterilising liquid which is sold at professional beauty suppliers to kill bacteria and viruses; and every customer must have a fresh towel.
She continues: “Things to always take note of when walking into a salon include the cleanliness of the floors, basins and washrooms. A salon should have a first aid kit available in case of emergency. Washrooms must be clean and functional, with hot and cold running water. The entire salon space must also be correctly ventilated to accommodate the use of chemicals and products.”
An important issue in the mandatory health & safety regulations is that of chemical storage. Many products used in beauty salons are flammable, therefore they must be set aside in a separate storage space that is cool and dry. Any spillage must be handled immediately. All supplies must be kept capped or closed between uses.
“The Enzi Hair & Beauty Institute is causing a shift in the industry for the benefit of consumers and tackling unprofessionalism in the industry by offering study programmes that are aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA),” concludes Molefe.