HSE launched the 'Bad Hand Day?' campaign in 2006 to raise awareness of the risks of dermatitis in the hairdressing sector. The campaign received positive feedback but some hairdressers remained reluctant to use gloves, particularly for 'wet work', such as rinsing and shampooing.
HSE wanted to find out if hairdressers were reluctant because they were simply using the wrong type of gloves. So, in November 2007, HSE organised a glove trial inviting hairdressers to try the recommended gloves. The trial was undertaken with the support of Habia, the Hair and Beauty Suppliers Association (HBSA) and the National Hairdressers' Federation (NHF).
750 British salons took part in the trial. Two glove manufacturers, BM Polyco Ltd and Marigold Industrial provided the participating salons with free supplies of the recommended longer length, non-latex gloves. In exchange for the free gloves, each salon agreed to use the gloves for every task involving skin contact with hairdressing products. This included all wet work, as well as colouring, bleaching, straightening and relaxing. HSE also asked the salons to complete a simple observation form to feedback their experiences of the trial.
591 observation forms were returned, and the trial's results were extremely positive:
- 62% of participants said they will wear gloves for wet work in the future.
- 80% found the gloves comfortable to wear.
- 74% noted that they could handle clients' hair freely without snagging.
The feedback also highlighted the importance of wearing the correct sized gloves. Participants said that gloves that didn't fit well were uncomfortable to wear.
Thanks to 'Bad Hand Day?' many more hairdressers are now using gloves.