29 August 2014

The National Hairdressers’ Federation has condemned European Union proposals to ban high-powered hairdryers as “ludicrous” and “ill thought out”, arguing its plans would be unlikely to save on energy and could put hairdressers at greater risk of suffering arm, back and wrist injuries.


The European Commission plans, admittedly still only at draft stage, could mean the power of hairdryers being reduced by as much as 30% in order to make them more eco-friendly.


It follows a similar EU energy efficiency plan for vacuum cleaners, set to come into force from next week, that will ban the manufacture or import of cleaners with motors above 1,600 watts.


Hairdryers can range in power from 900 watts to as much as 2,300 watts and so, if the EU follows the same tack, the fear is it could mean many of the more powerful models favoured by salons would no longer be available.


Celebrity colourist and NHBF immediate past president Mark Coray, who uses a 2,100-watt dryer in his Cardiff salon, warned the plans could be deeply damaging to the UK industry, and would not in fact reduce energy consumption as it would simply mean blow-drying a client’s hair would take longer.


You have a salon environment and somebody in their lunch-break wanting to have their hair done; you have time constraints. The more powerful, the faster the blow dry – it’s as simple as that,” he said.


The fact a stylist would need to be drying for longer could also leave them more vulnerable to musculo-skeletal injuries, such as arm, wrist or back problems, he added.


NHBF president Paul Curry, owner of Studio 12 in York, said: “We all want to do our bit for the environment but these ludicrous changes, if they do become law, are ill thought out and could be potentially very damaging to our industry, not to mention the fact they won’t even achieve their goal of reducing energy consumption.”


Two years ago the NHBF fought a similar battle with EU legislators over proposals to introduce tough new health and safety rules that, it was argued, could have cost the industry as much as £3m a year.


On that occasion the commission decided to look again at the plans – and the NHBF is very much hoping to achieve the same outcome this time.


“We urge the EU to think again, and we will be forcefully explaining the industry’s position to European politicians and law-makers over the coming weeks and months,” said Paul.