As the founder of Salon Inspector — an independent consulting company providing inspection and education services to beauty professionals — salon and spa owners tell me all the time they feel like they are at the mercy of their state board’s salon inspectors. I always point out that, while it is true that a board inspector can issue citations and possibly fines, she can only do that if she actually finds violations of the current rules and regulations issued by your state board.

Knowing what your state’s rules are is extremely important because proper implementation of these rules at your salon is what will guarantee you peace of mind. Board inspectors are thrilled when they inspect salons that are actually in compliance. We are making their job much easier if we don’t give them reasons to fine. Don’t be afraid or intimidated; most inspectors are actually very nice and professional during inspections. They try to be as non-intrusive as they can, but keep in mind that they do have a job to do.

Some salon owners report on how bad the inspector’s attitude was during the inspection, that rude or racial comments have been made. If you are dealing with an unreasonable inspector you should report it to your state board immediately during or right after the inspection. It is also helpful to ask clients who witnessed the situation to write up a statement to support your allegations. Always treat your inspector professionally and with respect no matter how she acts. This will reflect positively onto your business and show your clients your high level of professionalism.

If you disagree with the inspector’s findings, you can always appeal the citation. If you have to go to a hearing in this matter or even if you just mail in your appeal, make sure to include as much supporting information as you can. The board will review everything and may reduce or even waive your fines.

But in the end, your best bet to avoiding stress and fines is to avoid the violations!

While beauty industry professionals tend to spend a good amount of time on perfecting their skills, they are usually not so interested in the less creative part of the business. Keep in mind that styles and techniques are not the only things that change. Viruses and bacteria also change; therefore, the sanitation and disinfection procedures must change as well.

If you are not sure you understand your state board’s rules correctly, you should contact your board and ask them to clarify these issues for you. Don’t just believe your peers’ advice — while meant very well, it is often just hearsay or their interpretation of the law. That does not make it right. In calling your board you might be “on hold” for a while, but it will be well worth it to get all your questions answered.

Don’t wait for the board inspector to walk in. Educate yourself, take control of compliance at your salon, and the next time you are facing a board inspection you will be confident and completely at ease.


Monika Herzog Butler

Monika Herzog Butler

Monika Herzog Butler is the founder of Salon Inspector (

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