Pickled Lawyer – Legal Ramifications of Lashing – what happens if your eyes get glued shut or you glue someone’s eyes shut?
Well, this is an opportunity for me to learn more about my fiancé’s business and how fucking kooky it is!
Initial thoughts – I hope she has insurance, and I hope she spot tests people for allergy to the glue.
There is not much case law in Canada, but several cases in UK. I could not find any in the US other than something about a fistfight in Oklahoma over a bad set. Must reach out to specialists for comment.
So, my lovely and talented fiancé asked me to write a blog post for her website/company site, House of Glam. I have been toying with the idea of doing my own blog for some time now, so I figured what a great catalyst. This is a blog post on the legal ramifications of eyelash extensions.
Given that I am a lawyer, I have pretty good access to most case law across the world. The first thing that struck me was that there seems to be a lot more case law coming out of England than anywhere else on this. I found several cases where eyelash practitioners were found liable for things such as allergies. The first thing I will say is that most insurance policies appear to be voided if ‘patch tests’ are not undertaken. What is a patch test, you ask? A patch test is where small amounts of glue, in most cases cyanoacrylate, are applied to the skin on another part of the body in minute amounts to gauge the body’s reaction, i.e. whether or not that person has an allergy. These patch tests, I understand, require that the person seeking eyelash application attend at the studio 24 hours in advance of their treatment to receive this patch test. I have heard this can be both time consuming and inconvenient for all parties involved, but nevertheless, seems to be key from an insurance perspective.
All practitioners should be insured. That should go without saying.
A waiver is certainly necessary. Like all other activities that can cause harm, it is highly advised that each practitioner become familiar with the legal concept of CYA – that is, Cover Your Ass! Have clients sign off on a waiver that they know the risks of the procedure. Do not sugar coat this – be as blunt and realistic as possible. There is the chance that your eyeball can get ruined – make sure the client is comfortable signing off on that before any application begins.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, there currently is not a professional body regulating lash applications. I am sure this will not be for long; you can’t have untrained, unlicensed and unhygienic practitioners poking around at people’s eyes. Up until this point, however, this has been the case. I am shocked there has not been more litigation. I would be livid if my eyelids were glued shut and I found out the practitioner had no business doing it. I would be of the opinion you would be liable in tort law if someone wanted to press the issue, at least if a waiver was not signed.
A further way to ensure that your studio does not get in to any legal trouble would be to make sure your studio is clean. I mean clean; medically clean. Sterile. Like you could literally eat off anything, but would not, because that would render the environment non-sterile. Maybe that would be overkill. But the cleaner the better. Follow the best protocols you can find. Always try to use products that will not affect your, or your clients’ health (thinking harsh respiratory chemicals). The client should be comfortable knowing they are in the cleanest possible environment, and it is a place they can come to seek remedy and respite from illness and malady, not be exposed to it. And above all else, be open to showing your clients how clean your operation is!
For those that are getting their lashes done, please do not be put off by a last artist asking you to sign a waiver. A waiver is at least an upfront acknowledgement that the job they are doing carries with it some inherent risk. But, as with anything, be sure to look around and inspect everything yourself. A lash studio should be medically clean and any studio that is not willing to allow its clients to inspect it is probably hiding unsanitary conditions.
This is a new industry for the most part, so legally, it is still in its infancy. We are still waiting to see litigation in this area in Canada and I will do my best to keep House of Glam apprised of the latest developments. Right now, however, it would be prudent to develop safe practices that error on the side of caution. Nobody has ever over-sterilized something. Do your best to pretest for irritation and reactions. Make sure you have a very through waiver, and make sure parents are involved with minors. Keep your studio clean like a laboratory. Allow your clients to inspect it. Finally, carry insurance.