There have been a lot of big changes for businesses over the past five years. Between Brexit and COVID-19, it’s been a fairly hectic time. And like many others, the beauty industry has experienced a considerable amount of change in rules and regulations.

To keep you informed of the latest information, this article will cover beauty industry regulations you need to know about. 

Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Post-Brexit regulations. 
  • COVID-19 regulations. 
  • Beauty salon regulations.
  • Health and safety regulations. 

Post-Brexit regulations

As of January 1st, 2021, cosmetic laws changed from EU to UK based regulations. They are similar in how they operate, but there are a few differences you should know about to make sure you’re compliant. 

These regulations apply to the way cosmetic products are produced and distributed by UK businesses. The new regulations do not apply to Northern Ireland. 

Responsible person

EU cosmetic regulations say that every cosmetic product put on the market in the EU needs an EU-based “responsible person”. Now, the same rule applies in the UK. So, cosmetic products sold in the UK market must be overseen by a UK-based responsible person. They still need a separate EU-based responsible person for EU products. 

The responsible person must ensure that all products are put through the correct safety assessments by assessors with UK-recognised qualifications. EU responsible persons need to do the same. 

Finally, cosmetic products sold in the UK need a product information file (PIF). The file must be in English and made available at the address of the UK responsible person. 


All cosmetic products sold in the UK must be properly labelled to include the name and address of the UK-based responsible person. 

UK products sold in the EU must state the country of origin on the label. This goes both ways, meaning EU cosmetics sold in the UK need to have a specific country of origin on their labels too. 

Notification portal

The UK now has its own notification portal, just like the EU does, meaning all cosmetic products sold in the UK first need to be notified by the company’s UK responsible person.

COVID-19 regulations

Some COVID restrictions are easing in the UK, but businesses still need to follow certain safety regulations. 

These regulations apply to all UK beauty businesses that are open to the public:

  • Complete a COVID-19 health and safety risk assessment.
  • Make sure your workplace is properly ventilated. 
  • Clean equipment and surfaces after each customer. 
  • Use hand sanitiser. 
  • Turn customers with COVID symptoms away. 

Additionally, your staff members will have to self-isolate if they:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Live in the same household with somebody who has COVID or COVID symptoms. 
  • Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS.

In England, social distancing, wearing masks, and recording customer information isn’t legally required for most businesses, but you can still follow them as an extra safety measure.   

General regulations

This section refers to specific regulations for beauty businesses like salons and hairdressers. 

Massages and special treatment

If you offer any “special treatments”, you will need a licence from HMRC.

Special treatments are defined by HMRC as any of the following:

  • Massage
  • Manicure
  • Chiropody
  • Light treatments (like sunbeds)
  • Electric treatments (like electrolysis)
  • Treatments involving heat, light, or vapour (like saunas)

If you do piercings too, and you’re not in the Greater London area, you’ll need a separate piercing license.

Serving alcohol

A lot of beauty businesses offer complimentary drinks as part of a service, like prosecco, champagne, or cocktails. If you do, you’re legally required to hold a premises licence.


Insurance is essential for every business if to protect your business against accidents or poor practices. Here are some common insurance policies for beauty businesses:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Products liability insurance
  • Employer’s liability insurance (this is legally required if you have employees)
  • Treatment liability insurance

If you search online, you’ll be able to find tailor-made insurance policies for beauty businesses that should cover everything you need. 

Health and safety regulations

Beauty businesses work with a lot of potentially dangerous equipment and substances, so there are strict health and safety procedures you need to follow to keep your staff and customers safe. 

Health and safety with chemicals

Some beauty products are made with harmful chemicals that cause skin irritation or respiratory problems, so there are strict rules you need to follow when using and storing them. 

Make a list of all the products you use and the hazardous chemicals they contain. If there’s not already a list on the packaging, request a hazard sheet from the manufacturer.

When working with potentially harmful substances, here are some general safety procedures:

  • Have the appropriate protective gear on premises.
  • Make sure there’s quick access to clean running water.
  • Use easy-pour containers.  
  • Look for safer versions of products you already have. For solutions, try ready-made ones. For solid chemicals, try tablets to prevent spilling. You could also look for chemical-free versions of products.
  • Store your products in a cool, dry, dark place that’s out of the way. 
  • Always follow the instructions for use on the label. 
  • Don’t let chemicals come into contact with your skin, open wounds, or blood. 
  • When mixing products, like solutions, only mix as much as you need.
  • Wear a mask when using products that create harmful vapours. 
  • For clinical waste, use a licensed waste contractor. 

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) service can give you guidance on anything you’re unsure of. 

Health and safety with equipment

As well as harmful chemicals, the beauty industry uses a lot of potentially dangerous equipment. Plus, there’s always the risk of contamination. So, as you can imagine, there are also strict safety regulations that you should follow, including:

  • Use sterile, single-use equipment when you can.
  • Sterilise reusable equipment immediately after it’s used. 
  • Perform regular maintenance checks on your equipment. 
  • Only use equipment that you’ve been trained to use or with a qualified person supervising. 
  • Keep your salon clean and tidy. 
  • Wash your mixing equipment after each use, and dispose of solutions safely to prevent chemicals from mixing. 
  • Deep clean and disinfect equipment attached to water mains, like showerheads, once a week, at least. 

If you offer treatments using pulsed light or lasers, you’ll need to register with the Care Quality Commission

Manage your financial records with Countingup 

Alongside all the beauty industry regulations, there are a number of financial rules that all businesses need to follow. All businesses need to keep accurate financial records and report them to HMRC to pay taxes. On top of that, limited companies must also prepare financial records and submit them to Companies House. 

Keeping detailed financial records like this can be time-consuming, but it’s much quicker and easier with Countingup, the app used by thousands of business owners across the UK. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.