The Shampoo Experience You Should Be aware Of

Written by: kimc Date of published: . Posted in Blog

The Shampoo Experience You Should Be aware Of

I Just want to take a minute to address the news article titled, Woman: Shampoo session at salon Nearly killed me. 

I have been in the beauty industry since 2005 and during my first assisting job I can clearly remember an article that was posted in the back room addressing stroke risks and shampoo bowls. That article shaped the way I treat clients while being shampooed. I didn’t really understand why a stroke could happen; but now that I have been in contact with a client who has her Doctorate in Psychology and is considered a court expert in strangulation during domestic violence, and a client who had a major stroke after a deep tissue massage, I now have much more clarity as to why and how this phenomenon could happen.

I want to bring this up because so many of my fellow hairdressers have voiced their opinion that “it’s some kind of break room drama” or “a lawyer must have made it up,” or “the woman must have had underlying health issues and are taking it out on this salon.” The truth of the matter is that our necks were not meant to be stretched back which may hyperextend the carotid artery.

Doctor Sylvia Vella Voiced;

This artery is responsible for taking rich oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain and when it tears or becomes severed can cause strokes which can lead to life alerting medical issues or death.  When the carotid artery is stretched, plaque can dislodge within the artery which could then travel to the brain and the results can be dire.  Pressure to the carotid artery can also cause severe consequences.  When it comes to the neck (carotid artery or the jugular vein) we must be aware that serious medical conditions can occur in any client.

And truthfully clients are scared. And they have an absolute right to be!

Research on Wikipedia revealed:

Vertebrobasilar insufficiency (VBI), or vertebral basilar ischemia (also called Beauty parlour syndrome (BPS)), refers to a temporary set of symptoms due to decreased blood flow in the posterior circulation of the brain. The posterior circulation supplies blood to the medulla, cerebellum, pons, midbrain, thalamus, and occipital cortex (responsible for vision). Therefore, the symptoms due to VBI vary according to which portions of the brain experience significantly decreased blood flow (see image of brain [1]). In the United States, 25% of strokes and transient ischemic attacks occur in the vertebrobasilar distribution. These must be separated from strokes arising from the anterior circulation, which involves the carotid arteries.


But also permeant problems that arise are the blood clotting and strokes that can happen from any form of blockage.

My plea to you as a hairdresser is to please make sure your clients head is not leaning to far back, you have a cushion on the bowl and you cradle their neck with a towel or towels. Make sure their whole body is positioned in the shampoo chair correctly. If you fear getting them wet, wrap a trash bag around their neck and drape into the shampoo bowl. I beg you to pay attention to your client while they are in your care, the consequences if you don’t could be career altering.

Clients: Please speak up! If your neck is uncomfortable or hurts, please let someone know. Get up and move. It’s just water, and if its color, hopefully you are draped with some protective barrier and if the need arises you can always replace your clothing. Your health is more important. If your hairdresser is busy with other responsibilities remember you have choices.

Kim Creekmore




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