Hairstylists, stylists and beauty therapists around the country are calling for the government to step in to make sure they can afford to buy the products and services they need, in order to protect their communities from a “toxic” epidemic of harmful hairstylist practices.
“We are not alone,” said Julie A. Johnson, who runs the nonprofit Salon in Harmony, Pa., a salon in the Philadelphia area that offers haircuts, nail care, facial treatments, eyebrow treatments and hair accessories.
“I am not alone in wanting to have a safe environment for all of us, not just for myself, my family, friends and colleagues,” she said in a statement.
Salon in the Harmony salon is one of several in the region that offer a wide range of haircuts and hair products.
The salon offers treatments for every skin type and hairstyle.
But it’s the haircuts that are the most common complaints.
The Salon in The Harmony salon said that among the products it offers is a “hybrid” product called a gel bar, which is made from a gel and bar combination and is designed to help prevent hair loss and improve appearance.
But some hairdressing experts are questioning whether this product actually does anything.
Some hair stylists say they are concerned that the gel bar is a form of hair loss medication.
A salon in Atlanta called the Haircut and Barber Shop, which sells products to salon owners, said it’s unclear how the gel bars work and whether they actually help keep hair healthy.
“They look like hair removal kits,” said the salon owner, who asked that his name not be used because he has not been paid by Salon inThe Harmony.
“The people who are making the claims, they don’t have a clue.
They don’t know anything about hair loss or hair gel products.”
A few hairdryers in Philadelphia and in other parts of the country say they have seen a rise in salon sales in recent months as more customers are searching for products they can use in their own salon, including gel bars.
“A lot of people are searching, and they’re searching for the products that they can trust,” said Bobbi McPherson, the salon manager at the Hair Cut and Barber shop in Pennsylvania.
McPhersons salon in Philadelphia, which has been offering gel bar haircuts since 2006, has seen an increase in customers this year, she said.
Haircutters are not the only ones who have concerns about the use of gel bars in hair products, said Rachel Hennings, a hair stylist and president of the National Association of Hairdressers and Barbers.
“Some people are using them for their own hair,” she told ABC News.
“There’s a lot of confusion about what’s really going on with this gel bar.”
The National Hairdresser’s Association has said that the use or misuse of gel bar products has been a growing problem for salon owners and hairdresses since it began registering the products in 1994.
Henning said that while she has heard anecdotal reports of the gel-bar usage by salon owners before, she believes that the trend is growing because of the popularity of gel-bars among celebrities.
Harnings has also heard of people being concerned that salon owners are using gel bars for “gadgets” like making facial treatments or makeup.
“It’s an incredibly toxic trend that’s going on,” she added.
“People are just desperate to get a quick and cheap haircut.”
The association has called for a national study of the use and safety of gel products, and Henners said that many salon owners say they’re not doing enough to make their customers aware of the dangers of using gel products.
“You’re seeing a lot more people taking advantage of these things than I’ve seen in years,” she noted.
Henna Lee, a hairstylists’ union president, told ABCNews.com that while the association has long urged the government and the Food and Drug Administration to require more stringent labeling on gel products and that salon customers be able to choose their own gel products without the need for a third party, that is not happening.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a significant amount of action being taken on that front,” she explained.
“If we could have any action that was more proactive, it would be to make gel products available to people who don’t normally go to salons.”
Henna said that as a salon owner herself, she has had many customers come in and say that they were afraid of the products because they looked like they were taking over their own lives.
“For people who have been living in the shadows, they’re going to have an incredible time.
For some people, it will be really therapeutic and they’ll feel so much better,” she stated.
A salon in Brooklyn, N.Y., was