All hairdressing premises are required to be inspected and licensed by Whanganui District Council under the Health (Hairdressers) Regulations 1980.

The Council also issues hairdressing premises with Certificates of Registration.

This applies to hairdressers operating in both commercial business or from their own homes for profit or reward.

The following is a summary of regulations that have been prepared to help you set up your hairdressing salon to meet minimum standards. It is a guideline only and should not be seen as a legal document or a substitute for consultation with an Environmental Health Officer.

Reasons for minimum standards and good hygiene

Minimum standards have been set to prevent the spread of disease-causing bacteria such as Staphylococci bacteria. These microscopic organisms are found everywhere including on and in humans, on food, in water, soil and air. 

Most adults carry Staphylococci on their body. Scalps often contain harmful bacteria so maintaining a high standard of hygiene is vital. Most bacteria are harmless and some are essential.

However, a small number, called pathogens, are responsible for transmitting diseases and rely on some means of transfer. These means are known as vehicles, examples of which are: hands, cloths, equipment and hand-contact surfaces.

Standards for premises


No person shall use any premises as a hairdressing shop unless they are registered by the local authority and are the holder of a current Certificate of Registration in accordance with the Health (Registration of Premises) Regulations 1966.

No person shall permit any premises to be used as a hairdresser’s shop unless the following requirements are met:


The floor space shall be sufficient to permit easy cleaning.

Every room in which customers are attended to shall have a floor area of at least 2.3 square metres for each customer, who can be attended to at the same time as any other customer.

Service chairs used for hair-cutting shall be at least 1.5 metres apart, measured from the centre to centre.

Where customers awaiting attention are admitted to the service area, an additional 0.9 square metres of floor space for each person must be provided.


The floor where hair is cut or washed must be covered with a smooth, durable material that is impervious to water. Coving between floor and walls is recommended.

Walls and ceilings

Areas where walls are likely to be wetted or fouled must be covered with smooth, durable material that is impervious to water, such as Seratone panelling.

All other walls and ceilings must have a non-absorbent, easily-cleaned surface such as paint or washable vinyl wallpaper.

Shelves, benches or tables

Shelves, benches or tables on which tools or instruments are placed must be finished with a smooth, durable material that is impervious to water, such as Formica, Melteca and so on. All other shelving and inside cupboards should be made smooth and easy to clean by applying a paint or polyurethane surface.


Ventilation must be sufficient to prevent condensation, excessive moisture, and ensure the removal of objectionable odours and fumes.

If sufficient natural ventilation is not available, adequate mechanical ventilation is required.

Basins, troughs and sinks

Separate washing facilities are required to allow staff to:

  • wash their hands
  • cleanse customer’s hair
  • clean hairdressing equipment
  • wash staff cups and utensils
  • launder towels and so on (if done on premises).

Hand-wash basins

At least one hand-wash basin must be installed in the service area for every 10 chairs used for hair-cutting and must be within 6 metres of each chair. This is in addition to the one adjacent to the toilet.

Hot and cold running water, soap, nailbrush and clean towels are also required. Single-use paper towels are recommended.

Shampoo basins or troughs

In every hairdresser’s shop where hair is cleaned, there must be sufficient shampoo basins or troughs supplied with hot and cold water used exclusively for shampooing and cleansing hair.

Cleaning of hairdressing equipment

A sink supplied with hot and cold running water must be provided for the cleansing of all hairdressing tools and equipment. These can be situated anywhere in the service room or elsewhere, but not installed in any room used by staff as a meal room.

Sink for staff utensils

A sink with hot and cold running water, a bench and a suitable electrical appliance for boiling water for tea, coffee and so on will be necessary in a separate room.

Laundry tub

Should laundering take place on the premises, an additional separate room with a tub for the discharge of washing machine water is required.

Any clothes dryer must be vented to the outside air.

Disinfection of appliances and other equipment

Every hairdressing appliance, brush and item of equipment must be cleaned after use on each customer to remove hair and other foreign material and must be washed, after use on each customer, in water and detergent at a temperature of at least 43C.

Electrical clippers, shavers and any other appliances or instruments with non-detachable parts must be cleaned by first thoroughly brushing the teeth with a clean brush to remove hair and then wiping the blades with clean cotton wool, or a cloth, saturated with disinfecting fluid.

Supply of refreshments

Where refreshments such as tea and coffee are served to customers, all utensils used need to be effectively cleaned and rendered hygienic. Single-serve disposable utensils are highly recommended. 


  • Clean, dust-proof storage must be provided for towels.
  • No materials or equipment other than those used for hairdressing should be stored in the service area.
  • When not in use all appliances, tools and equipment must be kept in containers or cabinets provided for the purpose.
  • Rubbish and cut hair is to be stored in washable containers with a lid that must be emptied at least once a day. A rubbish bag mounted on a holder with a self-closing lid is acceptable.

Helpful hints

  • Wash hands before working and between clients.
  • Keep any sores, scratches and so on clean and covered.
  • Dispense creams using single-serve spatulas.
  • Use an approved disinfectant containing alcohol, quaternary ammonium or chlorine. 
  • Always use as per manufacturers’ instructions on the label.
  • When using alcohol on surfaces other than non-porous materials, contact time should be observed: between 1 and 3 minutes after proper cleaning, depending on the type of disinfectant.
  • Alcohol may be sprayed onto porous or absorbent surfaces after cleaning, with contact time on the surface of the item for at least 1 minute.
  • Bleach is an effective disinfectant for all purposes in a salon. Bleach solutions should be mixed daily as per manufacturer’s instructions and kept in a closed container and not exposed to sunlight.

Important: Contact time should be observed because bleach may affect the long-term use of some objects. It’s not recommended to leave items in bleach solution beyond two minutes for effective disinfection.

  • Always buy products that give a clear indication of ingredient content and the percentage thereof.
  • All bottles and containers used for the application of disinfectant should be properly labelled stating contents, the percentage of the solution and the date mixed.

Applying to set up a hairdressing premises

If you wish to apply for a license, you can contact an Environmental Health Officer at 06 349 0001.

Download an application form(PDF, 255KB)