According to First Research, the market-analysis firm, there are 80,000 beauty salons in the United States, generating revenues of approximately $16 billion. The First Research website states that the average salon employs 10 people. Salons are regulated by the individual states they are located in.


Salons must display their sanitation card rating (distributed after an inspection by the state board of examiners) at all times. Salons are required to maintain sanitation standards including washing hands between clients, disposing of supplies such as wax cloths and disinfecting re-usable tools immediately after their use. The salon must also have a clean, maintained, functional public restroom with both hot and cold running water. Sanitation employees (who usually visit once per year) also grade the salon on ventilation, excess materials in the work area, whether supplies are capped and closed, the availability of first-aid materials and the general appearance of the salon.


Estheticians, nail technicians and cosmetologists must be licensed. Persons interested in working in these career fields must attend a beauty training school for 1,500 hours (cosmetology), 300 hours (manicure) or 600 hours (esthetician). After becoming licensed, salon employees are required to take eight hours of continuing education every year, including topics such as The Fundamentals Of Health and Safety, The Art Of Professional Beauty, Hair Color Theory and Correction, Designer Pink & White Gel and Bare Bodies: Art of Full Body Waxing. Salon employees who move to another state are not required to retrain as long as their license is current and there are no pending disciplinary actions. Salon personnel are required to display their licenses at their workstations.


Each state has its own set of regulations for the procedures offered in a salon. For example, in North Carolina, salons are prevented from performing procedures such as permanent makeup (tattooing pigmented color), ear stapling and callus shaving. During salon services, workers must place a neck strip or towel around a customer's neck. The neck/headrests used in the hair washing and trimming areas must be disinfected between procedures.