Salon Industry / Disabled

Salon Industry / Disabled

Our Industry

With a 300 billion dollar a year Beauty Industry worldwide, you would think it would address the needs of millions of Americans with disabilities but sadly it does not. There are 1.4 million salons in the United States and the Cosmetology Industry does not have one specially equipped salon that caters to the needs of the persons in wheelchairs, deaf, developmentally disabled, hospice patients, blind or to long term hospital patients. As a licensed Cosmetologist in California I have witnessed the inaccessible and inadequate equipment available to serve persons with disabilities and as I talk to colleagues across the country they share the same story. I realized more needs to be done. I have seen firsthand how providing shampoo service and a hair cut to a hospitalized patient increases their spirits and helps them recover faster. Nurses have expressed a desire to have cosmetology services on a regular basis, from a Cosmetologist so they can spend more time caring for the patient then having to wash a patient’s hair.

According to the US census Bureau 54 million Americans have some sort of disability in the United States.  About 18% of Americans said they had a disability, with 12% claiming severe disability and of them about half are ages 21 to 64. These are typically people who are living on Medicaid coverage and are unable to regularly get salons for the same services you and I might take for granted. People with disabilities represent the third largest market segment in the U.S., surpassing Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, as well as Generation X and teens according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Persons with disability are a large segment of the market that the Beauty Industry has and continues to neglect. Most of the disabled population receives almost no cosmetology services other than haircuts. For those who are in a wheelchair, in many cases, cannot get a shampoo service, let alone perming or coloring services. Their wheelchairs do not fit in most salon shampoo stations. The equipment manufacturers have not addressed the need to modifying existing shampoo chairs and bowls. Further, there is no training available to aspiring stylists on how to work with the disabled.  Many salons are not aware that TDY or TDD equipment is available.

We as an industry need to do more for persons with disabilities. With a population that is living longer, we are faced with a growing need to address these challenges and find solutions so that the disabled can receive salon services in a comfortable and dignified manner.


Donald L. Knypstra

President Ridone Inc.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit Corporation

888 699-8879

468 ad

Leave a Comment