Within the world of health & beauty there are many organisations that act to legislate, create, maintain or educate both professionals and the public about industry standards.  Below is a list of some of the main bodies with whom, as a professional, you may need or want to be aware of.


Health & Safety Executive (HSE)

The HSE are the Government legislative body responsible for the execution of health and safety law throughout the UK.  They are the organisation that are responsible for compliance with COSHH, RIDDOR, Risk Management and other laws that as an industry we must adhere to.  

There are always regular demands on industry forums for the regulation of the health & beauty industry, however the HSE already provides the legislation and will enforce it fully when necessary.  It is down to the individual business owner to carry out the legislation within the workplace which is too often overlooked, not known about or blatantly ignored leading to a lowering of general standards and the call for legislation by others that do comply.  Whilst the business owner has a responsibility to reduce risk and abide by HSE law the individual employee is also responsible for their own safety and the safety of others.

This is the industry’s ultimate regulation.  Failure to comply with the laws as directed by the HSE, resulting in injury or death, can lead to large fines and a prison sentence.

HABIA (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority)

HABIA is recognised by Government as the body for setting and monitoring standards in the hair and beauty industries.  Awarding bodies must meet their criteria for National Occupational Standards within their course content.  HABIA approved courses can be found in Further Education and Independent Education Providers, such as product brands and private colleges.  HABIA produce Codes of Practice for industry areas that reflect HSE legislation.  The codes of practice are voluntary but recommended.  You can find these on their website.


City & Guilds

City & Guilds is an awarding body and a global leader in skills development.  Their courses can be found in Further Education colleges and private training venues.

ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council)

ITEC is an awarding body that provides qualifications in Beauty & Spa Therapy, Hairdressing, Complementary Therapies, Sports & Fitness Training and more. 

VTCT (Vocational Training Charitable Trust)

VTCT is a specialist awarding and assessment organisation.  Their qualifications are available in over 2,000 approved centres throughout the UK and beyond.


ABT (Associated Beauty Therapists)

The ABT is a membership association and accrediting organisation for independent education providers.  The ABT also provide their own insurance in association with their accredited courses which may or may not cover other qualifications.

BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapists & Cosmetology)

BABTAC is the oldest membership association for beauty, hair, holistic and sports therapies.  They offer Short Course Accreditation for independent education providers.  They are a not-for-profit organisation and focus on regulation of the industry and promoting public awareness of the importance of choosing an appropriately qualified, verified and insured therapist.  BABTAC also providetheir own insurance but may not cover other qualifications.

CMA (Complementary Medical Association)

The CMA is a not-for-profit organisation who offer membership and accreditation for independent education providers.  They also refer the public and conventional medics to CMA registered practitioners so that they can be assured that treatment will be delivered by a highly qualified, insured practitioner who follows their Code of Ethics and Disciplinary procedures.

The Guild

The Guild represent 3 arms; Beauty Therapists, Holistic Therapists and Nail TechniciansThey providea membership for individual therapists and technicians as well as providing accreditation to independent educators and academies throughout the UK.  They accredit course content and provide course content for academies to purchase.  The Guild also provide their own brand of insurance in association with their accredited courses which may or may not cover other qualifications.

FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists)

The FHT is the leading professional association for therapists in the UK and Ireland.  Providing accreditation for independent academies and education providers.  The FHT provide their own insurance in association with their accredited courses which may or may not cover other qualifications.

NHF/NBF (National HairFederation / National Beauty Federation

The NHF is a membership organisation that provides business support, employment law advice and assistance with many business issues.  They can provide generic employment, room rental and other contracts as well as discounted insurance and pension schemes.


Hair Council

Set up by an Act of Parliament in 1964, the Hair Council is an organisation that provides applications routes to allow hairdressers to become voluntarily State Registered.

ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office)

As an industry professional you hold and store client data for many reasons and should be compliant with data regulations.  You may need to register your business with the ICO and should visit their informative website for all you need to know about data protection and GDPR, PECR and more. 

CTPA (Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association)

The CTPA enforce the regulations about making, supplying and supplying cosmetic and personal care products within the UK.  They work with a wide group of organisations and have a membership for manufacturers and suppliers.  Should you have any concerns over products that you stock they are a good place to ensure you have safe and usable goods.

British Beauty Council 

The British Beauty Council was founded in 2018 and its intention is to represent the voices, opinions and needs of the British beauty industry.   They are giving a commitment to developing excellence and growth in the industry which is recognised as a significant contributor to the British economy.

This list is not exhaustive and other organisations exist but may not be listed.

Sue Davies

Sue Davies has been an active member of the nail and beauty industry for over 16 years. She has worked widely in the industry in the fields of salon management and ownership, international nail competitions, as an education provider (both independently and for industry brands), and managed nail industry trade bodies. Sue is highly respected within her field, has received industry recognition and awards and been a regular columnist and contributor in trade press.