Artist gets €45,000 damages after hair fell out following ‘disastrous’ salon visit

Four Courts, Dublin

15 June 2011

A MOTHER-OF-THREE whose hair fell out after undergoing a colouring treatment at a hair salon has been awarded €45,000 in damages.

Artist and painter Aileen Dunleavy sued Hair Republic of Galway over the  treatment in March 2007.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith Neill said he was quite satisfied the hairdresser was “wholly responsible” for the damages and injury Ms Dunleavy sustained.

What had happened to her was “a disaster”, the judge said.

The judge dismissed claims by the defendant that Ms Dunleavy insisted on having colouring applied or had been warned it was too soon after the last time she had it done and that there was a risk of damage.

The judge said he could not accept any woman would have undergone the treatment had they been warned there was a potential risk of damaging her hair. Ms Dunleavy, the judge said, had the colouring applied by a stylist who he said was “inexperienced” and “insufficiently skilled”.

The judge was also critical of the “heavy handedness” in having Ms Dunleavy’s estranged husband and his mother present in court during the proceedings.

They had been listed to give evidence on behalf of the defence, the judge noted, but were not called.

Ms Dunleavy (40), a separated mother of three from Caiseal Mara Salthill, Galway City, raised her action following the colouring treatment at the salon on March 28, 2007.

In her action, she claimed the defendant was negligent and in breach of care of duty towards her.


While her hair has since grown back, she claimed she suffered personal injury, loss, and that the incident adversely affected both her working and social life.

The defendant pleaded contributory negligence.

Awarding the €45,000, the judge said that as a result of the trauma, Ms Dunleavy had been unable to paint in a meaningful way for 18 months after the incident. He further accepted that she had become socially withdrawn due “to the sense of embarrassment” she suffered as a result of what happened to her hair.

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