Skin Testing for hair colour. Who, what, why?

December 9, 2017


What a topic! As much as I love being sarcastic and silly, this does need to be addressed. Even if you skim through it please have a quick read. 


Who - Anyone who has hair dye applied to their skin. Eyelashes and brows included. PLUS if the colour is organic. 


What - A skin test is just a small amount of product applied to the skin to check in a controlled manner whether you are going to have an allergic reaction or not before the full application. 


Why - Because people seem to be allergic to everything these days, and we gotta be safe! And read on for the other reasons. 


A few more reasons why ; 


It’s the law.  I’ve done my research of course. We have an obligation to skin test under the Health & Safety At Work Etc Act 1974 – “ HWAW places general duties on employers and the self-employed to conduct their undertakings in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than themselves or their employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety."  Basic hairdressing guidelines advise us that skin testing must be carried out on each and every colour client, yearly at the very least.


I’m not insured if you haven’t had one with me.  My insurance company wont help me out if I don’t follow their rules. It’s that simple. AND.. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that salons will have you sign a disclaimer, but that will never stand up in court. No scrap of paper is any good when someone’s head is twice it’s size. Not only will our insurance company not help, but also neither will the brand of colour. They have slapped their instructions everywhere, and if you ignore it, that's your problem, not theirs. And they will have a much better legal team anyway so it's always best to follow the rules. 
Every stylist has their own preferred brands of colour and they all have different ingredients, so for every business, you need to be skin tested with their colours and it logged on a branded piece of paper with their info and yours. So again, anything comes up, we have it all dated and signed by the both of us. 


Colouring your hair for years before is irrelevant. I’ve recently had a client who I’ve been seeing for a few years, always the same colour, same process, same technique. What changed? Her hormones. She is going through the menopause so now everything we have always done needed to be changed. Nothing serious, just small bumps all over her head BUT still not acceptable. As soon as she told me, I skin tested her with another range, which has no ammonia in and she is perfectly fine again. I am not saying ammonia is the problem, but that mixed with hormones was creating a reaction.


I don’t care if you NEED it done this weekend and don’t want a skin test.  I LOVE my business and why would I want to risk years of bloody hard work for a stranger and £50. I’m guessing you won’t be so pally with me when you're offered a big pay out. No. Thank. You.


Your safety is in my hands. As a professional hair stylist it is up to me to do my job properly, and look out for your health (as per the first point) and safety. It pisses me off when these dickhead hairdressers just slap a colour on someone they have never met by asking 2 questions, have you reacted before? No great, what colour would you like? It’s unprofessional and it’s desperate.



So that’s the long and short of it. I wont colour your hair without a skin test,and neither should any other hairstylist for that matter.  End of. 


You might not care about your welfare but any decent hairdresser should, and also be looking after her business. Also, if you don't care about you, then I don't want you as a client. 


Here are a few horror stories for you, and just so you realise it can happen to ANYONE at ANY TIME!


If you ever do find yourself in a situation where your head is sore and itchy or even just tingling, for the love of god, SPEAK UP! Even the sloppy hairdresser who hasn't tested you will want to know if your head feels like it's on fire.


And always go straight to the doctor or hospital if you feel not quite right after a colour, regardless of the length of time after. Always discuss it with your stylist, like my lady did, and we can either find another product or call it a day with the chemicals. 


Please note that, this is rare. It doesn't happen than often but it can be fatal. You may never have a reaction but you must be aware of the risks. 


So please be sensible and play it safe. 


Get yourself organised. If you cant get to a salon, have a mobile hairdresser. We come to you so there is no reason to say you don't have time. 


Any questions, please feel free to message me. 


Stephanie - Stephanique Styling xxx














Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload