Tighter guidance insisting on more regular patch testing

Patch test before hair dyeing

We’ve been heading en masse to the hairdresser and barber since non-essential businesses reopened in April. But, did you know that guidance around patch testing before having your hair dyed has become tighter?

To clarify, patch testing is the process of applying a small amount of dye to a section of skin behind the ear to identify a potential allergic reaction. The dye should be left on for 48 hours before being washed off. If there’s no reaction after the allotted time, it’s safe to proceed with the dyeing service.

Although allergy tests are already commonplace in salons (or, at least, they should be!), National Hair & Beauty Federation guidelines were tightened earlier this year, shortening the gap between patch tests from twelve to six months.

In fact, patch tests before every colouring treatment is in force in many salons. This cautious approach is in line with dye manufacturer’s instructions and a response to growing concerns about heightened skin sensitivity for a multitude of reasons, these being:

  1. Individuals who’ve had COVID have reported severe reactions to chemicals. See our ‘Adverse reaction to hair dye by COVID-19 survivors’ blog.
  2. After having the COVID-19 vaccine, hairdressing clients have developed allergies not experienced previously, although there’s no scientific evidence to support this theory.
  3. People simply haven’t visited the salon for long periods of time due to national lockdown and localised restrictions, thereby naturally developing sensitivity in this time.

As a salon user, it’s necessary to follow the correct protocols by undergoing patch testing so that you don’t suffer harm and, if you do, are covered by your hairdresser’s insurance. Following the right procedures means any financial compensation you subsequently seek from your hairdresser will fall within the category of an insurance claim.

Although none of us wants to consider the worst that can happen, burying our heads in the sand isn’t helpful. To get more informed about damage resulting from negligent hairdressing, read some of our earlier blogs, namely ‘Scalp blisters and facial swelling caused by hair dye’, ‘Near-death experience following severe hair dye reaction’ and ‘Woman with chemical burns undergoes recovery hair transplant’, amongst others.

Choose a good hairdresser whom you know you can trust, has your best interests at heart and won’t cut corners in your treatment including pre appointment. (Here’s how to recognise a bad hairdresser).

Our Hairdressing Claims team is here to help on ‘no win, no fee’ terms to pursue a legal case for injury from any careless hairdressing you may be subjected to.


To contact us in confidence, email enquiries@hairdressingclaims.co.uk, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.

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