Why Patch Testing is So Important

Patch tests and their importance, are a topic we get asked about on a very regular basis. This applies to Hair and Brow services. So in this blog post, we hope to dispel a few colour myths and answer all your questions as thoroughly as possible.

Patch Tests in the hair Industry, are extremely important to carry out, and if a salon doesn't ask you to come in to have one before an appointment, this should ring alarm bells with you. A common misconception is that because you've had colour for years and years, you're covered and do not need a patch test. Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Every colour brand is different, with different ingredients so if you're new to us you certainly need one. But the even bigger misconception is that if you keep up with regular 6-week applications, you don't need one before your next. Again, incorrect. The fact is, we can all build up intolerances to any food or any product for a multiple of medical reasons or for no particular reason at all - at any time. So without being medical professionals, the only real tool at our disposal, to safeguard your health, and our business, is a patch test, before every single colour application.

So what is a patch test?
A patch test is a tiny dot of colour, most commonly placed behind the guest's ear at least 48 hours before their colour service. The point of it, is to see if you are adverse to the colour or any of the ingredients in it and will, therefore, have a reaction.

What will a reaction look like?
A reaction will most commonly feel like a burning sensation, may blister, and if it does you must wash it off straight away and notify us asap. Some people react straight away, and some may react perhaps 24 hours later. Regardless, it will mean we cannot apply colour directly to the scalp. If you have a patch test and are unsure if you have had a reaction, you can always contact us anytime to discuss your concerns.

How regularly do I need to have a patch test?
Every salon handles this one differently, but many more and more, are taking the course of action that we are. Going forward, guests will be asked to come in 2-3 days before every Colour service, regardless of how recently you may have had your last colour service, to have a patch test, which takes 2 seconds. As explained above, we have to perform one this regularly, because anything can happen in the time in between your last service. Things such as pregnancy, menopause, illness or new courses of treatment or medication, can quickly cause a new intolerance. But more unpredictable than that - a severe intolerance can happen anytime for no specific reason at all. So regular patch tests have to be carried out by us, for this reason.

How often do we see people react to colour?
It's definitely rare, but it does happen. So it's absolutely worth keeping up with regular patch tests before each application.

How severe can a reaction to colour be?
The tragic truth is that an adverse reaction to colour can cost you your life. Some reactions can be milder than others, but we think you'll agree that it simply isn't worth running the risk. Taking two minutes out of your day to pop in for a quick test before each application, is a small inconvenience in comparison to the worst case scenario.


We hope our guests will now understand the vital significance of having a patch test before each colour service and can appreciate why we have to be as firm on this as we are. We need peace of mind for everyone's sake that any service we provide for you is safe, and this is the only way we can do so.

Thanks for reading!