The Importance of a Skin Test

A skin test is a must for every colour customer. Our customers’ health and comfort are our first priority; doing a colour service without a skin test would put our customers at risk, which we will never do.

This doesn’t mean that we use volatile products known to harm our customers — quite the opposite actually. However there is risk associated with any chemical service, and as members of the National Hairdressers’ Federation, we are committed to a code of practice that includes ensuring we are performing every service safely and within NHF guidelines.

What is a Skin Test?

The purpose of a skin test is to determine if a customer will have a reaction to the products or ingredients used during a colour appointment. A skin test is performed by a qualified hairdresser or colourist in the salon. It only takes 2-5 minutes, though most customers choose to do it as part of their colour consultation. It must be done at least 2 days before your first colour appointment.

The test consists of:

  • answering questions about the health and condition of your scalp and skin
  • answering questions about your hair colouring history
  • application of product to your skin the product must be left on your skin without interference for 48 hours. If you know you need to go swimming or wash the area in that time, please take this into consideration before planning a time for your skin test
  • filling out your NHF Colour Record Card

If you notice redness, rash, swelling, or pain, wash the area thoroughly with water and let us know. If you experience a severe reaction, such as blistering, bleeding, or swelling or itching in the throat, consult your GP straight away.

Do I Need a Skin Test?

Every customer who gets colour done needs a skin test; this must be performed at least 48 hours before your appointment, as any reactions may take up to 48 hours to appear.

Now saying that, there may be exceptions — perhaps if the colourist will be using bleach only — however we advise a skin test for all customers, just to be safe. Client records are not shared between salons, so unfortunately we won’t be able to call up your last hairdresser to request your last skin test results.

Do I Need One Every Time?

If you get your hair coloured regularly at the same salon with the same products, you probably won’t need to have a new test done each time. The results can be valid for up to a year, so we will keep your record card secure at our salon and let you know when it’s time to re-test.

If you’re already a colour customer, you may need an early skin test if:

  • it’s been more than 6 months since your last colour
  • you’ve taken certain medications since your last colour
  • you have had a tattoo, henna, or permanent makeup since your last colour
  • you are changing brand or colouring product

Sometimes companies reformulate their products, or we may change the brand we use. Even if it’s something you’ve been exposed to regularly, you may develop a sensitivity to it over time. Certain medications or procedures can increase the risk of developing an allergy to colourants, so we are always sure to ask about them before we start your next colour.