We need you to do a skin test…
Is it time for a colour? Whether that’s a hair colour or eyebrow/eyelash colour? If so, care must always be taken by the salon professional that you are visiting to ensure you are safe.
If your stylist or therapist is requesting that you come in to the salon for a skin/patch test before your service, please be respectful and cooperative with them. They are asking you to do this for your own safety, so that they can make sure you will not experience a reaction to the colour they will be applying. So you can understand on a deeper level as to why salons request skin tests, we have asked colour specialist salon, Hair Organics in Notting Hill, London on why they insist on skin tests for all their clients.
At hair organics we have a strict policy of a half hour consultation and patch test before every new client can make an appointment. This is not always convenient to the client, but we point out that even if they have been colouring their hair for a long time, a reaction could happen at any time with the build-up of chemicals in their system - especially as most conventional colour contains the ingredient PPD.
We find that clients, who care about their hair and health, understand that this consultation and patch test approach is imperative and they often become long time and loyal clients of the salon.
What is Patch testing?
Patch testing is essential to ensure that the active ingredient within colour does not cause an allergic reaction. We always carry out a patch test for all of our new clients before using a permanent or semi-permanent hair dye, even if you have used colour before. Patch testing is a procedure used by our hairstylists and colour technicians before applying hair colour to the scalp. It is a simple and safe way of identifying whether the hair dye that the stylist intends to use will cause an allergic reaction with the skin.
Whilst it may be a little inconvenient to visit your stylist 48 hours before your appointment, it is essential to ensure your safety. This usually involves dabbing a small amount of the colour with developer behind your ear or on your inner elbow and leaving it to dry. We suggest that you leave it for at least 24-48 hours. If you develop any irritation or feel unwell after the patch test, please let your salon know ASAP.
You could also have a patch test done at an allergy clinic to see which chemicals you're sensitive to, if any. You can then check product labels and avoid products containing those chemicals. However, the clinic may not test all hair dye chemicals. Reactions to PPD can range from mild irritation on the scalp to an allergic reaction that can potentially trigger serious symptoms throughout the body.
A patch test is only required when hair dye comes into contact with the scalp. However it is still important to do a patch test for other colour treatments such as highlights where foils are used, as the foils can leak and come into contact with the skin.
Finding the right salon
Starting online, we suggest that potential clients look for a professional salon that requires a patch test before an appointment is made. This way you have a consultation; advice on the right colour choice and a patch test will be carried out.
Finding the best products with good credentials and safe ingredients is at the forefront of Hair Organics. With the assistance of trichologist and hairdresser extraordinaire, Daniel Field of Daniel Field Organic & Mineral (O&M), we have created a range of after haircare products to support and maintain all of our clients’ hair needs. All of our natural products use the highest quality eco-certified ingredients, are vegan and animal cruelty free, and contain no nasty chemicals such as synthetics, parabens or SLS.
Above are before and after photos featuring permanent colouring using Daniel Field Organic & Mineral tint. These are examples of the type of client needing a patch test - either a fashion colour or a colour back to natural. Both clients were requested to do a patch test before their appointment, as ‘on the scalp’ colour was used. Many hair dyes contain ingredients that can irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. It's important to be aware of this risk and know what to do. Reactions to hair dye are avoidable if you follow some simple safety advice.
Some people are prone to a skin reaction called contact dermatitis. This means their skin becomes red, dry and irritated (inflamed) when they come into contact with a particular substance. The substance may either be an irritant, directly damaging the skin, or an allergen, triggering an allergic reaction that affects the skin. Many permanent and some semi-permanent hair dyes contain a chemical called para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is a known irritant and allergen. This is the culprit of most reactions to hair dye.
Our main focus is sending out our clients with the best hair using natural and safe ingredients where possible. We look at this as a long-term project offering the client great hair with minimal damage. Offering a consultation and patch test in advance builds up trust for the client and security for the stylist.