Allergy to hair dye Ð are there other options?

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I wondered if you could advise me on something. Whenever I use any hair colour I get an allergic reaction every time and my skin, face and eyes swell.

Is there anything I can use to colour my hair or is this no longer an option for me? Please help!

Anon, Pakistan


I'm writing this email for my father. He is 57 years old and colours his hair. We have used and tried different types of colours/dyes - ammonia free etc but he seems to be suffering an allergic reaction.

Could you please suggest a delicate and allergic free colouring product or advise as to what my father’s options are?


Anon, India


Your questions are very similar so I am going to answer them together.

It is essential that before any colour procedure that you have a skin test done. A skin test is carried out by placing a small discrete dab of the colour you intend to use behind your ear. I always recommend behind the ear as it is discrete and it is a sensitive area of the body. If you feel discomfort from the area then it is safe to say that the colour you have tested is not for you.

I strongly believe that if you are having a colour done, you are always in safe hands if you choose to see a colour technician at a hair salon. A reputable salon will give you a full colour consultation as well as carrying out a series of tests including skin tests to check for allergic reactions and a incompatibility test to check that the colour you may currently have on your hair does not react with a new colour. Most salons will do this as a complimentary service. Check out their website or contact them directly to book a convenient time for you.

If you are constantly getting a reaction on the scalp then there are other colour treatments that maybe suitable for yourselves. Having the colour applied onto foil, easi-meshe, or via a cap professionally will ensure that the colour does not touch the scalp - however you will only get partial coverage.

Partial coverage is not such a bad thing. When a full head tint is applied regrowth often shows very quickly as it is a completely different colour to the treated hair. However when lowlights or highlights are weaved through the hair, when regrowth comes through it is broken up by the existing natural colour that has been left in the hair.

Daniel Davies, General Manager of Pall Mall Barbers, London

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