Key Industry Issues


Patch testing has been a big topic within the hair and beauty sectors for quite some time. Sentio salons have discussed the matter with literally hundreds of salon owners to better understand what the issues are and how we as insurance providers can remove barriers to how you operate as a business. 

Part of the problem salons are encountering is that there is no consistency amongst insurers. Some only insuring manufacturers instructions and others offering far more comprehensive options.

Here are the core options available: –

Manufacturer’s Instructions – This is from the manufacturer of the colour and is normally included within the packaging of a colour. Normally the manufacturer’s instructions are to patch test 48 hours before each and every colour treatment.

Vendor or Colour House Protocols – Some colour houses (quite often not the same as manufacturer), have patch testing protocols beyond the manufacturer’s instructions. These normally consist of recorded consultations every time and patch testing after a prescribed period of time. Normally between 3 and 6 months.

Colourstart® – A third party patch testing system that takes the burden of testing away from the salon and in effect allows the consumer to self certify their suitability for a colour treatment. This is then followed by consultation questions ahead of each treatment and potentially no need to patch test again.

Bespoke Patch Testing Protocols – Some niche salon insurance providers have a bespoke protocol enabling salons who use a colour house with no protocol, the ability to patch test once every six months.

At Sentio Salons we recognise the importance of each of these four options with the ability to cater to each of the options. Our bespoke patch testing protocol has been written in conjunction with The Hair & Barber Council, supporting those salons who’s colour house has no protocol.  


There is a rising trend of hair stylists entering the profession without the necessary accredited qualifications and changes in stance with some insurers in how they deal with trainees and juniors within a salon. 

This has meant that some insurers now require trainees or juniors to potential complete a year at college before being allowed to wash or dry hair.

At Sentio Salons we are great advocates of education and appreciate that there should always be a practical element to training. 

For this reason trainees and juniors with the appropriate risk management (recorded training), will be allowed to wash and dry hair unsupervised. Other treatments beyond this will be allowed whilst under the supervision of a qualified person.

Our definition of qualified person is somebody of at least NVQ level 2 or equivalent or 3 years continuous service within the sector, protecting those ‘grandfather rights’. 


Increasingly due to changes in underwriting views and also with changes in HMRC guidelines as to what exactly a self employed hair stylist now is. It has created differing stances between insurers and we have seen examples of insurers not indemnifying claims, prompting salons to contact Sentio for support.

Our response to this is to engage with insurers and tackle this specific issue giving clarity on what should be done by a salon, how it should be done and ensuring that you do not prejudice your position in the event of a claim.

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