The importance of patch testing

Being in the salon industry, you understand the importance of safety when it comes to your clients. One of the most critical safety measures you can take is to perform patch tests. A patch test is a simple, yet vital, procedure that helps to prevent allergic reactions to hair and beauty products. In this article, you will explore why patch tests are so important, and how they can help you protect your clients.

A woman getting her hair washed in a salon

Why are patch tests important?

Patch tests are essential for preventing allergic reactions to hair and beauty products. Allergic reactions can be severe and even life-threatening, so it is crucial to take steps to prevent them. Patch tests are particularly important for hair dyes, as some people can have severe reactions to the chemicals in hair dye.

Only recently, it was reported that a man ‘could have ended up in coma’ after his hair dye patch test left his arm covered in blisters. He was told by doctors he could have been put into a coma if he had used a popular brand of hair dye on his head. The man visited a supermarket to purchase a box of formula that is available in many high street shops across the country. He says he knew the importance of carrying out a patch test because of previous reactions to some hair dyes. The man placed a ’10p sized’ amount of the activated dye on his inner arm but found hours later, the initial slight itch turned into ‘agonising’ red sores and blisters. (Click here to read more)

Problems salons are encountering

Often there is no consistency amongst insurers. Some only insuring manufacturers instructions and others offering far more comprehensive options. That’s where we come in. Patch testing is a significant part of our new policy wording, as we aim to tackle key industry issues for salons. Our patch testing protocol is bespoke and has been written alongside The Hair & Barber Council, supporting salons who’s colour house has no protocol.


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.


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.


We recognise the importance of each of these four options and have to the ability to cater for each of the options.


Got an enquiry?

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