Hair dye patch test – what’s the point?

When you are excited about your fabulous new hair colour, the last thing you want to hear is that you have to wait 48 hours before your stylist can transform your look. Patch tests are definitely a pain. We are all busy trying to fit in friends, family, work and all the jobs on our to-do list and it can be hard enough to make time for your hair appointment, let alone an additional trip to the salon for a patch test a couple of days before. We all understand that patch tests are a bore – but did you know that 5% or one in twenty people will suffer an allergic reaction to having their hair coloured?

Allergic reactions can range from an itchy rash or hives to full on anaphylactic shock, which can actually be fatal. The most common allergen, paraphenylenediamine or PPD, is found in over 99% of permanent hair dyes and an allergic reaction often occurs when the sufferer least expects it. Just because you haven’t had an allergic reaction before, it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future as, annoyingly we can all develop new allergies at any stage of our lives. Another factor to consider is the way hair dye manufacturers change their formulations all the time to make the dyes kinder to our hair or work more effectively. Great news for most of us but a small number of people will find that products they used to have no issues with now cause them irritation. It is therefore really important to keep safe and patch test whether you dye your hair at home or in the salon.  

It is also a legal requirement for all hairdressers to carry out a patch test before they colour your hair. Any decent salon will not confirm your appointment until they have seen you for a patch test.

So, although it is inconvenient, a patch test is designed to protect you from harm and is therefore an essential part of the process of colouring your hair. Any hairdresser willing to dye your hair without a patch test is not fulfilling their legal requirements and is certainly not a safe pair of hands for your hair. Here at Iconic our main priority is to keep you safe and so we will always make sure you have a patch test before we get to work transforming your look.

Patch tests should be booked at least 48 hours before the colour appointment. A pea-sized quantity dye will be applied to the back of your ear or nape of your neck. If you subsequently experience a reaction of any kind, please notify us immediately so that you can be advised on what to do next.

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