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We know you’re busy and that you have a tight schedule. So you’re probably wondering why it is that we ask you to have a skin allergy test before you come in for a colour

Why you need an allergy test

To ensure that we can safely apply colour to your hair, we need to know if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients used in our colour formula.

Hair colourants contain many different kinds of chemicals that may cause an allergic reaction when in direct contact with the skin. The majority of hair dyes encompass a variety of acidic, toxic and carcinogenic elements that can pose serious health threats.

PPD or paraphenylenediamine is the ingredient found in most hair coloring products that has a strong allergen that triggers a number of negative reactions.

PPD allergy is characterized by severe inflammation on the scalp, eyes, ears, face, décolletage and the rest of the skin located in upper part of the body. It can also induce chronic respiratory complications like labored breathing and anaphylaxis or toxic shock.

Is it essential?

The health and well being of our guests is a priority. If we were to apply colour without performing an allergy test, it would comprise your safety and we’re not prepared to do that under any circumstance.

Some salons will agree to apply colour without a skin test and this will usually be because they fear that the inconvenience will force people to go elsewhere.

What if I already have colour, do I still need one?

If you have not had a colour service at our salon within the last 12 months then you will need to have an allergy test. Although you may never have had an adverse reaction before, the colour formulations can change over time and so can your skin’s sensitivity.

We have heard of many cases where people have developed a reaction to hair dye. It’s very unlikely, but just because you’ve had colour before, doesn’t mean you will not have a reaction.

How does it work?

All you have to do is pop into the salon at least 48 hours before your colour appointment and a member of our team will complete an allergy test for you – it takes only 1 minute.

All you have to do is leave this colour sample on the skin for 3 hours. Examine the skin for any negative reactions like rashes, itching, swelling, discolouration and inflammation. If you notice any abnormal reactions, let us know.

There is no need to book an appointment for this, although it is sometimes good to book an initial consultation about your colour (especially if you’re new to the salon) and this allergy test can be done at the same time.

What if I have an allergic reaction to the test

We would not be able to carry out any colour services.

If you have developed a reaction to hair dye, even just a mild one, you should stop using products containing PPD altogether, as there’s a risk you could develop a more severe reaction in the future which could result in hospitalisation.

You could try switching to a safer alternative, such as a non-permanent, PPD-free hair dye – but be aware that it’s still possible to develop a reaction to this so another allergy test is recommended.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    After administering the test, they said not to touch it for 48hrs unless an allergic reaction occurs. Can I shower and wash my hair in that time?

    • Billy Ryan says:

      Hi Lisa,

      If you are allergic you should usually notice within an hour of the colour being applied.

      However as everyone is different it’s recommended that you leave the spot of colour on for at least 24 hours.

      You can shower but if you wash the spot of colour off in the time-frame it may not give you a clear indication of whether you’re allergic or not.


      Billy Ryan

  • Rena Higgin says:

    I have heard some salons believe if a client has been skin tested the test is valid for six months, therefore no repeat of testing is legally nessasary if the client comes back for colour treatment within the six months.
    I was under the impression a skin test is required before every colour treatment excluding bleach.
    What are your thoughts ?
    Rena from
    RenaHiggin Salon

    • Billy Ryan says:

      Hi Rena, our allergy testing policy is based on Aveda guidelines along with what’s written in our insurance policy.

      This is why it can vary from salon to salon depending on the products used and what you are covered for.



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