Allergy alert tests are vital to protect clients and to guard against potentially expensive legal action should something go wrong. The NHBF's consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit is the updated version of our old 'allergy alert testing toolkit' and offers a simple and highly effective solution.
This blog post covers:
- Why are allergy alert tests necessary?
- Under-16s and hair colour
- The NHBF consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit
- What’s included in the toolkit?
- The dangers of black henna tattoos
- Making sure your staff know what to do
- If your client has a reaction
Most people experience no problems when they have their hair coloured. However, some people are allergic to hair dye, while others may develop an allergy gradually over time. It’s important to stay vigilant. You must also carry out an allergy alert test if your client has ever had a black henna tattoo (see more on this below).
Good news! Colourstart’s allergy alert testing system for client use at home is now backed by Coversure insurance policies.
The aim is to reduce the delay and inconvenience caused by the need for allergy alert testing before colour treatments and to help salons and barbershops get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
The NHBF worked closely with Coversure to have Colourstart approved for the benefit of our Members. If you are insured with a different provider, check if they will cover Colourstart.
Contact Coversure for more details on 0800 458 8181 or email@example.com.
You must not apply hair colour or highlights that contain PPD or similar ingredients to anyone under the age of 16 or carry out an allergy alert test on anyone under the age of 16. Hair colorants carry warnings that they are not intended for use on under-16s. Your insurance will not cover you if you go ahead.
Under-16s and hair colour
The NHBF consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit is the updated version of our old ‘allergy alert testing toolkit’. .
The consultation and colour record cards make it fast and easy to decide if your client needs to have an allergy alert test.
The system will also flag up situations where your client should not be given an allergy alert test or have their hair coloured – for example, if they are under 16 or have previously had an allergic reaction to hair colour.
The NHBF’s consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit is backed by Coversure’s Salonsure policy which offers Members 20% off salon insurance.
We strongly advise that you use the updated consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit if you are a Salonsure policy holder, and have a renewal date date of 1 January 2021 onwards. For best practice, we would recommend that regardless of your renewal date you start using the new toolkit at the earliest opportunity.
(If you use any other insurance provider, you must check you’re covered if you use the NHBF toolkit.)
The new toolkits include client information sheets which explain why allergy tests are so important and why you are taking the issue seriously as a responsible and professional business.
The new toolkits also make it easy to keep accurate records of allergy alert tests carried out on each client, including their consent to the storage of health-related information. This is vital under the strict GDPR data protection laws.
The consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit is free to NHBF Members (£4.50 p&p) and can be ordered online or by phone on 01234 831965.
The consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit includes:
Allergy alert and sensitivity testing toolkits for beauty salons are also available. Find out more.
You must ask your client if they have had a ‘black henna’ tattoo since their last allergy test or hair colour. If they have, you must carry out an allergy alert test before colouring their hair.
This is because black henna often contains illegally high levels of the chemical PPD (paraphenylenediamine).
PPD is used in hair dye, but the maximum levels are controlled by law in this country. Black henna often contains very high levels of PPD. This means that people who have these temporary tattoos can become very sensitive to PPD in hair colour – even one that they have used safely many times before.
The individual may not realise this and that’s why it’s so important to carry out an allergy alert test before colouring your client’s hair if they have had a black henna tattoo at any time.
The NHS warns about the dangers of black henna and describes how a woman died from a serious anaphylactic reaction when colouring her hair after having a black henna tattoo five years earlier.
All your team including your reception staff should know what to do when someone books an
appointment as they may require a test, such as an allergy alert test before their appointment. They must check that the client is over 16 and understand the testing procedures.
New clients must have an allergy alert test at least 48 hours before their appointment.
Returning clients will need an allergy alert test if, for example:
- Your client has not had an allergy alert test for six months.
- Your client has had a tattoo or black henna tattoo.
- You have changed your colour brand or product.
We would recommend salons need to be particularly cautious following the lockdown as there has been a considerable amount of time since the last service. Your client may have used a home colouring product or treatment that you may not be aware of and the client may be more sensitive or nervous about having the colour service. Always follow and refer to manufacturer's instructions and protocols.
You must keep a written record of every test for at least six years. Each written record must be signed by the client.
- You must carry out a full consultation before starting any service or treatment that uses chemicals such as colour, bleach/lightener, perm, relaxer. The consultation must include an assessment of the condition of the hair and the scalp.
- You must keep a written record of every consultation for at least six years. Each written record must be signed by the client.
Bleaching and lightening services:
- Applicable recommended industry tests such as allergy alert, skin sensitivity, strand, incompatibility should be carried out before every service or treatment on both new and existing clients.
- You must keep a written record of every test for at least six years. Each written record must be signed by the client.
- Staff members must hold the appropriate nationally recognised qualification for each service and or treatment they carry out.
Contact Coversure (or your insurer if not Coversure) if you have any staff providing services who are unqualified or have ‘time served’.
- Front wash basins or a purpose-designed neck rest cushion or pad must be used when washing a client’s hair.
Our health and safety toolkit contains everything you need to stay safe and legal in your hair salon or barbershop. Available for £65 to Members (non-members, £99).
If your client has a reaction to the allergy alert test do not colour their hair. Reactions include reddening, itching, swelling or a burning sensation. If this happens, your client will need to get medical advice.
Even if the allergy alert test is OK, your client may still develop a reaction during the hair colouring process. You will need to stay vigilant and thoroughly rinse your client’s hair if you see an adverse reaction.
Get immediate medical help if your client becomes dizzy, faint or finds it difficult to breathe.
- You must do allergy alert testing to protect your clients and avoid legal action.
- The NHBF consultation, allergy alert and industry tests toolkit contains all you need for your salon or barbershop.
- The NHBF’s preferred supplier Coversure will cover your use of the toolkit (check if you have a different insurer).
- You must ask if your client has had a black henna tattoo – if yes, always do an allergy alert test.
- Make sure all your staff understand the allergy alert testing procedures.
- If your client has an adverse reaction to hair colour rinse it off immediately and get immediate medical help if the symptoms are serious.
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