12 August 2015

The allergy alert test ‘colour record cards’ that allows stylists to gauge whether a client making a colour appointment will need an allergy alert test 48 hours beforehand, or whether it will be safe for the treatment to go ahead without a test, have been updated and new guidance has been issued.

The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card was developed by the National Hairdressers’ Federation and the Freelance Hair Association (FHA), working in consultation with the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA), the Hair Council and insurance companies.

It allows salons and freelancers to monitor when a client last had an allergy alert test and whether a repeat test is required. The card can be used by salons with Salonsure policies from Coversure Insurance Services, the NHBF’s preferred insurance broker, or Just Hair Insurance clients or freelancers covered through the FHA’s member insurance also arranged with Coversure Insurance Services. 

As thousands of the cards have been used by salons across the UK since their launch in 2013, the guidelines have been updated to include frequently asked questions such as whether clients who are taking medication for allergies need to be tested, the length of time records should be kept, using gloves and hair colouring during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. 

It’s therefore good news that the first salon software system to include the full suite of allergy alert test client consultation questions is being launched by SALONGENIUS, allowing stylists to keep all client records secure within their salon management system.

The cards provide a complete record of a client’s colour history, allowing stylists to offer a safe and effective colour care service, while offering the stylist peace of mind that they are operating in a way that means they are protected under their insurance policy without necessarily having to allergy test before every colour application. The system also highlights certain situations where allergy alert tests are necessary – for example if the client is transferring to a new colour manufacturer/ product brand, or has had a previous reaction and/or has had a tattoo, henna or black tattoo or permanent make-up since their last colour.

The guidelines also explain why it is so important for haircare professionals to take a lead on offering regular allergy alert testing, even though clients can sometimes feel (wrongly) that it is unnecessary or a waste of time.

Dr Emma Meredith, head of scientific and technical services at the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association, said:

“Although having to wait 48 hours can be seen as inconvenient, we are constrained by the body’s biology – as a reaction takes up to 48 hours to develop.

“Just like having an allergy to certain foods, none of us knows if we could become allergic to a hair dye. The allergy alert test is the best way to indicate if someone will react to a hair colorant.”