1 October 2013

 A landmark agreement has been reached between the hairdressing industry and insurers to develop an allergy alert test ‘colour record card’ that will allow 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.

The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card has been developed by the National Hairdressers’ Federation and the Freelance Hair & Beauty Federation (FHBF), working in consultation with the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA).

It will allow 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 insured by Coversure Insurance Services, the NHBF’s preferred insurance broker, Just Hair Insurance, and freelancers or self-employed hairdressers specifically covered via the FHBF’s members’ insurance policy.

These guidelines aim to give hairdressers and barbers confidence that they are following best practice , are protecting clients and complying with the terms of Coversure, Just Hair  Insurance and Freelance Hair & Beauty Federation insurance policies.  We strongly advise all salons and freelancers/self-employed to check the terms of their own insurance policies.

The card system will work as 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 will also highlight certain situations which may necessitate following manufacturers’ guidelines – for example if the client is transferring to a new colour manufacturer/ product brand, has had a previous reaction and/ or had a tattoo, henna or black tattoo or permanent make-up since last colour.

The move is the latest step by the industry to highlight 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.

Last year, NHBF president and celebrity colourist Mark Coray was the figurehead of high-level consumer PR campaign, Colour with Confidence, led by the CTPA, to drive home to the public the message that allergy alert testing was a vital protection. 

Coray said: “The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card is a major advance for our industry. It will not only give peace of mind to salons that they are doing the right thing by their clients when it comes to colouring but, we believe, will show clients very clearly why regular allergy alert testing is so important.
By following the steps on the card as part of their regular client consultation, a stylist will be able to determine if they can colour a client’s hair immediately or if they need to carry out an allergy alert test.”

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.”
Sheila Abrahams, director of the Freelance Hair & Beauty Federation, said: “The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card is a giant step forward for all haircare professionals to benefit from a flexible and workable skin testing policy. I would like to see a united acceptance by all insurers to adopt this protocol and allow hairdressers and barbers to concentrate on producing great hair.”

Mike Stephenson, head of affinity relations at Coversure Insurance Services, said: “We are pleased to support this initiative, which provides a professional and practical solution to the historic issues relating to sensitivity testing while ensuring the client is protected against allergic reaction.”

Gary Crowder, account director at Just Hair Insurance, said: “This agreement provides the hair sector with clear parameters, and reaffirms professionalism, integrity, trust and promotion of public safety.”

For press enquiries please contact:

National Hairdressers’ Federation - Hilary Hall, chief executive, hilary.hall@nhf.info
01234 834380 or 0845 345 6500, www.nhf.info
The National Hairdressers’ Federation is the biggest salon trade association in the industry. It provides its members with support in legal, trading, personnel and insurance matters.

CTPA – Eleanor O’Connor, communications coordinator, eoconnor@ctpa.org.uk
020 7491 8891, www.ctpa.org.uk and www.thefactsabout.co.uk
CTPA is the voice of the cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery industry in the UK whose primary goal is to promote good working practice to ensure that consumers are provided with the very best products. Its membership covers 85% of the UK cosmetics market.

Freelance Hair & Beauty Federation – Sharon Ellershaw, office manager, sharon.ellershaw@fhbf.org.uk, 01582 431783, www.thefha.org.uk
The Freelance Hair & Beauty Federation is the industry’s only official representative body for the freelance or self-employed operator running a mobile hair or beauty business.

Just Hair Insurance – Gary Crowder, account director, garycrowder@just-hair-insurance.co.uk, 01923 894360, www.just-hair-insurance.co.uk   
Just Hair Insurance provides tailored insurance solutions for hair salons, session stylists, chair renters and freelancers.

Coversure Insurance Services – Thomas Birch, Marketing Manager, thomasbi@coversure.co.uk, 0800 3081 213, www.coversure.co.uk/nhf
Coversure Insurance Services is the approved and recommended insurance broker to the National Hairdressers’ Federation and is a general insurance broker to the SME sector.