31 October 2017

A consumer affairs programme, X-Ray, on BBC1 in Wales has recently been investigating the use of hair colour for under-16s.  As part of their investigations they secretly filmed three hairdressing salons who were apparently willing to colour a 12-year-old’s hair and to do so without offering an allergy test 48 hours in advance. 

Carrying out allergy tests 

While there are two sides to every story, the incident is a sharp reminder to all salon owners that hair colour should never be applied to anyone under the age of 16.  Allergy tests should always be carried out at least 48 hours in advance for new colour clients if they are over 16. 

Raising awareness of allergy testing 

Hilary Hall, NHBF chief executive said, “At least the programme has helped to raise awareness with the general public about the importance of doing allergy tests.   The more clients understand that when salons ask them to do an allergy test, even though it may be inconvenient, they are doing it to protect the safety and wellbeing of their clients. 

“While millions of people have their hair coloured every year without any problems, a small number of people can have a severe allergic reaction to some of the ingredients in hair colour in the same way that some people are allergic to certain foods. 

The NHBF's allergy testing guidelines 

“The NHBF has produced clear guidelines for salons about allergy testing, including factors which may put people at higher risk of a reaction, for example if they have recently had a tattoo.  We provide our members with free allergy test record cards to make sure they follow industry best practice guidelines and are therefore fully covered by their insurance policy*.”

*NHBF allergy alert consultation and test record cards are approved for use with Coversure’s Salonsure salon policies.  If salons are using any other insurance broker, they must check that the record card is approved by their underwriters.