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Testing Before Hair Colour Services

Over the past year hairdressing salons have been closed more than they have been open, but that does not mean that the industry has been asleep. There have been significant changes in directives around hair colouring which have come from Government, insurance companies and industry bodies. It has impacted the tests we conduct before a colour service and here we want to explain not just the what, but the why.


For about the last decade Feathers have skin tested every client, every service for hair colour allergies with the tattoo type Colourstart skin test. Enter the first change that has occurred. The Government regulator – MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) most recently in the news for their work approving the Covid Vaccines safe for use, have approved the Colourstart test as a medicine. This has led to changes in the way it looks, is administered, sold and information monitored and stored. Colourstart is supported by a ‘passport’ system which monitors and stores the information of individuals using Colourstart as a skin testing method. The MHRA have mandated that once a test has been carried out and a positive/green/go ahead result has been recorded, future colour service tests should comprise of a screening questionnaire to assess whether another test is necessary. More often than not, it will be safe to proceed to colour service without another test. A new test is only needed if something has changed. This is because one of the identified allergy triggers is exposure over time, therefore the MHRA do not want to see consumers exposed unnecessarily. They believe when it comes to testing – less is best.


This brings us to our next change, our industry body, NHBF (National Hair and Beauty

Federation) have listened to the MHRA and decided that we should use a similar screening method for skin testing with an AAT (Allergy Alert Test – blob on the arm). So they have worked with the insurance industry on a protocol which means we have to test once every 6 months and screen in between these times.


Feathers were already screening with questions for safety, so we have only had to implement a change to questions. If this all seems a little complicated, do not worry, Feathers stylists have been well trained in how best to keep you safe whilst having your hair coloured. Should you have any questions we will be happy to put your mind at rest.


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