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Why colour testing is so important?

Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is the most common cause of allergic reactions in hair dye

Why colour testing is important?

We know many clients get annoyed that most hairdressers have a 48 hour policy on skin testing prior to your appointment. But actually it’s for your own safety! 

You would be amazed how many women call up on the day wanting their hair coloured that day, saying that they’ve coloured their hair for years and have used the colour brand before, so they don’t need a test. 

We have to explain our policy and why. 

It’s also important to tell your hairstylist if you have had an operation or if you have been put on medication for any reason. 

Here’s why?

Last year one of our regular clients came in for a colour. She’d had a skin test that year. She came in roughly 8 weeks after her last appointment for the same colour but after about 5-8 minutes her head began to feel itchy and tingly. My stylist called me and I wasn’t taking any risks, I immediately washed the colour off. Then I sent a member of the team out and got her an antihistamine. 

We found out that between appointments the client had been in hospital for an operation and didn’t tell us she was on medication. This caused hypersensitivity.

Taking action immediately meant she was fine and she is still having her hair coloured. She is off medication now. 

This is why we colour test and why it is so important to keep your hair stylist in the loop, as it could have been quite bad.

What causes the reaction?

Pictures are of the internet from reactions of hair dye

What causes the reaction?

Reaction to colouring is usually caused by an active ingredient in the treatment, PPD (paraphenylenediamene – a chemical substance widely used as a permanent hair dye). This causes an allergic reaction to those with skin sensitivity. The symptoms can be very uncomfortable, such as blistering of the skin and soft tissue swelling. You can develop a sensitivity at any time in your life, which is why we test annually. 

Also, medication can vary your reaction to hair dye. Some medications suppress your sensitivity, others make you hypersensitive.

I can hear you saying "what is hypersensitive?"

Hypersensitivity is an overreaction of the immune system. PPD has the ability to provoke an immune reaction and can bring out dramatic changes in the body’s tissues causing an allergic reaction, and in extreme cases it can be life threatening.

The reason we test 48 hours prior to colouring is because in some cases hypersensitivity can take up to 48 hours to occur.

What happens of you are sensitive to the colouring process?

Well, I am delighted that Wella have brought out a range that does not contain PPD; KOLESTON INNOSENSE. This range has 30 colours to choose from. Wella’s innosense colour brand is designed for our clients who have skin sensitivities/allergies to colour. 

Skin tests are required 48hrs prior to your appointment with this range also but it is highly unlikely you will react.

So that is why we test for colour and why we insist on it no matter whetehr you have coloured before and used the same brand. We want to be safe not sorry. We hope you do too.

With love




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