What your hairdresser needs to know before you get the chop as salons reopen

Hairdressers and barbers have reopened in line with the latest easing of Covid restrictions - after months of being closed due to the Covid lockdown.

The change marks the first lifting of rules for close contact services, although businesses such as spas with sauna and steam rooms will remain shut until at least May 17.

But what steps do you need to take ahead of your hair appointment?

If you are getting your hair coloured, you will need to take a skin test before your appointment.

Credit: PA

What is a hair colour skin test?

A skin test, or a patch test, is where a small amount of hair dye solution is applied to the skin, usually behind the ear to check if someone is allergic to the product used to colour hair in the salon.

Why do I need to take a skin test before my hair appointment?

Skin testing for professional use hair colour applied in-salon is a legal requirement under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act in the UK.

If your hair salon does not test the skin before hair colouring it can lead to prosecution and fines.

Is the skin test a new rule?

No. Hair salons often administer patch tests for their clients every few months, and also when a new colour product is being used for the first time.

What if I'm not a new customer? Will I still have to take the skin test?

Yes. Because of the extended period of time that salons have been closed, due to the pandemic, hairdressers will ask for you to take a skin test.

Will every salon have the same hair skin test rules?

No. All salons will have their own hair skin testing policies.

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Barrie Stephen Hair in Leicester has said: "Salons have their own skin testing policy and protocol, based on the manufacturing guidelines provided by the supplier of their hair colour, and this should be communicated to clients before booking an appointment."

At Barrie Stephen Hair they will be doing a skin test to:

  • Anyone who has not had colour within the last 6 months

  • Anyone who hasn’t had a skin test previously e.g. a new client

  • Anyone who has used a box dye at home or a home colour service over lockdown

  • Anyone who has had a black henna tattoo since their last visit

  • Anyone who has had permanent make-up since their last visit

  • Anyone who has had a reaction to ANY product since their last visit to the salon