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Patch Testing


Permanent & Semi Permanent colour (hair and eye treatments) and lightening services


This information applies if you are having a permanent colour, semi-permanent or lightening service, including colour or lightening product/bleach highlights, applied to the hair on your head or ANY other area of your body (eg, eyebrows, eyelashes, beards etc). 

While the vast majority of people who have their hair coloured experience no problems, a small number of people have the potential to develop an allergy to some hair dye ingredients. The use of hair dyes is strictly regulated and their ingredients are approved for use in hair colour in the UK, the EU and across the world. However, an allergy can develop over time so it is possible that you could have an allergic reaction even if you have not had one in the past.

As a professionally run salon, we put your safety first. We will always carry out an allergy alert test for new clients aged 16* or over, even if you have had your hair coloured before. We will check when returning clients last had an allergy alert test. If it was more than six months ago, we will arrange for another test to be done.

Kindly note having a COVID-19 vaccine is classed as a medical change so another patch test must carry out for insurance and manufacturer guidelines compliance purposes even if you had one recently. As advised by the NHS, a vaccine could have side effects for around a week. To ensure that any side effects aren’t confused with a patch test reaction we advise that you should allow 2 weeks after your vaccination before patch testing.

Allergy alert tests must be done at least 48 hours in advance of your colour. All you have to do is pop in and a member of our team will assist you. Please be mindful this is client’s responsibility to arrange their patch testing done. We will not be able to perform the colour/tinting treatment in absence thereof as a result a cancellation fee may apply.

We also have a second option where clients can buy a skin test from Colourstart which can be performed at home 5 days before your hair colour appointment. This is known as the Colourstart Passport Scheme.  Please read on to find out more.

How it works

Colourstart consists of an adhesive patch that contains two small, separate squares. One square contains a small amount of PPD (this is the positive ‘+’ part), the other contains no PPD (this is the negative ‘-‘ part) and is used for comparison only. The patch is applied to an easily visible part of the arm at least 5 days before an appointment for hair colour. The patch is left on for at least 48 hours (2 days) and then removed. 48 hrs (2 days) later, the arm can be inspected for any sign of a reaction. By carefully answering a simple set of questions on the colourstart passport app, Colourstart Passport can help you decide if Colourstart is suitable for you to use. Your answers may also help you make an informed decision on whether you should avoid hair colour. Colourstart Passport stores the answers to your questions and also any pictures you have taken of your test result. This can be helpful to share with your hairdresser and beauty therapist for future reference to avoid potentially unnecessary retesting.

What will the Colourstart passport tell you?

Once you have completed the questions in Colourstart Passport you will get one of three answers:
01Go ahead! You can colour your hair now, without needing to use Colourstart.
02Hang on! Colourstart is suitable to use before colouring your hair.
03Think again! You may not be suitable for Colourstart or hair colour. If you are unsure about what to do, you may wish to consult a pharmacist or doctor.

Why do I have to pay for my new Colourstart passport

The Colourstart Passport has been classed as a medicine by the Medicines and Healthcare Products regulatory agency and by law medicines have to be charged for. The Colourstart passport costs £15. You can purchase this from VA Salon. We as a salon have to purchase these to send out to you. We do not get them for free. All Colourstart skin tests cost the same in any salon you go to. Please do remember that this is a one off payment. In the future you do not need a new test. You simply need to go to your app and follow the screening questions to get your check on your passport.


We will also carry out relevant industry tests for all new clients or existing clients who want a different chemical service, for example, colouring, bleaching / lightening. This will test the condition of your hair, the compatibility of previous products or services and confirm what the final result of the service will be. A test cutting and strand test may be suggested as this is the most effective way of finding out what the end result will look and feel like without risking your hair. We will ask you to answer the questions from the next section and sign a consultation, allergy alert and industry tests record card to confirm that you have answered them to the best of your knowledge. Your stylist or therapist will also sign the record and confirm whether an allergy alert test or other industry tests will be needed before the service can go ahead.

We will ask our new and existing clients for consent to keep your colour records for six years for their safety. 

If you have a reaction to hair colour or to an allergy alert test, you must seek medical advice.

*Sorry, manufacturers advise that hair colourants (including highlights) cannot be used on anyone aged under 16, so we can’t provide colour services for this age group.

Thank you!

VA Salon Management Team



The following questions will be asked each time you have your hair coloured (including highlights, eyebrows, eyelashes, beards etc) to help your stylist or therapist decide whether an allergy alert test is needed.

Questions for clients

Q1 Are you under 16?*

Q2 Have you ever had an allergic reaction to [hair colour] or [brow/lash tinting]?*

Q3 Have you got any signs of skin irritation or sensitivity eg: itching, burning, redness etc?*

Q4 Have you had any type of skin tattoo, including a temporary ‘black henna’ tattoo or permanent make-up, since your last colour service?

Q5 Have you developed an allergic reaction to any type of temporary tattoo or permanent make-up? 

Q6 Is this the first time you have had your colour service in VA Salon salon?

Q7 Is it more than 6 months since you had your last colour (self or professional)?

Q8 Is it more than 6 months since you last had an allergy alert test?

Q9 Have you had an allergic reaction to any products except [hair colour] or [brow/lash tinting] since your last colour?

Q10 Have you had Coronavirus or any change in your medical conditions since your last colour service?

Q11  Have you coloured your hair at home since your last colour/tinting appointment?

Q12 Are you changing brand, brand product range or service? Check with your stylist or therapist to confirm. 

*Sorry, we can’t provide colour services for under 16s (question 1). For your own protection if the answer to questions 2, 3 or 5 is yes, we can’t provide you with a colour service. We recommend that you seek advice from your GP or dermatologist, who will need to provide written consent for us to provide you with colour services in future. 

If the answer to questions 4,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12 is yes, your stylist/therapist will arrange an allergy alert test to be done at least 48 hours in advance of your colour service.