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Post-lockdown patch testing? Just do it!

PAINTER Casey Coleman, of CHAIR Salons, shares his guidance on skin testing clients for colour services post-lockdown

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It might not happen that often, but a bad reaction to hair colour can occur, especially for clients who may have had COVID-19. It can be a long-term colour client or a new face, but following the Coronavirus pandemic it’s crucial to skin test,  keep up-to-date records and implement clear testing policies. As founder of the Patch Test Party initiative,  PAINTER Casey Coleman shares his experiences following the reopening of salons in Wales post-lockdown.

“In such uncertain times, its been a massive concern of mine that we havent considered the effects of having COVID-19 and how that could impact the development or reaction to colour.

Patch Test Party is something very important to me and I think has become something thats important for our industry. Sure, it puts a positive spin on the skin testing and makes it seem less dull, but at the same time it raises awareness of the importance of skin testing and the major risks that can occur if the appropriate skin testing is not carried out.

In Wales, we were given the date of 13 July to reopen our salon doors. Unlike most other Welsh salons, we decided not to open on this date and instead use it to skin-test all of our clients. This meant that we could avoid random skin tests taking place throughout the week and ensure all social distancing measures were in place. It’s also a key way to make all of our clients aware of the risks of colouring if they had previously contracted COVID-19.


Queues outside CHAIR Salon on the day of reopening for patch tests

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Over on Instagram, Creative HEAD magazine shared a video from Charlotte Barker, a London hairdresser,  who even after following all of the guidelines from the brand of colour that she is using,  had a situation where her client reacted to colour. She found out that her client had suffered badly with COVID-19.

She explained that her client had a severe reaction within minutes in the salon and had to call an ambulance. Now, this could be completely unrelated, but it seems that the effect that COVID-19 has on our immune system can also affect our allergies. This is something that needs to be studied, researched and thoroughly thought through by all brands. Im calling upon all brands to take some time to research the potential side effects of colour application to somebody who has suffered with COVID-19.

Even if you have already opened the doors of your salon, please consider skin testing everybody again to be sure that nobody is at risk. We need to take the initiative and run with it. Clients won’t be put off if you explain how vital it is to their safety – at my salon’s re-opening day, we had queues of clients round the block, and processed more than 200 skin tests ready for future appointments.

Skin testing is an integral part of our industry, and no matter how dull it seems, we need to ensure that we are doing everything to protect our clients and ourselves. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay professional.”

See more from our PAINTER Casey >