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Sensitivity testing? It’s still a grey area.

Jon Hall has been in the business for 35 years. He thinks the issue of testing for sensitivity is still a grey area.

Jon Hall runs The Cutting Studio in High Wycombe. The salon is in its 23rd year and Jon has been in the business for 36 years. 8 years ago a client who had been a regular for years rang him to say she had suffered a reaction to hair colour. Jon was mortified: “It’s every salon owner’s worst nightmare. She was a regular customer and we’d used the same product she’d always had”.

From that moment on, Jon has been committed to sensitivity testing, and his resolve was reinforced when a few years later his own son suffered a skin reaction to a henna tattoo he’d had when on holiday in Egypt.

“We strongly believe that testing lends credibility to our professionalism” says Jon, “it’s part of our culture to explain to our clients the benefits and protection which testing provides.”

But the logistics of testing aren’t always easy. Recently Jon’s preferred colour supplier changed their formulas and when he sought their advice, they said he should retest all his clients for sensitivity using the new colour product. When he talked to his insurance company, they agreed that’s what he should do.

This involved a great deal of effort on the part of Jon’s team, and some awkward conversations with clients, who weren’t always impressed by the time, fuss and mess involved. “It’s just not a modern way of doing things,” he says.

Jon doesn’t test every time he uses colour, and that’s the grey area. He always tests new clients, but he tests regular customers every six months, and he reckons that’s pretty typical of the majority of salons: “I suspect there are many salons who don’t test at all, a very small percentage who test every time, and most take a pragmatic view like us and test every six months – so as not to inconvenience our valued clients.”

But should he test every time? Last December NHF magazine announced that the NHF and Coversure had sealed an agreement that means salons “will only need to do a sensitivity test each and every time if it is specifically specified as a ‘protocol’ by the manufacturer or published on the manufacturer’s instructions with the packet.”

But don’t most reputable manufacturers specify testing every time anyway? So how does this agreement help?

You see, it’s still a grey area.

What do YOU think? Let us know.