News and Features

Skin-test campaigner is ‘embarrassed by our industry’

Nicola Colehan runs the Excel Hair Studio in Lidget Green, Bradford. She’s passionate about the health of her clients and raising standards in the industry.

Over the last few months she’s been undertaking a survey of salons in her area on how often they skin-test before they apply colour – and it’s been a depressing experience.

Nicola has visited 50 local salons in total, and of the 50 she says there are only 2 that she can be sure always test before colour. It’s a terrible indictment of local standards: “I’m embarrassed for our profession”, she says, “People are either ignorant of the likelihood of allergic reactions or they’re just turning a blind eye to the dangers”.

Nicola tried to report her findings to Trading Standards and to the Environmental Health authorities, but they weren’t interested because she wasn’t a customer.

In Nicola’s experience, many salons say they patch test new clients and believe that’s good enough, even though the manufacturers recommend testing before every application. “Many of the people I’ve talked to know that reactions are possible, but because they don’t understand why they can happen, they just hope for the best. And that’s just not good enough.”

Nicola has now completed her survey. Despite her negative findings, she’s still committed to high standards in the profession, and will continue always to skin test before every colour.