Consumer - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the questions below to view the answer.

Why do I need to carry out an Allergy Alert Test 48 hours BEFORE each colour application?

The Allergy Alert Test is the most reliable way of predicting a possible allergic reaction to a hair colourant. The Allergy Alert Test must be completed before each colour application, even if you have previously used the same hair colourant or a hair colourant of any other brand.

If during the 48 hours following the Allergy Alert Test, you notice any abnormal reactions, such as itching, redness or swelling in or around the test area, DO NOT APPLY THE PRODUCT.

IN CASE OF A REACTION DURING THE APPLICATION such as intense stinging, irritation, rash or burning sensation on the scalp, rinse immediately and discontinue use. If you experience shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention. Before colouring your hair again, consult a doctor.

IF, DURING THE DAYS FOLLOWING APPLICATION, itching, redness or, spots on the scalp or skin occurs, swelling of the eyes and/or face, blisters or oozing of the scalp and/or skin occurs, it is recommended that you consult a doctor.

Are hair colourants safe?

Hair colourants have been extensively studied and their safety has been repeatedly confirmed by independent scientists and regulatory authorities alike. Hair colourants themselves are regulated under the strict EU Cosmetics Regulation and are safe to use when the instructions are followed carefully.

Are allergic reactions to hair colourants common?

Reactions to hair colourants can occur for a very small number of people, in the same way that some individuals can react to a variety of foods and natural substances.

Allergic reactions to hair colourants are extremely rare. Of those individuals who have the potential to react to a hair colourant, potential reactions can be detected by carrying out the Allergy Alert Test, as directed, 48 hours before you wish to use the product. The Allergy Alert Test must be completed before each colour application, even if you have previously used the same hair colourant or a hair colourant of any other brand.

Why do black henna tattoos increase the risk of an allergic reaction?

The strict European cosmetics legislation that covers the manufacture of cosmetic products only allows the use of PPD in hair colourants. PPD used in hair colourants is both safe and legal. However, PPD can also sometimes be used illegally in so-called ‘black henna’ temporary tattoos and when applied directly to the skin in a temporary tattoo can leave you with a swollen, sore, red ‘burn’. It can also sensitise you to future exposure to PPD, triggering a painful allergic reaction called ‘contact dermatitis’.

If you have been sensitised to PPD through a 'black henna' temporary tattoo, you are very likely to react to PPD elsewhere in future, such as when you use a hair colourant.

Hair colourants themselves are regulated under the strict EU Cosmetics Regulation and are perfectly safe to use when the instructions are followed carefully, which includes carrying out an Allergy Alert Test 48 hours in advance every time you colour your hair.

How can allergic reactions to hair colourants be avoided?

Potential reactions to hair colourants can be detected by carrying out the Allergy Alert Test 48 hours before you wish to use the product. The test is proven to be 100% predictive (Krasteva et al., European Journal of Dermatology, 2002 & 2005).

Always follow the instructions for each hair colourant carefully.

What is PPD and is it safe to use in hair colourants?

PPD (paraphenylenediamine or p-phenylenediamine) is an ingredient used in permanent (also known as oxidative) hair colourants to achieve a permanent hair colour result.

Yes, PPD is permitted as a hair colourant ingredient and is safe to use in hair colourants as directed by the Cosmetics Regulation. There is a legal requirement for cosmetic products, including hair colourants, and their ingredients, to be strictly assessed for safety by a duly qualified, professional assessor before they can be sold.

Can I colour my hair whilst I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Colouring your hair when you are breastfeeding or pregnant is perfectly safe. As always, it is really important to make sure you follow the product instructions and carry out the Allergy Alert Test as directed 48 hours before colouring your hair. However, as some women can feel concerned about colouring their hair during this time, we recommend that they speak to their doctor to avoid any source of anxiety or avoid colouring their hair altogether – even though there are no safety concerns from the colouring process itself.

How long should I wait between each colour application?

We advise that you leave 4 to 5 weeks between each colour application. Remember, an Allergy Alert Test must be carried out 48 hours prior to each colour application.

I am unhappy with the colour I've just applied, can I apply another hair colourant immediately?

We do not advise applying another hair colourant immediately as this may affect the condition and final colour result of your hair.

There are a number of reasons why the colour result may not be as you expected. The condition of your hair, the method that was used and also previous colour applications can all have an influence on your final colour result.

If you are concerned, we advise you speak to our experts or a salon as there may be an alternative solution to quickly correct the colour.

How long should I leave between colouring and a perming or straightening service?

You must wait at least 2 weeks after a perm or a straightening process on the hair before applying the hair colour. Please read the instruction leaflet for further information.

Can I use a colourant over highlighted hair?

We suggest that home hair colourants are not used over previously highlighted hair as the colour result may be patchy. On this occasion it is better to seek advice from a professional salon. Please read the instruction leaflet for further information.

Can I use a colourant over lightened hair?

For some colourants you must wait at least 2 weeks after lightening the hair before applying the hair colour. Please read the instruction leaflet for further information.

Can I use a colourant over hair previously coloured with henna or a progressive hair colourant?

No, you should not use a hair colourant on hair that has been coloured with henna or a progressive hair colourant. On this occasion it is better to seek advice from a professional salon.

I've just finished colouring my hair and my skin is stained, how can I remove it?

Use a gentle shampoo to wash the colour from the skin. It may take a few days for the colour to fade away completely.

A good tip for the future is to apply a thin layer of Vaseline around the hair line and over the ears, before colouring the hair to avoid staining.

Can I use a colourant on relaxed hair?

This depends on the type of colourant being applied. Some colourants cannot be used at all on hair that has been previously relaxed. For some other colourants, you must wait at least 2 weeks after using a relaxer before applying the hair colourant. Please refer to the instructions for further information.

I use hair styling products (e.g. gels, waxes or hairspray), is it okay to colour my hair?

If any of these products are in your hair, we suggest that the hair is washed the day before the colourant is applied, because the barrier created by these products may not give the desired colour result.

Where else can I find further information about hair colourants?

You can obtain extensive information regarding the safety of hair colourants and ingredients through the Cosmetics, Toiletries and Perfumery Association (CTPA) either by contacting them directly on 020 7491 8891 or by visiting their website at www.ctpa.org.uk

My hair absorbs colours very quickly; can I leave it on for less time?

No, you must follow the instructions carefully and leave the hair colour on your hair for the full development time to avoid the hair colourant not fully processing, or the colour result not developing into the desired result.

Please contact our experts who may be able to offer you a solution.

If I have long hair, will one box of colourant provide sufficient coverage?

Probably not. If your hair is shoulder length or longer we advise that you use two boxes of the same brand and shade of hair colourant to obtain an even coverage of colour throughout your lengths.

Can I use the same hair colourant to dye eyelashes, eyebrows, beard or moustache?

No, you must not use the hair colourant for any other purpose than colouring the hair on the head.

Can I use the hair colourant on a person under the age of 16?

No. Hair colourants are not intended for use on persons under the age of 16.

What should I do if I experience an abnormal reaction during the Allergy Alert Test?

If during the 48 hours following the Allergy Alert Test, you notice any abnormal reactions, such as itching, redness or swelling in or around the test area, DO NOT APPLY THE PRODUCT.

IN CASE OF A REACTION DURING THE APPLICATION such as intense stinging, irritation, rash or burning sensation on the scalp, rinse immediately and discontinue use. If you experience shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention. Before colouring your hair again, consult a doctor.

IF, DURING THE DAYS FOLLOWING APPLICATION, itching, redness or, spots on the scalp or skin occurs, swelling of the eyes and/or face, blisters or oozing of the scalp and/or skin occurs, it is recommended that you consult a doctor.

Always be colour safe, Call us for advice on: UK: 0800 0304 031, ROI: 1800 818 671, RSA: 086 010 2491.
Hair Colour Safety Allergy Alert Test FAQs Video Precautions