Most beauty pros fail to patch test clients

Three quarters of hair and beauty professionals operating in the UK have failed to patch test customers, a recent study by Babtac has revealed. Undercover research commissioned by the association found that 72% of businesses did not mention a patch test during enquiries about tinting, hair dye and spray tanning treatments.

Of those, the majority (59%) were mobile technicians, while the remaining 41% were salons.

Sarah Condon, marketing and membership manager of Babtac, said, “This is absolutely shocking and is a real risk for the public. It’s a wonder there are not more instances in which people have awful reactions. Salons and professionals are not only disrespecting their clientele, but also leaving themselves open to horrendous damages should something go wrong.”

The worst offenders were revealed to be those offering spray tanning services, of which only 9% asked for a patch test, followed by therapists offering brow or lash tints, of which only 35% mentioned testing.

Scotland was the worst region with 92% of salons and mobile therapists failing to offer a patch test. Wales was found to be the most likely region to patch test; however, the research found it was only a 50% chance.

Condon said, “We have all seen the horror stories, and if you’re not asked to go in for a patch test, don’t just keep schtum- make sure you initiate the conversation to protect yourself. If you have any doubts about a salon, find a different one instead. This is a real cause for concern and I hope many people in the industry, whether they recognise their own failings in these results or not, will take notice and make sure they and their staff brush up their habits.”

Many beauty products such as dyes, colorants and tints require patch tests as a safety measure in order to minimize risk of an allergic reaction as these products can cause severe and even life-threatening reactions.