Hair colour has been extensively studied and its safety has been repeatedly confirmed by independent scientists and global regulatory authorities. Everyday millions of people across the world use professional hair colour products safely and effectively. People can use hair colour with confidence when all instructions are followed correctly, including TIGI’s recommendation of having an Allergy Alert Test at least 48 hours before the hair is coloured.
As with all professional hair colour products, there is a very small chance of experiencing an allergic reaction during hair colouring. In certain rare cases these can pose a serious risk to health, so it is important that you understand how to minimise the risk of experiencing an allergic reaction.
We have produced two short safety education films designed for colourists and their clients - view them using these links:
Here we answer the most common questions regarding hair colour safety – if you still have questions after reading these, please call the TIGI customer services team on 08448440940.
If you think you are experiencing an allergic reaction after colouring your hair (e.g. itchy skin/scalp, swelling to the eyes/face/body, blistering or skin burning/sores), seek immediate medical attention.
Is hair colour safe to use?Arrow
I’ve heard that some of the chemicals used in hair dye can cause an allergic reaction. Is this true?Arrow
Oxidative hair colour contains essential dye ingredients that are potent skin sensitisers. Although TIGI products do not contain the ingredient PPD, they do contain similar dyes that can cause allergies. This means that a small but significant number of consumers will experience allergic reactions; some of which could be severe. Therefore, to help predict a potential reaction, TIGI recommends an Allergy Alert Test is conducted by the salon using the exact shades that will be used at least 48 hours before the hair is coloured.
What is an allergic reaction?Arrow
Allergic reactions are the immune system’s response to a substance the individual has become hypersensitive to through a previous exposure. Symptoms may include itchy skin/scalp, swelling to the eyes/face/body, blistering or skin burning/sores. In certain rare cases, they can pose a serious health risk if not identified and treated quickly. Allergic reactions can occur immediately after exposure to the allergen, or can be delayed for some time (usually 24-48 hours after exposure to the allergen). This is why it is always recommended to wait at least 48 hours after an Allergy Alert Test before colouring the hair.
Are hair allergies common?Arrow
Hair dye allergy affects a small but significant part of the population (up to 1%). However, severe reactions are extremely rare. It is essential that the Allergy Alert Test is performed at least 48 hours prior to colouring the hair to help identify those at risk of severe reactions.
Are allergic reactions preventable and if yes, how can they be avoided?Arrow
The likelihood of experiencing a severe allergic reaction can be reduced by carrying out an Allergy Alert Test at least 48 hours before hair is coloured with the chosen shade(s). However, although the Allergy Alert Test is an important precaution, it is not a guarantee that a reaction will not occur when colouring the hair.
What happens when an Allergy Alert Test takes place in salon?Arrow
A TIGI colourist will:
- Clean a small area either behind the ear or at the bend of the elbow with soap and water. This will be patted dry using cotton wool
- The chosen shade(s) will be mixed and applied to the prepared test area using a cotton tipped applicator
- Do not wash, cover or disturb the area for at least 48 hours
- If no reaction occurs 48 hours after the test has been carried out the colourist will proceed
- If a reaction does occur, the colourist will not apply the colour. The client should also consult their doctor who can help determine any allergies to one or more ingredients in the product, so they can be avoided in the future.
Why does an Allergy Alert Test have to be done 48 hours before hair is coloured?Arrow
Some allergic reactions can take at least 48 hours to develop. If hair is coloured before this time, a positive reaction can be missed. Having to wait 48 hours before colouring the hair may feel inconvenient, but it is essential to determine whether or not an allergic reaction may occur.
Do I still need an Allergy Alert Test after having hair coloured safely in a salon/at home in the past?Arrow
Yes, an Allergy Alert Test must be carried out at least 48 hours prior to applying colour, even if you have previously used a hair colour product from this brand or another as each shade and brand has a different formula.
Does an Allergy Alert Test need to be carried out for every shade which will be used in the service?Arrow
Yes, each shade has a different formula and should be tested at least 48 hours before the service.
Does an Allergy Alert Test need to be carried out after having been previously been tested with a very dark shade?Arrow
Yes, each shade has a different formula so an Allergy Alert Test must be carried out for every shade that will be used.
Does an Allergy Alert Test need to be carried out after completing a skin allergy alert questionnaire in another salon?Arrow
Other methods of identifying potential allergic reactions may not be as effective as the Allergy Alert Test method because they do not test the exact shade(s) that will be used on your hair. This is why TIGI always recommends an Allergy Alert Test at least 48 hours before every colour service.
Does a negative Allergy Alert Test guard against allergic reactions in the future?Arrow
The body can become sensitive over time so an Allergy Alert Test should be conducted at least 48 hours before the hair is coloured every time as a precaution. However, although the Allergy Alert Test is an important precaution, it is not a guarantee that a reaction will not occur when the hair is coloured again at some point in the future.
What should I do if the Allergy Alert Test is positive?Arrow
If the test area stings, burns, itches, is uncomfortable or has the appearance of a rash, redness, bumps, or swelling, DO NOT colour the hair. Remove the dye with cool water immediately. Consult a doctor who can help determine any allergies to one or more ingredients in the product, so they can be avoided in the future. If you ignore the result of a positive Allergy Alert Test you are risking a more severe allergic reaction.
I’ve heard that tattoos can cause hair dye allergies. Is this correct?Arrow
Black henna tattoos are not safe because they may contain very high concentrations of hair dye ingredients which is strictly forbidden by the European Union for such usage on the skin. For people who have had a black henna tattoo in the past, TIGI recommends an Allergy Alert Test is conducted at least 48 hours before hair is coloured. For people who have had a reaction to a black henna tattoo in the past, the hair must not be coloured because the risk of experiencing an allergic reaction may be high.
Can the hair be coloured during pregnancy/ breastfeeding?Arrow
Hair colour products are some of the most thoroughly studied consumer products on the market and there has been no conclusive evidence regarding any harm being caused by colouring the hair during pregnancy or breastfeeding. TIGI recommends pregnant or breastfeeding clients consult their doctor for advice, and always have an Allergy Alert Test at least 48 hours before colouring the hair.
Can hair colour be used on children?Arrow
Hair colour must only be used on adults aged 16+.
Can hair colour be used on other body hair (e.g. moustache, arms, etc.)?Arrow
Hair colour must not be used near any mucus membranes. There are alternative products on the market for colouring hair other than that on the head, and these should be used instead.
What should I do if hair colour has got into the eye?Arrow
Remove any contact lens, flush the eye immediately with a large amount of lukewarm water and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
What should I do if hair colour has been swallowed or inhaled?Arrow
Seek medical advice as soon as possible. Do NOT vomit unless told to do so by a health professional.
Should I use heat with TIGI copyright©olour?Arrow
No. Heat should not be used.
Does the colourist need to wear gloves when applying hair colour?Arrow
Yes, gloves are recommended when applying hair colour. TIGI recommends the use of nitrile gloves to protect hairdressers from being exposed to allergens. TIGI does not recommend the use of natural rubber latex, polyethylene and vinyl gloves as these have been found to not sufficiently protect hairdressers. If product gets onto the skin, wash immediately with soap and water.
Where can I find more information about hair colour safety?Arrow
Watch our Colour Wise videos available on our website and YouTube channel. If you still have questions, please contact the TIGI Careline.