As professionals, it is essential to prioritize the well being of our clients. Allergies and sensitivities to hair color are very real and can arise at any time making it crucial for us to be knowledgeable about recognizing, managing and offering alternatives to ensure the safety of our clients.
Trust me, you do not want to have a client have an allergic reaction in your chair. Been there, done that, no thanks!
So first, let's talk about recognizing an allergic reaction or a sensitivity.
1- Skin irritation: itching, redness, swelling or rash on the scalp, hairline or neck. Please do not discount this as no big deal, because it is a big deal.
2- Burning or stinging sensations. Clients can experience this during and even after a color process. This usually means that they have a sensitivity to an ingredient or ingredients in your color. There are many products that help alleviate this- i love Megix 1 up and antidot pro. Please, for the love of all things holy, do not add sweet and low to your color. There are professional products to help here.
3- Respiratory issues- sometimes clients will wheeze, cough, or have difficulty breathing. If you notice this, wash immediately. Do not discount the potential allergy.
4- Swelling and inflammation. If you notice that your client is swelling, the lips, the eyes or the face, this requires immediate attention. Wash the color off immediately and honestly, call 911. They could go into anaphylactic shock which can progress VERY rapidly.
What to do when confronted with a client having an allergic reaction?
First and foremost, STOP.
Rinse thoroughly with warm water and use shampoo to remove any hair color.
Keep your client calm and assure them you are taking the necessary steps to address the situation.
Get medical help if needed- if the client seems ok, recommend that they see a dr in case the reaction gets worse.
If the allergic reaction is serious, please do not hesitate to call 911.
Alternatives for clients with allergies:
The most common allergies that clients will experience are to ammonia, ppd, resorcinol and soy protein.
There are plenty of options for hair colors out there that are ammonia free, ppd free, resorcinol free and soy protein free.
If you know your client has an allergy, please consider either using another line or referring them out to someone else.
Also, loving reminder, patch tests are not old school or unnecessary, they can literally SAVE YOUR ASS from a potential lawsuit.
Happy (and safe) hair coloring!