How to do the 48 hour Allergy Alert Test?

Different manufacturers may recommend slightly different ways of doing the test based on their experience with a particular method, but also because of varying product formulations, packaging and applications.

You do not need to buy a second pack just for the purpose of the test. Just re-close the packs after taking out the small amount recommended for the test.

The basic principle however is common: It is important to follow the instructions carefully and to do the test each time. Use a small amount of the hair colorant of choice at a small skin site 48hrs before the actual hair coloration. If you react to the skin sensitivity test, do not go ahead and colour your hair.

Read the safety instructions

Important safety instructions are provided on the outer pack and on instruction leaflets contained inside
hair colorants. These warnings alert consumers to the possibility of allergic reactions and that these
reactions may be severe. The instructions emphasise an Allergy Alert Test must be carried out.

It is very important to follow the Allergy Alert Test instructions exactly. Different manufacturers may recommend slightly different ways in which to carry out the Allergy Alert Test. Instructions are normally provided in a leaflet or package insert and they are very clear and simple to follow.

Do the 48 hour test

The Allergy Alert Test must be carried out at least a full 48 hours before using the product.
You can perform the Allergy Alert Test using part of the product of choice and you will still
be able to use the remainder to colour your hair provided there is no reaction after 48 hours.

The test can be inconvenient but we are constrained by biology; the body’s biological mechanism (the delayed contact allergy reaction) takes up to 48 hours to develop. If you cut corners, you risk missing a positive reaction. The test is the best available, tailored to each of the many different products on the market. Independently reviewed research shows that skin sensitivity testing is highly effective when carried out as instructed.

Don’t forget to factor the 48 hours into your appointment visits if you are having your hair coloured at a salon. Contact your salon to make sure you arrange for the Allergy Alert Test ahead of your colouring appointment.

Be wise

If you have a reaction to the Allergy Alert Test, do not go ahead and colour your hair, even with a product you may have used before.

Contact the manufacturer (careline or helpline numbers are provided on the pack), the company will help you and your doctor to organise diagnostic patch-testing with a dermatologist. This will identify which ingredient led to the reaction.

You must not use any product containing that ingredient in future, even another manufacturer.

This test represents an important precaution. However, be aware that even if an Allergy Alert Test has been carried out you may still experience an allergic reaction when you colour your hair. The Allergy Alert Test is not a guarantee of avoiding future allergic reactions. Please consult a doctor, if you have any doubts.