Why is Patch Testing Important in a Beauty Salon

patch testing in beauty salons

Making patch tests regularly in your beauty salon is essential for your client’s health. What can happen if you don’t do it? From a thin irritation to dermatitis or anaphylactic shock, everything. 

83% of responding dermatologists stated that they perform patch testing in their practice regularly. Since now, it proves to be the best way to identify hypersensitivity reactions of the skin.

As a service provider, you are the main responsible for everything that may go wrong in your salon. Keep in mind that clients have the right to complain or claim the potential negative result of your services. That’s precisely why we’d like you to be well informed on this subject and avoid a complicated and unwanted situation. 

In this blog post, you will find the most important aspects of patch testing as a cosmetologist or beautician, like how to test an allergen or how to manage a situation when a patch test comes out positive.

What is a patch test?

Allergen test on hand. Client undergoing procedure of allergen skin test in clinic.

Skin patch testing is the most secure way to test a small amount of a substance on your client’s skin to monitor their reaction to it. You should make a patch test for eyelash/eyebrow tinting, peel treatments, lash glue, eyelash perming, tanning sprays, and other products you use in a beauty salon.

What substances are identified in a patch test?


According to the British Association of Dermatologists, there are 40 most common things that may cause damage to people’s skin, like chemicals, preservatives, fragrances, pharmaceutical items, metals, perfumes, cosmetics, and plants. 

To avoid such situations, you could use a client management app. For example, in Goldie, a free scheduling app for beauty professionals, you can store in the client’s “notes” section information about their allergies, favorite products, or other things you consider important.

You can try the app by downloading it for free from the App Store or Google Play.

How do you know when it’s time to make a patch test for a client?

Usually, you should make a patch test for every new client coming into your salon or every time you start using a new product on your existing clients.

How is a patch test performed?


Make sure you have a good patch test kit containing everything you need for an effective result. 

  • 24/48 hours prior to your client’s appointment, ask them to come to your salon to do a patch test for the product you’ll apply on their skin on the appointment day.
  • Start the patch testing by addressing some questions to your client. For example, if it’s a woman, you have to make sure that she’s not pregnant, potentially pregnant, or breastfeeding, as certain substances may put her pregnancy in danger. 
  • Make sure you know if he/she is taking some medication treatments, as some meds can increase sensitivity to specific allergens. 
  • After you know all this information about your client, you can get started with the patch test. Apply a small amount of the product you’re going to use on a professional testing patch. 
  • Then, apply the patch on a hidden surface of the body, like the back or behind the ear lobe. The substance will remain taped in place for 24/48 hours or until the appointment day. 
  • Don’t forget to inform your client not to bath/shower while the testing tape is applied, as it may ruin the test’s quality.

A patch test can be confirmed as positive when seeing side effects like redness, wheals, areas of swelling, or other grave symptoms. As it’s your responsibility that the client reacts to a specific substance, stay available for every side effect they may encounter, asking them to send you images or to visit you immediately if needed.

Below, you can see how an eyebrow tint patch test is being performed:

How to manage a positive eyebrow tint patch testing situation?

Now, I will share an actual situation from a beauty salon, which turned into a professionalism lesson for all of us. After an eyebrow tint patch test, a dark spot remained on the skin,  confirming that the client was allergic to eyebrow tint. Here’s a testimonial from the owner of Beauty Box Spray Tanning & LVL:

“This client of mine had advised that she was very sensitive and allergic to a lot of tints, including henna. She also had a bad reaction to lash extensions before. I sourced a “sensitive” tint, as the client was eager to get a tint with the lash lift treatment. 

We carried out a patch test a few days before her booking. We also carried out a patch test for the lifting system. The client sent me this picture the following day, saying she only reacted to the tint. All other areas of the product had been ok. We carried out the lash lift treatment without any tint. 

I regularly patch test this client, as her sensitivity could change, and we are better to be safe than sorry. Without a patch test, her treatment could have turned into a disaster and more than likely her ending up in A&E.”


Also, the salon owner warns beauty professionals that “patch tests are essential. It gives us an indicator if the client is allergic to the products and if we can carry out the treatment. Patch testing is destined for the client’s safety. It is also important for salons to patch tests according to the manufacturer guidelines and also insurance guidelines.”


Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how professional you are or how many years of experience you have in your industry, your client’s safety always comes first. For that, patch testing the products you use before an appointment is essential to avoid dangerous situations.

While making a product patch test, make sure you follow the kit’s guidelines and have clear communication with your client. 

If the test comes out positive, keep your calm and offer assistance until you make sure your client is out of any danger. 

Anyway, be aware that patch tests may not always be conclusive. According to News Medical Life Science,  there are also false-negative results in which there’s no reaction, as well as false positives, which indicate an allergy when there is not one. 

Your client’s skin can react differently to substances, so make sure you do all your best to make sure they are proud & safe after a service with you.

Now that you know everything about eyebrow tint patch testing, you’d probably want to know about these 7 beauty industry trends. What’s your favorite one? 🙂

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