The Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card is a joint project between the NHF and the Freelance Hairdressers ’ Association (FHA), in consultation with the Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA). The Cards and Guide are free to NHF Members.

Since its launch, this simple, yet highly effective system has proved extremely popular with NHF Members who find the Cards a convenient, reliable and safe way to deal with this often tricky problem.

But how do they work, and are they right for your business?

What is the NHF Allergy Alert Consultation and Colour Record Card?

The Allergy Card ensures hairdressers and barbers follow best practice guidelines for allergy alert testing for hair colouring.

Peace of mind: Crucially, the Cards comply with the terms of insurance policies from selected brokers, including the NHF Salonsure Policy from Coversure (the NHF’s preferred insurance broker).

If you use a different insurance provider, you must check with them first that the Allergy Card is approved by them, otherwise you risk invalidating your insurance policy. 

Interested in learning more about the NHF’s insurance through its preferred broker Coversure? Members enjoy a 20% discount and a price promise guarantee (terms and conditions apply). Learn more here.

How do the Allergy Cards work?

Hair colourant

NHF Members only can download the free NHF Allergy Colour Record Card, available in packs of 100 (p&p charge £4.50). You will also receive our free Allergy Alert Guide to help you and your team. Both can be ordered by Members for free through the NHF online shop or over the phone on 01234 831965.

The skin test cards are easy and quick for all your team to use. As you can see below, the first page has six columns:

Allergy alert record card

  • the date
  • whether a client has answered Y/N to the consultation questions
  • the colour brand
  • whether a base shade level or colour combination has been used
  • the stylist’s signature
  • and the client’s signature.

Allergy alert record card

The reverse has a series of simple Yes/No questions covering the initial allergy alert test, a repeat test and an annual test. It also has an important warning: “stop if a client is under-16”.


By following the steps on the card as part of your client consultation, you and your team will be able to judge whether you can go ahead with colouring that client’s hair immediately, or if an allergy alert test needs to be carried out 48 hours before their colour treatment.

Does this mean I can avoid doing an allergy test?

Absolutely not.

The Allergy Card’s job is to record your client’s allergy test history and the frequency with which they have been tested in the past.

It may show, for example, that for a loyal, repeat client who has been tested recently, an allergy alert test is not required before their next visit to your salon.

But, equally, it may show that a test is due; for example if it is a year or more since a client’s last test or if they have subsequently had a tattoo, permanent make-up or black henna temporary tattoo (all of which can cause a reaction to hair colourant). You’ll find more practical advice on henna tattoos and how they can affect skin tests and create allergies in this NHF blog post.

The Card includes a set of questions and if the answer to any of the questions is yes, an allergy alert test must be carried out. This makes it a simple, effective system for your salon team to use.

Note: The allergy test must be carried out with the hair product to be used, including any additives, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

The final column records the date of the allergy test and whether there is a reaction. Obviously, if there is a reaction then colour cannot be applied and the client should be advised to seek medical advice.

What about under 16s and skin testing?

The Card says STOP if the client is under 16, as permanent hair colourants, and some direct colours, state they are not for use on under 16s.

This is not because of any safety issue, but rather because children may not pay attention to the warnings and instructions for use.

For the avoidance of doubt, you must not apply hair colour (or any other products which state they are not intended for use on children under the age of 16) to anyone under this age in your salon.

Allergy testing is a must for every hair salon

Remember Members can order the NHF free Allergy Colour Record Card (p&p charge £4.50) and will also receive our free Allergy Alert Guide.

We are currently designing Allergy Cards specifically for use by beauty salons and these should be available to download shortly.