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Questions about Colourstart

Colourstart is a ready-to-use patch test your clients can use themselves to find out if they might be allergic to one of the ingredients, called PPD, found in most hair colorants.

Anyone thinking of using Colourstart should download the PIL to check if Colourstart is suitable for them to use.
Colourstart should not be used by anyone under the age of 16.

Hair Professionals supply Colourstart to clients to use themselves. Clients can record and share their results with you using Colourstart Passport

Full instructions for use are included in the Patient Information Leaflet. This can be downloaded here.

If the hair colour you plan to use on the client recommends a patch test, you can recommend they use Colourstart to test for allergy to PPD.

Colourstart is designed to find out if your client might be allergic to one of the ingredients, called PPD, that is found in most hair colorants. If the client takes the test and it is positive (meaning that they show a reaction) you should not use hair colour on them, even if that hair colour does not contain PPD.

If the client asks you about their reaction to using Colourstart, please refer them to the information in the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).

UK registered businesses can apply to retail Colourstart to consumers. You can check your eligibility and set up an account to buy Colourstart here.

Account holders can buy Colourstart online here.

Colourstart RRP is £15 including VAT

Registered account holders can access the trade pricing for Colourstart.

As it is a medicine, Colourstart cannot be given away.

No test is one hundred per cent reliable, and you should be aware that using Colourstart does not guarantee a safe hair colour treatment. When Colourstart is used correctly, the risk of a reaction to hair colour can be minimised.

If a client asks you about using Colourstart, please refer them to the information in the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).

Clients should not use Colourstart test more than once if you are applying their usual hair colour product. But it may be repeated if you are switching to a new product.

If you and the client are using Colourstart Passport, they can take the questionnaire each time before you apply their colour.

You should NOT perform the “Allergy Alert Test” as instructed on hair colorants in addition to using this medicine. This is because repeated exposure of the skin to PPD whether in applying hair colorant, performing the “Allergy Alert Test” or in using Colourstart, may cause sensitisation (development of allergy) in some individuals.

Clients should be advised to complete Colourstart Passport before every hair colour treatment.

If the hair colour manufacturer recommends an AAT before use, you can use the Colourstart patch test instead of the AAT to test for PPD.

If your client sees a reaction on their skin at the site of the Colourstart test, or if they experience any symptoms of discomfort or there is a noticeable difference in how their skin looks or feels in the 48 hours after applying Colourstart, they should remove the patch and wash the area gently with water as it may be a positive result.

DO NOT apply hair colorant. Your client should talk to their pharmacist or doctor if they are at all unsure.

The Colourstart patch test is a medicine, and should be kept out of the sight and reach of children.

The test should be stored in an environment below 25°C. It should not be used after the expiry date stated on the outside of the foil test pack. The expiry date refers to the last day of the month stated. The test should not be used if the foil test pack is open or damaged.

The used patch should be folded, sticky sides together, put back in the empty pouch and disposed of carefully. Always dispose of used Colourstart patches sensibly, away from the reach of children and animals.

If the instructions are followed carefully, it should not be possible to use more Colourstart than intended because it is a single use product. However, if your client applies more than one patch or if anyone else applies the patch to their skin, advise them to remove as soon as possible and wash the area gently with water.

If your clients gets any side effects, they should talk to their doctor or pharmacist. They can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

The Colourstart patch test should not be used after the expiry date. The expiry date is printed on the outside of the foil pouch. The expiry date refers to the last day of the month printed. If opened, out of date or used patches should be folded, sticky sides together, put back in the empty pouch and disposed of carefully. Used Colourstart patches should always be dispose of sensibly, away from the reach of children and animals.

Questions about allergy to hair colour

Many chemicals similar to PPD are used in hair dye formulations. Some of the more widely used chemicals are Para-toluene diamine (PTD), 2-Methoxymethyl-p- Phenylenediamine (ME-PPD also known as ME+), Para-aminophenol (PAP), meta-Aminophenol (MAP) and these are known to cause an allergic reaction to people who are allergic to PPD.

Most hair colour manufacturers recommend testing for allergy before the use hair colour because the ingredients can cause allergic reactions which can sometimes be severe.

An allergic reaction to hair colour can cause itchy rashes, redness and blisters. In some cases, more severe reactions can occur.

Clients who have had a black henna tattoo have an increased risk of being allergic to PPD.

No, the client should not use hair colour if they have a current black henna tattoo or has reacted to one in the past.

If any client asks you about black henna tattoos, refer them to the information about temporary black henna tattoos in the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).

If your client certifies they’ve used Colourstart before and not had a reaction and you are not changing their hair colour, there is no need to repeat the use of Colourstart and you can go ahead with the hair colour treatment.

Questions about Colourstart Passport

Colourstart Passport is an app to help your client decide if they can use Colourstart. Colourstart Passport also helps record a client’s history of hair colour and any previous use of Colourstart. It is recommended you ask clients to complete a Passport prior to each hair colour treatment . This will form an important part of your quality management system in your salon and helps evidence your business follows best practice.

Using Colourstart Passport within your business can help manage the risks of using hair colorants by allowing your clients to record and share their experience with hair colour and Colourstart.

Colourstart Passport contains a series of simple questions about your client’s history of using hair colour, and whether they have had any kind of allergic reaction to hair colour in the past. Their answers to the questions will determine whether they can go ahead and use Colourstart, go ahead with their colour appointment with you, or whether they are advised to not use Colourstart and may like to seek medical advice before using hair colour.

Colourstart Passport is a quick and simple way for clients to find out whether they can use Colourstart. Clients can share the result of the questionnaire with you, and if they are good to colour you can go ahead with their appointment.

If you wish, you can offer Colourstart to your clients without using Colourstart Passport. We advise using Colourstart Passport before using Colourstart because it is not necessary for everyone to take the test, and after filling in the questionnaire clients may be advised not to use Colourstart.

Colourstart Passport can store the client’s Colourstart test result for sharing with you before their appointment.

The result of Colourstart Passport is personal, but they can share the result with you if they wish via their Colourstart Passport profile.

The Colourstart Passport is an app that records if a client has used Colourstart before or had an allergic reaction after using colour in the past. If they get the all clear to colour you can book their appointment with confidence, making walk-in colours in salon a reality.

Client data collected, stored and processed on the Colourstart Passport is fully protected in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK’s Data Protection Act 2018.

Although the UK left the European Union on 31st January, this has no effect on the rules and regulations on data protection to be observed during the Brexit transition period which lasts until December 31st 2020. Please see our full Privacy Policy for more information.

The Colourstart Passport online app is free to use.