The Problem With Patch Testing: How You Can Turn It Into A Profitable Marketing Opportunity

Kate RussellBy Kate Russell on March 21st, 2018

Discussing patch testing with clients can often lead to a slightly uncomfortable moment when the client realises they might have to inconvenience themselves prior to their appointment with you. Whether you’re in a salon or a freelancer on the move, patch testing is an essential part of the beauty world and something, of which clients often don’t realise the importance.

As professionals in the industry, we’ve all heard horror stories about the after-effects of tints or dyes when adverse reactions take place. We know the dangers and disasters that are possible, but our clients often assume that this is much rarer than it actually is and so, will never happen to them.

“I’ve had my hair dyed since I was 12, so I’ll never have a reaction to dye now” is incredibly common. However, as we know, reactions can take place out of the blue, with products you’ve used time and time again.

Why is it so important?

As salon owners, beauty experts and hair professionals, reputation in this industry is key. Being known for consistent patch testing gives your work credibility and solidifies your reputation for caring about your client’s health and well-being, while under your care. It also highlights to your clients that you’re a consummate professional and they’re in completely safe hands.

Patch testing is also essential for most insurance liability covers. Should your clients have a strong reaction to lash tint or hair dye and attempt to sue you or the company, patch testing gives you a solid defence to counter the claim and protects your insurance cover, which will remain intact.

Shake patch testing up

Instead of making patch testing an annoying inconvenience for your clients, why not shake things up and build it into the overall salon experience, giving them no reason to see the process as a pain?

Making it part of the package could be something as simple as how you work the topic into conversation. When a client calls to make their appointment with you, instead of telling them, “you’ll have to come in for a patch test before”, which feels very much like a chore and a bother, switch this up. Tell them, “let’s get started with your completely free, 10-minute consultation so we can pick the perfect products for you”.

This sounds much more exciting than a test – which they don’t want to have to do – and also brings them into the salon in a positive way, where you can start building a great client relationship with them. Instead of seeing patch testing as an irritating imposition, it’s now a part of the process on their way to their dream result.

When your clients come in for their patch tests, why not indulge them? Particularly if the salon’s not heaving, sit them down for a coffee, patch test their skin and go through their treatment in detail, building a great relationship and getting them super excited for their transformation to begin.

Creating this one-on-one relationship before your client’s treatment has even begun, not only builds your reputation as an expert but also ensures the clients complete comfort and trust before they’ve come in on the day of their treatment. This drastically improves chances of return visits and long-standing, repeat custom for the salon.

Patch testing can be a bit of a bore, but by building the process into the treatment, neither you or your customer needs to dread the 2-minute task, which could save them a painful reaction and you a heap of stress and money.


What are your tips and tricks for getting clients to consent to a patch test? Share your experiences with us in the comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Salon Saver also provides insurance for salons and insurance for hair and beauty professionals.

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