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It’s not just hair salons throughout the UK that are passionate about skin testing, the next generation of super stylists at New College Durham are embracing Colourstart and have fully implemented it into their salons. New College Durham has two hair and two beauty salons on site. Called Halo, the salons incorporate both a salon and training zone for its 150 students. 

The big question is, how is a college tackling the challenge of charging for a skin test? We spoke with salon technician Laura Harrison to understand more…

Emma xxx

Why are you so hot on skin testing?    

We want to instil in our students a commitment to the highest standards of health and hygiene, as well as ensuring they develop the right skills to succeed in the profession. One of the ways we do this is by insisting our clients are tested for allergy before each and every colour service.

What skin testing method are you using? 

Colourstart. As part of their induction, every student is asked to sign up for the Colourstart Passport. That way they all can understand exactly how it works and how to explain it to their future clients, and they can use it themselves whenever they use the salon for a service, which many of them do.

Why are you using Colourstart in particular? 

We need a regular and consistent supply of clients to make the college’s Halo salons an authentic environment. We talk through our testing protocol with each client face-to-face. Given our wide mix of clients – from students, to regulars, to pensioners – we have to adapt our approach to testing to suit each one.

Have you found it challenging to get clients to embrace your skin testing policy?   

For regular clients, Colourstart is the natural choice. It really sells itself. Using Colourstart gives the client both reassurance and flexibility, and it means we can schedule our client sessions with greater predictability, which is good for us and the students.

What about the fact that they have to charge clients for the Colourstart test?

We’re not profit making, so we charge at cost for the test, that’s £12. And we also give our Colourstart clients a £5 voucher for their next service. For our regular clients, price is rarely an issue. And it’s usually a one-off cost anyway. But we do have to be mindful of sensitivity to price, and we don’t turn clients away if it’s an issue – we need them! So, we do still offer the manufacturers’ AAT at no cost. Although, of course, it means the client coming in 48 hours ahead of service so we can apply the test.