Black henna tattoos: turn a hassle into a salon win

Ever chat to your clients about black henna tattoos? Alert them to the possible allergy problems they can cause with hair and lash/brow colour?

I know. You’re probably thinking Alice, allergies are a health and safety issue and certainly nothing to do with salon marketing.

But I disagree.

Here’s why:

Temporary black henna tattoos are fun, chic and scream ‘vacay vibes’.

But clients don’t know (unless you tell them – which is where the marketing comes in) that these holiday tattoos can trigger new allergies to colour dyes.


Quick re-cap: black henna tattoos & skin allergies

Henna paste is naturally orange-red in colour and leaves a temporary stain/pattern on the skin which gradually disappears.

But some tattoo artists in countries outside the EU and UK offer the much darker ‘black henna’. This isn’t henna at all and may contain PPD (para-phenylenediamine) to give it the dark colour.

While PPD is safe and legal as an ingredient in hair colourants, when applied to skin it can cause an immediate painful severe allergic reaction.

It doesn’t stop there:

Even if someone doesn’t react immediately to the black henna tattoo it can still sensitise them to PPD.  This makes it more likely they’ll react to PPD in future which can cause problems at their next salon appointment.


Always ask about henna tattoos

You don’t need me to tell you that to protect your clients, your business and keep your insurance valid always ask if a client has had a holiday tattoo and, if so, test them.

Which brings me to the tricky question of skin patch tests generally and how you ‘market’ them to your clients.


Keep salon clients safe

Asking if they have had a holiday henna tattoo and raising the test question can make clients feel you’re being over cautious and creating an inconvenient panic over their fun holiday accessory.

The last thing super-busy people need to hear is that you want them to make a special trip to the salon for a skin test. It’s a hassle they could do without.

This is where your marketing comes to the rescue:

Your marketing message is: ‘we’re a caring, professional salon who put our clients’ health and safety first’.


Market your salon skin test proactively

By the way, these marketing tips work for all colour allergy testing, not just black henna tattoos:


1. Equip clients with the facts

Have clear information to hand in salon alerting them to the potential problem and giving them the solution to this problem – a quick, complimentary skin test.

Avoid the ‘our insurers insist’ and it’s to ‘protect our backs’ angle at all costs. Put the focus firmly on them (‘what’s in it for me’) and how you are protecting them.


2. Black henna tattoos on salon social

Alert your community to the potential risks in spring before the summer holiday season gets underway and again in January when many jet off in search of winter sun.


3. Website & email marketing

Have a dedicated page or blog on your website talking about black henna tattoos and the importance of your quick, easy test.

Salon Social Club members: Look out in Club Content for your plug and play client blog on these tattoos plus explainer social templates. And remember, as a member, you can ask me your questions on this and any other salon marketing topic.


4. Upgrade the test experience

If a retest is needed, why not use the pre-appointment test visit to give a complimentary consultation. Take this approach and you’ll turn a negative into a positive marketing exercise.


5. Educate your salon team

You as owner/manager will bear the brunt of sorting out any allergic reactions and upset clients. So it’s essential your team grasp the serious implications of black henna tattoos and the importance of regular testing generally.

Run regular training sessions to remind them that being proactive is the name of the game. For example, when they’re chatting to clients about their holiday plans remind them to raise the potential risks of these temporary tattoos.


Turn skin tests into a trust building win

Stop seeing skin tests as a health and safety problem. Instead, put a proactive marketing ‘spin’ on your commitment to the well-being of your clients and turn the potential hassle of skin tests into a trust building marketing win.

Want more clients, rebookings & sales?

Join 24,000 subscribers. Get our regular FREE salon marketing newsletter packed with all the tools and knowledge you need to market your  salon…

By completing this form you consent to receiving emails from Lockhart Meyer Salon Marketing with exclusive advice blogs, guides, products, surveys and downloadable resources. Don’t worry, we always treat your data with respect, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and never share your personal information with 3rd parties. You can, of course, opt out at any time using the link on any of our emails.