Skin Testing for Reactions

Bonded hair replacement requires the use of many products you’ve probably never used before. It’s always a good idea to test new products on a small area of skin to make sure you don’t have any allergic or adverse reactions. At the very least, you should test the adhesives you intend to try, because they’ll be bonded to your scalp for prolonged periods of time. Instructions for testing tape and liquid adhesives are below, but if you have sensitive skin, you should also patch-test the solvents, scalp protectors, and any other products that will be in contact with your skin.

Supplies

Tape or liquid adhesive you would like to test

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball or facial tissue
  • Scissors
  • Surgical tape or adhesive bandage
  • Soap and water

Additional items you may need:

  • Skin-safe adhesive solvent

Skin testing adhesives


The best way to test an adhesive is to apply it behind your ear and leave it there for a few days. Some people suggest testing on your arm, but the area behind your ear is much closer to and more similar to your scalp.

You can test two adhesives at a time by putting a different one behind each ear.

Swab the test area with alcohol to clean excess oil before applying the adhesive to your skin.

The goal is to check for a skin reaction. You aren’t testing the actual strength or hold time of the bond. The adhesive will work differently on your scalp, where you have oil-producing glands.

Tape

Using scissors sprayed with rubbing alcohol (to prevent the tape from sticking to the scissors).

Trim the tape to a size that will fit comfortably behind your ear.


After you attach the tape to your skin, cover it with a piece of surgical tape or adhesive bandage so hair and dirt don’t get stuck in the hair system tape.

Liquid adhesive

Apply a thin layer of liquid adhesive to the test area. Let it dry, and apply a second layer.

After the second layer has dried, cover the adhesive with a piece of surgical tape or adhesive bandage so hair and dirt don’t get stuck in the hair system tape.

The test

  1. Leave the adhesive on your skin for three days.
  2. To remove the adhesive, apply some rubbing alcohol to it and allow it to penetrate the area for 30-60 seconds to release the bond.
  3. If there’s tacky residue left behind, clean the area with an appropriate, skin-safe adhesive solvent, and then clean your skin with soap and water.

If you have a reaction to the adhesive, such as bumps or itching, please consult a physician. Don’t attempt another test until your skin is completely healed and you receive permission to proceed from your physician. Having a reaction to one adhesive doesn’t mean you’ll have a reaction to all adhesives. We suggest trying at least two tapes and two liquids before ruling out bonding as an option.

Long-term effects of adhesive


With the exception of hard bond adhesives — which we do not sell — there is no known research that has tested the long-term effects of adhesives or maintenance products on the scalp, either generally or during pregnancy. We aren’t aware of any cases where permanent damage was sustained as a result of hair system-related maintenance products, but cannot guarantee any results.


After removing a hair system, many people have some skin redness where the adhesive was. This is usually a temporary inflammatory reaction caused by the alcohol used to remove the system from your head. If you have excessive inflammation or discomfort, discontinue use and contact a physician. There are a number of methods for managing skin irritation. However, even if your skin appears fine, know that you’re using adhesives and chemicals at your own risk.