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Hair colouring the Chemistry. How it works.


Back2myroots : A place to share thoughts and grow idea’s. B2MR

Through out history man has coloured his or her hair from using tribal muds and stains to the days of fancy pre dyed and styled wigs. Discovering permanent ways to alter and colour our own hair. Having an understanding of how this process works is key to attaining good results without causing damage or having a hair disaster.
A French chemist Eugene Schuller. Discovered the first safe commercial hair colour around the early 1900’s. Using chemical paraphenylenediamine.
Today with over 75% of women coloring their hair to some degree or another. With either help form a professional hair colour technician or by applying store purchased home colour  It is also now more widely acceptable that a growing percentage of men now also colour their hair .
With society so acceptable of hair colour how does it work? What is the hair colour process.
It’s a finally balanced series of chemical reactions between the molecules in the hair structure, the natural pigments that make up the hair’s colour. Along with a formulation that may also contain. A peroxide and ammonia or some other form of alkaline to help make the process work.
What is Hair?

Hair is mainly keratin, the same protein found in skin and fingernails. When warm and wet it’s soft and pliable. When dry or heated it hardens and protects the hair’s inner structure.

The natural color of hair depends on the ratio and quantities of two other proteins, eumelanin and phaeomelanin. Eumelanin is responsible for brown to black hair shades while phaeomelanin is responsible for golden blond, ginger, and red colors. The absence of either type of melanin produces white or grey hair pigment deficient. It is having an understanding of these pigments that is key to successful hair colouring .Do we want to utilise or neutralise the pigment’s as we expose them in the lifting process.This in simple terms is do we want to sue the pigment to enrich the colour and shade or do we want to control or mask it!

Natural Colorants

As I stated at the start of this topic man and different cultures have been coloring their hair for thousands of years. Using plants extracts and minerals. It is these pigments found in such products as  (e.g., henna, black walnut shells beetroot juice.) others contain natural bleaching agents or cause reactions that change the color of hair (e.g., vinegar lemon juice). Natural pigments generally work by coating the hair shaft with colour  they coat the outer shaft some times lasting for several shampoos, however they aren’t necessarily safer or more gentle than modern formulations. So can have metallic salts in them. Some can and will build up on the hair.In some cases they cannot be removed.  It’s difficult to get consistent results using natural colorants, Skin test is alway recommended even with these so called natural products

Temporary Hair Color

Temporary or semi-permanent haircolors may deposit acidic dyes or direct dyes onto the outside of the hair shaft .Direct dyes are fully matured and so are to big to be readily absorbed into the inner hair structure.unless an amount of an alkaline is present to open the cuticle. In some cases smaller  pigment molecules are used they can more readerly slip inside the hair shaft  some using a small amount of peroxide.

If peroxide is used in  a product one should expect some lifting of the hair natural level and possible warmth from said lifting of the pigment. or none at all depending on formulation. In some cases, a collection of several colorant molecules enter the hair to form a larger complex inside the hair shaft. Shampooing will eventually dislodge temporary hair color. These products don’t contain ammonia,  but may have some other form of alkaline in them. If an alkaline is present the deposit will be more long lasting that normal temporary colour.

In normal temporary colour the hair shaft isn’t opened up during processing and the hair’s natural color is retained once the product washes out.

How Lightening Works

Bleach is used to lighten hair. The bleach reacts with the melanin in hair, removing the color in an irreversible chemical reaction. Normally after bleaching toning will be required to some degree to neutralise unwanted undertone exposed. The bleach oxidizes the natural melanin molecule. The melanin is still present, but the oxidized molecule is colourless.  Bleached hair that is fully lifted of pigment will retain a pale yellow hue. The yellow colour is the natural colour of keratin, the structural protein in hair.

Bear in mind bleach reacts more readily with the dark eumelanin pigment than with the phaeomelanin. Some gold or red residual colour may remain after lightening,again tis is when toning may be required to rebalance the pigment exposed.

Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most common lightening agents. The peroxide is used in an alkaline solution, which opens the hair shaft to allow the peroxide to react with the melanin lifting it in degree’s depending on the strength of peroxide timing and formulation.Of course it will also vary depending on the natural level of the hair .the darker the hair the more lift will be required and so the longer it will take to get a desired level of lift.The darker the shade the more red and orange you will have to contend with when trying to get to that pale yellow. required if you want a very blonde tone!

Permanent Hair Color

The outer layer of the hair shaft is the cuticle or order to permanently change the hair  colour and for new artificial colour to be deposited into the hair we have to open this cuticle.  We open the cuticle by using an alkaline and raising the hair’s natural Ph from around 5.5 up to around 7 in some cases higher levels are used this can and will damage the hair and lead to poor colour retention. The dye reacts with the inner portion of the hair, the cortex, to deposit or remove the color. Most permanent hair colours use a two-step process normally they work simultaneously. First removes the original colour of the hair at the same time depositing the new color. It’s essentially the same process as lightening, except a colorant is then bonded within the hair shaft.

Ammonia or another alkaline is the chemical that opens the cuticle and allows the hair color to penetrate the cortex of the hair. It also acts as a catalyst when the permanent hair color comes together with the peroxide. Peroxide is used as the developer or oxidizing agent it does this by aggravating the colour molecule and making it swell. The developer removes pre-existing color. Peroxide breaks chemical bonds in hair, releasing sulfur, which accounts for the characteristic odor of haircolor. As the melanin is decolorized, a new permanent color is bonded to the hair cortex. Various types of alcohols and conditioners may also be present in hair colour. The conditioners help  close the cuticle after colouring and re balance that Ph level to seal in and protect the new colour.Alcohol is quite drying on the hair and is also another ingredient used to open the cuticle in the colour process,It can be also found in semi and temporary colours again to help with deposit of the colour molecules.

In closing this rather long and  technical blog all is not what it always seems and appears to be. Understand that chemistry trust your knowledge and research stay informed question and think. As and raise question seek the answers you need. Remember This! The only stupid question is the one never asked! 

Mike B2MR

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Lift Deposit. Hair Pigment shade and tone


Welcome to BACK2MYROOTS B2MR: Regular postings of fresh new topic’s

Following on from a week of postings on.

The colour wheel .

The law of color as it relates to hair colouring.

The Ph scale and the chemistry of hair.

It’s now time to look developers lift tone deposit.

How they work:

                                     permanent cream colour 20 vol

The dyes lift the hair natural pigment and deposit a new artificial colour at the same time. Working in conjunction with our chosen developer as the lifting process starts. We lighten the hair thus exposing natural lightened pigment as our chosen developer or hydrogen peroxide lifts the hair lighter, so more pigment is exposed this pigment becomes part of our colour equation.

The Colour it self an oxidative dye pigment remains inert until mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is made up of two atoms of oxygen and two of hydrogen H/2O/2 available in both cream and liquid form, In most professional salon found as a cream. Hydrogen peroxide is measured by % hairdressing professional refer to it as being measured in volume.[this relates to the volume of gas being released in the chemical reaction]

With all hair colouring the key to success is Formulation, application and timing.choosing the incorrect shade can cause issues as can using the wrong strength of developer. Its a fine balance.


The different strengths and uses are as follows:

Uses:

Demi lotion

*5 Vol less no lift only works with the artificial pigment molecules.

*10vol [ 3%]

*Will only expose the pigment at the given level. zero lift from level to another.

* suitable for tone on tone or darker.

* can be used fro toner deposit on pre- lightened hair. i would consider using a demi application in this instance.

*Covering some examples of Grey hair.

*pre-softening  resistant hair.

*Refreshing a tint, again i would consider a demi application for deposit only.

20vol [6%]

*All regular root applications [virgin hair application]

* Will produce one level of lift. That being for example lifting through level 6 exposing pigment expected at a level 7 [ see colour wheel]

30vol[9%]

* 2 to3 levels of lift . That being for example lifting 6 to level 8 exposing pigment at that level.If confused about three level 6 to 8 consider it has to lift through the pigment at level 6 before exposing the pigment and a level 7 and finally through level 8. see chart below count off level 6 to 8?

40vol [12%]

3 to 4 levels of lift,the same rule applies as above.  expecting anything other than a high level lift formulation will not achieve lift from a level 6 to10. amount of lift and pigment exposed will always be an issue in this instance. think 6 to 9!

In some cases a high lift blonde formulation can achieve desired lift this is due to the following.

* For high lift blonde formulation. The mixing ratio normally increase the ratio of hydrogen peroxide in the formulation to 1 part colour to 2 parts developer always check the product you use for directions. they can also in some cases have other chemical properties added to aid in the lift and deposit needed to reach target colour.

*High lift blonde shades. Normally have a more concentrated amount of pigment to work with the pigment exposed in the lifting process depending on choice of shade. They also have a longer process time due to level of peroxide being used to attain this degree of lift.

It is always worth considering lift required and in some cases a bleach lightener / decolourizer may be required to attain desired degree of lift.

So as an example lets look on the chart at undertone orange {orange as we know is made up of red and yellow} So to bring balance to a natural level 7 we would add a corrective Blue Tone! cool ha.

Hydrogen peroxide will only release the oxygen molecule required when in an alkaline state this is why oxidative dye products require the presence of ammonia or some other alkaline some derived  from a natural sauce. [making them herbal]. This returns the hydrogen peroxide to its natural alkaline state and allows it to release oxygen freely.  The ammonia also acts as the engine drawing the colour under the opened cuticle helping it penetrate the cortex where it becomes fully developed.

So to simplify

The artificial colour molecule is drawn into the hair under the partially opened cuticle. the cuticle having been lifted by the ammonia that is now drawing the colour molecule into the cortex.

The Hydrogen peroxide in the formulation is lightening the hairs natural melanin whilst at the same time the oxygen released is swelling the artificial pigment within the cortex and hair shaft trapping it deep inside the hairs structure.

True colours

This would be degrees of Brown or our N series these are designed to have enough artificial pigment to control the pigment exposed at any given level. working with a max of 20vol [6%] higher levels will require consideration of desired target. warm or cool or do you want to neutralise or utilise the pigment exposed at any given level.

We did say this was quite a big topic, it would be a long journey.

problems that can arise from permanent colour normally due to over processing. Damage to the cuticle it becomes raised cannot retain colouur [P/h issue].

Lack of moisture due to heat styling/exposure to the sun and element such as chlorine .wrong formulation, excessive colouring,

Lack of Grey coverage is normally a formulation and timing issue. poor assessment in the consultation process of amount of Grey so amount of N series required in formulation.

wrong choice of developer, correct development time. wash of to soon dye molecules that have not had time to develope and bond are washed away.

Hair that is resistant to colour closed cuticle very resistant Grey hair. Pre-soften  with a formulation using either Demi lotion or 10 vol with natural level N series. leave for 20 minutes wash off with cold water, before apply target formulation.

                            low vol developer ideal for colour balancing

The advantages of permanent colour.

*Can permanently change hair colour.

*will lighten hair deposit colour or tone colour simultaneously.

*100% of Grey or white hair with correct formulation

.*Durability.

*versatility.

*soften or pre pigment hair,can add texture due to a more open cuticle.

Finally in closing this section in the consultation process it should be explained to clients their expected commitment when choosing permanent colour. My advise would always be chose the path with the least chemistry as possible to start with.

*Roots will need re touching between 4 to 6weeks,

* colour can fade on damaged or over processed hair. colour balancing is key to colour pigment retention.

*Danger of allergic reaction Always do a skin test. prior to any chemical service.

Colour balancing is required to refresh colour that is being re touched, The formulation on the root or re growth will be different to that required for the previously coloured mid lengths and ends both in choice of shade and developed used. 0 lift on pre coloured area!

Take a break digest remember it’s a lot to take in digest understand.

Finally.

Herbal or Organic Colour

These have a arrived in recent years with a fan fair of hype marketed as being. Ammonia free, all natural,conditioning.  bla bla bla!  sorry only my opinion but as we have discussed an alkaline has to be present for the colour process to work. So yes you have to consider the level of ammonia in the product you chose or an alternative.

Hair colour still needs driver an engine in most organic or herbal colours the ammonia is replaced with either denatured alcohol. In some cases detergent derived products,they all serve to act as an alkaline.

Denatured alcohol is derived from grain fermentation this process produces alcohol and indeed bio fuel. this acts as the replacement for ammonia but because it’s derived from grain it’s classed as being Herbal natural. it’s your choice as to the organic route or not the process of lift and depsoit is the same as for permanent colour.

We are now flooded with adds marketing on so many Ammonia free products without any hint of the re placement chemistry or what it does!  So why don’t we question why do we trust!

This revolution is now already in many of the home colour kits that promote quick fix Ammonia free colour! is this really professional?

The question i ask is simple is it really a new innovation? is it really any less harmful than Ammonia?

Thoughts on new MEA as engine to drive colour instead of Ammonia? MEA is derived from Ethanolamine !  also Denatured Alcohol used as ammonia substitute why does Ammonia get such a bad wrap just because it smells ? .

some useful facts:

Monoethanolamine and Ammonia Fact Sheet

1. Monoethanolamine (MEA) is a stable alkaline liquid.

2. Ammonia is a gas.

3. MEA has a larger molecule than ammonia, which means it is less volatile.

4. MEA does not give off gas when used in hair colour.

5. Ammonia gas is given off when used in hair colour.

6. Ammonia in small doses does not present a health risk.

7. Prolonged exposure of ammonia does present a health risk.

8. Many colours, including Matrix, use ammonia and monoethanolamine.

9. The argument that MEA has not been used long enough to be judged “safe” is completely

untrue, it has been used for at least 30 years in hair colour.

10. There is no proof that ammonia washes off the hair and that MEA does not.

11.Organic colour uses oleic acid in the formulation specifically to neutralise MEA, so even if the

colour was not washed off correctly, the MEA has been neutralised and would have no adverse

effect on the hair.

I hope that this article and indeed the one’s posted over the last two days pull all of this this huge topic together.from understanding the laws of Colour the colour wheel. The Ph scale and the role it plays and now finally Lift and deosit.


 

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Hair colour: Alkalinity Ph


Welcome to BACK2MYROOTS B2MR regular postings of fresh new topic’s

When it comes to understanding the chemistry of hair colouring. Get educated not mislead!

As Hairdressers  when considering doing  hair colour . We owe it to our selves and indeed the client to do the best job possible, but more than that give the best service and advise possible, suggesting colour that works with skin tone and eye colour. Work with the best products available, understand the chemistry of the product how it works reacts with hair, what condition with it leave the hair in.

Many hair colours today claim great condition no Ammonia. However claims of no Ammonia does not always mean great condition, some times we sacrifice one evil for another. When no Ammonia is present in permanent colour another alkaline is introduced as a replacement or substitute.There has to be a presence of an alkaline for the colouring process to work

We are talking permanent colour.  The process is not the Semi Demi but they to can be misleading in their chemical makeup! So always get informed read the black stuff ask questions.

It’s all so complicated. Education, technical knowledge, a greater understanding of the products that you are using is essential. Understand what MEA is another favorite derived from Ethanolamine. Alcohol Denatured. Do you know what this is? It’s alcohol derived from fermented grain used as an Alkaline can be very drying but because a grain by product marketed as being natural! Very misleading

Why does Ammonia get such a bad wrap just because it smells ? The damage it can cause depends on the strength being used and the way applied timing, heat, temperature,

Ammonia! GET’S A BAD WRAP SO THEY CAN RELAUNCH OR SELL A NEW CONCEPT

High lift Blondes have an extra kick! Most hair colour lines have high lift blonde range, these again have an alkaline from some source however it may be that extra lift is promoted. In many cases companies also add  Ethanolamine to their high lift colour to open the cuticle more! They don’t normally advertise or disclose this fact it’s disclosed in the small print on the instructions on the paper work inside the box .

So why is MEA  such an  innovation? MEA now promoted to replace Ammonia can any one enlighten me?

Definition:

MEA Monoethanolamine:

Can be used as a selective absorber and plays an important role in the production of Ammonia! MEA Monoethanolamine obtained from the reaction of ammonia and Ethylene. Ethlene a bio fuel so we are back to grain Alcohol! but derived from grain so natural! does this make it ok ? Would you think that good for hair?

Definition:

Alcohol denatured:

A general term for organic ingredients that contain the OH (hydroxyl) group. Alcohols differ substantially in their properties ranging from water soluble solvents like isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
Sounds good too!


Definition:

Ammonia:

An alkaline ingredient used in some permanent hair color. Ammonia is an ingredient that results in a chemical action that decolorizes the hair. A colorless, pungent gas, NH3,  first step in the nitrogen cycle.

Ammonia is generated by fish urine and by the decay of dead fish and plant material.Many professional hair colours have 0.4 to 1.2% Ammonia be aware some companies have levels way above this quite low level of working alkalinity.

So the choice dead decaying fish or fermenting Grain both really a natural source.

So as we can see although some companies portray natural less harmful chemistry it is not always the case. adding natural oils or waxes to protect scalp to make application easier are all part of this process.

This is why knowledge research are key and empowering when it comes to colouring hair and the choices we make on products must go beyond what the sales rep or promotion material say.

I am not trying to scare just inform encourage thinking research!

Thank you!

http://www.back2myroots.co.uk/

 

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Understanding a Ph balance chart:


Welcome to BACK2MYROOTS B2MR:

Regular postings of fresh new topic’s   http://www.back2myroots.co.uk/

 

review of  aPh balance chart.

A little help with Ph balance chart:

When we do any chemical service on the hair be it colour, perming, relaxing, we have to create an environment that enables us to get below the surface layer the cuticle layer of the hair ,

This is the outer layer that serves to protect the inner structure from both damage and moisture loss,

the inner layer being the cortex and Medulla.

Once we have decide on the service we are going to perform in this case colour the formulation we choose will dictate the amount of deposit the more we open the cuticle the deeper the deposit.

So understanding Ph, lift, deposit, is key to being able to perform outstanding colour services.

 

Three layers of the hair structure.  

 

 

Healthy hair should have a Ph of 5 to 5.5  when we introduce an alkaline be it Ammonia which comes in many different strengths the stronger the more it will open the cuticle the same can be said for other colour drivers MEA, Dealcoholised grain products, all serve the same purpose to manipulate the Ph the stronger the  product the more the cuticle will be opened and the more damage can be done.

it is essential after a process to re balance the hair and close the cuticle and restore that natural balance of 5.5.

This can be done with a chemical balancing product these normally have a Ph of 2.5 when introduced to the hair it will close the cuticle and restore the ph balance of the hair to 5.5.

Always be aware to consider the hair condition and assess during consultation before deciding on any chemical service knowing and understanding the Ph of hair is key to keeping it healthy and allowing colour retention , or retaining moisture after the perming process.

In closing it was brought to my attention by someone who sent me a question via a hair site about Ph saying that they could not find any information on the subject, I thought this very odd but having looked through the NVQ the offcial guide [Hairdressing foundation] I have to say  i find it very odd that this topic is not covered in some depth, I will link this to the Habia site.

want information on topic’s to ask question go ahead use the section on the Blog.

I hope this is found useful MikeB2MR

 

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