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Demystifying Hair Color Ingredients

Understanding the ingredients of the chemicals we are working with will ensure that we are well educated on what we are using and how to use them. Often, when we are not grounded in some of this terminology, it's easy for brands, manufacturers and others to take advantage of our naivety and use it against us.

So today, i want to dive into 3 of the most common hair color ingredients and what they do..this is just to help you understand the roles and goals of these ingredients so that you no longer “fear” anything, rather, you understand it.

First, lets dive into ammonia:

Ammonia is known as The Color Catalyst.

Ammonia is a key ingredient in many permanent hair color formulations. Its primary role is to soften and swell the hair cuticle, allowing color molecules to penetrate and deposit into the cortex. This process ensures that the color achieves longevity and remains vibrant even after multiple washes. Ammonia also helps in lightening the natural hair color by breaking down the melanin (with the help of h202) , providing a blank canvas for the desired color.

While ammonia offers numerous benefits, and you all know i LOVE ammoniated color, it's important to acknowledge the potential issues associated with. The primary concern is the strong smell that accompanies ammonia-based hair color products. This odor can be unpleasant and irritating to some individuals, making the hair coloring experience less enjoyable- but not dangerous!

Another potential issue is scalp and skin irritation. The alkaline nature of ammonia can cause sensitivity in certain individuals, leading to redness, itching, or a burning sensation on the scalp. It's crucial to be aware of these potential reactions and to perform a patch test before applying ammonia-based hair color to ensure clients' safety and comfort.

Ammonia allergies, although possible, are relatively rare. According to research, less than 1% of the population may be allergic to ammonia. It's worth noting that individuals with a history of allergies or sensitivities to other substances may have a higher likelihood of being sensitive to ammonia.

Next up, lets talk about PPD.

PPD: The Coloring Agent

PPD, or p-phenylenediamine, is a common dye molecule used in many oxidative hair color products. It provides the color itself and plays a crucial role in achieving the desired shade. PPD is valued for its ability to deliver rich and vibrant color results. It is a highly effective dye molecule that provides long-lasting color and is widely used in permanent and demi-permanent hair color products. PPD's color longevity makes it particularly suitable for achieving intense and true-to-tone shades.

Additionally, PPD is known for its stability, allowing the color to remain vibrant even after exposure to sunlight and repeated washing. This makes it a preferred choice for clients who desire lasting color results.

While PPD offers numerous benefits, it's important to be aware of potential dangers associated with its use. One significant concern is the risk of allergic reactions. Some individuals may develop sensitization or allergies to PPD over time, leading to adverse reactions upon exposure.

PPD allergies can manifest as contact dermatitis, which is characterized by symptoms such as redness, itching, swelling, and a rash on the scalp, hairline, forehead, or neck. In severe cases, individuals may experience blistering or oozing of the affected area. If you or your clients experience any of these symptoms, it's important to discontinue the use of PPD-containing products and seek medical advice.

The prevalence of PPD allergies varies among individuals and populations. Studies suggest that around 1-2% of the general population may be sensitive or allergic to PPD. It's important to note that individuals with a history of allergies or sensitivities to other substances may have a higher likelihood of developing an allergic reaction to PPD.

Let’s talk about resorcinol:

Resorcinol: Enhancing Color Results

Resorcinol is another common ingredient found in hair color formulations.Resorcinol is a key component in oxidative hair color products, helping to create color by reacting with the developer. It acts as a coupling agent, facilitating the reaction between the dye precursors and the hydrogen peroxide in the developer. This reaction leads to the formation of the color molecules that bind to the hair shaft.It contributes to the durability of the color, allowing for longer-lasting results even after repeated washes. Resorcinol is particularly effective in providing coverage for gray or resistant hair, making it a valuable ingredient in many hair color formulations.

Additionally, resorcinol aids in the oxidation process, allowing for the desired color change to occur more efficiently. It helps to swell the hair cuticle and penetrate the cortex, ensuring that the color is deposited effectively and achieves the desired depth and vibrancy.

While resorcinol offers benefits in hair color formulations, it's important to be aware of potential dangers associated with its use. Resorcinol is classified as an irritant and may cause skin or scalp irritation, particularly when used in high concentrations or if left on the scalp for an extended period.

It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using resorcinol-containing hair color products, including proper application and recommended processing times. If you or your clients experience any signs of irritation, such as redness, itching, or a burning sensation, it's crucial to discontinue use and seek medical advice.

Prevalence of Resorcinol Allergies

The prevalence of resorcinol allergies is relatively low compared to other hair color ingredients. Allergic reactions to resorcinol are rare, with only a small percentage of individuals experiencing sensitivity or allergy. However, it's important to note that individuals with a history of allergies or sensitivities to other substances may have a higher likelihood of developing an allergic reaction to resorcinol.

Understanding the roles and goals of these ingredients is crucial to becoming a confident colorist. I teach in depth on the science of the hair and the chemistry of haircolor along with a strategy on HOW to formulate in any situation with any color line in my FUNdamentals course shop.

Click here to learn more!

Happy Hair Coloring!


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