Technical Lesson on
Hair Color Products & Hair Dyes
Hair dyes work more
like paint by covering hair strands with chemical colors or by mixing
with the melanin granules without altering them.
There are three basic categories :
Temporary form can be washed out instantly. As of now, permanent hair
dyes are the most popular. They can be sub-divided into 1) oxidation
hair dyes and 2) progressive hair dyes.
Oxidation hair dye products consist of dye intermediates and a solution
of hydrogen peroxide. An example of dye intermediates is p-phenylenediamine
which form hair dyes on chemical reaction.
2-nitro-p-phenylenediamine is another type of dye intermediates. They
are already dyes and are added to achieve the intended shades. The dye
intermediates and the hydrogen peroxide solution, often called the
developer, are mixed shortly before application to the hair. The applied
mixture causes the hair to swell and the dye intermediates penetrate the
hair shaft to some extent before they have fully reacted with each other
and the hydrogen peroxide and formed the hair dye.
The active ingredient for progressive hair dye products is lead acetate.
In the U.S, the current regulation governs that lead acetate can be used
as color additive for hair coloring as long as the concentration is less
than 0.6% w/v. The most noticeable difference between oxidation and
progressive hair dyes is that progressive dyes are intended to give a
more gradual change in hair color.
Semi-permanent and temporary products are either in the form of aerosol
spray, solutions or dry powders (or sometimes called fibers). The key
ingredient is usually coal-tar carried by a vehicle that may
consist of water, organic solvent, gums, surfactants, conditioning
agents. In the US, the rules governing the quality of coal-tar
dyes are confusing and there is no guarantee that the temporary or
semi-permanent dye products you are using contain non-approved
ingredients. Ethical manufacturers should always issue a caution
statement in the packaging of their products advising consumers to do a
small patch testing for skin sensitivity. Specifically, the US
government suggests the following caution statement: "This
product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation on certain
individuals and a preliminary test according to a accompanying
directions should first be made. This product must not be used for
dyeing the eyelashes or eyebrows, to do may cause blindness."
The US government further indicates that the manufacturer will be
subject to regulatory actions if the caution statement is not properly
addressed and if their products are found to be harmful under customary
Clinical studies have shown that several coal-tar ingredients have been
linked to cancer in animal testing. In particular, the U.S government
issues warning that the ingredient 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine (4-MMPD,
2,4-diaminoanisole) will pose a material risk to human and should not be
used in hair dye products without proper caution statement by the
In addition to 4-MMPD discussed above, the following ingredients are
also found to have caused cancer in animal testing:
For PPD free, ammonia,
peroxide and chemicals free hair color products, please visit www.FarrellStore.com
Questions please email HairSite@aol.com
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