to Non-Toxic Hair Color Facts
Since the beginning of time people have gone to some extraordinary
measures to attain what they perceived to be the standard
of beauty for their time. Who hasn't heard of the many beauty
routines that Cleopatra endured to be the most beautiful
Queen of the Nile? Some of her beauty products were thought
to be poisonous, but that didn't stop Cleo from doing whatever
it took to be stunning.
Unless you happen to be born with it, achieving beauty is
rarely easy. This includes achieving gorgeous hair. No matter
how much people search for it, there is no quick fix to
fabulous hair. It takes time, work and it takes, in many
cases, products that contain some form of chemicals.
Karen M. Shelton
The Hair Boutique
Which brings us to the topic of hair color. The Romans were fascinated
with hair dyes and history has uncovered as many as 100 different formulas
that were used to alter hair color. Some of the Roman ingredients included
everything from leeches and charred eggs to walnut shells. Ironically
walnut shells are still used in modern times for some dye formulations.
Time has not lessened the power of hair color. Currently Clairol makes
more than 70 different shades of just blonde hair colors.
Why does hair color hold such fascination? Hair color can be that magic
wand that instantly transforms dull mousy locks into glorious golden lights
that shimmer and shine. It can also instantly erase years of age by covering
gray, adding depth to fading colors and cranking up overall shine.
From Chemical Agents
While the end results of gorgeous color seem worth it to many people,
there is no easy way to get from dull to dynamite without some form of
coloring product. A famous hair colorist once told me that blondes may
have more fun but they also have to have more done to their hair to achieve
true color nirvana.
Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, hair-coloring products
will almost always require the use of some form of chemical agents.
Why? According to master colorist Theresa Dufour who has represented the
Herbavita Corporation in North America for the past 9 years, you have
to be able to open the hair cuticle to lighten and deposit color. It’s
just that simple. If you can't pop open the hair cuticle you will not
be able to apply color or make it last. It will wash right out at the
Although consumers have historically proven to be allergic to a wide range
of ingredients in beauty products, hair color products are considered
by many health care experts to pose one of the biggest risks of serious
emergency level problems.
Although not all experts agree, many believe that a leading cause of hair
color allergic reactions are related to PPD which is short
for p-Phenylenediamine. Others argue that serious reactions
in hair color can be linked to ingredients such as ammonia, peroxide or
If a hair color product claims that they do not use PPD then they will
use something else that can be even more damaging like mercury, lead or
other metals. Ms. Dufour reported that consumers often tell her they shun
products containing PPD for “safer” alternatives like Loving Care by Clairol.
As Theresa pointed out, products without PPD may actually be more dangerous
due to the high concentration of metals, leads and mercury.
Almost all coloring products that lighten hair contain some amount of
hydrogen peroxide. This colorless liquid achieves two major actions. It
will first break down the natural melanin in the hair shaft which instantly
"lifts" the color of the hair making it lighter. The peroxide also releases
oxygen, which combines with the dye molecules and helps them to develop
and deposit color. The depositing part is important for covering gray.
Although many people worry about the toxicity of using hydrogen peroxide
on their hair there are more potentially toxic ingredients, as Ms. Dufour
pointed out, that can be lurking in popular hair dyes.
Aniline dyes are liquid chemicals that are derived from coal tar and are
used in commercial semi-permanent hair dyes. The various aniline dyes
are often considered to be toxic and irritating to the eyes, skin and
mucous membranes. Hypersensitive people may experience allergic reactions
to these dyes. Historically these dyes have also been proven to cause
blindness in some cases when used in the eye areas.
Ammoniated mercury and related metallic chemicals also provide bleaching
agents that encourages color lift. Like PPD and other hair color chemicals,
allergic reactions have also been linked to these particular chemicals
which may or may not appear in current hair color formulations.
How do you know what chemicals are in your hair color brands? Read the
labels or ask your colorist to tell you.
- Serious Allergic Reactions
For all your label readers p-Phenylenediamine
may also be referred to as phenylenediame, phenylenediame dihydrochloride
or benzenediamine dihydrochloride. It is also known by the name aminoaniline
All of the various PPD derivatives may cause allergic reactions in chemically
sensitive individuals. The key word to remember is may. Not all people
will react to PPD and even less with have severe reactions.
Reported allergic reactions have also included facial and neck swelling.
If swallowed it can cause vomiting. The chemical may be toxic if inhaled
directly and may cause coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath and in
some rare cases, cyanosis (blue lips). In extreme cases respiratory distress
has been reported. Although rare, if you or a loved experience these reactions
seek medical attention immediately.
When PPD makes contact with the skin it may cause rashes and contact dermatitis.
Eye contact may cause irritation, redness and pain. Corneal damage and
loss of vision has been reported in some very isolated cases. Chronic
exposures to PPD may affect kidney or liver function and can cause bluish
discoloration of the lips or tongue.
Hair Color Facts Part 2., To
Color Or Not To Color?
Hair Color Facts Part 3., Honesty
Is The Best Policy
Thermal Reconditioning Articles By Karen M. Shelton
The Inside Scoop
Hair Straightening Faqs
Founder's - Words Of Hair Care Wisdom
this topic with others right now at the
Salon Discussion Board!
M. Shelton is the founder of HairBoutique.com
which has been featured in numerous magazines including 101
Celebrity Hairstyles, Today's Dallas Woman Magazine, WE-Women's
Enterprise, The National Enquirer, American Salon Magazine
and Self magazine, as well as international publications.
Karen M. Shelton was featured in DFW Tech Biz as winner
of the Emerging CEO - Tech Titan award. In 2001 Ms. Shelton
joined 101 Celebrity Styles & Short Cuts magazine as
consumer hair editor.