New Year, New Look

The Science Behind Hair Coloring

The new year means new beginnings and this is your chance to try something a little different. Maybe it’s time to try out a new hair color that will best suit you for 2018. There are lots of hair color trends already forming for this year. Colors such as platinum blonde are staying strong, chocolate shades are in for brunettes, and burnt red and rusty copper are popular colors as well. Aside from which color to choose, there’s also the choice of which kind of dye job to get. Here’s a behind the scenes look at three popular hair coloring techniques you can think about getting this year:

Permanent Hair Color
Permanent hair color offers just what it sounds like. There is a lot of chemistry that goes into a permanent hair color job. The science behind it includes small colorless molecules that penetrate the hair cuticle to the cortex, which is the thickest layer of the hair. The molecules accomplish this with the help of an alkaline substance, usually ammonia. When the ammonia mixes with hydrogen peroxide the two oxidize and react with molecules known as “couplers”.

These couplers are compounds that react with primary intermediate molecules known as PPD (paraphenylenediamine). When the two molecules react, they provide a range of different colored dyes. The dyes are then made permanent by becoming embedded in the protein of the hair fibers. In short, permanent dyes change the structure of your hair by working with the natural pigments known as melanin.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color
Demi-permanent hair color doesn’t contain any ammonia like permanent hair color does. This means it colors the hair cuticle without penetrating it and is good for darkening hair but can never lighten it. The dye is mixed with a low-volume developer to help open the hair cuticle. The low-volume developer is a small amount of peroxide that allows some of the hair color to be absorbed but not all of it. The color gradually fades and usually lasts for about 24 shampoo washes.

Demi-permanent is different from semi-permanent in the sense that semi-permanent hair color is not mixed with a developer and it doesn’t last as long as demi-permanent hair color. Semi-permanent hair color does not penetrate the hair at all and is only applied on the outside of the hair. An example is: while demi-permanent hair color covers the roots and blends grays making it appear highlighted, semi-permanent hair color covers the surface of the hair and helps blend grays with the rest of the hair.

Highlights are when strands of hair are dyed a lighter color than the natural hair. This gives the look of sunlight reflecting off of the hair. Lowlights do the opposite, creating strands of darker hair and giving more depth. There are two ways to add highlights to hair, balayage or foils. Balayage is when colorists paint color products freehand over the hair, giving it a more natural look. Highlighting also uses hydrogen peroxides since it is one of the most common lightening agents used in hair coloring.

These are some of the most common types of hair dye jobs. Each has its own particular process and gives a unique look. So, here’s looking forward to 2018 and trying something new.