About hair coloring

Many people that are age 50 or over have gray hair. This sometimes occurs earlier than this age as well. However, it is not very easy to know how many people are actually gray or

Many people that are age 50 or over have gray hair. This sometimes occurs earlier than this age as well. However, it is not very easy to know how many people are actually gray or graying. So many people dye their hair to cover the gray and to appear years younger. Keeping your hair healthy and as beautiful as possible is important, so it is essential to follow certain guidelines to keep the hair at its healthiest. Dyes can be damaging to the hair and scalp, especially when used on a regular basis.

The process of going gray usually begins at the temples, and then spreads to other areas. It is not possible for hair to go white overnight, but let too much time lapse between dyeing may make it suddenly look as if this were so. Something that can be so helpful in making you look younger and more confident unfortunately can also be very damaging. There are natural options, such as hennas which are plant-based, yet these do not last as long as artificial dyes.

Melanin (the same pigment that gives skin color) is responsible for the color in the hair bulb. It is produced in the dermal fat layer below the skin, just about ¼ of an inch below. The cortex of hair fibers contains the color that is visible to the eye, and the cuticle that covers the hair shaft and protects it is clear.

There are two types of pigments:

  1. Eumelanin – This pigment is more dominant and is responsible for the colors black and brown.
  2. Phaeomelanin – This pigment produces the color red, which is contained in most everyone’s hair color unless it is completely white.

Eumelanin determines the darkness of the hair based on the amount present and the following conditions:

  1. Large quantities of brown eumelanin cause the hair to be dark brown.
  2. Blond is produced by much lower quantities of brown eumelanin.
  3. Black eumelanin is directly responsible for black hair.
  4. Gray hair is produced by much lower quantities of black eumelanin.

Most people’s hair is a resulting balanced combination of brown, black, red pigments, and how the amounts of these occur in relation to the blending. Blond haired people are more common in Northern Europe, while the reddest haired people are from Scotland. Ten percent of native Scots have pure red hair. Everyone else has varying combinations and amounts of dark pigment granules.

How hair dyes work

Hair dyes are categorized as permanent or semi-permanent. These are very user-friendly and can be used at home and very inexpensive compared to salon treatments, yet they can also be very damaging and drying if proper procedures and tips are not followed.

Semi-permanent as an alternative

Semi-permanent dyes can be those that pass small molecules through the cuticle and inside the cortex. These tend to be acidic and are water soluble; therefore, they do come out sooner than permanent dyes. Washing more frequently will, of course, cause the dye to fade quicker, and they can last (depending on those factors) from one to six weeks, based on the dye formulations as well. These dyes will not lighten hair as they do not have any bleach present, but they will darken hair in order to cover gray.

If your semi-permanent dye job is not to your liking, there are natural items around the house that can be used to begin to rinse out the dye. Some of these are beer, tea, lemon juice, of fifty drops of honey in a pint of water. Rinsing with these will assists in rinsing the dye out; the rinsing may need to be repeated with these ingredients, and rinsing as soon after dying as possible will help ensure removal. After using beer, you must use shampoo to remove the smell.

Platinum color

The melanin granules in the cortex of the hair are oxidized by bleach, which results in a loss of color. This cannot be washed out as it is an irreversible chemical alteration. Hydrogen peroxide is the most common bleach ingredient, and it can be used in combination with color dyes to achieve the desired platinum.

The scales are opened on the cuticle by bleaches because they are alkaline solutions, similar to perms using neutralizing solutions. Dark hair contains small amounts of phaeomelanin, which is resistant to bleach. This often results in a reddish or orange tint when attempting to bleach dark hair.

The bleach concentration needed to achieve platinum blond hair damages the hair cuticle, obviously even more with further applications. Each application results in even more damage. The hair becomes dry and rough in look and feel. Bleaching results in porous areas of varying degrees through the hair, resulting in shading that is blotchy.

Wet combing can be very difficult and damaging after lots of bleaching. Teasing the hair makes this even more difficult. The scales are damaged, and further wet combing or teasing cause the scales to actually fall off. Because bleached hair is so porous, it swells as it takes on water causing more difficult combing. New hair growth results in dark roots, and usually the whole head of hair has to be retouched to match. Of course, this results in more damage. Some people only dye the roots as they show, yet this can cause a color that is not a uniform.

The techniques for permanent color

Permanent hair color can be used to cover all of the hair or in select areas of highlights or lowlights. If you desire to cover up a bad color job, a hair color remover or stripper must be used to remove the undesired shade. This can cause damage as well, but it is the only way to correct a color mistake. The look can kind of make hair strands appear like partially boiled spaghetti noodles.

Ammonia is what penetrates the cortex after the cuticle is opened. It is alkaline and is a catalyst when the peroxide meets the hair color. This speeds up the process.

Alcohols and conditioners are often in permanent hair color. The conditioners are necessary to close the scales on the cuticle; this allows the color to be sealed, and improves the look and feel of the hair after coloring. The moisture is in the cortex, therefore it is vital to seal the scales. Warnings are placed on all hair color product boxes and on the instruction inserts. This is regulated by the FDA in order to inform the consumer of the possible hair damage and that the instructions should be followed to the letter in order to prevent permanent damage.

Using a home permanent

Perming your own hair at home is quite a venture to undertake. You should be definitely sure that this is something you feel comfortable in tackling yourself. Preferably you should invite a friend over to assist.

Permanents break down disulfide bonds in the hair, and the process also opens the cortex and fibers which enables them to absorb water in order to reshape the shaft to produce curls or be straightened. Perm rods then are able to be placed on sections of hair after these bonds are broken. Smaller rods make tighter curls, larger ones make looser curls.

A neutralizer is used at the end of the setting time. The neutralizer is put on when the setting agent is rinsed out. The neutralizer is oxidizing and his cement hair fibers with keratin; this occurs in order to reform the previously mentioned disulfide bonds to hold the newly shaped curls.

Setting agents cause great vulnerability to your hair. There should be no sudden changes in temperature as even this can react with the agent to damage hair, and the timing should be followed carefully in order not to cause even more damage. Damaging the chemical with the setting agent will make the hair more exposed to the permanent chemicals. Setting solution remains to a degree on the cortex and will continue to manipulate the fibers. This is why instructions are adamant about not washing the hair for three days after the perm. This will cause the perm to basically be washed out, thus washing the curls out.

Fine hair, just as with any other process, is more susceptible to repeat perms. These cuticles are thin, and the hair fibers contain less bulk to respond to frequent reshaping.

Perms are not for everyone, just as bleaching is not for everyone. Some hair just cannot be straightened either. If hair is resistant to these processes, repeatedly adding more chemicals will only cause further intense damage; this can even cause complete breakage and/or permanent discoloration. This is very traumatic and will take many months in order to be remedied. Permanently damaging the growth center of the hair which resides below the skin is more probable upon continued chemical damage.

It is very important to take in all the above considerations and tips to achieve the best and healthiest results when coloring your hair. Please pay attention closely to all instructions, and do not attempt to continually change hair that will not respond to the treatments.

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