Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hair coloring products generally fall into four categories: temporary, semipermanent, deposit only/demi, and permanent. All these hair color products, except for temporary color, require a patch test before application to determine if the client is allergic to the product.
"Hair lightening", often referred to as "bleaching" or "decolorizing", is a chemical process involving the diffusion of the natural color pigment or artificial color from the hair. This process is central to both permanent hair color and hair lighteners.
All permanent haircolor products and lighteners contain both a developer, or oxidizing agent, and an alkalizing ingredient as part of their ammonia or an ammonia substitute. The purpose of this is to
- raise the cuticle of the hair fiber so the tint can penetrate,
- facilitate the formation of tints within the hair fiber,
- bring about the lightening action of peroxide.
When the tint containing the alkalizing ingredient is combined with the developer (usually hydrogen peroxide), the peroxide becomes alkaline and diffuses, or breaks up, through the hair fiber, entering the cortex, where the melanin is located. The lightening occurs when the alkaline peroxide breaks up the melanin and replaces it with new color.
For individuals who wish to use a subtle neutralizer for yellowing hair or to neutralize unwanted tones. The pigment molecules in temporary hair color are large and, therefore, don't penetrate the cuticle layer, allowing only a coating action that may be removed by shampooing.
Formulated to last through several shampoos, depending on the hair's porosity and thus ability to absorb moisture. The pigment molecules are small enough to partially penetrate the hair shaft and stain the cuticle layer.
Formulated to deposit but not lighten hair color. It's smaller than tint molecules and therefore is able to penetrate the hair shaft.
This is mixed with developer and remains in the hair shaft until new growth of hair occurs. It's used to match, lighten, and cover gray hair. Permanent hair color generally contains ammonia, oxidative tints, and peroxide. The allergic reaction that comes from hair dye is generally one of sensitization to PPD. The reaction will most likely occur each time one dyes one's hair and will probably get worse each time. The sensitization from the ingredients in hair colour can extend to sensitization of other products of same or similar composition, including but not limited to the dye used in textiles, sunscreen, rubber, and|or certain medications.
Henna is a deposit-only hair color whose active component, lawsone, binds to keratin and is therefore permanent. It is often mixed with other plant dyes, such as indigo, turmeric, and senna, to change the color. Allergy to henna is much rarer than allergy to permanent hair colors.
Using a plant based color, specifically henna, can cause problems later when trying to do a permanent wave (perm) and other permanent hair color. Discoloration can occur on hair that has been previously tinted with henna, or curl will not take when henna is used on it.
Special effects include highlighting and vivid, unusual hair colors such as green or fuchsia. Highlighting can range from temporary to permanent, using the techniques listed above and a special application process. The techniques required to apply highlighting can be difficult for an individual to perform upon him or herself. You can create looks that range from looking like you spent the day at the beach, to more dramatic looks, like bold, chunky highlights.
The more exotic, bright dyes typically contain only the tinting aspect and no developer. These are typically sold in punk-themed stores (such as comic book and music stores) but are rarely available at commercial hair dressers. Colors range from blood red to violet and anything in between. Many shades are even black light reactive. Individuals with darker hair (medium brown to black) are advised to use a bleaching kit prior to tint application for the full effect of the color. Some people with fair hair may benefit from prior bleaching as well, as the yellow undertones of blonde hair can make blue dye look green. These dyes are less permanent, and tend to "bleed" onto other fabric even when dry, so users should anticipate staining of light-colored pillows for a week or so after application.
Social Stigma of Unusual Hair Color
In many rural or conservative areas in the United States, dyeing one's hair a color that does not fall within the range of "natural" shades is not socially acceptable outside of certain circles, such as Punk or Gothic. In many business environments, a strict professional dress code is required. As most of the people who work and make hiring decisions in these places consider extremely vivid hair colors unprofessional, someone who has dyed his or her hair an "unnatural" shade could risk being fired. Additionally, he or she could have a difficult time getting a new job, especially one which requires contact with a customer.
see also human physical appearance
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