Colouring hair is an extremely common practice for most woman and many men. It can hide unwanted grey hair or add depth and tone to your hairstyle. Many people colour theirs for fashion reasons or a way of helping them look younger. Whatever your reason for colouring your hair there are certain rules you must adhere too for a professional look and your own safety. 

Natural hair colour is determined by the colour of pigments in the hairs cortex. Hair colour pigments are called melanin. The two main pigments responsible for black or brown hair are called Eumelanin and those responsible for red and yellow hair are called pheomelanin. As we age the production of these pigments decreases and when a new hair grows it will appear white.

Hair dye was first created in 1909 by French chemist Eugene Schuller using the chemical paraphenylenediamine. Hair dye works by a series of chemical reactions between the molecules in hair, pigments, as well as peroxide and ammonia. Although many modern hair colours are much kinder with fewer chemicals involved.

There are three main types of hair colour:

  1. Temporary Hair Colour: large colour molecules enter the spaces between the hair cuticles and coast the surface of the hair. It lasts a number of washes and there is no ammonia or peroxide.
  2. Semi-Permanent Colour: Small colour molecules penetrate each hair cuticle and enter the edge fo the cortex of the hair. This uses a small amount of peroxide to add tone and help cover grey hair. It lasts approximately 28 washes. 
  3. Permanent Hair Colour: Small colour molecules penetrate each hair cuticle and enter the cortex it reacts with the melanin in your hair. Most formulas will contain ammonia and peroxide. Permanent colour can lighten, darken, add tone and cover 100% of grey hair. It may fade but will not wash out. Because of the risk of an allergic reaction, it is imperative you carry out a skin test according to manufacturers instructions and follow instructions as to how to apply the colour. Top tips for colouring hair at home.
    1. Make sure your hair is in the best condition it can be before colouring. Use a deep conditioning treatment prior to colouring.
    2. Do a patch test at least 48 hours prior to colouring.
    3. Wear clothes you can afford to stain if the colour drips. Old towels should be used for the same reason.
    4. Have all the equipment you need to colour your hair safely.  Invest in a good colouring brush for application. Hair clips to section the hair as you colour, this helps prevent overlapping of colour.  Protect the forehead with some vaseline to prevent staining. Wear the gloves provided. This protects the skin from discolouration and exposure to the dye.
    5. Start at the roots and work down. Set a timer as directed by manufactures instructions.
    6. Once development time has been reached rinse the colour out with warm water, when the water runs clear, shampoo and conditionLightening or bleaching hair at home follows similar rules but you must be more aware of the developing time as bleach reacts with the melanin in hair, removing the colour in an irreversible chemical reaction and over processing can result in hair breakage.

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