To Colour Or Not To Colour - That Is The Question

. 6 min read

Fashion is no more restricted to the craziest clothing and hair accessories. Everything is fair game, and hair colouring is more common, and easier, than it ever was. So throw a dart or pick up a magazine. Go wild over what colour you’ll be sporting today, this week, or for however long you want, really. Unlike Shakespeare’s characters, you don’t have to end up dyed red every time you leave home.

And while some people might question your fashion choices, we here at Remedico trust your decision. Whatever look you choose, we know that you can totally rock it. We just ask that you make the decision an informed one.

So whether you get mistaken for a Funk Artist or this happens to be your first rodeo, there’s no loss in understanding your options. Without further ado, we list the major types of hair dye along with their main characteristics:

  1. Permanent:
    This is an optimal choice for people who are either losing hair colour or have serious determination with their life choices. It uses Ammonia to open the cuticle layer, helping the developer and colour invade the hair shaft. Permanent hair colour will completely penetrate the middle layer of the hair shaft(cortex), where most of the natural pigmentation is. You can get a colour a few shades lighter of your own by using developers (they come in the kit) with higher volume. This is a great substitute for bleaching

It looks slightly unnatural because of its thoroughness in colouring the hair.

  1. Demi-Permanent:
    These colours use weaker alkaline agents than Ammonia. It penetrates the cortex less than permanent colours, and is hence less damaging to the hair. One disadvantage is that you can’t lighten your hair colour with it. The hair comes out looking more natural, and washes out over time (18-30 shampoo washes).

  2. Semi-Permanent: This type uses but a small amount of Developer and Ammonia. It partially penetrates the hair shaft and doesn’t replace the natural pigmentation much. As it doesn’t invade deeply, it fades immediately after the first 5-6 shampoo washes.

The final hair colour depends on the shade of the initial colour and the natural porosity of your hair. It looks natural when you have the scant few grey or white hairs, but is a bad choice if you have a lot of discoloured hair.

  1. Temporary:
    This type of colour works with the help of adsorption. The pigment adheres strongly to the surface of the cuticle, and is the least damaging type. It comes in various applicable products like gels, washes, powders, and so on. This type is used for the brighter and more vibrant hair colours, and it’ll come right off after a single wash. So whether you’re attending a rave or changing looks for a spy mission, you know what dye to use for zero day-after consequences.

  2. Alternative Colour:
    These involve hair colours not commonly found in nature. Even hair colour which glows or becomes visible under certain lighting. And if you’re a big 70’s fan, you can get that neon hair you’ve always dreamed of. These include only the colour, and you need to bleach your hair first for the colour to be effective.

  3. Natural alternatives: Dyeing has been present in many cultures for millennia, and you’d be surprised by the variety of colours that can be applied naturally. Henna, a loved natural herb in India, can be used to achieve a reddish-orange hue.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the types, it’s good to know that dyeing is a science that is being researched thoroughly. However, it is by no means a complete science. Many things, such as intermediate compounds formed during chemical reactions in the colouring process, remain unexplained. They’re glossed over because the majority of people aren’t affected by the process during clinical trials. Here’s a list of some dangerous or lesser known aspects of hair colouring:

Regarding permanent hair colours:

  • These colours replace and cover up the hair’s natural pigmentation. You’ll only lose your natural pigmentation regardless of developer volume.
  • As Ammonia is used to open up the cuticle (which locks hair into their follicles), you need to be very careful about overusing it. Most hair colour kits come with standard amounts of Ammonia for this very reason.
  • Repeated usage ruins the cuticle layer, and hence the hair’s structural integrity is lost to some extent.
  • Ammonia is a very alkaline substance on its own. It causes irritation to the lungs, nose, mouth, eyes and skin.
  • The peroxide in permanent colours bleaches out your natural pigmentation, and treating the hair repeatedly will cause it to become over processed. Hair breaks easily and loses its lustre.

Regarding demi-permanent hair colours:

  • Lead Acetate(II): Do not use volours with lead acetate on mustaches, eyelashes, eyebrows, or hair on parts of the body except the scalp. Avoid contact with eyes.
  • The final colour that comes out might be different from the one advertised on the kit. This is because the final colour is a blend of your natural hair colour and the external dye.
  • If your hair is damaged, demi- and semi- permanent colour might invade into the “marrow” of the hair, the medulla.

Regarding semi-permanent hair colours:

  • Semi permanent hair colours might contain PPD, a suspected carcinogen and a known cause for allergic reactions in many people.
  • Many researches have suggested a link between PPD and neutrophilic and eosinophilic dermatitis.
  • PPD can cause flare ups in people having psoriasis, eczema (both covered previously in our blog), and other skin diseases.
  • Grecian Formula is a men’s hair colouring product. In the formulation used in the United States, it contains lead(II) acetate. Because lead acetate is banned in cosmetics in Canada and the European Union, the formulations sold there do not contain it.
  • If you have very porous hair, the colour might last in the hair longer than advertised because of better bonding.

Regarding temporary hair colours:

  • If your hair is damaged, the pure colorant could migrate to inside of the hair shaft.
  • You need to bleach your hair to a light blond before you can apply the tint. Bleaching in itself is an activity that has some dangers.

Dyeing your hair is a long term commitment. There is a lot of maintenance involved. From supplementary processes required to common Do Not’s, here are some advices dealing with application of dyes:

  1. O skin, wherefore has’t thee been tainted? The pigmentation melanin is found both in the hair and the skin. What works for your hair, works for your skin too. Any spills on your skin while dyeing your hair will leave a mark, so wear gloves. Special products are available in the market to remove these dye marks.
  2. Chlorine Bleach: Chlorine Bleach reacts with ammonia to create a toxic gas. Permanent hair colours bleach the hair with their own peroxide based bleach, but this is a thing to always keep in mind.
  3. Things that taste bad: The case with most chemical products is: if you ingest it, it’s going to kill you. A rule of thumb for aspiring adults. In the case of Ammonia, ingesting it can cause damage to the oesophagus and stomach, even causing death in severe cases. Candy hair colours look appeasing, but you need to control your impulses.
  4. Deposit Shampoos: There’s more types than one can remember. Your dyeing session might not turn out very well if you’ve been using colour protection shampoo that uses plastic deposits. What can lock the colour in, can also lock it out.
  5. Purple Shampoos: If you’ve bleached your hair and have a light blond shade, it can slowly turn to copper or mellow yellow shades. Using purple shampoos balances out the yellow tone bit by bit. It helps maintain a healthy tone throughout and decreases the trips to the salon.
  6. Deep-conditioning treatments: After all the processing it has to go through, even your hair complains. It won’t grow a mouth and tell you that, but chances are that it’ll start giving up on looking healthy. Deep conditioning imparts moisture to the hair, helps damage prevention and adds lustre to the hair.
  7. Damage Repair: Hair care is important. Especially if you’re an in a job where your hair is processed daily in different ways. Theatre actors tend to have more products put in than the hair count on their head. Damage control is effective when done on hair that’s starting to get damaged. For over processed hair, the only solution is to chop it off.

These types, tips and precautions come in very handy when planning the look you’ll be sporting the next time you attend a party. If you feel that you’ve overdrawn on your hair, or just need a check-up for health’s sake. The doctors at Remedico are there for you, and a treatment plan lies just a short questionnaire away.

With Remedico, you can consult with a certified dermatologist from wherever you are, all from your smartphone. Start your consultation today: