The Chemistry of Hair Coloring

Posted on October 20, 2007  Comments (4)

Scientists Develop the First Significant Advance in Hair Dye in 50 Years by Kristen Philipkoski

Hair color is serious chemistry. Getting color into that hair shaft is no joke. That’s why Procter & Gamble employs 1,800 “beauty scientists” around the globe. I spoke to two of these beauty scientists this week who told me they have invented a kinder hair color, and that it marks the first significant advance in dye jobs in 50 years.

Small, diffuse color molecules enter the hair, and while they’re inside, they oxidize and form a chemical reaction with a larger color molecule that’s already trapped in there. But the small molecules aren’t all that selective about who they get it on with, and they end up breaking some of the chemical bonds that hold hair together. That releases free radicals that make hair weaker and less able to resist things like aggressive brushing, blow-drying and ironing.

So the beauty scientists came up with a whole new chemistry for getting the lightening molecules inside the hair. First, the new process works at a much lower pH. That makes it less alkaline, so it strips away much less of the lipid coating.

4 Responses to “The Chemistry of Hair Coloring”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Students Create “Disappearing” Nail Polish
    March 22nd, 2008 @ 9:35 am

    “A nail varnish that “vanishes” has been developed by a group of school pupils – offering girls the chance to beat bans on makeup. The nail colour is a vivid red outdoors…”

  2. Anonymous
    September 3rd, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

    I am always dying my hair (probably about once a month) and I hate that it could be ruining my hair. It would be great if they have one that is really great and even completely healthy for my hair.

  3. Curious Cat Science Blog: Why Does Hair Turn Grey as We Age?
    February 26th, 2009 @ 11:08 am

    going gray is caused by a massive build up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of our hair follicles. The peroxide winds up blocking the normal synthesis of melanin, our hair’s natural pigment…

  4. Carolina Cabello
    November 5th, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

    Always been against comercial hair products. Why use them, when there is plenty of good natural products. You can even create your home-made masks for a few dollars. Also many recipes online for hair dye. Just google for it!

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