Home Hair Color and the Dangers
“Girl, you see that fabulous starlett on TV? She colors her own hair, and all I have to do is go get that home hair color in a box and I’ll save myself a lot of money. I want my hair to look like hers!”
Ok ladies, that starlett probably has a hair designer that lives under her bed, and I doubt with the millions of dollars in her bank account, that she is coloring her own hair. All those TV commercials that show you the before and after of going from bad hair to great luscious and shiny hair, are using a very talented hair professional to bring it to a finish and be camera ready, that’s the truth!
Knowing the information between the, “This is my hair color, and this is what I want to be”, is at the end of every perfect beautiful finish. What most people don’t know is what gets them into trouble in the first place.
Let’s have a quick lesson here -
Most hair color products available in your local drugstore today can be applied very easily. Some on dry hair applied with a brush or a applicator bottle, and some on wet hair which you can work them in like a shampoo and create a lather, there are also coloring products that resemble a mousse, which are applied with ease and you can color from roots to ends.
What most people don’t realize is that the chemicals in these products can be very harmful to your hair and if used improperly, they can do some serious damage. You need to know the right product for the right job, especially for those of you with chemically relaxed or permed hair. Depending on what you use, we are dealing with either non-ammonia or ammonia hair colors that are mixed with and an activator, you call it peroxide. Let me break down for you in simple terms the three major hair coloring products.
Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Works almost like a stain, it adds color without interacting with your natural pigment. Uses no developer and leaves the hair after several shampoos. Will cover up to 50% gray. This product does not contain ammonia and will not lighten your own natural hair color. At best can last up to 12 shampoos. (These numbers are not accurate, as everyone’s porosity is different.)
Demi-Permanent Hair Color
Similar to semi, but will last much longer. Some can last up to 24 shampoos. It is mixed with a developer therefore when entering the cortex it will have longer lasting effect. It blends and covers gray. However, on permed or relaxed hair it can almost act like permanent hair color.
Permanent Hair Color
This is where it gets good! It’s what you need to become like gorgeous star on TV . . . well not quite, but we’re on the right path. It uses both ammonia and peroxide. Hair color molecules enter the cortex, they expand to a much larger size and get trapped in the cortex. Not so easy though, you need to realize that there is a process that happens here, this product will lighten your natural pigment and than adds the new pigment, and the peroxide permeates the color.
This product will generally last from 4 to 6 weeks and note that the same color will look different on you or your friend depending on the hair type, and natural tone. That is why when looking at the beautiful girl on the box, I personally would want to know what she was before the product was applied . . . doesn’t sound so easy anymore, does it?
In the end, in the salon we use activators that start at strengths from 10, 20, 30 and 40 volume. What is this, you ask? This is real color technology, that you won’t find it in the hair color box at the local supermarket or drugstore, trust me!
Of course, it doesn’t end here. There’s double processing, bleaching and toning, highlighting, low-lighting, and so much more mastery and technology regarding hair color. But this is where we professionals draw the line. You can try this at home, and when the usual kitchen disasters occur, most people wind up either coloring it back to a natural color, which in itself can be another devastating experience, and this is where you find yourself going (FINALLY!) back to see the real pros.
I just gave you a small synopsis on the three major hair color products. The hair coloring bible is much more elaborate and in the end if you are a beautiful brunette and think that the blonde on the box was achieved on a level 4 brunette by a single application, think again! What’s a level 4 you ask? That’s a lesson for another day!