Free «Hair Dyes Yesterday and Today» Essay Sample

The hair color market has exploded with retailers developing and commercially launching new products categories to attract those customers who are currently not using hair color. The use of hair dye among the teen between the ages of 13 to 30 has grown tremendously. To them hair dye is a way of expressing themselves and they are enthusiastic to experiment. Women have an interest in coloring effects and vibrant colors. Some even sought to go to the extreme of using unnatural colors. Teenage use of hair dyes with the objective of being noticed rather than covering gray. Youths look at hair dyes as an accessory and it is easy to change.

Male trends in the use of hair dye are growing and have developed to be the fastest marketing segment in terms of growth. The growth in male use of hair color is a response to changes in the workplace where the workforce constitute of young superiors and colleagues, as well as technology. Young men use hair dye as a fashion statement, but for the old men it is for covering the gray. Other studies reveal reasons like dating where those non-grayed men reports high success in dating than gray haired colleagues, it also affects other aspects of life, for instance non-grayed men appears to be confident. The use of hair color by men is increasing hence reducing the gap with their female counterparts (Redgrove, 2009, p. 105).



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The use of hair dye among women stands at 75% of the world population. This translates to millions of women. These statistics cuts across race, age, religion and nationality. Research survey indicates that approximately 88% of women believe that hair color will add to their self-confidence. The other reasons include; feeling and looking better since the products they use are essential in the achievement of such goals.

Reasons why women use hair color in different countries (percent of those who agree)

  UK Mexico China Russia USA
To feel better about myself 77 82 71 81 69
To feel more confident 65 76 67 79 50
To look and feel more attractive 61 71 52 84 62
To cover my gray 57 66 51 56 57
To cover root re-growth 57 81 55 73 Not asked

 The above mentioned reasons explain why the number of women using hair dye has been increasing more often compared to their male counterparts. The demand of quick and efficient hair dye has forced companies to develop products that are compatible with customer needs. However, most of the women prefer permanent hair colors because they last longer, hence reduction of salon visits. Women are more concern with their looks and especially their hair because it is a source of their confidence. They pay less attention to the effects of using high chemical content colorant compared to male. Least percentage of women are using natural dye because of factors like color intensity, quality as well as fading nature of the dye.

Major changes in hair dye chemistry

The first hair dye appeared in the commercial market in 1909. It was created by Eugene Schuller, a French chemist using a chemical known as para-phenylenediamine (PPD). Traditionally, hair coloring was done using mineral and plants which contained pigments and natural bleaching agents. In addition, the use minerals and plants resulting in reactions that cause a change in hair color. PPD stills dominates hair dye field. After this discovery, it was followed by the use of hydrogen peroxide as a bleaching agent. The oxidation dye is present up to today, but a little improvement was done through the introduction of shampoo. Shampoo lightened hair with exclusion of harshness and complex handling of bleach. This increased the coloring mania among women with percentage of women streaming to salon for hair dyeing skyrocketing. The latest chemistry of hair dye is that it makes the hair color quicker, easier and more effective than before.

Types of hair dye

There are two types of hair dyes namely semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes.

Semi-permanent hair dyes

It is also known as temporary hair dyes. This dye does not contain peroxide or ammonia and is used when an individual wants to add a layer or subtly deepen the natural hair color. This dye does not lighten hair, and in addition it does not live long because it washes away after 6-12 washing. Moreover it gives a dose of liveliness to the hair with less commitment. It has molecules that are smaller relative to temporary dyes. Its penetration in the hair shaft is partial this is the reason why the dye can survive up to 12 washing depending on chemical combinations. It is suitable for fragile or damaged hair due to its low levels of peroxide, developers and ammonia. It also contains ingredients such as PPD (p-phenylenediamine) among others. The result of semi-permanent dye is natural with slight variations in shade transversely the entire head. This means that gray and other hair will have varying shades. Individuals use semi-permanent dye as a base as well as for adding highlights before moving to permanent dyes (Bouillon & Wilkinson, 2005, p. 88).

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Permanent hair dyes

They are dyes that cause an ever lasting chemical change in what is known as the hair shaft. This is the mainly popular type of hair color. The changes in hair color will last pending its replacement by new growth. The other name for this category of dyes is coal-tar. This name results from the different ingredients that make-up the dye. This dye comprise of phenols and aromatic amines that are colorless in nature. The ingredients when mixed with hydrogen peroxide react to form a dye. The nature of the dye, that is, whether black or red will depend on the concentration of dyeing agents. The day stays in the year until it is completely replaced by new growth of hair. The permanent dye contains two common ingredients namely p-amino-phenols and p-diamines. When precursors have penetrated the hair shaft, active intermediates oxidize the precursor and it then reacts with couplers. Couplers transform the color arising from oxidation of precursor to produce wash resistant dye (Robbins, 2002, p. 87).

Natural hair dye

It refers to hair dye that does not contain any chemicals. It is organic with no traits of ingredients such as ammonia, peroxide, p-phenylenediamine, parabens, propylene glycol, resorcinol, and other chemicals. Like semi-permanent dye, natural dye do not lighten hair, the only lightening effect can only be possible when an individual rinse the hair with lemon juice. Some natural dye contains ingredients that are organic in nature but still they are certified to be natural. Natural dye has no damages on an individual hair. Natural dye does not penetrate or spoil the hair structure rather it coats the hair. The applicability of natural dye depends on porosity of the hair with very porous hair recording good results when natural dye is applied. This is because of good absorption of the dye, however natural dye do not give an intense color.

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The natural hair dye is safer than other hair dye because of its natural and gentle approach. This is because it contains no preservatives, synthetic chemicals or harsh oxidizing agents such as peroxide and ammonia. This means that they have minimal health risks and exposure to diseases such as cancer. The ingredients used in generating permanent and semi-permanent cause fatal diseases like cancer and disrupt the hair structure. However, natural hair dye is products of pure vegetables meaning that they have minimal health effects and does not disrupt hair structure, as well (Takkouche & Etminan, 2005, p. 94).

Use and safety of ingredients of hair dye

Toluene 2, 5-Diamine Sulfate

Toluene 2, 5-Diamine Sulfate is one of the ingredients that companies use in its formulation of dyes, colors and tints that are permanent. It is the main ingredient in the formulation of cosmetic products because of its key role of imparting color on hair fiber. For this ingredient to give good results, careful formulation should take precedence so as to ensure that the ingredients react in a vastly controlled process. According to CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) expert panel postulates that scientific data that are available indicates that Toluene 2, 5-Diamine Sulfate is safe to use as an ingredient in the formulation of hair dye (Karaitu, 2009, p.62).

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2-Aminophenol (also called para, meta-aminophenol)

It is an ingredient regarded as a precursor in a hair dye. The ingredient works together with other oxidants in the formulation of hair dye. The mixture of this precursor with other oxidants is in the ratio 1:1. Normally, 0.9% concentration is applicable for use in any hair application. Para-aminophenol is a primary intermediate whereas meta-aminophenol is an oxidative coupler. The ingredient functions as colorants during reaction process giving the required shade to the hair of an individual. In reference to occupational safety, as a warning recommendation, hairdressers should wear protective gloves while applying the dye and during rinsing processes. The main function of dye precursors is to impart color (Gray, 2004, p. 87).

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide acts as an oxidant and bleaching agent. Normally, this ingredient is kept at low PH to ensure storage stability, however for bleaching to occur high PH is essential. This component contains surfactants and polymers that ensure forming and thickening at high PH. In addition, it provides rinsing and conditioning benefits when combined color mass undergo rinsing from the hair. The functions of hydrogen peroxide include; it plays an important role as an oxidizing agent of catalyzing the reactions between various precursors, and solubilize and disperse the natural pigment of the hair, melanin, as it bleaches the natural hair pigments as well as any other colorant that is present in the hair fiber. After applying this component to the hair surface, there are two processes that are complementary this takes place: natural hair’s pigment and other synthetic pigment bleaching, and dye precursors diffusion into the hair. As a result, coupling reactions occur which leads to the formation of chromophores inside the hair fiber. These chromophores are big, therefore, difficult to diffuse away from the hair, and as a result a mixture of dye precursors, previous hair color as well as quality hair results (Gray, 2005, p. 74).

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Use of ammonia in hair dye

Ammonia is an alkanizing agent that performs a number of functions: it facilitates swelling of the hair fiber this will ensure efficient diffusion of precursor’s components of hair dye; it helps in increasing the internal PH of hair, and again ensuring a high PH of the overall dye mix. Moreover, it facilitates dye formation inside the hair fiber coupled with catalyzation during melanin bleaching (Hecht, 2007, p. 56).

Pro’s of ammonia

The main advantage of ammonia is its distinctive odor this nature of ammonia being odorless is appealing to clients and colorists during application. Individuals have not to contain bad odor that is common with other components of hair dye. It makes the application enjoyable and uninterrupted. The other benefit is that ammonia is quite effective when it is utilized in deposit-only demi-permanent formulation which fades gradually and does not lighten hair. In addition, incorporation of ammonia formulation when using permanent hair dye will give an excellent predictability. This is because formulations that incorporate ammonia have lasting hair color, intense liveliness as well as superior gray coverage (Tobin, 2005, p. 89).

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Con’s of ammonia

The odorless nature of ammonia points out volatility of the component. It means that it evaporates quickly this will irritate the colorists lungs, cause contiguous mucous membranes as well as hurtful to eyes. Ammonia is an alkaline in nature whereas hair is acidic in its natural state this implies that ammonia will make hair to swell hence facilitates easier penetration of dye. Unfortunately, the effect will make the hair to become rougher, swollen, dryer, weaker and thirsty. In addition, hair coloring will fade faster because color molecules fall out more easily over swollen hair. Moreover, the use of ammonia can cause disproportionate cuticle abrasion this will affects the ability of hair to shine. Finally, ammonia use will irritate the skin of the client due to the acidic nature of the skin (Draelos, 2005, p. 56).

The pH of hair and the pH of hair dyes and how it affects the health of the hair

The hair of a human being possesses factors such as appearance, color, and texture. These factors can affect the health state of hair. Therefore, when using products to care and treat hair the concept of PH should be understood. PH is a measure of the acidity of a substance, and it measurement on an individual body is on solutions such as stomach acids, blood, sweat as well as body oils this points out the extent to which PH can affect the health of one’s hair. Most areas of the human body like skin surface, scalp as well as the stomach hold acidic substances. The PH of the scalp and hair is approximately 5. The products that are used in hair care and treatment are more acidic, but for gentle shampoo it is almost neutral. Shampoo has low PH because they pay an important role of clearing off excess oils and scum on the hair and scalp. On the other hand, neutral PH application is done to limit the effects of irritation. In other situations where you go for a perm, the PH is above 7 this will help hair strand to curl. It is therefore, necessary to consider PH levels of hair treatment products like hair colors and hair dye.

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The use of hair dye in the modern world is increasing among female and male clients. There are a number of reasons that forms the foundation of its immense use; this include as an accessory, a fashion statement as well as covering gray and experimentation. The effects of using chemical based hair dye are detrimental as evidence through high prevalence of cancer among individuals who use hair dye. The chemical components that are used are more reactive with the body and hair tissues resulting in high susceptibility to cancer. Most of the populace are shifting to natural dyes because it appears to be safe, however most manufacturers indicates their products to be natural, and yet they have a composition of chemical ingredients. This calls for awareness on the client’s part in order to identify the true treatment product that is natural. Knowledge on products PH is also essential when making a decision concerning a suitable hair dye. This will limit the effects associated with the use of a particular hair dye. The health of hair is also affected by the PH of the products used in hair care and treatment.


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