Dye for your tresses


Dye for your tresses

ALL YOU want to know about hair dyes, hair colours and grey coverage! Greying hair, like wrinkled skin, is a manifestation of ageing process; but sometimes, there is premature greying. It can cause a great deal of anxiety. Hair gets its colour from the pigment "Melanin" which forms in the middle layer of the hair shaft. The more the pigment, the darker the hair colour. With age or due to other reasons, the pigment may not form causing the hair to be without colour.

When the white strands appear, the question of how to deal with them is uppermost on one's mind. Strands of hair that have turned white cannot become dark again. The only way to change their colour is by dyeing. Hair dyeing has become a very common practice. There are a whole gamut of hair colours and dyes available in the market today ranging from the home-grown henna to Indian dyes and the latest MNC products. Hair colours/dyes are usually of four types.

1) Temporary hair colouring rinses

2) Semi permanent colours

3) Permanent or chemical colours and

4) Black dyes and colour dyes.

Temporary hair colouring

These are available in the form of rinses, shampoos, gels, sprays and glitter dust. On hair in good condition, these do not penetrate the hair cuticle. In this treatment, the hair shaft is coated with clear colour to darken or highlight. It is really temporary, coating each hair only till the next shampoo.

Semi permanent colours

Semi-permanent colourants are available in a variety of forms. Some are ready mixed for immediate use. Others need to be mixed and prepared as necessary for use. They do not penetrate the hair shaft and the pigment is deposited on the hair cuticle and outer-cortex; therefore, they do not contain hydrogen peroxide, which is required to develop the pigment and are mostly ammonia free. However, semi-permanent colours cover only 25 per cent grey. They blend with hair into your natural shade. Semi-permanent colours can be used to make your hair look brighter and also to cover outgrown highlighted hair to a dark shade. The colour gradually fades each time hair is shampooed. Some colourants will last through six washes; others even longer. Some semi-permanent colours may contain skin sensitisers. However, skin sensitivity test must be done before their use.

Skin test

This is also called a patch test and is done to find out whether your skin reacts to the chemicals in the colouring.

* Mix the colour as given in the directions or the box/bottle

* Clean an area of 8 mm square behind your ear.

* Apply little of the mixed colour on this area and let it dry.

After 24-48 hours, check to see if there is any rash, swelling or soreness or irritation or any other allergic reaction.

If a positive response occurs do not use the colouring. If there is no reaction, you can go ahead and use the colour.

Permanent colours/dyes

If you have a lot of grey hair, only a permanent colour will cover them. Permanent colours usually come in a pack with two bottles to mix. One contains the colour, the other contains peroxide which oxidises the hairs' natural pigments and joins the small molecules of synthetic pigment together which helps the hair to give longer lasting colour (4-6 weeks). The colour does not wash out but after about four weeks, the re-growth of roots needs re-touching. Most packs of hair colours have applicators included that make it easy to apply the colour just where you want to.

The disadvantage of oxidising colours is that it makes the hair dry porous, so it is necessary to use plenty of conditioner.

Today, there are two kinds of permanent hair colours liquids and cream-based dyes. Among these, the cream-based are better as they are not harsh since they contain protective lubricants and damage to the hair is minimised.

Black dyes

These are added to henna and available as black henna. They contain a substance called PPD in high amounts (paraphenylediamine). This is a common allergen and is very harmful to the hair shaft.

Coloured dyes

These are dyes that colour the hair into different colours like light brown or blonde. These are usually loaded with minerals and hence harmful to the hair. They work by first stripping the hair of the natural pigments and then work on the bleached shaft. Both mineral heavy colours and PPD heavy dyes may have potential carcinogenic properties.

(To be continued)