Debunking the Myths of the Hair Color Industry
This is a fact: Just because a person does not seem to have a reaction after using or smelling an ammonia-based hair color product several times, does not guarantee that cross-sensitization might not occur after the next usage. In fact, it might not occur until the 25th time the product is used. The average customer is in contact with hair color ammonia about every 4-6 weeks; however, hair stylists have daily contact--leading to accumulative bouts of headaches, loss of appetite, and fatigue due to the ammoniated smells.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ammonia is listed as a hazardous substance that has related negative health effects. Nearly all professional and "box" hair color contain ammonia. If a color line claims to be a "non-ammonia base," the product most likely contains its "silent scented," even more toxic friend ethanolamine.
Your hair color and your investment, fully fading
Both the hair professionals and consumers are led to believe ammonia is a "must" for color to work, however it is actually an inexpensive hair color additive used to allow color molecules to penetrate the hair's cuticle. Because of its properties, these ingredients leave the hair in a compromised and weakened condition. The money you have spent hoping that it lasts a long time is also compromised as fading and discoloration will occur.
For longer lasting, beautiful hair color-avoid these two major ingredients
Recent research has found that 50%-60% of clients suffer from negative effects of ammonia-based colors. Over time, the shaft of hair starts to resemble string cheese. Ammonia not only negatively affects the cuticle of the hair, it also damages the amino acid or protein called tyrosine, which is found inside the hair shaft. When the tyrosine is damaged, the hair's ability to hold onto color is greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.
Ethanolamine is a "silent substitute" if ammonia is not used in a hair color. This ingredient has always been used in semi-permanent color at about 3% concentration. If ethanolamine is to be used in permanent color, the concentration has to be increased to 9%, compared to 1-3% of ammonia!
A Shocking Statistic
Fact: In the United States, over 6.2 billion harmful ounces of chemicals and synthetics from shampoo and conditioners are washed down the drain, into rivers, lakes and oceans, every single day.
In the amount and how much it is compounded with its "adhesive" property, it can never be totally washed out of the hair and scalp! As a result, every time the hair is washed, the water acts as a mild oxidizer and "process" the color a little bit all over again. This is what contributes to pre-matured fading and the dryness that develops gradually.
So, whether you begin by damaging the hair or re-oxidizing it, the cuticle is damaged and becomes susceptible, and you do not get an end result that you ideally want or could have.
Is a Less Toxic Approach Really Possibly with Hair Color?
Most people have an internal battle that as a consumer they wonder
- What do we have a right to know?
- What we are willing to learn?
- How then do we discern the wisdom?
Have you wondered why fumed hair dyes sting our scalp, make our eyes water, and make some people sneeze? Then have you asked yourself, "Can this be safe for me?"
About 400 (86%) out of the 456 hair colors ranked in the Skin Deep cosmetics database of the Environmental Working Group are considered high hazard. It is a controversial issue in "quoting" hair dyes to be linked to health Hazards. Many believe the conventional carcinogenic dyes are part of the issue, when used in conjunction with other toxic personal care products.
The early studies showed an association between hair dye use and increased risks for multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and leukemia, plus ovarian cancer in women. Almost all the early studies indicated that increased risk might be restricted to long-term or frequent hair dye users, particularly users of dark hair dyes.
United States lacks reporting guidelines for manufacturers
Europeans seem to be well ahead of the U.S. In the European Union (EU), its members actively respond to potentially dangerous chemicals in cosmetics and body care products. In 1996, an established ban on 22 hair dye substances was issued by the EU. However, the United States has not required manufacturers to file data on ingredients or report cosmetic-related injuries.
Is There a Healthy Alternative in Hair Coloring?
Many over-the-counter and professional hair color products claim to be gentle and contain botanical extracts. The few included botanical ingredients don't necessarily make a safe or "non-toxic" product. Many of these colors contain ammonia, ethanolamine, and/or resorcinol. Several very popular hair color lines contain both ammonia and ethanolamine. This is a good reason to carefully read the labels on even the most "trusted brands."
Problem Solved. Have your beautiful color, and health too!
It is possible to find safe and healthy hair color products! Here is what a safer color line can offer!
- No ammonia or ammonia substitutes, therefore no damage to the hair.
- Rich, vibrant colors including reds and coppers that do not fade.
- Lighten up to 6 levels without having to bleach or damage the hair.
- No more itchy scalps, stinging or staining.
- No toxic odors in the salon-smells like grapes.
- No ammonia gas to be inhaled.
- Ability to color the hair more often.
For both the customer and the hair professional it is important that professional salons soon offer a coloring service with a more integrative, healthier, and longer-lasting investment for the client.
It is also important that professionals and consumers learn to recognize what chemicals are in your hair color brands by reading the labels (or by asking your colorist to tell you). For more details, check out these Web sites:
- Healthy Child Organization: www.HealthyChild.org (check out chemicals section)
- Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org/node/22586 (lots of interesting articles about chemical use in products)
- Skin Deep: www.CosmeticDatabase.com
- Safe Cosmetics: www.SafeCosmetics.org (companies that have pledged not to use harmful chemicals in their products)
We can have our beauty, and our health too. Everyone must do what they can to remove hazardous chemicals from their lives.