Hair color is a reflection of light off the colored pigment of the hair shaft. Different colors add or subtract from the hair color giving it various hues and shades. Hair color is assigned level numbers ranging from 1 to 10, where 1 is black. Today, you can choose hair color from a dazzling range – ivory, peach, café au lait, copper, deep golden brown, plum or burgundy. Color can be applied in a variety of flattering styles such as streaking and highlighting.
The French chemist Eugene Schuller is credited with creating the first safe commercial hair coloring in 1909. This was based on a new chemical called paraphenylenediamine. The company that he started grew on to become a leading name in hair coloring products – L’Oreal. Permanent hair color penetrates the inner core of the hair strand and does not wash away. This kind of hair colors cover gray hair but the roots have to be touched up every few weeks. The semi permanent colors wash off after a number of shampoos. The damage done by them to hair is minimal and their effect can last for about 3 – 4 weeks. The main ingredients of any hair-coloring agents are:
- Hydrogen Peroxide works as the developer. This oxidizing agent kicks off the color-forming process and creates a hair color that is long lasting. A larger proportion of the developer causes an increased loss of sulphur from the hair causing it to harden and lose weight. A developer should be maintained at about 30 % volume or lesser.
- Ammonia acts as a catalyst when the permanent hair color combines with peroxide. It separates the hair cuticle and allows hair color to permeate into the cortex.
A hair-coloring job is best left to a stylist. You need to take into consideration your skin tone, eye color and natural hair color to mix up the best shade. The hair professional can also guide you with the coloring style that would flatter your hairstyle and face shape. You could resort to hair streaking or highlighting to accentuate the bangs or curls.
According to studies, hair dyes have been linked to increased risk of contracting certain types of cancers. Hair dyes may be carcinogenic since they are applied directly to the scalp, nearest to the root. The blood supply may carry carcinogenic components right into the blood stream. Scientists believe that dark colored permanent dyes are easily absorbed in the body through the scalp. They concentrate in the bladder on absorption. Higher instances of bladder cancer and breast cancer were found among consumers who had been using hair dyes for many years. Even hairstylists who used hair dyes on customers had a high exposure since they mixed the chemicals and were therefore at a higher risk.
Hair Highlights with Pictures
Highlights are selected strands of hair that are lightened at least 2 shades lighter than the rest of the hair. Highlighting must be carefully done so as to suit the hair color and style. Once method used for highlighting is to use a plastic cap with holes over the head. Hair is pulled through these holes and then bleached. The advantage of this method is that sensitive skin is not exposed to chemicals. Another popular method is to select strands of hair and place them on aluminum foils. Bleach is applied away from the scalp and then the foil is wrapped and folded till the process is completed. Going in for highlights that are more than 3 shades lighter is not recommended. So the next time you want the sun-kissed look to your hair, go in for highlights!
Hair mascaras offer a temporary hair lighting solution to those who want to ‘color their hair blues’ away. These can be washed off with the next shampoo. With hair mascara, you can change your highlights to suit your style. You can be all set to adopt a wild and wacky look for the night out in town.
Hair streaking is similar to hair highlighting but with a small variation. Streaking involves pronounced strips or bands of colors as compared to highlights, which are subtler. Both involve bleaching of hair but offer different effects. Highlighting is done on fewer strands of hair. You can go in for a full head or half head-streaking job. Choosing a flattering hair shade is essential so as to avoid an unnatural look.
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