What's in your hair color?

Whether you're 15 or 75, male or female, you have probably changed your hair color at least once in your life. In fact, most women dye or highlight their hair regularly (every 5-6 weeks) and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. But most of us never ask the question of "What's in this hair color?" Or even more important, "Is this okay for my health?" I will give some information on the harmful ingredients that can be found in hair color, what to avoid, and what color alternatives and brands are the safest, for you and your hair.

So what makes dyes harmful? Hair color works by altering the molecular structure of your hair using a combination of chemicals. The combination consists of the actual color pigment, and a developer, which lifts the outside covering, or "cuticle" of the hair to allow for the color to deposit into the shaft. The developer often contains a combination of peroxide and ammonia, which can be harmful to inhale, and can cause allergic reactions  to anyone with chemical sensitivities. The peroxide amount found in the developer is known as the "volume", and it is what allows the chemicals to penetrate deep enough to lighten or darken the hair color. A combination of developer and lightener is used to give highlights, and if the lightener is not dust-free, it can also be harmful to breathe.  Many darker hair dyes also contain petrochemicals such as coal tar, and p-phenylenediamine (PPD)--a primary source of allergic reactions.

Currently today, there are no permanent colors that do not contain any of the harmful chemicals. However, there are safer alternatives that contain LESS of the harmful chemicals, and some that contain alternative chemicals that have been proven to be safe. If you want to lighten or highlight your hair, ask your stylist to use a "dust free" lightening formula to avoid inhaling the harmful bleach. The reason that dust free is the safest option is because "dust" particles in the lightener can travel through the air and can be harmful to your lungs. L'Oreal Professional (the brand used at Blush) has several different lightener options that are dust free; including the Platinium paste used for Balayage highlights, and the dust-free powder lightener, used for traditional highlights.

If you are changing your hair color to a red or a darker color, and you don't need to cover any gray, Semi-permanent color is a healthy option. Don't let the name fool you, Semi-permanent deposits enough color to give lasting results. It also has less PPD than permanent color, which means that its safe for those with chemical sensitivities, or those who have allergies.

Whether you are using semi-permanent or permanent color, an ammonia-free color is going to give you the shiniest, healthiest hair, without the harmful effects of ammonia. Blush carries a great line of color known as Inoa, which is a revolutionary hair color product that contains monoethanolamine, which is an alkaline alternative to ammonia that is safe and odor-free. Inoa works with an Oil Delivery System that increases the active potential of the haircolor system while preserving the hairs natural protective layer twice as much as traditional ammonia-based permanent haircolor. It is a truly unique color formula, and it gives amazing results.

Although many people don't give the chemicals a second thought before they get their hair colored, you now see that it can make a difference in your long-term health to use safer alternatives, and it will definitely make a difference on the health of your hair. Now that you're more educated on the topic, go out and get yourself some beautiful, healthy hair, in any color you want!

<3 C and E

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