How to Use Hair Color More Safely

How to Use Hair Color More Safely

Many of us use hair color to enhance our appearance, brighten up our natural look or feel more youthful. But as with most good things, there’s usually a catch. And the catch here is that some hair dyes have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. At one point it was widely recommended to use baby oil on your skin while sitting in the sun…we now know better!

The good news is, there are ways to use hair color more safely; as the major risk identified with hair color has to do with applying color directly onto your scalp. The average client who is covering grey with on-scalp color application will go back for a touchup every 3-5 weeks. When you apply product to your scalp for maximum coverage, you may be covering more hair than necessary. Contrast is the toughest part of full grey coverage with hair color, and typically you will see grey hair growth within two weeks of the last color application because your hair grows an average of 1/2 an inch per month.

Thankfully, when you find a hairstylist you can trust and has patience, permanent hair color can be used more safely. If you are looking for a less permanent option, there are some great Semi and Demi-permanent options available. These options can be delivered in gel form or even via shampoo and conditioner. Instead of using chemicals to expand the hair strand and deposit color, Semi and Demi only sit on the surface of the hair strand. Keep in mind that these products may not be able to disguise all grey, but can definitely be a great temporary solution.

If your hair is a bit more stubborn or you just prefer to make sure the grey is covered for longer, consider using foils for your next appointment. Foils are great for helping color to penetrate the hair stand while also keeping color off of the scalp. This technique can also help you spend time on the areas you will see most, and avoid overexposure to other areas of the scalp. Using the foils as a low light can help blend the grey and natural hair together, which can significantly decrease how frequently you will notice growth and have to worry about your hair color.

Some have used their grey hair to inspire an entirely new hair color, seeing it as an opportunity to go brighter and lighter. I have clients that used to spend lots of time and money on completely covering their grey, but have now transitioned into using highlights to enhance the natural grey pattern by adding in blonde, which helps brighten the face and softens the harshness of new hair growth.

Though going lighter can be more abrasive on the hair, having your hair stylist use a low volume developer can help protect the hair stand. When using this technique, I have clients that come for a touch up every 3-4 months, instead of every 3-5 weeks.

If you're going to color your hair, it’s also important to prepare it. Using our topical serum To The Root is a great way to deliver the peptides to the scalp to help stimulate Collagen, Elastin and Keratin production, which are the building blocks of hair. The stronger the hair strand is before coloring, the better it will look after going darker or lighter. If you are using an on-scalp hair color, consider using Not Today, Grey and To The Root, this duo will help grow better hair and help repair the environment that has been exposed to chemicals from hair color.

We’re often asked if To The Root is color safe...and yes, it is! In fact, thanks to the peptide and extracts in To The Root, it will help nourish your hair and balance the sebum in your scalp, resulting in healthier hair. We also recommend using Not Today, Grey to improve your hair from the inside-out, resulting in the slowing of grey hair but also thicker, fuller, softer and glossier hair.

Here's a helpful primer on dye + highlighting terminology:

Low Lights: Using a fine slice of hair, you apply hair color to deepen the strands, using a foil to isolate and control product.

High Lights: Using a fine slice or a weave you apply hair color to lighten the strands, using a foil to incubate and control product.

Semi-Permanent: Found as Shampoo and Conditioner, after applied to wet hair will last for 6-8 washes.

Demi-Permanent: Found as Gel or Gloss, after being applied to hair will last for 24-28 washes.

Permanent Hair Color: Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide work in unison to penetrate the hair cuticle, this allows color to be deposited.

Bleach: A chemical hair dye technique that strips the color of your hair strands. Bleaching begins with an alkaline agent that opens up the hair cuticle. Next comes the oxidative agent that penetrates the hair cortex and dissolves the hairs natural melanin.

Developer: Also referred to as activator, developer is mixed with bleach or dye to lighten or color hair. It's a creamy product that contains hydrogen peroxide, and the amount of hydrogen peroxide is what determines developer volume.