Are you actually aware of what your hair is made up of? A lot of men and women are unsure of the structure of hair which leads them to not knowing if they should actually be coloring it with a permanent hair dye. After researching we want to share with you the process that occurs when you color your hair. Hopefully this post helps you to become more aware of your hair type and the condition that it is in.
The Build Up:
- The main component in our hair is keratin a protein that is also found in our skin, nails, teeth, etc. Hair is actually formed of the dead cells that your body sheds as new cells push up, if the dead cells are kept in good condition they will protect the delicate new tissue below them. Hair has a tendency of becoming dry and brittle due to keratin being pushed to great lengths. The thicker layer of keratin, the healthier your hair will be because the dead cells on the outside are protecting the living cells. By taking good care of the external layer of your hair you are keeping your hair in good condition making it appear healthier.
- The cortext is the middle part of your hair's strands and it contains moisture and melanin. You have probably heard of the word melanin before, it is the pigment that gives your hair its color. The cortex is made up of melanin and other proteins that give your hair strength and flexibility.
Types of Melanin:
- Eumelanin is the dark pigment which gives hair that is black and brown it's color.
- Phaeomelanin is a much lighter pigment and varies from shades of red, orange, golden blonde, etc.
- When you mix these two pigments of melanin the outcome is your specific hair shade, but if your hair lacks in pigment it will result in white or gray hair. As you grow older the number of melanocytes reduces causing less melanin to be produced which slowly leads to your hair turning gray.
- The cuticle is the protective outer layer of your hair's strands which determines how healthy your hair looks and feels. The cuticle protects the cortext which is underneath, so if your hair is damaged the cuticle will break off exposing the cortex which will make your hair dry and harder to brush. If your cuticle is smooth your hair will look much shinier, but if it is raised your hair will appear to be damaged.
What happens when you dye your hair:
- Permanent Hair Color: When you apply permanent dye to your hair the ammonia (an ingredient in the dye) causes the cuticle to open and absorb the color. The peroxide, another ingredient found in permanent dye, breaks into your hair's cortex and removes your existing melanin which is your original hair's color. The new color is then left in your hair's cortex leaving you with the desired color. The conditioner that usually comes with permanent dye kits is supposed to be used to close the cuticle back up sealing in that new color.
**When you bleach or lighten your hair with permanent dye the same process occurs.The only difference is that the melanin extracts until you get your desired shade, your natural color then cannot be replaced until it grows back in.
- Semi-permanent Hair Color: This process of coloring your hair is much gentler and healthier. The color that is applied during this method of coloring will last up to 4-6 weeks, depending on how many times you shampoo your hair. Semi-permanent hair color consists of no ammonia and no peroxide. When you color your hair with semi-permanent dye you are adding just enough color molecules to your cuticle so that you do not dramatically change your original hair shade. The molecules are small so in time they escape from the cuticle allowing the color to fade out.
- Demi-permanent Hair Color: When you use this type of dye the color will usually last up to 8-12 weeks. Demi-permanent dye has no ammonia and some peroxide. The color, when being applied, coats each hair strand creating larger molecules in your hair's cortex. This is why the color lasts longer then semi-permanent hair color, because the molecules are bigger.
Semi-permanent hair dye is the least damaging to your hair, permanent hair dye can be the most harmful and can leave you with dry and damaged hair. Your hair, when you choose to color with permanent dye, will not revert back to the condition that it was originally in. In this situation you will need to spend a lot more time and effort on your hair to regain it's health.