Okay, I gave in a couple of months ago to color! Not the formulas with ammonia, but one with henna and indigo and I loved the results. My grays are copper colored I think and the rest of my hair has a deeper dark brown color that I'm loving.
How about you? What type of color do you put on your hair?
There are two primary pigments in our hair. Eumelanin which gives hair brown and black hues and pheomelanin which gives it orange and blonde hues. Grey hair has no pigment. When we color our hair, we either use:
1. Temporary color which coats the surface of the hair and can be washed away with one or two washings.
2. Semi-permanent color which penetrates deeper into the cuticle layer of your hair and can be washed away after several washes. These ones do not completely cover the natural hair color and therefore do not damage your hair.
3. Bleach which oxidizes the eumelanin in hair thus removing pigment. Two commonly used bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. These open up the hair shaft and break the melanin down. The color change from bleaching is permanent. Newly growing hair will have your natural hair at the roots.
4. Permanent color which requires bleaching as a first step, deeply delivers dyes to the cortex, well beyond the hair cuticle layer. Unfortunately this entire process damages the hair and you have to take special care of your hair to prevent excessive dryness and breakage.
Henna is a great alternative. It is a natural pigment that has been used for centuries. It strengthens and conditions the hair while depositing pigment to the cortex. It doesn't replace your natural hair color. It just coats it and gives you a color unique only to you.
If you have colored or bleached your hair you will need to moisturize it very well to prevent breakage. Coloring hair makes your hair more porous, rendering it dry because it quickly absorbs and looses moisture. Use highly moisturizing products and apply a rehydrator often. Nourishing oils are critical to ensure that you seal moisture and feed your hair and scalp. Avoid products with ammonia and bleach because of their damaging effects on your hair. Your body also absorbs them through your scalp and there can be long term effects on your health due to the chemicals used on hair. If you have permed or texturized your hair in addition to coloring it, take a look at: Are You Reading Your Product Labels?