36 posts in category Blog

Translucent vs. Opaque hair color

Q: I am confused about the terms, opaque and translucent. In the color classes I attended, educators used those terms in describing their line of color. I thought if the color was light it was translucent and as the colors get darker they become more opaque. The educators say “no,” their darker colors are translucent as well. Is that a good thing? Sandra, San Francisco, CA A: The words ...

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Tips to extend the life of hair color

Q. Dr. Said, I would like your expert opinion and some tips on how to improve the lasting effect of hair color? Jessica, Alexandria, VA A. Jessica, here are some key steps that will enhance the longevity of hair color: 1.       Before applying color, make sure the hair is clean and free of metallic buildup. Metals are the worst enemy of hair color. 2.       Apply the color to the ...

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Processing hair color with or without heat

Q. Dr. Said, I have another question for you. Most manufacturers recommend to process hair color at room temperature. But there are others who teach to process under heat. What is your opinion on this? Does heat give better color? Donna, Sweeny, TX A. Donna, it is always recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions because each color line is designed to work under a specific set of ...

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Effect of oxidizers on hair dyes and hair melanin

Q. Dr. Said, I was wondering if you could give me a description of how oxidation opens the cuticle, disperses the melanin and binds the intermediates. As I have heard it has to do with the covalent bonds of the Oxygen and Hydrogen and the heat produced by the exchange of atoms. I have never had a chemist explain the process to me and I am very interested in knowing the specifics. Also, how are ...

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The myth of organic natural hair color

Q. Dr. Said I have been hearing a lot about natural and organic as well as PPD-free hair color. Is there such a thing as organic or natural hair color? And if so, could you recommend any of those? Lea, Indian Wells, CA. A. First I cannot recommend a product because THERE ISN’T ANY. Unfortunately, some small manufacture’s try to play the fear factor in their advertisements to achieve a quick ...

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Metallic bowls, foils and hair bleach

Q.  The instructions in the bleach I use indicate I should not mix bleach in a metallic container, I am assuming this means all types of metal bowls.  If that is the case why is it acceptable to place the bleach and hair between two pieces of foil (metal)? Andre, San Pedro, CA. A. The cautionary note against mixing bleach in metallic bowls dates back to the time when bowls were made mostly of ...

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Melanin pigments in blond hair

Q. I need to be enlightened on the subject of true blonde hair containing what type of melanin. In the past, I have learned that true blonde hair is composed of dispersed yellow pigments in low concentration.  I have also learned that pheomelanins, which include the yellow and red pigments, do not bleach out while eumelanins (brown pigments) bleach easily. Therefore, how can true blonde hair ...

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Is there one perm for all hair types?

Q. I recently gave a perm to a client with bleached ends on her hair. The perm I used said it was good for ALL types of hair. It should have said, “Bad for all types of hair”. The virgin hair came out straight and the bleached hair was frizzy. Is there a perm that is good for all hair types? Why do manufacturers make such claims if they are not true? Cindy, Denver, CO. A. Cindy, I am going ...

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Ideal temperature for rinsing chemically-treated hair

Q. Permit me to ask your professional opinion about a situation I have encountered while attending a class on Double Process Blonding.  As I have always rinsed the hair with cool water, I was surprised to learn from this instructor that the opinion had changed and that the water recommendation was now “as warm as the client can tolerate.”  The theory being warm water was more effective in ...

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Tube hair color vs. Hair color in a bottle

Q. Dr. Said, I hear so many different opinions about color in a tube and color in a bottle. Some say tube color is better because it has calibrated ammonia (whatever that means). Others say color in a bottle gives you better coverage. Please explain to me the difference between the two products and which one is less damaging to the hair. Ryan, Chesterfield, MO. A. There is absolutely no ...

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Hair color removers

Q: Dr. Said, could you kindly explain to me how hair tint removers work, and are they all the same? Thank you. Molly, Charlotte, NC A:  In permanent hair tints, dye precursor intermediates (called primaries and couplers, which are by themselves colorless) are coupled and locked in place by hydrogen peroxide to produce colored dye molecules. These colored molecules can be removed by two differ...

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Coloring grey hair – extra ammonia or extra peroxide?

A. Christine, the general rule of thumb is that higher alkalinity (especially in the form of ammonia) results in better color deposit. This is because the higher the alkalinity the more “open” the cuticles become. This is also why demi-permanent colors with lower alkalinity, even if used with high volume peroxide, tend to have less deposit and permanency than the more alkaline permanent ...

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Permanent vs. Demi-permanent (deposit only) hair color

Q: I was contacted by a company who said I could cut my hair color inventory in half if I used their hair color. Is it possible to turn a permanent ammoniated hair color into a demi-permanent (deposit-only) hair color by simply utilizing a special developer? Pamela, Del Mar, CA A:  I do not think that this is completely true for the following reasons: 1) When we talk about deposit-only hair ...

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Can cream peroxide developers condition the hair?

Q: Some cream peroxide developers claim to add conditioning to the hair during the coloring process. Is that true? Thank you Dr. Said. Kim, Bellevue, WA A:  The major role that peroxide plays during the coloring process is to oxidize dye molecules and develop the color. It also lifts some natural color from the hair under higher pH. Most of the chemical ingredients that are added to liquid ...

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Are all hair bleaches the same?

Q. Do different bleaches work differently and, are there ways to predict how a certain bleach would work before using it? Lisa, Las Vegas, NV. A. Different manufacturers obviously have different formulations for their bleaches. Some are designed for maximum lift; others are designed for average lift. Some products perform well under heat; others break down and become runny. Some sustain their ...

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Ammonia vs. Ammonia-free hair color

Q. Dr. Said, I have been using ammonia color for as long as I can remember and neither I nor my clients have had any problems with it. Recently many hair colors appeared on the market with the claim of being ammonia-free. I have tried one product and I did not like the results. Some clients started asking me about ammonia free color, and I am confused and don’t know how to answer them. What is ...

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Activators and liquid lighteners

Q: Dr. Said, What are liquid lighteners and what are activators. Are they bleaches? Antonio, Santa Rosa, CA. A:  Liquid lighteners are typically liquid color bases without dyes but with a high load of ammonia or other alkalizing agents. When mixed with liquid or crème peroxide developers, they can generate up to four levels of lift. To enhance their action, a powder activator is usually ...

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Medications and smoke odor in hair

Problem: Medications and Other Build-up in Hair It is generally perceived that people on various types of medications have a harder time managing their hair. Similarly, people living in households where some members of the family are tobacco smokers, tend to complain of unmanageable hair and of smoke odor which permeates their hair. Obviously, the dozens of chemicals in medications and tobacco ...

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Well Water Users

The Problem: Well Water Plays Havoc with Salon Services Well water, used by many communities around the country and around the world, is enriched with a large number of minerals. Hard water is just one example. Although hard water (enriched with calcium and magnesium) is usually harmless, yet it casts on the hair a dull appearance and leaves it with a weighted feel. Calcium and magnesium, bind ...

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Hair Damage Due to Sun

Problem: Sun Damaged Hair The sun, with its harmful UV rays, can weaken hair fibers upon lengthy exposures. Hair fibers are composed of proteins called keratins which contain disulfide bonds that give hair its strength and resiliency. Excess exposure to UV radiation on hair fibers can weaken or break these bonds resulting in damaged hair. The Solution: After-lock and Silken Treat Conditioners...

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