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Not all Ammonia-Free Color is Created Equal

Before we jump to any conclusions, one should know the differences among the salon industry’s top professional color lines – not all ammonia-free hair color is created equal.

First, let’s quickly remind ourselves the part ammonia plays in hair color:

Ammonia’s primary function is to raise the pH of the hair, open the cuticle, and allow for color to enter the cortex. The more ammonia in a color product, the higher the pH of the hair will become and the wider the cuticle will open.

The average working pH of hair processed with ammoniated hair color is 10-11, while the natural isometric pH of hair is 4.5-5.5!

NOTE: The pH scale is logarithmic, meaning with each rise in pH level, the new level is 10x more alkaline or acidic than the previous level – that’s huge!

This means ammonia-based hair color makes the hair 600x more alkaline than it’s original state. This blasting open of the cuticle makes re-closing the hair nearly impossible, resulting in a major loss of protein and moisture, as well as imminent color fading and damage.

Depending on the brand, you can find any number of these ingredients used instead of ammonia.
– Monoethanolamine (MEA)
– Ethanolamine
– Cocomide MEA
– Aminomethylpropanol (AMEA)

Here’s where the difference in ammonia free hair color lines gets serious!

While MEA or Ethanolamine are odorless and not as corrosive as ammonia, the pH of the hair is STILL raised to an extraordinarily high level, if used in the same percentages as ammonia.

The only thing most brands have achieved in removing ammonia is just that – the removal of ammonia – they’ve still neglected one of the most vital components of hair health – a balanced pH!

So, what can professional ammonia free hair color brands do to ensure the pH of the hair is kept intact?

The answer is simple – use heat to help open the cuticle.

If a professional, ammonia-free color line doesn’t use heat to help open the cuticle, they’re using MEA or Ethanolamine in the same percentages as ammonia, and consequently, wreaking havoc on the structural integrity of the hair.

Aim for color lines that minimize the use of Ethanolamine and MEA, not ones that just simply swap ammonia for an odor-free alternative.

Most ammonia-free hair color lines use a synthetic source of Ethanolamine – produced by the reaction of ethylene oxide with ammonia.

However, there’s a natural source of Ethanolamine derived from the fatty acids in coconut, called Cocomide MEA. The natural emollients present in this form of MEA makes this option much more desirable in hair color.

The extraction method is more costly than cooking up some synthetic MEA in a lab.

Alas, there’s another problem with using Ethanolamine and MEA in higher than necessary percentages… the removal process.

It has been postulated that this ingredient is hard to remove from hair.

Companies still standing by ammoniated hair color have used this aspect of MEA as a way to denounce its effectiveness, but have failed to realize one enormous detail.

The best ammonia-free hair color lines have added Oleic acid (derived from olive oil) to safely remove any product left on the hair.

However, some ammonia-free color lines haven’t caught on to this little trick – make sure to use brands that have!

We’ve covered the primary role of ammonia, and it’s more desirable alternatives, but don’t forget – ammonia also has a secondary function.

When mixed with peroxide, ammonia neutralizes the existing color pigment, allowing color to further penetrate the cuticle.

Ethanolamine and MEA aren’t capable of doing this effectively.

So, an ammonia-free hair color line must have a color delivery system that compensates for the lack of ammonia.

Top-rated hair color lines have found an oil-based delivery system not only solves this problem, but that it actually works better than ammonia.

Hair absorbs oil before water, so using oil as a means of color molecule transport is not only effective, but optimal in any color line.

When deciding which ammonia-free color line is best for your salon and stylists, be sure to dig deeper into these type of ingredients!

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    NCIS Star Pauley Perrette Issues Hair Dye Health Warning After Severe Allergic Reaction

    LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – NCIS actress Pauley Perrette is warning fans about the dangers of hair dye after suffering a severe allergic reaction to her trademark ink-black color.
    CBSLA’s Kristine Lazar spoke with Perrette, whose character, Abby Sciuto, is known for her raven locks.

    A natural blonde, the actress has been dying her hair for 20 years.
    But her beauty routine landed her in the hospital when she broke out in a rash and began to experience severe swelling.

    “The other half of my face had become twice the size of my head,” she said.
    Perrette posted a photo of her swollen face on social media, warning her half-million Twitter followers about the dangers of hair-dye allergies.

    This was me at hospital today and it got worse #Allergy #AllergicReaction PLEASE read my next tweet http://t.co/AYf4GfM3sm
    — Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) July 19, 2014

    “The most important thing to me is that anyone out there that dyes their hair, particularly black, you need to be aware of the symptoms,” she said.
    There are warning signs, according to Jacob Offenberger, an allergist at Northridge Medical Center.

    “If you have hair dye, and the next day or the day after you start to have itchiness and you start to see redness or [an] eczema-type of lesion, it is telling that you that you are having an allergic reaction to that dying,” Offenberger said, warning, “If you would do nothing, the next time you do the hair dye, it’s going to get worse.”

    That is exactly what happened to Perrette.
    Six months ago, the actress broke out into a rash all over her neck and scalp but ignored the symptoms, she said.
    Perrette says she’s now looking into natural hair dye and also into wearing a wig.

    Article found at http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/07/22/ncis-star-pauley-perrette-issues-hair-dye-health-warning-after-severe-allergic-reaction/

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