Organic Hair Color: One Stylist’s Thoughts
by Fawn Lawrence
Have you ever wondered what chemicals are in hair color? Is using hair color safe for your health? Does your scalp absorb the color? If you have ever wondered these questions or have been concerned about what is in hair color, this is what you need to know. The painful truth is yes, your skin does absorb hair color. What most clients are unaware of is the fact that skin and hair is made up of very similar properties. Permanent hair color is designed to penetrate the outer layer of the hair shaft. When color is applied to the scalp, (your skin having similar make up as the hair shaft), your skin will also absorb some of the color. Ever get that ring of color around your hairline? Most permanent hair color uses ammonia, (a harsh chemical found in cleaning agents) to open the cuticle, (the outermost layer of the hair shaft). This allows color molecules to enter the hair shaft. The hair color is given an amount of time to process, and then rinsed with water; when the cuticle is sealed back down, it makes a permanent color bond. Good for gray, bad for dry scalps!
The good news is that people in our area are becoming more aware about what is healthy for our bodies and environment. It seems as though we are all looking for new ways to look and feel better every day. Using beauty products with little or no chemicals is a great way to keep your skin and hair healthy. The trend has become for most businesses to go “green”. It can be somewhat confusing, to say the least, to navigate the regulations on what “organic” truly means these days; nevertheless, salons all over are making an effort to make the beauty industry safe, and boy did we need it!
Working in a beauty salon is one of the top 10 toxic jobs right up there with truck drivers who breathe in the toxic fumes of exhaust. I have been in the industry for eight years now and working with these chemicals on a daily basis became a huge concern for me not only for my safety, but also for my clients. After much research, I found some scary facts about prolonged exposure to ammonia! A concern I truly believe is more for people working in the industry rather than a concern for clients. It is one thing to come in once a month for your color touch up, but entirely different to work with color 8 hours a day 5 days a week. At one point I thought I might have to give up my first true love, hair color, just to be healthy! Of course, color is my favorite part of working as a stylist. I found it a great way to express my artistic side and couldn’t imagine how I would continue to do hair without hair color. I was almost ready to give up my career when my boss at the time discovered organic hair color.
What is organic hair color? Is it possible for a salon to go green? Is there such a thing as a safe way to color your hair? There is a safe way to color hair. I am so happy to be writing about it so that other stylists and clients that would’ve otherwise never tried color are aware that there is a safe choice out there. Organic hair color is not safe to eat, but it does contain absolutely no parabens and is 100% ammonia free! Organic hair color does not stain the skin or scalp. Instead of using ammonia, heat is applied to replace the process of the chemical. In turn, there is much less damage to the hair, no burning or itchy scalps, and no harsh fumes for the client or stylist. I will never forget the first time a costumer said “Hey this new color doesn’t make my eyes water!” That’s when I realized just how strong the fumes I was working with were. Most clients are grateful for the change to a safer product and I sure am! Working with the organic color gives me peace of mind that not only will my colors turn out beautiful, but I don’t have to sacrifice my client’s health or mine.