Do You Know the Basic Components in Hair Colorants?

Some color-building chemicals are found in semi-permanent products, however their main use is in permanent hair coloring products. If a generic tube of oxidative hair color is analyzed, eight basic components can be found:

  1. Base Cream
    The base cream is in most cases an emulsion of an oil-component and a water-component. Two types of emulsions are frequently used in hair dyes, for example an oil-in-water emulsion having the water-component at the outer phase, and a water-in-oil emulsion having the oil-component at the outer phase.

    Fatty alcohols, emulsifying agents and surfactants are typical ingredients of the base cream.

    In some cases a gel formulation can also be used for a permanent hair dye.
  2. Color Precursors
    Color precursors are small-uncolored molecules that can penetrate into the hair in order to build big color molecules. There is a distinction between developer precursor and modifier precursor: developer precursors are sometimes called para-components and modifier precursors are also known as meta-components.

    Typical examples of color precursors are para-toluylenediamenesulphate, resorcinol and meta-aminophenol.
  3. Dyestuffs
    Dyestuffs are pre-developed color molecules. These are mainly used in semi-permanent hair colors and also in some permanent dyes in order to provide hair color with a vibrant reflex.
  4. Alkalizing Agents
    The alkalizing agent is responsible for opening the cuticle layer of the hair so that active ingredients like color precursors can penetrate into the hair. A second function of the alkalizing agent is to catalyze the oxidative reaction between color precursors and hydrogen peroxide. Ammonia is the most common alkalizing agent.
  5. Caring Agents
    Integrating caring agents into a permanent hair color with a high pH-value can be difficult. This is because most traditional caring ingredients are not active at this pH-level, however some polymeric or caring ingredients or some caring ingredients derived from silicone can be successfully integrated in the formulations.
  6. Antioxidants
    Antioxidants help to prevent pre-oxidation of color precursors during storage within a tube of hair cream. Sodium sulfite, Sodiumdithionate is a typical reducing agent. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant.
  7. Complexing Agents
    These ingredients ‘envelop’ potential metal impurities within the coloring cream, thus preventing an unwanted reaction with hydrogen peroxide.
  8. Perfume
    Perfume is added in order to disguise the unpleasant odor of ammonia.
Remember that it is mandatory to carry out Allergy Alert Test (AAT) prior to any color service – details can be found in our article, How to Analyze Your Clients Hair.
Now you’ve learnt the basics discover our wide range of professional coloring products!