Saturday, April 24, 2010

The New York Times selects Organic Color Systems as the best overall non-ammonia professional hair color

One called Organic Color Systems, made by Herb UK, a company based in Lymington, England, has been available stateside since 2002, now in 65 colors. Roughly 1,200 salons carry it, up from 400 in 2008, said Hilton Bell, the president of International Hair and Beauty Systems, the United States distributor for Organic Color Systems.

Organic Color System's's magic bullet is heat coupled with an oil base. “What we do is actually suspend color molecules in an oil base, which softens the cuticle, and then we use heat to open the cuticle,” Mr. Bell said, rather than “blowing it open with ammonia.”  Unlike its competitors, Organic Color Systems also leaves out the dangerous chemical additives that damage the hair shaft and cuticle leaving salon clients with hair with a silky smooth texture and healthy shimmering shine directly after being colored.

In addition to its wildly popular Color Range, Organic Color Systems also offers:

Organic Curl Systems - Organic Curl Systems is an innovative perming product which is completely free from ammonia and thioglycolates. Instead, it contains Cysteamin HCL, which is a far gentler ingredient. The neutralizer system contains plant amino acids, which soothe and condition the scalp. The hair is left with a natural feel and shine.

Organic Control Systems - To complete any treatment on your clients, we offer a unique range of styling products, which are 100% plastic-free.

Organic Care Systems - Organic Care Systems is a range of shampoos, treatments and conditioners which use the latest natural and certified organic ingredients. They contain no parabens or SLS. Plus, they are not manufactured with animal products and they are never tested on animals!

Organic Connect Systems - The Organic Connect range was launched to fulfill the need for specific products not included in the other Organic lines. Our company objective has always been to provide hair products which are as natural as possible. This ethos equally applies to the new Organic Connect range, which is a selection of highly effective care and styling products.

Malibu Wellness - Malibu Wellness products use a patented, fresh dried vitamin complex that is water activated to normalize the ph of the hair and scalp and remove minerals and oxidizers to ensure consistent and superior salon services.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Benefits of Natural Hair Color

From the New York Times Article Taking on Hair Color’s Bad Guy

Anne Warnock is an owner of the Sam Wong Salon in Frederick, Md., which uses Organic Color Systems. During the last three years, she has used it every four weeks to maintain her red locks and has noted a difference. Her hair no longer has that dry, over-processed feeling, she said.

To her mind, INOA, which she has no interest in using since it’s not organic enough for her, is noteworthy. “Now that L’OrĂ©al has jumped on the bandwagon, it’s the beginning of women being educated who also want results,” she said, referring to the market for no-ammonia permanent color. “In time, women will go into a salon and ask, ‘What color do you use? Does it have ammonia?’ ”

The fact of the matter is that some natural hair color actually delivers a superior result while providing a better experience due to the absence of the ammonia smells, dangerous chemical additives, and exposure of toxins to the professional and client.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dangers of Ammonia in Hair Color

Ammonia is familiar to anyone who has ever had to clean a set of windows or counter tops. Under normal circumstances, ammonia is a corrosive and toxic gas with a rather pungent odor, and most people’s ammonia exposure is limited to household cleaners. Ammonia is also an incredibly versatile chemical; it is found in fertilizers, plastics, chemicals, explosives, and pesticides, and it is also used in refrigeration in food processing and manufacturing industries. Trace amounts of ammonia are also found in the atmosphere, rainwater, volcanoes, fertile soil, and seawater, although the chemical usually does not pose a threat because the quantity is so small.

Ammonia is an almost required, although dangerous, chemical in almost all professional hair color products. It's primary role in these products is to blast open the hair shaft and cuticle preparing the shaft to accept pigment. In doing this, the cosmetologist, hairdresser, colorist, or salon professional is irreparably damaging their client's hair. The client inevitably leaves with hair that displays their desired color but is so damaged by the process that it cannot be styled or behave to the in any way that is acceptable to the client. Traditionally, salon clients have had to make an uninformed decision or trade off between either having healthy, manageable, and attractive hair or having their desired hair color.

The Dangers of Ammonia Exposure

More importantly, the use of ammonia in salons put salon professionals and clients at serious risk of long term health damages.  Ammonia exposure can cause a number of serious health problems. It will irritate and burn the eyes, throat, and nose when inhaled, and in higher concentrations it can induce severe coughing and choking fits. Prolonged exposure to ammonia in gas or liquid form can severely irritate the eyes and skin, and result in permanent scarring of the cornea and chemical burns on the skin and lungs.

Using ammonia in enclosed areas is also dangerous, as is mixing the chemical with bleach or any of its derivatives, for the combination can produce extremely toxic chlorine gas.  While almost all salon professionals have been trained and explicitly understand the dangers of mixing any ammonia products with any bleach or bleach derivatives; a risk of error is always present.  The increasing complexity of professional beauty products on the market enhance the risk of an unwitting or rushed salon professional not carefully reading ingredient labels and inadvertently making a fatal mixing error.  Such an honest mistake would not only ruin a salon's reputation and expose its owner to unconscionable liability, but also risks the unacceptable deaths of other salon professionals and clients.

Few people realize the serious risk of ammonia and how dangerous a chemical it actually is.  There has been an explicit and notable transition of product ingredients away from ammonia to safer and more stable alternatives.  The most egregious and dangerous use of ammonia is present in hair coloring products as the dangerous chemical is designed to apply directly to a human's scalp where it will be absorbed by the pores, dermal,  papilla, and follicles into the bloodstream.  Further, the professionals applying this dangerous chemical must endure the physical health damages of being exposed to ammonia several times a day over a very long term, sometimes as long a several years or even decades.

Non Ammonia Based Permanent Hair Color

Fortunately, advances in organic research have enabled contemporary and advanced formulas of organic and natural compounds to eliminate the need for ammonia in professional hair coloring products.  The most innovative company in the world towards organic and natural hair products is a small boutique company located in Lymington, England. For over a decade, they have been dedicated to manufacturing and distributing the most natural and gentle professional hair products available.  Their professional color line is Organic Color Systems which uses no ammonia or dangerous chemical additives in their ingredients.

Ammonia not only negatively affects the cuticle of the hair, it also damages an amino acid or protein called tyrosine which is found inside the hair shaft. Tyrosine is responsible for producing melanin (the natural pigment in the hair shaft). When the Tyrosine is damaged the hair's ability to hold onto color is greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

When you introduce color into the hair shaft without damaging the tyrosine, as done with Organic Color Systems, the color will last longer because the color has something to bond to. Without ammonia the results are superior in every way.

Rather than ammonia, Organic Color Systems uses a compound with a similar molecular structure to ammonia known as monoethanolamine which is orderless and has a much less volatile Ph characteristic than any ammonia chemical. The more stable Ph profile makes monoethanolamine much more stable and less corrosive than ammonia. Because of its safer, more stable, and less corrosive characteristics, this alternative is also replacing ammonia in several industrial applications. Combining this with its orderless property makes monoethanolamine an ideal alternative to hair coloring.

While Organic Color Systems only uses small traces of monoethanolamine, the other organic and natural ingredients of their well-researched and highly-effective formula enable a salon professional to properly prepare the ideal canvas for their artistic work. Organic Color Systems gently prepares the clients hair shaft to naturally accept the color pigmentation delivered by this revolutionary system of hair coloring. Because the hair shaft is not blasted open, the structural integrity of the clients hair (or the salon professional's canvas) is maintained enabling an outcome that is undeniably refreshing. Healthy, natural looking, manageable, and incredibly styled hair in with the exact style the client desires!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Genetics of Hair Color

Natural hair color comes from the pigmentation of hair follicles due to two types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Generally, if more melanin is present, the color of the hair is darker; if less melanin is present, the hair is lighter. Levels of melanin can vary over time causing a person's hair color to change, and it is possible to have hair follicles of more than one color. Natural hair color can be black, brown, blond, or red, depending on a person's ethnic origins. Hair color is typically genetically associated with certain skin tones and eye colors.

Brown hair is the most common in Europe and most of the United States and some other parts of the world. It is characterized by higher levels of eumelanin and lower levels of pheomelanin.

Black hair is the darkest hair color. It has large amounts of eumelanin and is less dense than other hair colors. It can range from soft black to blue-black or jet-black hair. It is also the shiniest of all hair colors.

Blond hair can have almost any proportion of pheomelanin and eumelanin, but both only in small amounts. More pheomelanin creates a more golden blond color, and more eumelanin creates an ash blond.

Blond hair is common in many European peoples, but rare among peoples of non-European origin.
Auburn hair ranges from light to reddish brown. The chemicals which cause auburn hair are eumelanin (brown) and pheomelanin. It is most commonly found in individuals of European descent.

Red hair ranges from vivid strawberry shades to deep auburn and burgundy. It is caused by a variation in the Mc1r gene and believed to be recessive.

Grey hair color typically occurs naturally as people age. For some people this can happen at a very young age (i.e.: at the age of 10). The same can be said for white hair. In some cases, grey hair may be caused by thyroid deficiencies or a deficiency of B12.

      Changes in hair color typically occur naturally as people age, eventually turning the hair gray and then white. This is called achromotrichia. More than 40 percent of Americans have some gray hair by age 40, but white hairs can appear as early as childhood. The age at which graying begins seems almost entirely due to genetics. Sometimes people are born with gray hair because they inherit the trait.

      There are several medical conditions effecting haircolor which include:

      Albinism is a genetic abnormality in which little pigment is found in human hair, eyes or skin. The hair is white or pale blond.

      Vitiligo is a patchy loss of hair and skin color that may occur as the result of an auto-immune disease.

      Malnutrition is also known to cause hair to become lighter, thinner, and more brittle. Dark hair may turn reddish or blondish due to the decreased production of melanin. The condition is reversible with proper nutrition.

      Werner syndrome and pernicious anemia can also cause premature graying.

      A recent study demonstrated that people 50–70 years of age with dark eyebrows but gray hair are significantly more likely to have type II diabetes than those with both gray eyebrows and hair.

      A 1996 British Medical Journal study conducted by J.G. Mosley, MD found that tobacco smoking may cause premature graying. Smokers were found to be four times more likely to begin graying prematurely, compared to nonsmokers.

      Gray hair may temporarily darken after inflammatory processes, after electron-beam-induced alopecia, and after some chemotherapy regimens. Much remains to be learned about the physiology of human graying.

          Tuesday, April 6, 2010

          The Structure of Hair & Hair Color

          Human hair is a hard, fibrous substance with a delicate balance of protein and moisture. Unlike skin, hair is not living tissue and therefore does not have the ability to repair itself.

          It is in the delicate inner structure of the hair where we find moisture (water) along with the hard and soft protein. On the outside of the hair shaft there are 7 to 11 layers of interlocking scales which are called the cuticle (see microscope photo on the left). These form a protective barrier and hold the structure in place.

          Protein levels in healthy hair are around 83%-87%; moisture levels are about 3%. The balance is made up of sugar, salt and trace elements. It is essential that this balance is maintained to keep hair healthy, strong and in good condition.

          This is why care must be taken to protect its condition and use the most natural and gentle products that are available, such as the Organic Care Systems range of products. This professional range is specifically formulated to work in conjunction with Organic Color Systems.

          It is essential to understand what products are, what is in them, and how they work in order to maintain the good condition of both your hair and scalp. Products that can maintain the natural pH balance should be seriously considered.

          Thursday, March 25, 2010

          The Importance of Restoring the Correct pH Balance After Colouring

          The pH scale is a measure of acidity and alkalinity which ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 (pure water) being neutral. The natural pH level of hair and the surface of your skin is between 4.5 and 5.5.

          The ideal level for our hair (and skin) is between 4.5 - 5.5. Above 5.5 the hair starts to open and below 4.5 it starts to contract.

          To color hair permanently we have to lift the cuticle and allow permanent colour into the hair.

          The only way to do this is to alter the acid-alkaline balance (the pH balance) of the hair.

          There are two ways to do this and open the cuticle to allow coloring to take place.

          The first is to suspend the hair in a substance such as ammonia. This takes the hair well beyond its normal pH and causes the hair to swell considerably. This is effective for attaching color but has numerous side effects including damage to the hair.

          The second, more natural method is to suspend the hair in a substance that acts as a moisturizer. This softens the cuticle and, because it does not take the hair as far from its natural pH, causes it to open rather than swell.

          The pH of Organic Color Systems' colours is 8.5 to 9.2. This is a stable pH level - unlike ammonia-based colours which can go as high as 11+ when you add heat.

          Our system does not take the hair as far from the natural pH balance and it is able to close the cuticle down when shampooing and applying conditioner. This gives the hair a natural feel and shine.

          Because there is no ammonia or ammonia substitutes there is no damage to the hair and the hair maintains its natural moisture and protein balance.