It’s not the breaking news that grey hair at a young age looks brittle and loses its sheen. Therefore, a large percentage of people start dying their hair as soon as the hair turns grey. However, hair dye contains certain chemicals that put harm to the hair follicle. Since people are left with not any other option; they choose to color their hair.
From a scientific point of view, hair dye or bleach does harm the hair follicles. It damages hair and causes it to lose. Wondering how? Let’s find the reasons.
Lose Lustre, Break Easily
The hair dye product you use to color your hair contains ammonia (or chemicals similar to it). When you use the hair color, the ammonia lifts up and breaks through cuticle (the outer cellular layer of a hair that protects your hair). The longer the cuticle is lifted up, the more it's weakening.
When the dye sits on your head, the molecules go into the strands and develop. The longer you leave the color on your head, the more damage is done to your hair. The cuticle only comes down when you rinse your hair after the dye. But by then, the damage is done.
Strips Away Current Color
No doubt, by applying hair dye, you are able to turn the color of your hair into the color you want. Usually, the dying process includes, using peroxide, which is also known as bleach. The peroxide is applied to the hair in order to remove the natural color and make room for the new pigment or molecules.
Since the natural protection aka cuticle has broken, peroxide neutralizes the natural pigment in your hair and stripes away color. It adversely damages the hair. Chances are, your hair will look like straw.
New Color Pigment
Apart from the broken cuticle, the permanent hair color also makes room for the new molecules. And, natural color proteins turn colorless and oxidized. This causes new color pigment to take over and bond to the cortex of the hair shaft (the thickest hair layer located between the hair cuticle and medulla).
According to cosmetic scientists, the hair dye is rich in chemicals. They start out as tiny molecules. These molecules are so small that they can penetrate into the hair shafts. When they reach the hair shafts, they react with each other and create bigger molecules (polymers). These polymers are so big that you cannot wash them out. That’s how the dye remains permanently to your locks.
Ammonia is the primary cause of the cuticle lift. It’s good if you go for an ammonia-free hair dye (or we can say semi-permanent color). But, even an ammonia-free hair dye consists of a substitute agent, which is called ethanolamine. The ethanolamine causes lifted cuticle. However, it doesn’t make the cuticle swell as much as the ammonia.
Semi-permanent color can be less damaging than permanent color. It might be gentler on your cuticle. It’s good to use conditioners before and after the hair dye as it soothes the cuticle, which increases shine.
This bottom line is that hair dye is not good for healthy hair. It leads to hair loss and other hair problems. It’s advisable to avoid coloring your hair as much as possible.