Colouring your hair seems pretty simple, you go to the hairdresser, they mix a few colours together, slap it on and voila! Your hair looks fresh, clean and ready for a night out. The fact is, there is a whole lot more chemistry behind the process which is worth educating yourself about. More and more we hear of people getting severe reactions to everyday things like sunscreens, makeup, hair dyes, foods etc. that they never had before. The fact is, our bodies can only take so much. You may not have had a reaction yesterday to something you have a reaction today and one of the most common occurrences of this happening seems to be with hair colouring.

So, what chemical is causing these reactions?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which chemical causes which reaction but the elimination of ammonia has definitely helped reduce allergic reactions (from scalp ‘tingling’ to anaphylaxis) and severe damage to the hair. With all of these negative side effects of ammonia, you might find yourself asking why on earth would anyone have that in their products in the first place!

Ammonia was seen to be an essential part of the colouring process for many years. It does the brilliant job of breaking down the outer layer of the cuticle which allows other chemicals to penetrate the hair and allow colour to be absorbed. This happens by changing the PH levels of the hair. Hair is naturally acidic, so using a chemical like ammonia that is alkaline, hair dressers are able to achieve the colour a client is after.

Image credit: https://labmuffin.com/how-does-hair-dye-work/

Simply put, ammonia does the job. The issue with ammonia is that although it is great at breaking the cuticle down, it is not so great at putting it all back together. This means that after a while, your hair is damaged, brittle and in terrible condition. Hair colour won’t last long and your hair will never feel silky, smooth and healthy again because unfortunately the damage ammonia causes is irreversible. There is no treatment or product that will ever get your hair back to its amazing potential!

Although all of this sounds grim (especially if you have only used hair colours that had ammonia in the past) the great news is – your hair grows back! All is not lost, and you can have that perfect hair you see in all the ads for longer than the day you have your hair done. A few simple steps will get the process going:

1. Start avoiding Ammonia colours! Colours such as OWAY use an ammonia replacement which is the gentlest available on the market today to achieve the same results. The ammonia replacement used is a coconut derived fatty acid that will not only open the cuticle gently to deposit colour, but also close the cuticle back up ensuring colour lasts longer, moisture is retained and you have that glossy, healthy shine long term (To find out more: https://owayaustralia.com.au/hcolor/)

2. Protect what you do have, and support the growth of the new hair. After you switch to the ammonia free colour you will need to support the colour with the right shampoo and conditioner. Shampoos and conditioners have a huge role to play when it comes to keeping your colour fresh, locking in moisture and ensuring that the cuticle we are trying so hard to look after during the colouring process is closed gently at the end of washing. (To find out more: https://owayaustralia.com.au/haircare/)

3. And finally, protect your hair from the elements! So many people do not understand the importance of products that protect your hair from free radicals and UV rays. Sunway is OWAY’s sun range that will do just that. You wouldn’t go and purchase a $1000 handbag only to wipe it down with a dirty cloth, and this is exactly why you need to keep your beautiful hair perfect by maintaining a healthy hair care routine. (To find out more: https://owayaustralia.com.au/haircare/)

To ensure you protect your beautiful hair, visit your local OWAY salon for a consultation. They will give you advice to protect what you have, and advice on how to achieve what you are after in the future. Visit: https://owayaustralia.com.au/find-a-salon/