Monday, August 6, 2012

Hair Color: Beauty Q & A

I love hair color. If I could marry it, I would.

 There is nothing better, in my opinion as an artist, than being able to paint...on people. It's the fine line between chemistry and art that really gets me. Understanding the science behind something to achieve an artistic result is just really up my alley. Unfortunately, hair color is plagued with myths and misunderstandings that I hear almost every single day at work. Hopefully, today, I can lay two of them to rest and give my professional opinion, in order to give you a better understanding on one of the oldest beauty routines of all time.

1. Box color (the stuff you buy at the drug store or Wal-Mart) is the same as what a professional hair colorist uses at a salon.

Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt...false!! In fact, box color is the bane of my existence...and it shouldn't be. After all, every time I hear someone say they are going to color their hair, I am thinking to myself cha-ching! That is because after you mess it up, your colorist takes great joy in fixing it, and charging accordingly.

Now, I will be the first to admit, I have friends and family who color their own hair, and some of it actually looks pretty decent. Unfortunately, for every one person who gets it right, there are a dozen who get it wrong...and that is where someone like me steps in and starts ringing up the cash register...and all that thrifty effort you put forth in saving some cash has now gone down the drain. Your hair color is now going to cost you up to 3 times what it would have to do it right the first time.

Monetary reasons aside, the major problem I have with box color is the ingredients. In order to manufacture, box, and get it to the shelf in the store, the companies that make the color have used some of the cheapest ingredients available. Some of these ingredients haven't been used in professional color in years.The science of professional hair color is constantly making great strides in minimizing the damage done to the hair during the color process, but if you're using ingredients that were readily found in color in the 70's, the damage is going to be a whole lot more substantial.

Another question I often have is how long has that color been sitting on the shelf? Color ..and all it's ingredients..have a shelf life, and it's a lottery to pick the freshest batch from the store. I, on the other hand, could tell you how long almost every tube of color has been sitting in my store room.

The bottom line is this...don't do it. If money is an issue and your hair colorist is worth their salt, they will work with you to find a suitable solution to your hair needs that will fit in your budget. Your hair (and your stylist) will thank you!

2. I can't color my hair during pregnancy.

Hmm..this one is tricky. I would never advise anyone to go against their doctor's orders, so if your doctor has suggested this to you, then by all means, listen..but today I am going to give you my professional opinion on the subject..because I can.

I feel this is a bunch of bull hockey!! First of all, I have a hard time finding a doctor who still gives this advice, but every once in a while, I run into a client who's doctor has told her this and she is in an up roar. The medical reasoning behind it is that they don't want the color sitting on your scalp for any extended period of time that would allow the color solution to go systemic and possibly get to the baby.

Now, I get that logic, but I often ask those same women; Have you checked the ingredients to your make-up? What about your body lotions? How about your shampoo? Two years ago, scientist couldn't figure out why skin cancer was still on the rise even though more and more people are using sunscreen daily. They did a study and found some of the key ingredients in sunscreen can actually cause cancer..and thus the race began for all-natural sunscreens.

The thing for me, is that you get your hair colored once every 4 to 8 weeks, and the color stays on for 20 to 30 minutes. That is not a whole lot of time compared to something like your make-up that is touching your skin for most of the day, or your shampoo, that you use daily in the shower. If you're going to be worried about one thing, shouldn't you be worried about them all? Most of the testing that argue the color debate left the color on the skin for hours, not minutes at a time, and no colorist is ever going to do that to anyone, let alone a pregnant woman who has to go potty every 15 minutes.

The ingredients also play a key role in this debate. Some people have an issue with the ingredients, even in professional color. If this applies to you, there are great alternatives out there that are deemed "healthier" alternatives. For example, my salon has recently gotten involved with a no ammonia color line that we love. It is less harsh on the hair and the added bonus is that there is no odor. Also, you can go to foiling-in your color instead of applying it all over your head. You will still get the effects of color, without exposing it to your skin.

One more thing I tell my clients is this..I have been a hairstylist for almost 15 years. My obstetrician knew this and never told me to stop working. I was elbow deep in color during both pregnancies almost daily and produce two very healthy babies. I never thought about it once.

My absolute final word on the subject is to do what makes you comfortable. If you want to heed the doctor's advice and leave the color alone, then by all means, you should do it. Just do me a favor and don't pick on hair color alone, take a good look at everything in your beauty routine because you would be surprised what you use on your body daily. There are also safe alternatives in color and application, if you are on the fence about it and..for those of us that will have to have the hair color pried from our cold dead hands, I'll stand behind you...while I admire your fabulous highlights.

I hope this has helped somebody out there with their color questions..and if you have me anytime!
Have a Great Monday!

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