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Color Language - A Bit of Hair Color Science

Hair color chemists use very clear language when they describe the various ingredients

in color products. We don't need to be as precise, but I think our members here might

be interested in the language used in hair color laboratories.


Here is a bit of information I discovered while reading COLOUR CHEMISTRY, second

edition by Robert M. Christie. How honored I am that one of the most frequently noted

contributors to this book was Dr. John Corbett. He was a key figure in my young

professional life; as I had the opportunity to hear his lectures, and to observe his

work at Clairol's hair color laboratories.


So. Let's understand the words chemists use when creating hair color. Of course, we

interchange these words all the time.. but their chemical makeup is different.


DYES and PIGMENTS. A desired color is generally achieved by by incorporating colored

compounds referred to as dyes and pigments. Sometimes the word "colourant" is

used to encompass both types of coloring materials. But, Dyes and Pigments are

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT in their properties and in the way they are treated during

the manufacture of hair dye.


DYES ARE SOLUABLE. PIGMENTS ARE INSOLUBLE. So, dyes can be incorporated into a liquid. Pigments, however, differ, and do NOT break down when in contact with liquid.

Other means are required to incorporate important pigments into the modern hair coloring products we use today. PIGMENTS are identified as being organic or in-organic.


The successful working colorist has little need to delve this deeply into the subject of hair color.

Members here, however, make up an important group I refer to as being "CAREER

COLORISTS". This type of information helps you stay more informed about how the products we use are created.


I look forward to seeing you in class: Naples, Florida, Flanders, New Jersey, Bend, Oregon,

and, coming soon.... announcements about and additional IMMERSION Into Color Event

in Pittsburgh, Pa. ! Interested? Go to the top of our page here and click "Group Classes

and Events". That takes you to any information you might desire! B

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