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Further Investigation: Alkalizers in Hair Color

An in-depth discussion about the function of alkalizers in hair color will be part of our lesson tomorrow, Immersion Into Hair Color with Beth Minardi. We are meeting in Houston, Tx. at

the beautiful KHARISMA Salon. This session, along with my other Immersion events, delves deeply into how all categories of hair color work. And, how hair color ingrredients

affect the hair shaft.

AMMONIA as an alkalizer. The pH of ammonia (a gas) is between 11 and 13, so it is highly alkaline. When added as an alkalizer to hair color, ammonia gas is bubbled through water to become ammonium hydroxide. The presence of ammonia in hair color allows the

product to penetrate into the hair's cortex, where the alkaline state also removes portions of

the hair's natural pigments (melanin). This is known as the "bleaching action" of permanent

hair color.

As the ammonia-bearing color processes, we note an ammonia fragrance.. which means that the ammonium hydroxide present in color, is transforming into a gas... and is leaving the color mixture. Hence, as processing time goes on, the pH of the coloring formula decreases. For this reason, most of the "lifting" action of a permanent hair color decreases during processing, while the deposit of new tone takes place at a more rapid rate as the color

processes on the head. ... The ammonia dissipates as time goes on.

Monoethanolamine is another alkalizer. It is a liquid, and has a pH of 9.5. It is highly alkaline, but not as alkaline as ammonia. MEA allows the cuticle of the hair to soften sufficiently so that the hair color formula can enter the hair's cortex. When very small amounts of MEA are added to a shade, the color will have no real "lifting" action, and

will deposit a matching or deeper level of color and tone into the hair. Unlike ammonia,

MEA does not dissipate, and remains active, at about the same pH level during the

processing procedure.

Negative hair color reactions are RARE.... but they can happen and must be taken seriously.

Some individuals are sensitive to ammonia, others to MEA.. and still others to the dye-stuffs,

fragrance or color developer. While we are certainly not medical doctors, Understanding a bit about color chemistry seems to be a good idea.

Are YOU interested in learning more about color? If so, let me know if you are interested in attending a class with me. Today, there are more than 100 color lessons here On Beth's Posts for members of simply log in, and

click on "Beth's Posts". Comment if you have anything to add or would like further information. If you have a salon friend you think might enjoy learning here on our page, please ask them to join. At $25 per year, that's only $2.08 per month. I look forward to

seeing you in class! B

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