Protein and the Cuticle for Hair Color
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The Structure of Human Hair
The structure of human hair shaft is surrounded by the outer layer known as the cuticle. The cuticle is the visible part of the hair shaft and is comprised of long compressed keratin fibers. Keratin is a protein that is abundant in this protective layer of the hair shaft.
Inside the hair shaft are fibrous stands known as microfibril and macrofibril. The fibrous strands are primarily made up of protein called tyrosine that is critical to the hair’s natural and artificial color. Tyrosine is the protein that is responsible for the melanin in the hair which is the hair’s natural pigments. The health of the tyrosine is the single most significant determinant of the hairs ability to retain color.
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The Importance of Hair’s Keratin Protein and the Cuticle
On the outside of hair are transparent layers of interlocking scales, these long compressed fibers are made up keratin protein and together are known as the “cuticle”. We have about 7 to 11 layers all wrapped around the delicate inner structure. The delicate inner structure of the hair is surrounded and protected by the cuticle. The cuticle is composed of about 7 to 11 layes wrapped around the inner hair shaft.
Because the cuticle is the only visible part of the hair, the condition of the cuticle determines many factors of how human hair looks and behaves. For example, trichoptilosis (the hair condition commonly known as “split ends”) is caused when the cuticle has been opened and closed often and is no longer able to close. Another example, trichorrhexis nodosa (the hair condition commonly known as “breakage”) is caused by cuticle stress from any combination of sources including chemical processing, excessive brushing, or environmental and heredity related issues.
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While there are so many products available on the market that “condition” hair by smoothing and filling the cuticle, there is no substitute for the cuticle’s natural condition. Just like patching a street’s pot holes, repairs to the cuticle can help but never restore its full protection and appeal that of its natural condition. Luckily for humans, new hair growth provides them with the opportunity to keep the regrowth’s hair cuticle in its natural condition.
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Light reflected off a smooth surface provides vibrant shine.[/two_columns] [two_columns_last height=”300″ border=”border”] [imageeffect type=”framelightbox” width=”275″ height=”188″ alt=”Professional Organics” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/rough-shine.jpg” ]
Light reflected off a smooth surface provides dull shine.[/two_columns_last]
A closed, flat cuticle is smooth and will provide the hair with a healthy shimmer and shine. A roughed, damaged, or open cuticle is rippled and not smooth and will prevent the hair from reflecting light properly and diminish the natural shine of the hair. A damaged or roughed cuticle also leaves the delicate inner components of the hair shaft exposed and without protection.
Opening the cuticle so that oxidative dyes can access the hair’s inner shaft is the specific purpose of the corrosive toxin known as ammonia in other permanent hair color lines. This approach is completely counter productive to treating the health and beauty of your client’s hair. Damaging the cuticle using this corrosive will sacrifice the hair structural integrity, destroy the cuticle’s protective capabilities, eliminate the nature shine of the hair, and make constant moisture treatments a necessity.
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Virgin Hair After 1 Treatment using Organic Color Systems, No Shampoo, No Conditioner. [/two_columns] [two_columns_last height=”250″ border=”border”] [imageeffect type=”framelightbox” align=”aligncenter” width=”150″ height=”150″ alt=”Professional Organics” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/ammoniated-color-lab-test.jpeg” ]
Virgin Hair After 1 Treatment Using Ammoniated Color, Shampooed, and Conditioned [/two_columns_last]
The above microscopic analysis of the cuticle shows the damaging effects of ammonia after just one color application.
The Importance of Hair’s Inner Natural Proteins
The hair is made up of several proteins. Most colorist are aware of the importance of the keratin protein, but few understand how important Tyrosine is to hair color. Tyrosine effects the development, presence, and maintenance of the two natural melanin pigments in human hair. These pigments are eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin is the dominant pigment in dark-blond, brown, and black hair, while pheomelanin is dominant in red hair. Blond hair is the result of having little pigmentation in the hair strand. Gray hair occurs when both melanin pigments decreases or disappears. When the tyrosine protein is damaged or not sufficiently present within the hair shaft, the hair will lose its ability to maintain color, either natural or artificial.
Many permanent hair colors will use corrosive chemicals like ammonia or ammonia substitutes like diamine toluene to blast open the cuticle allowing the oxidative dyes to react with hydrogen peroxide and deposit the color beneath the cuticle into the hair shaft. Most professional colorist understand that this process will destroy the melanin pigments (known as providing “lift”) and allow them to deliver color pigment through the opened cuticle into the hair shaft (known as “deposit”).
What some professional colorist don’t understand is how invasive and destructive this process is. While ammonia is an effective ingredient for opening the cuticle, it is like using a sledgehammer to pound in a thumb-tac. This highly corrosive toxin leaves the cuticle permanently damages and dried. While ammonia is not meant to penetrate the cuticle, it is almost unavoidable. Ammonia then destroys the hair’s natural tyrosine protein which inhibits the hair’s natural ability to manage its natural pigmentation or bond with artificial pigment. Many professional colorist understand that additional color deposit will be necessary for resistent grey hair. What they may not understand is why. The hair’s natural tyrosine protein in their hair is completely absent due to either age or consistent chemical hair color damage. The main point is that ammonia damages tyrosine which will significantly decrease your client’s hair’s ability to produce and maintain its natural pigments and hold on to their artificial color. This will cause color fade now and becoming prematurely grey later.
When the hair’s tyrosine is depleted or severely damaged, the hair will begin to seem “lifeless” and coloring will start to yield translucent results. Maintaining healthy levels of tyrosine is critical to consistent, predictable, and healthy hair coloring results and the only way to maintain lifelong happy color clients.
• Ammonia is a corrosive toxin that leaves the hair cuticle damaged during the coloring process. It also will seep into the hair shaft destroying the tyrosine which will impede the hair’s ability to “hold” color, both nature and artificial. The only way to avoid the continual damaging of the hair’s natural ability to hold color is to take ammonia out of the process.
• The cuticle is outer and visible layer of the hair shaft that protects the delicate inner shaft as well as determines the hairs shine and vitality. A smooth closed cuticle will give the hair maximum protection and shine.
• Healthy hair can only be achieved by maintaining the optimal balance of protein, moisture, and pH. Very few, if any, professional colorists will ever achieve this with traditional permanent hair color. Organic Color Systems is the only professional line that makes this easily achievable.