Organic Hair Color FAQ
[styledbox type=”information” align=”left”] To better assist our well-trained salon professionals, Organic Color Systems has compiled a list of commonly asked questions and their comprehensive answers below. Please browse the general categories by clicking an image directly below or scroll down the page to browse the questions. To view the answer to the selected question, please click on the arrow located to the left of the question. [/styledbox]
Organic Color Systems Process & Benefits
Professional Organic Techniques
Organic Color Systems Ingredients
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Organic Care Systems & Treatments
Organic Curl Systems – Perm, Straighten, Relax
Medical Issues Presented to Colorist
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[panel title=” What do we use to replace ammonia? “]
Click the arrow next to the question to reveal the answer.
[panel title=” What do we use to replace ammonia? “] There are no “natural brands” other than henna powder. Our claim is that OCS is manufactured “as naturally as possible without compromising its effectiveness”. We export to 40 countries and visit most of them on a regular basis so we are aware of the vast majority of permanent hair colors on the market and have analysed most of them. We believe that we are more natural especially, as far as we are aware, we are the only permanent hair color that contains certified organic ingredients. [/panel]
[panel title=” What are our main points of difference? “] The key difference with OCS is that not only is the base of the color (the main ingredient) alkaline, so it raises the pH of the hair, but it is also a conditioning agent so it softens the cuticle at the same time. This softening process means that OCS is able to work at a far lower pH and is a far gentler way to color the hair than ammonia-based colors. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the primary reason for using Organic Color Systems? “] Health of staff and clients, far better condition of the clients’ hair, the fact that clients are increasingly asking for it and no smell of ammonia in the salon. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do we reduce our PPD levels so dramatically yet still get professional results? “] A high pH is an extremely effective method of opening the cuticle as it is generally opened to such an extent as to allow the color to flood into the cortex. Ammonia, as well as raising the pH, when mixed with peroxide, neutralises the existing color pigments in the hair to a greater degree and therefore more pigment is needed. Also, as a result of the cuticle remaining open, the percentage of pigment in the color needs to be as high as possible, as a relatively high percentage of the color will be lost when rinsing off at the backwash.
This is why we are able to dramatically reduce PPD levels; we do not lose the same level of color as we don’t open the cuticle to the same degree. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the difference between non-ammonia and ammonia colors? “] To fully understand this it is vital to understand ammonia’s primary role in a hair color.
The primary function is to raise the pH of the hair sufficiently so as to open the cuticle and allow the color to enter the cortex of the hair. Depending on the percentage of ammonia in each color this can vary as to how high the pH of the hair is taken. The more ammonia there is in the product, the higher the pH of the hair. This is a tried and tested (but outdated method, as proven by the number of companies now launching color ranges without ammonia), as the cuticle is generally expanded to such an extent as to allow the color to easily enter the cortex.
The secondary function of ammonia is to neutralise the existing pigments to a greater degree, which happens when ammonia is mixed with peroxide. Unfortunately there are three main side effects:
1. At the same time that the color is swelling the cuticle to easily enter the cortex, there is significant protein and moisture loss. This is how the hair is damaged during coloring when using an ammonia color.
2. The pH of the hair is raised to such an extent by the ammonia that it is physically impossible to return it to its ideal pH after coloring. This means that the cuticle remains open, the hair continues to lose protein and moisture and there is also an increased risk of color fade.
3. As a result of the cuticle remaining open, the percentage of pigment in the color needs to be as high as possible. This is necessary as a relatively high percentage of the color will be lost when rinsing off at the backwash. Plus, due to the greater neutralisation of the pigment by the ammonia-peroxide mix, a higher pigment percentage is required.
More and more companies are now removing ammonia from their hair colors. This is commendable as ammonia is an extremely harsh chemical and doesn’t need to be in hair color. Unfortunately the vast majority of these colors have merely removed ammonia from the color and replaced it with an ingredient called ethanolamine, but the same three side effects mentioned above still apply. The rule that the more ammonia there is in the color, the higher the pH applies to ethanolamine as well. All they have achieved is to remove ammonia from their colors; they haven’t managed to decrease the pH that these colors take the hair to.
The key difference with Organic Color Systems is that the base of the color (the main ingredient) is not only alkaline, so it raises the pH of the hair, but it is also a conditioning agent, so it softens the cuticle at the same time. This softening process means that Organic Color Systems is able to work at a far lower pH and is a far gentler way to color the hair. As a result, the three side effects mentioned above don’t apply to Organic Color Systems.
Organic Color Systems does contain ethanolamine. It is used because the base isn’t sufficiently alkaline to open the cuticle enough for the color to enter the cortex. Ethanolamine is therefore used to increase the pH enough so that this can occur. Organic Color Systems uses oleic acid in the formulation specifically to neutralise any residual ethanolamine. [/panel]
[panel title=” How does our color penetrate the cuticle differently? “] Unlike ammonia which operates at a high pH and swells the cuticle literally forcing the pigments into the hair, Organic Color Systems moisturizes the hair which softens the cuticle, allowing it to open at a lower pH and enabling the color to wind itself through the layers of cuticle. [/panel]
[panel title=” Why do we get reduced color fade? “] Organic Color Systems works at a lower pH than ammonia colors (see question ‘How does our color penetrate the cuticle differently?’). We are able to close the cuticle back down after coloring using Organic Care Systems shampoos and conditioners, as these products are pH controlled, to return the hair to its ideal pH. [/panel]
[panel title=” Should I do a stretch test before and after coloring/treatment? “] A wet stretch test should be done before and after. The second stretch test enables the client to see for herself how successful the treatment has been. It can also be done after coloring (but only after the conditioner has been applied for 5 minutes) to show the client that her hair is in the best possible condition. [/panel]
[panel title=” Should I apply a treatment before or after color application? “] It entirely depends on the condition of the hair. If the wet stretch test determines that a treatment is needed then this should always be applied prior to coloring. If, after coloring, the hair is still not in optimum condition then an additional treatment can be applied. [/panel]
[panel title=” When coloring, why do we need to use heat? “] Heat gently opens the cuticle and as we are working at the lowest pH level possible, we need to give every assistance to the cuticle in opening. [/panel]
[panel title=” I am having trouble covering grey. “] The base of the color (the ingredient with the highest percentage) is alkaline so as to raise the pH of the hair, in order to lift the cuticle and allow the color to enter the hair. It is also a conditioning and moisturizing agent, so it allows the color to work on a lower pH than a color with ammonia or a straight ammonia replacement. As the hair becomes more grey the cuticle becomes harder, so this is why the grey coverage is sometimes more difficult to achieve. The NNs have a higher percentage of base and a lower percentage of water, which means they are able to soften the cuticle more and make it easier for it to open.
The key to coverage of resistant grey hair is to soften the cuticle as much as possible in order to help it open. The general rule is to use the following steps before applying the color: the more resistant the grey hair, the more steps you should use:
1. Apply the color to damp, towel dried hair. If this doesn’t solve the problem go to step 2.
2. Use the NNs. They can be mixed with the other colors, but the more resistant the grey hair, the higher the percentage of NNs in the mix. If this doesn’t solve the problem, go to step 3.
3. Apply two applications of Aqua Boost Shampoo and massage the second application into the hair. If this doesn’t solve the problem, go to step 4.
4. Apply Aqua Boost Reconstructor (formerly called Treatment) to the hair after the previous step, cover the hair with a plastic cap and place under low to medium heat for fifteen minutes. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do the Double N colors work? “] The NNs have a higher percentage of base (the ingredient with the highest percentage) and a lower percentage of water, which means they are able to soften the cuticle more and make it easier for it to open. There is NO difference in the percentage of pigment between the NNs and the equivalent base color. The key to coverage of resistant grey hair is to soften the cuticle as much as possible in order to help it open. [/panel]
[panel title=” My client’s color is transparent (translucent). “] There is no such thing as a “transparent” color. What has occurred is that the cuticle has not been opened sufficiently to allow all of the entire color to enter the cortex. This is why it is vital to conduct a wet stretch test prior to coloring. What also needs to be understood is that peroxide neutralises the existing pigment in the hair and peroxide mixed with ammonia does this to a far greater extent. As Organic Color Systems doesn’t contain ammonia, the color works more with the existing pigment in the hair than other permanent colours. In some cases, the cuticle might have been opened sufficiently, but the level of pigment is not sufficient to cover the grey hair, so you might need to go 2 – 3 shades darker. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do I get silicone out? “] There are two types of silicone: water soluble and normal. The water soluble silicone will wash out when using any shampoo. The normal will need a clarifying shampoo or a shampoo with a high percentage of detergent. In extreme cases to wash out silicone dishwashing liquid can be used, but a treatment should always be applied to the hair afterwards. [/panel]
[panel title=” What activator do I use with Naturlite powder. “] You should always use cream activator, as it mixes into a creamy consistency and has conditioning qualities which protect the scalp. [/panel]
[panel title=” Can you foil with Naturlite (without using a color) if customer is allergic to PPDs? “] Yes, you can as Naturlite doesn’t contain any PPDs or PTDs. [/panel]
[panel title=” Can I experiment with Organic Color Systems? “] Hairdressers are artistic and creative. The more accomplished will always push the boundaries with the entire OCS system. What is important is to have a fundamental understanding of the basics and boundaries, so that they are always able to rectify anything that doesn’t go to plan. [/panel]
[panel title=” If doing re-growth do I use a treatment? “] You would use a treatment at any time that the wet stretch test indicates that the hair is in need of one. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do I apply color? “] This is a personal choice as it can be applied to both dry and damp hair. However most hairdressers believe it is easier to apply to damp hair as it is a gel color and if the color is brushed into the hair the penetration is better. [/panel]
[panel title=” Can I mix Naturlite Oil with color? “] No, as Naturlite Oil is Organic Color Systems without the pigments. All you would be achieving is to reduce the percentage of pigment in the color and as a result you would more than likely be unable to achieve the required depth. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is maximum time to leave color on hair? “] For normal coloring 35-45 minutes. For Hi-Lift colors, the development time can be extended until the desired color is achieved. The color oxidizes after an hour, which means that it stops working, so nothing can be achieved after this time. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the formula for clean blonde hair? “] The 11 range gives a clean blonde if a scoop of Naturlite is added to the mix. Our alternative mix is: 10ml x 10, 10ml x 10AH, 5ml x Silver Concentrate, 1 scoop Naturlite Powder and 35ml x 12% activator. This is for foiling from a base 5 and upwards. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do I avoid my blondes coming up yellow? “] This is a common problem in hairdressing caused by insufficient lift. Yellow is the predominant pigment at level 9 and a yellow blonde is normally achieved as a result of only lifting to level 9 instead of level 10 or 11. Use 1 scoop of Naturlite powder in your color mix, as this contains a violet pigment to counteract the yellow tones and will also give added lift. You can also use Silver Shampoo to reduce yellow/orange tones of hair. Especially avoid base 9. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the color formula for beige blondes. “] 10 x 15ml, 10AH x 15ml, 8GD x 15ml, 6AH x 20ml, Silver Concentrate x 5ml, 6% liquid activator to an equal amount of the color mix. [/panel]
[panel title=” What if re-growth doesn’t stretch and there is not enough color depositing on the roots, what should I do? “] Apply the color to damp, towel dried hair. Apply two applications of Aqua Boost Shampoo and massage the second application into the hair. Apply Aqua Boost Reconstructor (previously called Treatment) to the hair after the previous step, cover the hair with a plastic cap and place under low to medium heat for fifteen minutes. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do I get a red (firebox)? “] From a natural base 7 and lighter you can use equal amounts of 7FR, Red Concentrate and Red Intensifier. If working on base 6 and darker, the hair would have to be pre-lightened using a Naturlite bath. This comprises of 1 scoop of Power Build Shampoo, 1 scoop of 9% Activator and 1 scoop of Naturlite applied as you would a shampoo. This could take anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes depending on the amount of lift required. Rinse off once the required lift has been achieved. [/panel]
[panel title=” Are there any limitations with blonde and lift? “] No, provided that the hair is in good condition and there is an understanding of what the predominant shades are at each level. [/panel]
[panel title=” When do you use the DX/ashes (extra grey color)? “] For countering warmth. Dark Extra Ash and Light Extra Ash are highly effective in increasing the flatness of the ash color and ensuring that warmth doesn’t return after shampooing.
Dark Extra Ash: Mix in equal quantities with 1, 2 or 3 from the natural colors to produce a flat, black. Mix with the AH colors from 4AH to 6AH to give a flat, ash result. If mixing 30ml of the AH color, you can add between 5ml and 30ml of the Dark Extra Ash, depending on how flat you want the color.
Light Extra Ash: Mix with the AH colors from 7AH to 10AH to give a flat, ash result. If mixing 30ml of the AH color, you can add between 5ml and 30ml of the Light Extra Ash, depending on how flat you want the color. [/panel]
[panel title=” Why do you get heat in foils? “] This can occur if the Naturlite powder was not shaken before use or an incorrect ratio was used i.e. too much powder. Also if the bowl or brush weren’t cleaned properly there could be metallic elements present. Another cause could be a reaction between the lightening system and the residues of lacquers or gels which could result in heat. [/panel]
[panel title=” Would you put toner under heat? “] No, as the hair has been pre-lightened it means that it is porous and will absorb the color quickly. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do you use Blue Concentrate? “] The Blue is an excellent anti-red. Mixed with either 1, 2 or 3 from the natural colors will give you a black / dark brown with a natural blue sheen. Mixed with the MH colors it will give the appearance of a black tulip. We recommend an equal amount of each shade is mixed. Added to the color mix in quantities of 2ml to 10ml, depending on the natural base of the hair, it is extremely effective in neutralizing natural red / orange pigments in the hair. [/panel]
[panel title=” When doing Hi-lift foils, what should be added to the 11 series? “] A scoop of Naturlite powder should always be added to the 11 series [/panel] [/accordion]
[accordion] [panel title=” What do we use to replace ammonia? “] The base of the color, PEG – 2 Soyamine is alkaline enabling us to increase the pH of the hair. Ethanolamine is also alkaline and acts as a top-up to increase the pH to a sufficient level so as to open the cuticle. [/panel]
[panel title=” What are the benefits of using these ingredients? “] The ability to open the cuticle at an extremely low pH compared to other permanent hair colors. See salon manual for pH levels of Organic Color Systems products. [/panel]
[panel title=” Many companies are simply replacing ammonia with ethanolamine. What is the problem with this? “] See question ‘What is the difference between ammonia and non-ammonia colors?’. [/panel]
[panel title=” What are the pigments in the products derived from? “] The pigments we use are derived from minerals. [/panel]
[panel title=” Why has the EU dropped the pigment levels? “] The main concern is the fact that there are quite a few people that are allergic to PPDs and PTDs. Most allergic reactions occur using darker shades and as these have a higher percentage of pigments, it makes sense to reduce these levels as much as possible. [/panel]
[panel title=” Why do you use activator with peroxide in it? “] The pigments in all permanent hair colors are oxidative pigments. This means that they need to come into contact with oxygen for the color to materialise. Peroxide’s chemical symbol is H2O2 (water with an additional oxygen molecule) and it is the energy from the two oxygen molecules that activate the pigment. It also neutralises the existing color pigment in the hair, which is why you achieve a greater degree of lift with a higher percentage of activator. The more peroxide, the greater the neutralisation of the existing pigment and the greater the lift. [/panel]
[panel title=” Do you have silicones in any of our products? “] Yes, we have silicones in some of our products (see salon manual and staff room on website for details), but we use water-soluble silicones which means there is no build up as they are washed out when shampooing. [/panel]
[panel title=” A lot of customers are looking on the internet for information on ingredients. How do we respond to this? “] There are lots of websites which make lots of claims about ingredients used in cosmetic products. Many of the claims made are unsubstantiated. We recommend www.cosmeticsinfo.org and www.thefactabout.co.uk, as reputable websites to refer to. [/panel] [/accordion]
[panel title=” Why is it so important to do a wet stretch test during every consultation? “] A wet stretch test determines the moisture and protein levels in the hair. It should be done on the side of the client’s head so that she is able to see the condition of her hair in the mirror and this is a fantastic service exercise, as very few hairdressers offer this service. It is vital for any good hairdresser to determine the condition of the hair prior to carrying out any form of process. The wet stretch test enables the hairdresser to determine the appropriate products that are required for optimum results. [/panel]
[panel title=” Why can our treatments be used before coloring when we are traditionally taught that treatments will close the cuticle and block the penetration of the color? “] That is because many of the treatments on the market are not reconstructors, but contain a high percentage of silicone. This gives the hair shine and a silky feel, but it is entirely cosmetic. Silicone coats the cuticle making it feel smooth, but also prevents it from opening and allowing the color into the cortex. Our treatments are powerful reconstructors so this does not apply to them. Our treatments work on the inside of the hair, rather than just applying a coating to the outside. [/panel]
[panel title=” What care products should I use for grey hair? “] Apply two applications of Aqua Boost Shampoo and massage the second application into the hair. If the hair is still not stretching, then apply Aqua Boost Reconstructor to the hair after the previous step, cover the hair with a plastic cap and place under low to medium heat for fifteen minutes. [/panel]
[panel title=” What care products should I use for fine hair? “] Fine hair has less layers of cuticle than other hair. Depending on the results of the wet stretch test, the hair will require either protein or moisture and this will determine what products to use. This is not to be confused with thinning hair, which is follicle- related. [/panel]
[panel title=” Tell us about Revamp. “] Revamp is a powerful treatment for chemically damaged, weak or limp hair. It is formulated to help strengthen the hair and reduce breakage by restoring protein levels. [/panel]
[panel title=” When would you use Power Build Reconstructor ahead of Revamp? “] As explained in the Wet Stretch Step-by-Step guide, Power Build would be used when the hair is stretching but not returning and Revamp would be used when the hair is breaking. [/panel]
[panel title=” Can I use Naturlite Oil as a conditioning shine or gloss? “] Yes, use 3% activator and Naturlite Oil in equal quantities. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the best shampoo for dandruff? “] Dandruff is a medical condition. The symptoms are open, pusy wounds on the scalp. What most people call dandruff is actually dry and itchy scalp usually caused by diet or internal factors. If the scalp is sensitive or itchy then the Soothe Plus range will definitely help. [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the best shampoo for oily hair? “] Oily hair is most often caused by people believing their hair is oily and as a result washing their hair every day. This washes away the natural oils on the scalp causing the sebaceous glands to overproduce the natural oils in compensation. The best method is not to wash your hair as frequently, allowing the sebaceous glands to calm down. As the problem originates from the scalp, the shampoo used should be determined by the wet stretch test. [/panel]
[panel title=” When would you use citric acid and which product would you use it with? “] This is only to be used when the hair is so badly damaged that it resembles wet cotton wool. This means that the pH of the hair is extremely high and as this mixture is extremely acidic in pH it is able to lower the pH of the hair substantially.
Mix 50ml of Revamp Treatment with 1 teaspoon of citric acid. Using Power Build Shampoo, shampoo twice leaving the second lather on for 5 minutes, rinse and towel blot. Do not comb the hair, but apply the mixture and leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off. Depending on the condition of the hair at this time then apply either Power Build Reconstructor or Revamp and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse and apply Power Build Conditioner, comb through and leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing off. [/panel]
[panel title=” Can Organic Curl Systems be used to replace keratin smoothing systems? “] Yes, Organic Curl Systems can be used for relaxing and straightening hair. One differentiating factor is the ability to straighten rather than simply smooth if your clients desires it. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do you fix damage hair from other straighteners and perms or from other color? “] Carry out a wet stretch test to determine which corrective treatment is needed. More often than not the required treatment will be 2 applications of Revamp left on the hair for 15 minutes on each occasion. [/panel]
[panel title=” How do you check the perm? “] Once Organic Curl Systems has had the required time, unwind 11⁄2 inch at the root. You will notice the hair separates into rows and takes on a U Bend form (the same as the rod). [/panel]
[panel title=” What is the procedure for perming / relaxing regrowth after a couple of months? “] Apply conditioner to the hair that has previously been treated and wrap in plastic. Then proceed with the application of the regrowth as per instructions. [/panel]
[panel title=” Why do doctors tell their patients not to color their hair when they have cancer? “] This is due to health concerns over the condition of the hair and scalp especially during chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The hair may not be strong enough at this time to undergo a coloring process. The scalp can also be damaged or sensitive at this time, so it is advisable to use products with the mildest ingredients possible. We advise that the hair is not colored for at least six months after treatment. A skin sensitivity test must be carried out and a wet stretch test should be done to determine any specific treatment which may be required. Soothe Plus Shampoo, Treatment and Conditioner can be used if the scalp is especially sensitive. [/panel]
[panel title=” My client has really bad psoriasis. How do I proceed? “] There have been no reported cases of people who suffer from psoriasis or eczema ever having a reaction to our colour. However, we do not recommend that hair colour is applied when suffering from any abrasions or sores on the scalp, and advise a customer to seek advice from their doctor. We recommend the Soothe Plus Treatment from Organic Care Systems. [/panel]