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Anyone giving hair coloring advice could start with the fact that mixing chemical hair products should be done carefully. Every time you color hair (or chemically straighten or perm it), you damage the hair structure. Too many chemical treatments can ruin the hair completely.

Coloring products have to open up the cuticle to allow color to penetrate, and harsh chemicals like ammonia can leave the strand looking like Swiss cheese. Try adding in a chemical permanent or straightening treatment and you can end up with hair that looks like straw.

Because the harsh chemicals in hair products do create tiny holes in the hair strand, too many treatments with different chemicals can make the hair excessively porous. Hair that is too porous will absorb color more quickly and give inconsistent or unusual results. It also may have trouble retaining the color, fading much faster than desired and turning strange colors as it fades.

A good test for this is the “sink-or-swim” test. This checks to ensure hair is safe to color after another chemical treatment. Just snip off a small piece of hair and put it in water. If it still floats after a few seconds, it’s safe to color. If it sinks, the hair has become too porous and is not safe to color.

An easier solution—and a safe way to avoid all these problems in the first place—is to use a gentler, plant-based product that doesn’t rip the hair to shreds. Organic Color Systems, for example, doesn’t use ammonia in their products. The cuticle of the hair is lifted gently, keeping the cuticle intact and not poking it full of holes. This enables the hairdresser to color hair multiple times without the side effects of dry and brittle hair. They also have a perm product that doesn’t use thioglycolates, meaning that you can perform multiple chemical treatments with less damage.

For anyone who likes to change her hair frequently or gets multiple chemical treatments, gentler is better. One client who liked to completely change her hair color several times a month found that Organic Color Systems enabled her to do it without ruining her hair.

But if you are getting your hair colored and permed (or chemically straightened), remember that time is your friend. Permanent color and chemical texturizing should not be done on the same day. You can get a semi permanent service done instead, or wait two to three days before getting the other treatment. And, for your hair’s sake, find a hairstylist who uses a gentler product. You’ll thank yourself that you did.

Below are links to other articles that provide some general information of interest brought to you by Organic Color Systems. For additional articles and information visit us at one of our other Internet sites:

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  1. As a colour educator i respect what you say and all the information you post, but feel all companies posting articles on all natural colour should come clean when pushing the Ammonia free aspect of their product.
    What drivers your colour? think we should agree that to colour hair one needs an alkaline state so how do you achieve this?
    De-natured alcohol?
    very interested thanks MikeB2MR

    • Hi Mike. Thank you for your insightful question. I think I can provide some useful information to you regarding how our product works. Organic Color Systems uses a different delivery system to introduce pigments into the hair shaft, we have not simply replaced ammonia with another ingredient. The key difference with Organic Color Systems is that in addition to being alkaline, the base of the color is also a conditioning agent, so it softens the cuticle layer. This softening process means that Organic Color Systems is able to work at a far lower ph and is a gentler way to color the hair. Organic Color Systems uses an extremely low percentage of ethanolamine (less than 4%) to adjust the ph of the color so that it can effectively swell the cuticle layer and allow the pigments into the hair. Also, because our ingredients are completely free from ammonia, which is a corrosive, our product does not damage the proteins in the hair that hold on to the color pigment which makes our entire process possible. If you’d like to explore this topic further, I’d be thrilled to speak with you directly. My phone number is (888) 213-4744 and I can be reached Monday – Friday 10:00 am through 6:00 pm. Please ask for Matthew.

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