Hair Color: Types and Tips

Hair fiber has no color, bleach any hair and the fiber looks white simply because it reflects light. Hair color is provided by pigments produced by cells called "melanocytes". The pigments are called "melanin". Melanin actually means black so strictly speaking we should only use this word when talking about black hair. However, today scientists and dermatologists use the word melanin when talking about any kind of hair pigment blonde, red, brown, or black.

So black hair is the result of a very high production of eumelanin which is very densely packed into the hair fiber. Brown hair comes in various shades and richness of color but basically people with brown hair have a somewhat lower density of eumelanin in their hair fiber. The warmer, richer tones of brown hair are due to a greater presence of red - yellow pheomelanin. So the relative quantities of eumelanin versus pheomelanin in brown hair increase the heterogeneity of brown colored hair. People with blonde have eumelanin in their hair fiber as for black haired people but the eumelanin is present at a very low density. Plain blonde hair is predominantly eumelanin while richer honey blonde hair has relatively more of the yellow red pheomelanin present. Red haired people have a high density of the pheomelanin pigments in their hair fiber. Those who produce virtually no eumelanin have a red to orange color depending on the density of the pigment in the hair fiber. Red haired people who have a greater relative proportion of eumelanin production have a deeper red to red brown color. Gray hair is essentially the result of reduced pigment production. The contrast between the hair with more color and the hair with less color, causes the appearance we call gray hair.


It may sound a bit odd but your hair is a mixture of 3 colors; red yellow, and blue. These are the primary colors. Secondary colors are orange, green, and violet. If you look at the "wheel" a color opposite (directly across) will "negate" that color. This means if your hair is orange color - blue will make it a brown/black color. If you hair has a yellow tone, violet will cancel it out.

One of the most important elements of hair coloring is determining the hairs' "underlying pigment" (the hairs' natural color.) When you chose a color in a swatch book, your hair may not come out that color because of the underlying pigment in your hair.

Types of Hair Color

  • Temporary - Color lasts from one shampoo to the next and is deposited on the outside of the hair shaft.
  • Semi-Temporary - Color lasts up to 4-6 shampoos. Usually contain no ammonia and does not have a developer.
  • Demi Permanent - Color usually contains little or no ammonia and utilizes a low peroxide developer (under 10 vol.) the color lasts about 6 weeks and fades gradually back to the natural shade.
  • Semi-Permanent - Color usually contains some ammonia and uses a developer of 10 to 20 vol.
  • Permanent - Color formulas change the natural hair color. They require maintenance to new hair growth after 4 to 6 weeks.

Natural Henna Hair Color: The henna plant is native to Asia and the Mediterranean coast of Africa and thrives in warmer climates all over the world. The leaves are harvested, dried, and ground into a fine powder. Henna contains hennotannic acid, a dye that bonds with the collagen in skin cells and keratin of fingernails and hair, leaving behind a coloring.

Natural Indigo Plant: Indigo's botanical name is Indigofera tinctoria found in India and other sub-tropical countries. A blue dyestuff is obtained from the various species of Indigofera readily soluble in water. It is a very well-known and highly important dye, millions of pounds being exported from India annually.

Hair Color Tips

  • Wet your hair with bottled spring water before getting in a chlorine pool. It will dilute the harsh chemicals.
  • Be careful in the sun. Please use hats, scarves or products with sunscreens to help protect against color fade and the drying effects of the sun. Great for the beach, leave-in conditioners generally contain sunscreens to protect against color fade.
  • Shampoo gently with a shampoo specially created for color-treated hair.
  • Use color enhancing conditioners as color grows out to help blend root areas.
  • Don't brush hair when wet. Comb with a wide-tooth comb, working tangles out as you move from the ends toward the scalp.
  • Don't over dry. When you blow dry, dry the hair until it is almost, but not completely, dry. Leave some moisture in to prevent static.

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