The Ultimate complete handbook to colouring of the hair

Colouring of the hair or rather dyeing of the hair is an act that changes the colour of the hair. The major reasons people do this are for cosmetic purposes; that is to hide the fact that they have white or grey hair; this is to transform their hair to a new colour that would make them seem more attractive as well as fashionable. The second major reason people change the colour of their hair is to try and bring back thee initial colour of their hair probably usually after an unwanted discolouration that is either caused by the process of hairdressing or bleaching by the Sun.

Colouring of the hair can either be done by a professional hairstylist or alone in the house. Currently, the colouring of the hair is a popular practice among 75% of the total women’s population as well as among 18% of the total population of men that live in Copenhagen since they have reported that they use hair colour as discovered from an analysis done by a University in Denmark-University of Copenhagen.

In America, colouring of the hair done at-home got to $1.9 billion in the year 2011 and it is anticipated to get to $2.2 billion by the year 2016.


Techniques for applying the colour to the hair   

The colour is normally applied diligently on to the hair as just a single colour. But now, there is a change in the method of application of the dye colour. The current trend involves the use of various colours to create effects of graduations or effects of streaks. However, not all of these colours will be able to blend properly with an overall base colour.

The various colour applications are generally divided into:

  • Highlighting: This is when some part of the hair gets treated by applying lighteners.
  • Low lighting: This is when some parts of the hair get treated by applying hair colours that are darker.
  • Splash lighting: This is generally known as a horizontal line of hair that runs from one ear to another.

In existence, are some more recent techniques of colouring like ombre, in which the crown of the hair is dark and gradually changes to a light colour as it moves down to the ends.

The following techniques are known as off-the-scalp methods and hence their applications are by the different methods listed below:-

  • Foiling:- In this case, foil pieces or films of plastic are generally used to demarcate the hair that needs to be coloured from the ones not intended for colouring.
  • Cap:– In this situation, a cap made of plastic is tightly placed on the top of the head while hair strands are dragged out with the use of a hook (This is not a method that is practiced frequently, an exception being the highlighting of the short hair).
  • Balavage:- This is where the colour of the hair is applied directly on to parts on the hair with the absence of foils which is used to protect the hair. (Due to the ability for you to look rather natural, this approach is becoming popular).
  • Dipping or dyeing of the hair tip:- This is close to Balavage in such a way that colour is applied to the hair directly. (This gives the hair ends more coverage).

All the techniques for colouring are compatible with any colour type. For the lightening technique, most times the hair is bleached first after which colouring is done.

On-Scalp Application.

Colouring of the hair also can be done through on-scalp application by applying the colour directly to the scalp to ensure better colour coverage.


  • Root touch-up:- In the case that the colour has been applied alone to new grown hairs (normally the first few inches of the hair closest to the scalp area). Root touch-ups are done repeatedly every month or every sixth week as the hair grows back and its natural colours begin to reappear.
  • All-over colour:- In this case, the person decides that their entire hair should be coloured with a different colour.
  • Block Colouring:- In this method, the person decides to have two or several colours done on their hair. This results to the colour of the hair having dimensions as well as contrast.

All the techniques for colouring are compatible with any colour type. For the lightening technique most times the hair is bleached first after which colouring is done.

Classification of the different colouring method for the hair

There are four most popular methods of classifying colouring of the hair. These are permanent, temporary, semi-permanent as well as demi-permanent (which is often referred to as deposit only).


The permanent method for colouring of the hair

The permanent method of colouring of hair generally uses colour which contains ammonia and therefore, this must be used with a mixture of an oxidizing agent or a developer, so as to be able to change the colour of the hair permanently. In this method, the Ammonia helps in opening up the layer of cuticle so as to allow the colourants as well as the developer to permeate to through the cortex. The oxidizing agent or developer can be purchased in several volumes. If the volume of the developer is more, the ability of the person’s hair to change permanently is increased. A person with a hair that is darker, that wants to have a hair colour that is lighter by two shades or three shades, they may require more volume of developer, also a person that has a hair that is lighter and wants to have a darker one will have no need for such a volume of developer. Time duration differs with permanent colour of the hair but this usually takes about half an hour or about three-fourth of an hour for people who want to maximize their colour change.


The Demi-Permanent method of colouring the hair

In this method, the colour of the hair has as part of its contents an agent of alkaline which is not ammonia (For instance sodium carbonate, ethanol amine) and while it is always applied with the use of as developer, the percentage contents of the hydrogen peroxide present in the developer can be in less quality compared to the one employed in the permanent method. As the agents of alkaline used in the demi-permanent method are less powerful in taking out the hair’s natural pigment than ammonia in the previous method, then the agents of alkaline don’t lighten up the colour of the hair during dyeing. Because of this, they are unable to change the colouring of the hair to a shade that is lighter than its colour before dyeing is done and as well cause minimal hair damage than the agents used in the permanent method.

Demi-permanents are very good in hiding a grey hair colour than do the semi-permanents, but less effective than the permanents.

Demi-permanents is several times more advantageous than the colour used in the permanent method. So as a result, since there is the absence of lifting (that is, removal ) of the hair’s original colour, the new colour’s uniformity/homogeneity is less than what is obtainable in the permanent method and so it has a more natural look. They are also gentle on the hair and as well relatively safer, more so, for hair that is damaged and with time they tend to wash out (use a number of shampoos in the range of 20 and 28), so when the root grows back, it’s effect is less and thus, if the person wants to change the colour, it can be done easily. Colours used in the demi-permanent method are not permanent. However, the colours with shades that are darker may stay on for a time period longer than what was specified in the package.


Semi-Permanent method for colouring of the hair

This method needs a little quantity of or rather no developer at all, ammonia or hydrogen peroxide and thus damages the strands of the hair to a lesser degree. The little quantity of developer, either ammonia or peroxide, will ensure that the hair that was damaged previously by the permanent colour has a lesser probability of being damaged during the process the application of the colour.

The colour applied in the semi-Permanent method utilizes compounds that have lower values of molecular weight than the colours used in the hair dyes of the temporary method. The dyes only partially penetrate through the shaft of the hair, because the developer applied has been reduced in quantity. Because of this, the colour will last longer if the hair is washed repeatedly, with normally about 4 or 5 shampoos or for some weeks, before it undergoes proper washing out or fading completely.


The carcinogenic substance, p-phenylenediamine (PPD) or close types of colourant, is still suspected to be a content of the colours used in the Semi-permanent method. The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States gave information that rodents that arehave been endangered by PPD through their diet for a long time, appears to have a body weight that is depressed by the PPD, additionally no further proven forms of toxicity were noticed in subsequent researches.

The final appearance in terms of colour of every hair strand will have a dependence on the hair’s porosity as well as the hair’s original colour. As a result of the porosity as well as the colour of the hair athwart the head and lengthwise of a strand of hair, shade variations around the whole head will be minimally noticed. This results to a further outcome that looks natural rather than firm and wide colour coverage that the colour from the permanent method produces.  As a result of the fact that white or grey colours of hair have other starting colour compared to other hair, their colour shade will be different than the other hairs when colours used in the semi-permanent are applied to them. If the quantity of the hair that are grey/ white are few in number, the colour added will be able to make the hair that are grey/white blend in easily, however as the grey increases, it will get to an extent where it will be difficult to hide. So in this scenario, the transformation to a colour that is permanent most of the time will be set back until a base of semi-permanent colours is applied as well as highlights. Colours that are semi-permanent cannot make the hair any lighter.


Temporary Method of Colouring the Hair

This type of method of colouring the hair is readily obtained in several forms such as shampoos, rinses, sprays, gels as well as foams. Hair colour that are temporary, are usually brighter in colour as well as additionally vibrant than hair colours that are permanent and also semi-permanent. It used mostly for hair colouration at distinctive occasions like Halloween as well as costume parties.

The colours used in the colouring of temporary hair cannot pass through the layer of the cuticle simply because its pigments have a molecular weight that is high.  The particles of the colours are removed easily with just shampooing once due to the fact that they remain around the surface of the shaft of the hair. Colour used in temporary hair colouring can stay on a damaged hair or an excessively dry hair in such a way that makes the pigment’s movement to the hair shaft’s interior an easy one.


Alternative method of colouring of the hair

Colouring products for alternative hair are made so as to create colours of hair that usually not natural. They are also called “Vivid Colour” in the hairdressing industry. Colours that are available are varied like the fuchsia and green colours. Of course, there is an availability of some of the colours that can be used for the alternative method that are permanent. Lately, hair dyes that are reactive to black light have been introduced to the market place. These types of hair dyes tend to fluoresce when it comes under black lights like the ones found in nightclubs.

The chemical representation for the colour of the alternative dyes usually has tint as it’s only constituent and lacks a developer. This implies that only the packet’s bright colour will be created if they are used on a hair that is light blond. A hair that is several shades darker firstly will have to be made lighter by the application of bleach so as to aid a desirable blending of pigment hair treatment. Some fair hair types can as well accept vivid colours to a full extent after bleaching has been done. Orange, yellow as well as gold colour hints in a hair which has not gone through enough lightening processhave the ability to spoil the appearance of the final colour of the hair, especially when applied in conjunction with blue, pink as well as green dyes. Though, some colours that are alternative are permanent like purple and blue, several months can be taken the wash off the colour away from a hair that is bleached or hair that is pre-lightened.


Maintaining the colour of the hair

People can maintain their hair colour in several ways, like:

  • Using conditioners as well as shampoos that protect the colours.
  • Using shampoo that is free from sulfate.
  • Using conditioners or shampoo that is purple in colour to sustain or strengthen the hair’s blond colour.
  • Using UV absorbents in conjunction with leave-in treatments.
  • Having treatments that are deep-conditioning so as to smoothen as well as add luster.
  • Chlorine should be avoided.
  • Using products that protect you from the high temperatures right before you use appliances for styling.


Undesirable effects of hair colouring

Colouring of the hair requires the application of chemicals which can remove, replace as well as / or close up pigments that are originally located in the shaft of the hair. Application of these chemicals possibly can have unwanted effects, such as temporary irritation of the skin as well as allergy, breaking of the hair, discolouration of the skin as well as results of unexpected colour of the hair.


Irritation of the skin and allergy

In some people, the application of colour for hair dye can possibly cause abnormal reactions as well as/or irritation of the skin. People that are sensitive to gluten for instance, will have to exercise caution when buying their colour for hair dyeing because some of the products used in dyeing of hair contain gluten. You don’t have to swallow gluten for it to cause a reaction. If gluten touches the skin, it may result to a reaction; which can in turn cause an allergy. Signs of this allergy can be effects like redness, itching, sores, discomfort as well as a burning sensation. Signs of the allergy may not show up immediately after the applying and processing the tint, however, it can show up after some hours or possibly after a day.

To avoid sensitive reactions, most products for colouring of the hair, suggests that a patch test be conducted by the client before a product is used. This is done usually by the mixture of a little volume of tint preparation then pouring it to the surface of the skin directly for up to 2 days. If there is an irritation, the manufacturers suggest that the product should not be used by the client.

But dermatologists in Europe, have advocated strongly against the testing which is like a pre-use of the product, as it has a risk of causing further allergies and more over, lay people’s interpretation of the results may possibly lack sufficient accuracy.

Breaking of hair

Any type of hair treatment that is chemical in nature will definitely change the biochemical nature of the hair. Hair that has gone through damage as a result of an intense chemical exposure is referred to as over-processed. This leads to a hair that is rough, dry as well as fragile.In cases that are severe, the extent of damage done to the hair can make it to completely break off. Major factors that cause the breaking of hair are: absence of moisture as well as oils, taking diets that are poor, stress, illness or over processing.


Discolouration of the skin

The fingernails as well as the skin of the body contain the same kind of fibrous protein (keratin) that is found in the hair. This implies that dripping, slipping as well as tinting of the extra hair across the lines of the hair can lead to discoloured skin in form of patches. This is mostly prevalent among people who have hair colours that are darker and of course it is also common with people who have dry skin that are absorbent. This is the reason it is suggested that gloves made of nitrile or latex be used for hand protection.  The discolouring effect will go off with time through natural skin renewal and as the skin’s top layer is stripped off (usually lasts from some days to one week). Several methods of avoiding the discolouration to the skin are through the wearing of gloves made from nitrile or latex for hand protection and also with the application of a slight layer of a jelly made from petroleum or a preparation that is oil-based in the area of the hairline.  Rough objects that are mildly gentle like baking soda that is moist or rather a little quantity of toothpaste that is smeared with a toothbrush can possibly help take off the skin’s topmost layer as well as that of the dye (no single one of them takes off only the dye). Remover for nail polish as well as acetone are considered ineffective in this regard; detergent used in laundry may work sometimes as well as if a cigarette ash that is moist is rubbed directly in the area that is stained.

Before you decide to embark on this hair colouring journey, award-winning colourist, Rain Baxter from Hera Hair Beauty advised that,”Before choosing to boldly go platinum blond, you need to be sure that the colour is right for you. Firstly, do you have black or dark brown hair? If so, it is going to be a lot more complicated and it’s unlikely that you will get the colour you’re after in just one hairdressing appointment. You should consult with your hairdresser or colourist about how many salon visits you might require to achieve your desired hair colour