In the making: Hair Dye

With hair colour trends constantly coming out of the wood work, we were intrigued to find out a bit more about hair dye this week. Here’s what we found out.


The many types of hair dye

Whether you’re wanting a whole new natural looking colour, or you’re feeling a little more daring, hair dye is the perfect way to change up your style. And with lots of different types waiting for you on the shelves, it doesn’t have to be an everlasting commitment if you don’t want it to. So don’t panic!


Non-permanent: these dyes will usually come in bright and bold colours to fit with the constantly changing trends. And like the trends, they only tend to last a short while, approximately 8 washes to be more precise.

Along with usually not including ammonia or peroxide so it’s easier on the hair, non-permanent dyes are great for first-timers who aren’t ready for a long term colour commitment. Wash in/wash out dyes are also available, if you’re wanting a different look for one night only.


Semi-permanent: these contain only a small amount of peroxide and ammonia, and sometimes none at all. They tend to leave you with a fresh colour for around 6 weeks, depending on how many times you wash your hair!


Permanent: those looking for a block colour that needs to last, tend to choose a permanent form of dye. Along with lightening or changing the hair to up to 3 different shades, they’re also great for covering those stubborn greys. And although the roots will need touching up as the hair grows, you can trust these dyes to last the longest.


Hair dyes also come in different forms, and it’s really down to personal preference which one you choose to use.

Crème/liquid: using an applicator tool to help provide full coverage, crème or liquid formulas are great for either touching up your roots of an all over freshen up.

Foam: Simple to use, foam dyes have a non-drip, no-mess formula. These are to be applied in a shampoo-like motion, so if you can’t quite reach all areas of your hair when dying, these are your best friend.


Brands such as L’Oréal, Garnier, Revlon, Clairol and John Frieda also provide bleaches and toners. Bleaches, which are high concentrations of peroxide, are used to lift darker colours so that new light colours can be achieved. Making them essential for achieving the current trend of grey hair.


If you require to get rid of your yellow and brassy tones, toners are the way to go. Again, these are needed in order to achieve cool toned colours like grey or pastels.

So when did hair dye actually come about?

Hair dye properly came into play in 1907, when French chemist Eugene Schueller first bottled up commercial hair dye. At first, named ‘aureole’ but then later named the famous ‘L’Oréal’. There’s no wonder that to this day, they’re a big house hold name.

L’Oréal – “Colour for the hair”

L’Oréal – “Colour for the hair”

For a longer lasting colour, in 1932, chemist Lawrence Gelb created a dye that accessed the hair shaft. This kicked off the long and successful career of the brand ‘Clairol’.


Clairol Incorporated’s Miss Clairol Hair Colour Bath –  Which hair colour should you use?  Your professional beautician will tell you  "The new, amazing hair colour bath Miss Clairol is the ’magic-in-minutes" (1952)

Clairol Incorporated’s Miss Clairol Hair Colour Bath – 
Which hair colour should you use? 
Your professional beautician will tell you 
“The new, amazing hair colour bath Miss Clairol is the ’magic-in-minutes” (1952)

Clairol - ‘Does she… or doesn’t she?’ (1957)

Clairol – ‘Does she… or doesn’t she?’ (1957)

‘Because you’re worth it’ – society changed its attitude towards openly using hair dye in the 1970’s. As ads from brands like L’Oréal encouraged users to be open about it.


Since hair dye first began we’ve seen a mass of crazy trends. With the punk rock influences in the 1990’s bringing us the unicorn hair.


The 2000’s bringing us a surge of mad highlights including unforgettable ones rocked by the likes of Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Rihanna. And 2015, the year when Ombre and Balayage really took centre stage.


“An estimated 70 percent of women in the U.S use hair-colouring products.” – According to the Atlantic.

Today, in 2016, hair dye takes up a large percent of the beauty industries revenue. With celebrities like Paramore’s Hayley Williams regularly debuting a new colour and showing us exactly how crazy hair colour can be.


Also proving that being bold isn’t always a bad thing, if done the right way of course, is pro hairdresser Guy Tang who takes the current trend of rainbow hair to a whole new level.

Current brands such as Bleach London and Schwarzkopf are brands perfect at displaying how many options there really are for your hair these days. Pastels, neon’s, the list is endless. Because who really wants boring hair?

What is your hair dye made from?

A lot has changed since the early 1900’s when hair colour was made using herbal and natural dyes.

Back in the day, extracts from the chamomile plant were used to lighten the hair, whereas bark and nutshells were used to darken the hair. Now, however, hair dyes generally include dyes, modifiers, antioxidants, alkalizes, soaps, ammonia, wetting agents and fragrance.


Most also include alcohol which does tend to dry your hair out.

The 2 main ingredients of hair dye:

Hydrogen peroxide: discovered in 1818 but found as an effective hair lightener in 1867, hydrogen peroxide comes in varying forms and strengths. It helps to initiate how light or dark the hair is going to be and gives you that desired longer-lasting colour.

Ammonia: when joined with peroxide, this helps the hair to lighten for a permanent hair change.

And if you’re wondering exactly how hair dye actually works, here’s your answer:

Watch how the amazing hair god Guy Tang transforms hair himself HERE.

So, are there any hair colours you’re dying to try yourself? What’s been your bravest colour so far?

We also explored the world of blush, lipstick, foundation, mascara, nail polish, makeup brushes, false lashes and perfume!

Text: Lizzie Moxom

Images: Harpers Bazaar, Pinterest, Reddit, She Knows, Beautezine, YouTube.

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