Our Guide to Different Types of Hair Colours

Recently we have a lot of requests from clients for plant based, vegan and organic hair colours. This is no surprise as we are using a lot of vegan, plant based, cruelty free hair colours, shampoos and conditioners in the salon. In this blog I will tell you about different types of hair colour, what they are made of and how long they last on your hair.


Water Based Hair Colours

These colours are only used to add or deposit colour to your hair. They will not lift your hair or make it brighter. These are free from bleaching agents, alcohol, ammonia and the chemical (PTD), phenylenediamine or (PPD). Most water based hair colours are organic and made from natural colour powders, plants and minerals. They work similarly to other hair colours in the way the hair cuticle is penetrated. These types of hair colours are 100% natural. This gives you the added comfort of knowing that the colour does not change the hair's structure or integrity.

The absence of PPD in these colours means type of colour last less longer than other colours. Your root colour will have to be applied every 4 weeks. To get maximum coverage from these colours we follow the instructions as listed and or apply the colour for a longer time. These colours can be classified as semi-permanent.

Natural, Organic Permanent Hair Colours

These colours are similar to plant based hair colours in their structure. They are used to deposit colour. The main difference is in the ingredients used. These permanent colours contain oil extracts, aloe vera, plant keratin and amino acids that are sometimes obtained from wheat and soya. In the salon we use an advanced formula hair colour that offers the same coverage as other permanent hair colours. These colours are ideal for people who have allergies and intolerance to some ingredients that can be found in other types of salon colours (please note that wheat and soya extracts are in some of these colours and they might not suited to people with wheat or soya allergies or intolerances). These colours offer full coverage for grey hair give lasting natural textures and glow.

The high percentage (99%) use of natural ingredients will give your hair shine, full coverage and a beautiful soft finish. As they are permanent water based colours your root colour will need to be re-applied every 4 to 8 weeks or depending on how fast your hair grows. These colours come in semi-permanent, demi-permanent or permanent range.

Organic / Permanent Hair Colours

These colours can vary in their make-up. Some hair colours that don't lift are made up of natural and plant extracts as listed above. However, if the organic colour range is permanent there can be a small amount of PPD in the product. We recommend that you check with your colours before hand. Read all instructions carefully and get a patch test 48 hours before you have your hair colour done.

If the colour lifts or lightens your hair there will be hydrogen peroxide in it. Most of the colours we use in the salon that gives maximum coverage or takes your hair to a lighter shade contains from 3% to 12% peroxide. We use the lower percentage to add colour and the higher percentage to remove or lighten your hair colour. We rarely use the higher volume peroxide as this can damage your hair.

In organic colours the peroxide level is much lower. They start from 0.5% and go up to 5%. The added advantage of low volume peroxide is that it lifts the hair slowly over time.

We have found that there are fewer chemicals and usually no, PPD or ammonia in organic hair dyes." Ammonia is the ingredient that conventional dye formulas use to penetrate the hair cuticle and deposit colour. In our professional opinion, organic hair dye is less harsh on your hair. If a client is sensitive to two or more ingredients in regular dye we recommend using natural or organic product.

However, some of these products give less vivid colours and can require more frequent application. Discussing with your colourist in details your hair requirements and allergies is the best way to find the right hair colour for your hair needs and budget.


Hair Glossary and Colour Tips

PPD - is the chemical or pigment that is used in hair colours. It is present in permanent hair dyes and enables the colour to last longer.

Semi permanent colours - or temporary hair colour are mild on your hair. They cannot be used for changing your hair colour as the colour only coats and stains the hair. They contain no ammonia and a small amount of peroxide. It gives your hair a more natural colour. Semi-permanent dyes are ideal if you do not want growth lines in your hair. They last for about eight weeks and fade over time. These colours are great to use for first time dyes who are not looking for a drastic change or when growing out permanent colours. They generally wash out after 12 shampoos. (glossing is semi-permanent, transparent shine that can be used as an add-on treatment to help revive dull hair). If you have naturally frizzy a hair gloss also has the benefit of smoothing hair, reducing frizz and flyaways).

Demi-permanent hair colour - These formulas contain no ammonia but have some peroxide in them. We use them for clients who want their hair colour to last a bit longer. They are ideal for enhancing, refreshing or darkening hair colour (either natural or previously coloured). These formulas generally last for 12 to 24 washes. They are good for darkening the hair than the semi-permanent colours. They offer less commitment than permanent hair colour. These types of colours are commonly used in colour correction, refreshing hair colour or glossing.

Covering Grey Hair - Both Semi- and Demi- permanent hair colours will cover your grey hair. The demi-permanent colours will give a much better coverage. If your hair has just started to grey or lose colour we use a semi-colour to slowly introduce your hair to colour. However, a demi-permanent colour will give you a better grey coverage for a longer time.

Permanent Hair colours - don’t have to be applied as often as semi-permanent or temporary colours. These colours are ideal if you like your hair colour and want to keep it. There is a wider range of permanent colour. Permanent hair colours will last on your hair for a long time (and might only need to be refresh when ever needed in your mid lengths and ends). They give maximum coverage. You will only need to refresh your roots when they grow out in 6 to 8 weeks.

Highlights - changing your hair using a lightener to hair colour. There are four basic types of highlight: 1. chunking, 2. foil highlights, 3. hair painting and 4. Frosting

Lowlights - Instead of lightening the hair we apply darker tones. This adds depth, warmth and shine and is ideal for an autumn winter warm look.

Ombre - adds a natural root colour that gradually fades into a lighter highlighted tone towards the end of you hair.

Balayage - a French word meaning free hand paint. This technique will pick up light and gives your hair a bright youthful look.

Babylights - really tightly packed in highlights that give your hair a natural look. The colours are evenly blended in for a seamless texture.

Instalights - scattered highlights that are done quickly to add a bit of brightness to frame your face.

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