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Ammonia in hair colour

Ammonia affects different people in different ways. I've seen this happen in salons time and time again. Client Number One has her hair coloured with a product that contains ammonia apparently without any side effects at all. Client number two has her hair coloured using the same product and ends up with headaches, stinging eyes, trouble breathing or a nasty rash, or ends up in bed feeling terrible.

I've talked with many hairdressers and hundreds of clients about this and the most common answer goes something like this: "It's the price you have to pay if you want your hair coloured". Often the clients will add "Thank goodness I don't have to get it done every week". Or "I figure every 6 or 8 weeks can't do too much harm." But I say "If ammonia can affect our clients like this, then what about the hairdressers and colourists who are breathing it in every day?"

There's plenty of information available about the adverse effects of ammonia, it's no secret ask any doctor or check it out on the Internet, you'll find statements like this:

"Inhalation of lower concentrations in the air or solution can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation, it can also produce rapid skin or eye irritation. Ammonia's odour provides adequate early warning of its presence, but ammonia also causes olfactory fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness of one's prolonged exposure at low concentrations".

At the same time as ammonia is getting into your eyes and lungs, it's getting into the cuticle of the hair. In fact the shaft of hair is starting to resemble Swiss cheese. Ammonia not only negatively affects the cuticle of the hair; it also damages the amino acid or protein called Tyrosine which is found inside the hair shaft, tyrosine is responsible for producing melanin (the natural pigment in the hair shaft). When the Tyrosine is damaged, the hair's ability to hold onto colour is greatly reduced (or eliminated altogether). When you introduce colour into the hair shaft without damaging the Tyrosine the colour lasts longer because the colour has something to bond to.


What are Phthalates in shampoo

Phthalates are also known as phthalate esters, and are generally used as "plasticizers." Plasticizers are synthetic ingredients used to promote flexibility and durability in plastic found in medical products, floors, and food processing materials. Phthalates are also used as gelling agents in many of your favourite cosmetic and beauty products: shampoo, hairspray, hair gel, deodorant, nail polish, and body lotions.

Phthalates also exist in the vague term, "fragrance," that you often see in the ingredient list of your favourite products. Phthalates are used in fragrances because they are responsible for making the scent last longer. What's worse? You may never know if the 'fragrance' listed in your product has Phthalates - fragrance is deemed proprietary and companies are not legally bound to share its components.

Are Phthalates Harmful?

Yes! The harmful effects of Phthalates are just recently coming to the surface in the United States (who has less safety regulations than countries in the EU and Canada). The EU and Canada already have strict regulations on the use of Phthalates. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, as their chemical structure mocks that of a human hormone. What does this mean for human health?

Pregnant women exposed to high levels of Phthalates during pregnancy, can unknowingly cause their child to be born with abnormal birth defects, specific issues have been linked to male children's genitals and reproductive systems.

According to Professor Richard Sharpe of the Medical Research Council's Human Reproductive Sciences Unit, there is a link between incidents of hypospadias, undescended testes, low sperm-count and the mother's exposure to Phthalates. This is why it is crucial for expecting mothers to seek out organic hair products that maximize the use of gentle ingredients, and leave out Phthalates.

Phthalates and Weight Gain

Recently, excessive Phthalate exposure (due to its ubiquitous presence in products, excessive exposure it not difficult to reach) has been linked to obesity. The National Institute for environmental Health Sciences, The National cancer Institute, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded a study that revealed astounding findings. A group of about 400 children in New York City were monitored during a yearlong study that measured the participants' BMI and waist sizes in comparison to the amount of Phthalates found in their urine. A ground breaking 97% of children that had increased weights and waist sizes were found to have significantly higher amounts of Phthalates in their urine! One must truly consider the type of products one uses on oneself and more importantly, one's children.

Organic shampoo and body wash are more likely to not contain harsh Phthalates, as those that demand organic body products usually demand for an all-around safer product, but be sure to check your labels.

Recycling Plastic Bottles

Another interesting fact we came across was that products that used recycling codes 3 and 7 were much more likely to contain Phthalates.

Lastly, What Are Phthalates In Shampoo?