I’ve been dyeing my hair for the best part of 20 years. I’ve been red, blonde, brunette, aubergine and an accidental orange. Whilst pregnant, I allowed my “ natural” colour to come through and was gutted to see that my teenage natural blonde was now a dull as dishwater, murky light brown. So, once I’d had my kids I hit the bottle again!
People have been dyeing their hair for thousands of years, starting off with plant-based dyes such as Henna and Turmeric. Nowadays, dyes are mostly synthetic bringing with them a whole host of potential problems. I’ve come across a new technique that might just change the way we colour our hair, forever.
I’m fortunate that despite using probably every mainstream brand of off-the-shelf hair dye and also the full range of salon dyes over the years, I’ve never had a reaction. According to Allergy UK “reactions to hair dye are not uncommon”, ranging from mild itching to anaphylaxis. Scary.
Just as worrying, whilst researching this article, I found reference to possible links to cancer. What? I contacted Cancer Research UK who reassured me that there is no definitive link between hair dye and cancer. Hair dyes used before 1980 may have contained ingredients that are carcinogenic, or certainly are to mice. These ingredients are no longer used thankfully.
Ok, all things considered, we’re not going to give up our hair dye addiction are we? So here’s the alternative:
A 2014 University of New Mexico Study “ Nano-patterning of diffraction gratings on human hair for cosmetic purposes “ (Abbas, Goettler, Lamartine, Leseman) might just have the answer. They have found that it’s possible to change hair colour by using an electrical charge. A safe one obviously! You would do this using essentially a hair straightener. The hair straightener, as we now know it, would be modified to pass an electrical charge through your hair that then imprints tiny patterns of colour onto it. To the human eye, this would look like a solid block of colour. The study found that this method works better on dark hair at the moment, but they’re still working on the idea. Also, there’s the possibility of using the same method to add a pattern to your hair. Leopard print anyone?
I would definitely give this a go. At the moment, it would be a permanent hair colour, yet I understand that the people behind the research are looking into ways to make it a temporary change, if that’s more your cup of tea. If they manage to get this to market, I think it’d be huge. An opportunity for those that can’t use traditional dyes to change their look and a safer method for everyone else.
What do you think? Do you think this idea will take-off? I’d love to hear your comments.