Using science to make myself gorgeous

About six months ago, I discovered the joys of red hair dye.  I got my hair dyed a really rich deep red/brown color that sparkled and made me feel like a movie star.And then I washed my hair.  All faux red heads know what happened next.  My color faded! 

I got it re-dyed last week and with just two washings, my red is nearly gone. 

Thankfully, I have smart friends.  What I set out to find was the molecular structure of red hair dye and tell one of them to mess around with the math until they came up with a more stable red hair dye molecule. 

Here’s what I found (or what they found for me):

1.   p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) is used in nearly all hair dyes.  According to wikipedia:  p-Phenylenediamine (PPD), also called paraphenylenediamine, 1,4-diaminobenzene or 1,4-phenylenediamine is an aromatic amine used as a component of engineering polymers and composites, aramid fibers, hair dyes, rubber chemicals, textile dyes, and pigments. PPD is selected because of its low toxicity, high temperature stability, high strength, and chemical and electrical resistance.

It looks like this: 


2. PPD + a dual aromatic ring = red hair color.

3. Red molecule + ammonia + peroxide = lasting color.

So what’s my solution here?  Leave the dye in longer?  Find a strong molecule?  Condition my hair more before I get it dyed?  I already wash it in luke warm water with color fast shampoo. 

Also, here’s a nerdy definition of conjugated systems and pi bonds:

And remember:  If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

Update:  Here’s the motherload website!  Everything you ever wanted to know about red hair dye is right here.  Looks like Clairol got a patent on longer lasting red hair color and if I wasn’t so afraid of dying my own hair, I’d try it out.

Hair dye compositions and methods utilizing 2-substituted-1-naphthol couplers


~ by fluvial on April 1, 2008.

3 Responses to “Using science to make myself gorgeous”

  1. Science rocks! \m/

    Don’t be afraid to dye your own hair! I just did my own the week before last… it’s not perfect, but no one can tell but me. 😛

    Although I did spill some dye in the bathroom and can’t get it off some of the surfaces. (I only have non-acetone nail polish remover, so that may be my problem)

  2. I can’t release the fear of dying my own hair! Although those fears seem to be silly because you have much more hair than I do and it always looks great. Hmmm

    I got a new color enhancing shampoo and it smells horrible. Radiant Red by John Frieda smells like drugstore perfume. Yuck! It’s almost enough to make me stop using it because I get a headache. 🙂

    Their Brilliant Brown on the other hand smells awesome and Chris is always nuzzling into my scalp after I wash my hair.

  3. I know what you mean. I, too, fear dying my own hair just because that part of me that likes looking good is something of a Miss-Perfectionist-Thang (plus my parents and I rent our home), so I don’t even bother dying my hair unless I’m going to a salon.

    And even then I have to use Great Clips or the one at Wally-World (and I’m about to ditch W-Mart anyway just because of their heinous practices), because the ones that might use the environmentally friendly stuff I’ve found at my local food co-op are waaaay beyond my budget…

    So, I just buy Nature’s Gate Henna shampoo and it seems to accentuate what red I already have in my hair. Low-cost satisfaction to see my own Inner Irish-Girl come out of my tresses! 😉

    Speaking of environmentally friendly stuff–if that shampoo you tried gives you an achy noggin, if I were you, I’d ditch it for sure. I usually try not to mess around with products that are going to give me issues like that. Because that tells me they are safe for neither person nor planet.

    Brightest Blessings,

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