May 29, 2015

Hair Color HEADS To the Stratosphere : Alkali, Hydrogen Peroxide & Ammonia

As much as no one wants to talk about the technical part regarding Hair color, I want you to make yourself read it and re-read it, a light-bulb will come on I promise you. My first career couldn't have been farther away from being a Hair Colorist ( professional athlete) ...........therefore if I can learn this can you ! ! ! ;)


Hydrogen peroxide alone will not lighten hair easily; it alone is not a decolorizer because of its acidic pH level. It must be combined with an alkaline source to produce a chemical reaction with the color dye and the pigment in the hair strands.

The most common alkaline agent used in hair.coloring products is ammonia.

In addition to maintaining stability of the color tint , ammonia swells the hair strand, which helps the dye molecule penetrate the cuticle and cortex layers. Ammonia also acts as a catalyst to activate hydrogen peroxide, which helps the dye molecules to couple and form.

Hydrogen peroxide in combination with ammonia will break some of the internal disulphide bonds found in the cortex of the hair.Now this is what a lot of people will ask me about...."Does bleach break the disulphide bonds in hair?" .......and to be honest I have to tell them YES. But if one uses Gleam prior to coloring that little process and application alone will help prevent those breaks....TRULY and that is because the lipids soak into the hair strands.
Di-sulfide bonds are responsible for hair's stability and strength
  • In a typical hair-color process, approximately 10% of existing disulphide bonds are destroyed. 
  • In a high-lift color or bleaching, 15 — 20% may be permanently broken. The destruction of disulphide bonds leads to the production of a new molecule called cystic acid. Although this is an inevitable side effect, an
  •  An appropriate protein/moisture balance can be achieved through the Deep OVERNIGHT  THRIVEN + GLEAM Conditioning Treatments I preach about all the time.
I am a true believer that overnight DEEP Conditioning can solve/repair the disulphide bond breaking that occurs when lightening hair. I've colored 15,000 Heads of hair, so the proof of my theories are all from actual experience
I hope this helps you see now, why I say "lightening the hair" weakens the hair strands....while "same Level or darker" hair color "strengthens" the strands. Read the paragraphs over and over a couple times... it will sink in promise.THIS DOES  NOT MEAN YOU CANNOT LIGHTEN YOUR HAIR AND NOT HAVE HEALTHY HAIR !! It means, take precautions before lightening hair by using Lipid replacing oils with ZERO silicone's in them.
  • If you understand how the hair gets damaged then it helps prevent you from damaging it, continuously.
  • It's important to understand the individual components of hair coloring products and their primary functions.
Essentially, hair-color requires dye and developer to produce a result.


There are two general categories of dyes: oxidative and direct dyes. Oxidative dyes are extremely small colorless molecules that penetrate through the cuticle and into the cortex with the aid of an alkaline substance such as ammonia. 

Direct dyes are pre-colored molecules that coat the surface of the hair and do not require a reaction with hydrogen peroxide and these are called semi-permanent hair color..



In order for oxidative dyes to form colored dye molecules, oxidation must take place.

 Oxidation is the chemical process of a hair-color dye reacting with a developer to form visible color. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is one of the most predominant oxidants used to develop color.

Hydrogen peroxide can be considered 'super-oxygenated' water, and is categorized by volume — most often 10, 20, 30, and 40. "Volume" refers to the 'volume' of oxygen gas contained in one 'volume' of hydrogen peroxide. It is a measure of concentration.

Each volume corresponds with a percentage level as follows:

Developer (Hydrogen Peroxide)

Volume Percentage of H202 Lifting Ability

10 Volume or 3% Deposits only
20 Volume or 6% Lifts Up to 1 level

30 Volume or 9% Lifts Up to 2-3 levels

40 Volume or 12% Lifts Up to 3-4 levels ......................Memorize these - its easy


Lower volumes of developer are used for minimal lift and staining techniques. Higher volumes are used when increased lifting of the natural pigment is desired.

Hydrogen peroxide has a dual purpose in the hair-coloring process. First, it reacts with the melanin, breaking down the natural pigment and lightening the hair. This is what is referred to as 'lift'. Second, hydrogen peroxide develops oxidative dye molecules creating 'deposit' into the protein structure of the hair.

Really sit and think about the fact that we can change our hair color any color in the rainbow and beyond. . .  it truly is a magical time for hair color and I love it ! 

Hope This Helps

7 comments on "Hair Color HEADS To the Stratosphere : Alkali, Hydrogen Peroxide & Ammonia "
  1. Hej
    1000 tak for en forståelig forklaring, som jeg kan Bruge og har søgt Længe efter.
    Ros til jer :-)

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for your info It IS helpful to know what is happening and WHY. I have a question re: Volume Percentage and whether I can decrease the Volume of say, a 30% Vol. developer by diluting it, by 25%? (Based on my notion that 30% is 25% greater than 20%), so if I were to dilute it by 25%, would I then have a 20% Volume developer? (using 2 oz of developer, instead use 1.5 oz and a solute for the remaining 0.5 oz.) And if so, what might be the best substance to dilute its concentration with? I have a Cream Ossiodor (Framesi) and cannot get to a beauty supply store to buy the lower volume right now. You mentioned De-ionized water? I thought about contacting Framesi. My sister has maintained her license and colors regularly and says I should avoid doing anything to change the formulation. Do you have any opinion or suggestions for me?

  3. Unlike friends and the public of commercial buyers of all chemicals with make-ups. The statement at hand is ,,,,, I have white hair in front & sides -atop on the right side with waves. One thing I've noticed for sometime is going into Rexal' or Walgreens there's no whiteners touch up because the nice white natural hair can discolor from different hair soaps along with Rx soap for hair...anti-dandruff etc. So I've finally acted on years of this and that of PEROXIDED HAIR', Oh she's just a PEROXIDED blond , so tonight I bought Peroxide & Bleach mixing bit together and little brush coping over areas. I'm in hopes in the A.M. a nice whiteness will stabilize and not taint some lite brownish and yellowish etc. This here sits finishing up by sharing message experiment a Male, 64 yrs. & 6' 2" 1/2 dieting down to 239 lbs. happily from my ill near 300 lbs. traumatic and diligent self care I'm still going strong. Everything touches off during the humans attempts to change, so I share with you all and hope to receive tips that are not harmful of course but may finalize my attempts ! Sincerely, Hushlizard'..Artist & Irish & Cherokee = open creation ideas hopeful onto canvas with acrylic at Naked Note Gallery ' for us all. (smile)

  4. I have read through your site, numerous times over. After a young hairdresser systematically *destroyed* my hair over the last 3 yrs(and yes, out of fear, I PAID for these unrequested "color tweaks") I am simply trying to work up the courage to take on coloring(and even cutting) my own, now terribly damaged, hair.
    In this day and age of instagram, etc, it is even harder than ever to find a hairdresser who will simply do the color and cut you are requesting, unless it gives them some kind of boner about potential social networking *likes*. Your page is an absolute god send, I sincerely, truly, thank you! Hopefully soon I will feel confident enough to try some small strand tests with this incredible knowledge. Again truly, thank you.

  5. Are you kidding me....has Instagram affected Hair Stylists that much?

    After my kids talked me into getting on Facebook, I caved and took that up ( I KNEW THEY WERE BAD FOR OUR SOCIETY).....then a year later something happened and they informed me they were leaving Facebook and were never returning, right about when I came to enjoy it.....
    and told me I had to go to Instagram now, as that was the only one they were supporting.
    AT THAT POINT - I quit the monkey-do policy of following people around social media.
    I enjoy Facebook and PINTEREST, but in no way do I visit them every day ...which in today's world is probably "BAD BUSINESS"...
    But, I would rather write a meaningful Post here and help people out by answering questions, even though that doesn't really mean I am doing "GOOD BUSINESS MOVES".

    I just think the whole social media thing just ping pongs from one to another, there are thousands of kids sitting up in mountainview california (home of Google & Apple) trying to come up with the "next" newest Social Media HOTSPOT that will 'hit' like Instagram did or Pinterest. Its sad

    These social media apps do nothing but take the ART OF COMMUNICATION away from mankind and I truly do not like them. I put up with them or I probably would lose all of my business. Ever since these social media APPS have taken off I have lost half my business. I don't get all the "likes" I should.... please tell 1 person about Killerstrands, I would hate to be one of the ones who doesn't make it because I don't have enough "likes'

    I knew this Social Media Shit was going to blow-up - OUT-OF-CONTROL, I just knew it. I don't understand why people just can't do things in moderation.....Not become addicted to doing every single thing there is....

    I know hair coloring scares people, why don't you join the group - where I walk people through it...I promise it is not that hard and every week I get a few more people on the road to becoming a CRIB COLORIST....I just wish more of you would join - hearing how happy there are when they are finished is such a great and rewarding feeling...

    That's why I know you can do it...everyday one more scared person gets through it.....and becomes a Crib Colorist. I can tell .......... you will be able to do it.

    Thank you for that sweet note.

    ....very much appreciated

    1. I've only just got my laptop back from servicing, so that's why I'm late with a reply, but YES... It was actually the senior stylist who I went back to, to get the color I had been asking for(a color I had previously had for almost a decade!) who suggested to me that all the social media sites are affecting young hairdressers like this...She is frustrated herself.. it must be nightmarish as an employer, but it's the WORST as a customer.
      I am definitely looking into joining the group/purchasing a consultation.. I thought I read that the group page had been closed..? I am actually visiting Los Angeles soon(in a fortnight), I was wondering do you take any appointments for lessons? It would be worth it's weight in gold to me, I am fairly sure I could do it too, but I just feel very lacking in confidence to do it.. I would happily pay whatever it took to get the knowledge to avoid being at the mercy of another "selfie" absorbed hairdresser. (I was actually considering becoming a hairdresser after this fiasco!)
      Really, your page is a god send for those of us struggling with "deaf" hairdressers. One day maybe these young kids will be able to tell the difference between collecting *likes* and building a solid reputation..
      Either way, I will soon be getting lessons from you and I look forward to learning to take care of myself and getting my hair back to it's former glory! Best wishes to you, your site is sorely needed for some of us! It's the "good side" of technology/social media!

  6. The Group will re-open soon.....remember it is not a fast process, it usually takes a month....but you will end up with the correct formula.
    I receive sooooo many requests for Color appointments . . .. remember ..."why am I not doing hair???"
    I am ill -
    really ill.
    Which apparently just does not transpire to people through my writings everywhere ! Which I guess - is good -- but I dislike having to turn people down.
    I'm sorry, look at the Group after the 4th of July.....



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