September 9, 2013

Sensitive Souls with Sensitive Scalps -- and Using Hair Color?

First of All I want to report, I have been bombarded with reports of fake /false and bogus WELLA HAIR COLOR being sold on Amazon so think before you purchase - just like EBAY....there are bad companies out there making fake Wella Hair Color because it is so popular. Seems it comes from Mexico and China. Do not fall for the $2.00 hair just isn't going to be real and it will ruin your hair.. Come on boys and girls I hate to hear this happen to you.

What Color Options Are Available ?

A small portion of people have sensitive skin and sensitive scalps, usually displayed by reddened and flaky skin after color applications. Some have such bad reactions, in the middle of the service, they need to have the color taken off immediately .  With there being 2 completely different sensitivities, there are 2 separate answers for this problem. Let me get the serious, more radical one out of the way first.
This one is a syndrome... when it happened to me the first time, 3 years into my Salon experience...I will never forget it. Why? It was my daughters friends > identical twins, and it happened to both of them and it had never happened to me before. I was SO freaked out, I called my mentor back at Vidal Sassoon, which was the very first time I had, since leaving - - she knew exactly what I was talking about ... but in the 2 years at Sassoon and 3 years in the Salon I had never come across it? How rare is that?? Super, she said !  Vidal was a full service working Salon, so this was hundreds of thousands of people I'd seen and/or been around over those head 44
She explained it to me as this unusual lightening syndrome that affects a certain group of people ( she thought with a certain body chemistry) they have never been able to figure it out....or most likely just an allergy to the ingredients used to make hair color.....because it happened using 2 different colors to the twins. 

It simply does not happen to a large enough group for anyone to research it. The lightener (seemed to be any lighter than clients hair by a couple levels  & many but - not all  times. . . it was bleach) warms up in the first 30 minutes and the client feels the progressing warmth on their head, many times it is "first timers" - First time they have colored their hair, ever! It soon begins getting very HOT, and finally the twins screamed, I came running over to them and steam was coming out of the foils . . .I quickly yanked the foil work out... throwing it on the floor... I was so freaked out! Those foils were so fricken hot I thought they were going to catch on fire. '

The foils were continuing to steam and their hair and scalp was super hot . . .  it was the weirdest thing that had ever happened in a coloring application in all my days, still is. I'm hoping I find someone that this has happened to... if this is you ......will you PLEASE write a COMMENT at the bottom? 
So I can ask you a few questions??? Please? 71990490
The path is > take the foil work out . .shampoo immediately, put  Gleam or something similar on the scalp and never use lightener again. I've heard different stories about how sometimes it  goes away as one ages, as long as the twins were my kids friends it never went away for them.
Now for the majority of you with the normal--sensitive scalp, that just can't handle the color directly on your scalp in a minor way . . . the solutions are there and are not too horrible.

Sun Lights, Slices, Panels, Paint Drips, Pirouette, Veil, Weaves  etc..of color, are your best bet. It keeps the product OFF of your scalp with the color being IN THE FOILS - if you insist on going blonde and you have a terribly sensitive scalp - then- foils are your only option. If you need Global Color (all-over) then a semi OR Demi-permanent hair color could be your option, I would suggest no going "lighter".

If you INSIST (which many of you do) My trick is using GLEAM, directly on the scalp. You apply it with your finger-tips. The newest trend is many of the larger companies are starting to come up with low or no ammonia hair color. What Ammonia does for hair color?  swells the cuticle, which lets the color in the hair strand to do its magic! dv1129017
What I don't quite understand is this: if ammonia swells the cuticle which is necessary for the hair color to get into the hair strand...what's the difference if they just find another chemical to do the same thing? Is it just the smell you don't like? Or what?? that you don't like?? Personally I don't have anything against ammonia, I know we need it to color hair properly. My Clients want their hair color beautiful and healthy and that is what I give them!

My recommendation on this subject, is anyone that has even the slightest sensitivities in their body you should ask for a patch test or skin test, whatever they call it in your area - when booking the appointment. If you are sensitive and have never had color at ALL, you need to do 1 of 2 things:
  1. Ask whomever you made a appt.with for a 24 hour skin patch test. Making a 15 minute appt. the day before your real appt. If your skin has a pretty bad reaction - the day before even, call the Salon, ASAP.        OR
  2. Color your hair at home. This way you have all the control and know exactly 'what' is going 'where'. For this type scalp and/or skin I would NEVER EVER take the risk of using boxed hair color nor should you use any type of hair color from Sally's, Target, . I If you have never colored before and are looking for something very gentle - I would try  with Wella's Professional Line: Color Touch - a demi permanent line - which is Wella's Euro brand of hair color and more gentle than pretty much any other line I know of. It can be used with 6 Volume of 16 Volume - very low developers, yet still a 24 hour skin test is necessary.
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We now carry a complete line that has no ammonia in it at all it is called Essensity. 

 I have a huge battle with the words "Natural"  &  "Organic"  . . . the Lines Reps come around to different Salons in the LA area to TEST Market them... so the Stylists can try them and we can give them our feedback. I have lost that little advantage, because of not being in the Salon which makes me sad. . . . BUT. . .I get feedback from colleagues.

Killer Chemist

26 comments on "Sensitive Souls with Sensitive Scalps -- and Using Hair Color?"
  1. Hello Killer Chemist!

    WOW I can't believe you came across a client like me !!

    I'm 23 yrs old.. I;ve been coloring my hair since I was 14..

    My natural hair color is very very black,stick straight, very thin & fine.

    So I've had level anything from 6 to level 9 hair all over.. & I use to bleach my hair to platinum blonde for highlights etc etc.. havn't really given my hair a break until recently..
    I went back to a level 3 mocha brown..

    I never had problems with bleach or high lvl peroxides like vol 30 in my hair for 25+ mins ever.. it never hurt or burnt.. maybe just a lil itchy when it touches my scalp!

    UNTIL one day in 2005 it got unbelievably hot unbelievably hot with steam coming out of the packets of highlights..!!! This was after I bleached my hair really blonde all over.. it really damaged my hair & when my friend layered it.. the hair looked even thinner since more broke off.. & less pieces of long layers were available after that mullet-ish cut !! At that time I was 19.

    The salon person claimed to be using 10-15%.. but when I went to other asian salons they used 10-15 & it was fine ( I frequent asian salons since they are more familiar with my hair type).. but another stylist try bleaching my hair again with what i believe to be 30 the same thing happened..!!

    SO I just stick to lightening the top with volume 30 to get it light enough with color.. any hair that has been processed before will turn super hot =( & burn off if it higher than a lvl 10-15 mixture is left on.

    It's waist long.. I know I should really cut it off to let it get healthy but I love long hair.
    It looks shiny & soft but if I don't condition it.. it crazy dry. strawy & tangly..
    Certain conditions & treatment just get abosorbed in & makes my hair more strawy rather than smooth & soft =(

    Only organix & a few creamy condtioners has worked for me.. I began using it after seeing recommendation by a forum user who frequent your blog.

    I hope you can solve the mystery! I serously believe its some sort of mix in the chemical along with weak hair that cost the reaction.. I;ve heard some unethical salons mixing in chemical that may react for some people to save cost =( & i been to a lot of diff salons.. expensive & cheap so i think thats the problem.. & I;ve used box color in between as well..

  2. AW,
    I knew there would be one person out there of all the people that read this Blog.
    I and many of my colleagues(the top colorists in the country)believe it is simply a chemical reaction with something in your body and the lightener) I highly doubt it will ever be solved it is just so rare!
    I'm so sorry. . .
    thanks, KC

  3. So I know this has nothing to do with this particular blog section, but I have a question about the sulfate free shampoos... I have recently decided to make the switch per your very convincing posts. I am trying ABBA (the line for colored hair) but it seems to make my hair pretty tangled - do all of their lines of the proper pH? I think I may try Kenra's platinu, line next... My question is actually about protein in these products. I thought protein was supposed to be used in treatments for repair, not for daily use. Can it damage my hair to have protein added in every day?
    Thanks for such an amazing site with wonderful information!

  4. Kristine,
    I don't quite understand the first question...
    "do all of their lines of the proper pH" ???

    can you re-explain, please....
    I don't know where you heard that protein fact. I advise eating more protein, using more protein and applying more protein . . . its pretty hard to do. Hair is made from protein, it LOOOOOVES protein. Myself and a couple of the world experts on hair health believe this as well - philip kingsley, tim hartley.

    hope that helps

  5. KC,
    Thanks for responding to my questions!
    My first question was a bit of a typo, and poorly worded as well... ABBA makes a few different lines/formulas (Pure Color Protect, Pure Shine, Pure Volume, etc) and I was wondering if they all have the same/correct pH. I have read some of your other posts and comments where you said improper pH may be responsible for your hair being tangled after shampooing & conditiong. I am using the ABBA Pure Color Protect shampoo and conditioner, and my hair (pretty fine, oily scalp, dry ends - what a great combo!) comes out super-tangled.
    As for the protein comment... I have no idea where I heard that from. I just know that somewhere along the line I was told that too many hair products with protein (or using them every day) can actually damage the hair and make it weaker. But, I trust your opinion and if you say it's ok, I'll go with that!
    Thanks again,

  6. Thank you KC :)

    I know it a really weird situation!! I hope I can acheive highlift highlights again one day~

  7. Hi, ' My 16 year old daughter had a similar reaction about a month ago.
    First of all,I have done her naturally light brown hair at home a few times. I used color stripper to lighten the long pieces at the front , then used Manic Panic in whatever color she was wanting at the time.
    then she decided she wanted Gwen Stefani platinum.
    So I bought bleach and 40 vol developer.Her hair turned out carroty colored.
    So since we were leaving for vacation the next evening, I took her to the salon for a "fix".
    She had formerly NEVER had a reaction.
    When my hair dresser put the bleach on her head, she first complained of "Stinging". then about 5 minutes later she said she was very cold all over.(It was pretty hot in the salon). She started shaking uncontrollably, and said her scalp was so cold she couldn't stand it,, and burst into tears.
    The hair dresser washed it off very quickly and called her color salesperson . she recommended using a low peroxide (or was it no peroxide?) color,foiling pieces of it for lighter streaks, which was only able to lift Casey's hair to a medium yellowish blonde, but hey, it was better than carrot colored. She coated the scalp with something first, too.
    Now, my dilemma:Casey has prom next week, and wants paler blonde hair.
    Should we be scared? Or was it a freak reaction because I had been fooling with her color the night before?

  8. Lisa,
    WHOA WHOA WHOA...........
    I see many red flags in your story so at this point I would not say it is the same as mine is <> about SSS SUPER SENSITIVE SCALPS.
    Why didn't it happen the night before when you applied it to her hair - when it turned carrot colored?
    Not even close - - - YET

    The Color Stripper you used which you most likely got at Sally's? ? which has metal in it. I've heard nothing but disastrous results from.

    You bought 40 Volume developer to use with What kind of bleach ??


    Sounds like the Salon put regular ole bleach on her head + 40 VOLUME AS WELL --

    If that is what you are doing then you should NOT be doing hair.

    I feel sorry for your daughter.

    You cannot just take up hair coloring without education. People go to school every day.. all day long for 1 year to learn how to do this.
    NO, its not a pH D....but they have obviously determined that some decent education must be learned before pouring chemicals on the head/hair.

    This needs to be taken seriously, you could've seriously burned her scalp, she could have ended up in a burn unit.

    My best advice is to give the poor child a rest from all this crap...she is going to most likely have some flaking and peeling from that experience. If she was crying from it then it most likely is a 2nd or 3rd degree burn..

    So many people find this site AFTER the fact...AFTER they have done the damage....why not look for education "before" trying to do something you know nothing about.

    Every single thing you need to know about bleaching ones hair - in the absolute best manner possible...( same exact way Gwen Stefani does it) right here on this Hair Blog... AND you may also purchase ALL the products right here in the KILLER COLOR Clinic (underground) Store.

    I would say you should NOT try to color her hair again until it has rested for at least 3-4 days.

    You could have damaged her scalp permanently...but to her this is going to be just as bad,because she is going to need to leave her hair alone for a while. . .

    I have 2 daughters myself - so I promise you I do understand

    Purchase a HHCC if you'd like help


  9. hello i am from australia i have also had this problem when applying colours to a couple of my clients. it didnt seem to matter whether i used bleach or just deposited with 20vol the heat effect was the same. all of these clients were in the habit of home colouring in between visits to me. with one of the girls only the old hair at the bottom was affected suggesting that the colour used in the past did contain metal and was nt compatible with my products (i use Loreal professional) great blog by the way very good for inspiration

  10. Hi,

    I'm also from Australia and I recently had a very similar experience. I have naturally black, thick hair and I wanted to lighten it up a bit. So I originally tinted it at a salon to dark brown, but then wanted to go drastic to light brown.

    My hairdresser left the first bleach application on for an hour and 10 minutes, lifting the brown to honeycomb. Then after another 45 minute application, it only went to a lemon yellow. She then toned it to a dark yellow and that was my 'ash blonde'.

    When it was processed, my scalp was inflamed and after a day I began to brush out scabs and flakes - EWW!

    When I got my regrowth and colour redone, it was so much worse that I was nearly crying and had a 'mild anaphalatic shock'!

    But I really really want to lighten my hair again from black! Help!

    1. Remember my motto..........

      If you are going to use Bleach and have sensitive scalps YOU have to use our own OIL Bleach Kits, it will NEVER bother your scalp......NEVER ! ! ! ! ! KC

  11. KC you and your products are awesome! Love Love
    I am still trying to find the perfect toner....I love the blonde color in this post...beautiful beigey....can you give me some direction. I have tried some of the Koleston and Matrix but I can't get this tone. I don't mind experimenting. Again...thanks for all you do!!

  12. So I was bleaching for about a year the first six months I would add this oil that was to prevent excess damage and protect the scalp and I'd wah out with a Ph balancing shampoo after awhile I stopped buying the oil cuz I didn't know if it was working or not an Id skip washing it with the Ph shampoo balanced. My scalp would get flaky and dryand than heal well I stopped dying my hair put an abmonia free semi than decided dark hair is officially not for me I used the Clairol soy 4 plex hi lift color aftermy scalp got very flaky its been 2 or 3 months it won't go away I've be3n losing more hair and my scalp is super dry flaky itchy and ifi leave my hair unwashed for 2/3 days it will feel sore. Head and shoulders didn't work I usedthe clear scalp line for dry scalp it just makes my hair soft now I'm putting about 6 drops on my shampoo of an oil that has tea tree, hemp, jojoba, eucalyptus and vitamin e it was starting to help at first but its not making difference anymore I also put 6 in my conditioner and rub it on my scalp when I get out of the shower. I need help I need something to moisturize my scalp BAD

    1. Well, I think your first mistake is going away from what was working. Why don't you return to that, either that or use our oil bleach kit to get your hair & scalp in better condition. Then, purchase the scalp treaTMENT PACKET FROM mALIBU 2000 ON OUR SITE THEY are inexpensive and work well. oIL bLEACH IS THE ONE AND ONLY WAY i HAve ever bleach & Tone anyone. Its the only way to protect the scalp.
      Lastly you are using Sulfate shampoo - which is a HUGE MISTAKE!!! The 'Clear line' is a grocery store brand, you cannot expect good results from a cheap-o shampoo, that product sits on your scalp in between shampoos ( you never get it all rinsed out) the sulfates aggravate scalps really bad I have found.
      try our INTENSIVE everyone loves how it calms the scalp and hair....

      I highly reccomend our Oil bleach and its marked down tremendously



  13. This happened to me little over a year ago, I was getting foils done and they heated up so much I had to hold back tears they wear washed out. By the way are foils supposed to steam when getting foils? Ever since then I have been scared to go to the hairdressers. I have used box colours since then but had to sit under the air conditioner so it doesnt burn. I am thinking about geting my hair lighter but to scared that its going to burn.

  14. This happened to me less than a year ago and I had foils done it started burning and steaming I had to hold back my tears. It was washed out after I had to tell them to wash if out. By the have used box colour in my hair since then but still burns that I have to sit under the air conditioner. I am thinking of going lighter and getting it done at the hairdresser but am too scared that it will burn :(

  15. You will not be able to go lighter at this time, I have seen people grow out of it, but not until they much older. Its so rare that there is no name nor research on it. I have only had a handful in all my years!

  16. So this just happened to me tonight! I went in and did a customer that I have been doing this same thing on for over 6 years.. No foils on the scalp high lift blonde double 40 color! I just did her hair 3 weeks ago with no reaction... tonight her head was on fire and she said it was burning! Before I finished the application her hair was already lifted to the desired stage. I only got the front and one side of the back done before having to rinse it. I am praying that her hair doesn't fall out. It was clearly a chemical reaction but why now? After all these years! And where do I go from here? Her hair is platinum blonde! Always has been. HELP!!!!
    Thanks for Listening or reading,

  17. Well, you have run into the problem that is a very rare occurrence - but it DOES happen as I'm sure many of you very busy Colorists have experienced. The figure is something like 1 in a million people are allergic to the combination of ammonia & H2O2 or its the PPD & H2O2 combination. It happened to me twice in 15,000 Heads of hair I colored.

    You need to NEVER EVER do that process on her again. She is most likely to have lots of breakage, my suggestion is to give her a complementary deep conditioner, because when you do that to one client the word will spread like wildfire and you should be proactive about trying to help her recover from it. If you don't have a super effective conditioner, have her purchase THRIVEN on our website purchase it it apply it for an hour minimum and then she needs lipids ( oils with ZERO silicone's in them).

    If you ever feel a foil get warm quickly that is the problem and take them off immediately.

    A couple things you can try:
    -use bleach with NO ammonia ( there are many now)
    - use hair color that is as close to organic as possible and without PPD & ammonia in it ( Wella's INNOSENSE)
    If it was me I would tell her I only recommend going darker using Demi-Permanent Color which has none of that..

  18. This happened to me!

    My hair dye history: In college I tried a semi-permanent box dye; my friend put it on me. Within a few minutes, my scalp was burning and itching like crazy. She rinsed it quickly and it still burned. I had a terrible rash around and on my scalp for two weeks.

    Then last fall, I had my hair cut really short (into a faux-hawk) and wanted the top of it dyed red. I went to a salon where she did a spot test with the red color I wanted; one of them burned and one of them didn't. Great. We picked the not-burning one of course. She didn't spot-test the bleach though.

    She used foils to bleach my hair so the bleach wouldn't touch my scalp since I'd told her I had a sensitive head. My husband was there and asked after about three minutes (she was barely done foiling) if it was normal for steam to be coming out of them. I have a high pain tolerance and didn't notice anything, and then all of a sudden it felt like the back section of my head was burning. She removed the foils and rinsed immediately. My hair was bleach blonde (not even three minutes) and I had a small chemical burn that oozed (lovely) for a few days on my scalp.

    She dyed my hair black a few months later and I had no issues with that dye.

    I had no idea a reaction like that was so rare; my hairstylist said the foils must have heated it up more quickly? But now I'm reading this post and realizing it must just be my hair. Bummer! I was hoping to try bleaching again without foils so I could dye my hair pink. But I guess I should just stay away from all bleaching?

    1. Yes, I am sorry for the bad news, we have traced people who have out-grown this phenomenon, periodically check..........have them do a Strand test with foils JUST 1 !!! and ask them to stick right by your side, while it goes on.....if you are older maybe it won't do it anymore, but by strand testing it, you avoid the big scene it might cause and the pain it could cause all at the same time !
      Sorry for the bad news, KC

  19. I'm 15 and I've only dyed my hair three times since I was 13. I have brown hair. The first time I dyed my hair I was getting highlights and my stylist put me under the lamp with my foils and the foils got extremely hot. I can't remember the second time I died my hair. But last august I got my hair dyed and I had asked to go a very dark brown-black. As she was putting the color on, my head was getting very hot. So after she washes my hair she started worrying that my hair pulled the wrong color. She dried it and my hair had gone lighter. Even though she used a very dark color. So later on I found out that my grandma had dyed her hair for years and one time she had her hair dyed and a huge allergic reaction to the dye. She couldnt dye her anymore after that.

    1. Wow, I have never heard that one before, it sounds as though you have a family trait that makes you allergic to hair color.....You will have to stay away - - which makes some people very sad. I know its not the same but you could use BOOST & BURST - they are in our store... It is shampoo in hair color and then conditioner - IN hair color.
      I only had one client,(that I knew about grow out of the allergy I am afraid to report!)

  20. This just happened to me tonight. I have welts from the steam on the back of my head. She continued, but did not deal the foil so tight. Took a while, but the color lifted. Kinda brassy though.

    1. You are allergic to bleach and should NEVER EVER USE IT AGAIN...I am serious all your hair could burn off in a matter of seconds. If you just did this last night then you have not experienced the worst of it.... I am afraid to tell you....
      Please just make peace with the fact that you are allergic to bleach and maybe in 20 years you could try 1 small foil for a tester, but if it was me I would never put it on you again, she made a huge HUGE mistake on you and at least you should get your money back, the only way to get it lighter -- which is the only way you remove the brass it to re-apply it.
      Wait about 10 days....if hair is still on head and welts are completely gone, I would suggest using Violet Pilot or Breaking Bad Blue in the shower for the brass they will help a LOT! ! ! !



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