Quantifying Hair Color Fading

The essence of the cosmetic industry involves an ability to transform one’s appearance—and there are few changes in hair care as dramatic as hair color. An old adage suggests that brunettes would rather be blonde, and blondes would rather be brunette; however, fashion concerns may give way to other anxieties with age, such as the ability to mask undesirable grey hairs. By far, the largest segment of the hair color market is permanent color products, which produce long-lasting changes that persist throughout everyday habits and practices. The efficacy of these products begins with small, water soluble dye-precursors diffusing into hair fibers, wherein they are coaxed into reactions that produce larger pigmented molecules.1 In other words, hair serves as a reaction vessel in which this chemistry takes place; and the larger size of these dye molecules inhibits their diffusion from the fibers to yield an enduring effect.

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