In today’s market, the wide range of available hair care products is almost unmanageable. There are multiple products for coloration, tinting, foam tinting, soft tinting, intensifying brightener, plant hair coloring, blonding cream, intensifying tinting, and cream hair coloring. This flood of terms and products may appear somewhat confusing at first glance, especially considering that some names are used synonymously or interchangeably with one another in everyday speech.
To nevertheless keep abreast of the world of colorations, one should be aware of the characteristics of individual product types. But don’t worry: the whole matter is not as complicated as it seems.
The Coloring Process
There are fundamentally two different systems, upon which all coloration products are based.
This term refers to hair colorations in which pre-prepared dyestuffs are deposited directly onto hair. In other words, color pigments attach themselves to hair during application, only partially penetrating the hair surface, because they do not contain oxidative additives. Color pigments are, therefore, rinsed out slowly and evenly over time—generally after about six to eight washings. In this way, one’s natural hair color can be changed as desired within a given spectrum.
It is important to remember, however, that direct-acting colorations are not effective for lightening hair (i.e., achieving a tone lighter than one’s natural color). Drastic color changes are likewise impossible. These products are instead suitable for softly enhancing or introducing a subtle nuance to one’s natural color. They can cover up gray hair, but only to a limited degree.
Direct-acting colorations are unique in that they do not need to be mixed before application, but are already ready for use. This product is thus ideal for open-minded, fashion-conscious consumers who like to experiment with new looks and change their hair color often. It is the perfect product for trendsetters, “fashion freaks” and young individualists.
In contrast to direct-acting colors, oxidative colors consist of two components that must be mixed by the user before application. For this product group, the color change occurs through a chemical reaction.
First, tiny, colorless particles penetrate into the interior of the hair. This leads to a chemical reaction with oxygen in the air that creates a distinct change from one’s original hair color. These products are ideally suited for those who have either already found their “dream” hair color and would like to maintain it for an extended period of time, or for those who would like to cover up gray hair with a coloration.
Oxidative colors can be further divided into two types:
Demi-permanent (also semi-permanent) color must also be mixed from two components before use, but contains only some oxidants and fewer dyestuffs. Therefore, the color lasts for a limited amount of time—up to about 24 washings. Lightening hair with these products is not possible; the achievable color spectrum lies within the range of one’s natural hair color. Demi-permanent color can, however, cover up the first gray hairs.
Those who seek full, reliable coverage of advanced graying hair should resort instead to using permanent color. This color is long-lasting, and even extreme “color leaps” or lightening is no problem.
Coloring Your Own Hair
Degrees of Permanence: DIY
Women are increasingly taking matters into their own hands and coloring their hair themselves. There are colorations available for home-use that provide both reliable color results and necessary care for your hair.
With home coloration, it is important to choose the right product. Anyone who has stood before the coloration shelf in the market knows what can it be difficult to choose the right tone or coloration type, let alone understand the terminology on the packaging.
For easy orientation help, leading brands have developed a 1-2-3 identification system on packaging, which pertains to how long the coloration should last. This system divides all colorations into three distinct levels.
Temporary color. Color rinses out after six to eight washings.
Colorations in this category last up to 24 washings (demi-permanent color).
Permanent color. The color result is long-lasting. It washes out after a longer period of time or can be altered by applying a new color.
Natural Tone Creams
Natural tone or re-nature creams are not hair color but bring color back to your hair. Graying hair is not covered up by color (such as with tinting or coloring); rather, these creams gently return graying hair to its original, natural tone.
With time, hair loses increasingly its capacity to generate new color pigments and turns gray. With the help of oxygen in the air, natural creams form nature-analogous color pigments, whereby the natural hair color is gently reconstructed, step by step. After all, nothing looks more natural than your own hair color!
Re-nature creams are available for both men and women with medium blond to black hair. However, they are not suitable for light blond, red or reddish blond hair, as well as for lightened, colored or highlighted hair.