Hair Coloring Problems

Woman with different shades of brown hair and wearing a blue turtleneck
Image: AI Illustration
Hair Coloring: Potential Problems Encountered in a Salon Setting
A lot of people think nothing of having their hair colored – whether it’s at home using a kit or in a salon by a professional. The products for doing so have become so easy to use and the practice has become so commonplace that most people equate it with changing their nail polish or using a curling iron.
Yet the fact remains that hair color services are chemical treatments. Because they are chemical services, there are potential dangers involved and the operator should be trained to do everything in his or her power to avoid those potential dangers at all times.
Let's look at the possible problems one might encounter and see what we can do about them.
Allergic Reaction and Sensitivity
In some cases, the chemicals used for hair color services are very caustic and can evoke an allergic reaction in some clients. High-lift color processing, and hair bleaching services use high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and may include bleaching agents that are never meant to come into contact with the skin.
And the simple facts are that, by the very nature of allergies, a client who has had the same procedure dozens of times before with no ill effects could suddenly - and without warning - have a very serious allergic reaction.
Even if there is no allergic reaction, some people will develop sensitivity to a chemical substance with repeated exposure. This means that the client who has never complained that the hair color formula bothered her in any way, may find that it starts to sting and burn her scalp when applied.
It’s these situations that are the reason behind the standard protocol of performing patch testing on any client scheduled to receive a chemical service. A dab of the mixture to be used on the client’s hair is swabbed onto an innocuous place on the individual’s body (perhaps inside the crook of the arm, or just behind the ear) and allowed to sit for 10 minutes and then is wiped away.
The client is then usually asked to wait 24 to 48 hours and look for signs of redness or irritation in the areas where the swab was placed. If there is any sign of irritation or redness in these areas, the operator is not to perform the service.
These days, many salons don’t do patch testing. Some simply do the services without testing, and some instead have the client sign a waiver stating that they are accepting all of the potential risks inherent in any chemical service they wish to have.
Pixie cut with side bangs and dual hair coloring with brown and reddish
Image: AI Illustration
Over-Processing and Under-Processing
One of the other potential problems in color services is the possibility of over-processing the hair. This will leave the hair damaged, dry, and feeling brittle and straw-like. This can be a result of improper color formulation and/or failure to closely monitor the progress of the hair as it is being processed.
You simply cannot just apply the color to the hair and leave it for a certain period of time. This is especially true if you are using high-lift color. In that situation, you should never turn your back on the hair at all.
When the hair color processes on the hair, the chemical reaction involved in developing the color (or with bleaching in dispersing the existing color) generates heat. Heat speeds up the reaction time for the chemical processing, so that the hair formula begins to develop faster as time passes. If you aren’t paying close attention to the hair and the processing, you could easily damage your client’s hair.
Sometimes the fault isn’t as much a matter of failing to pay attention as it is failing to use the right formulation. In performing a color service, it's key for the operator to assess and consider the characteristics of an individual's hair before beginning the service.
He or she should look for the hair’s density (how many hairs per square inch on the scalp), texture (how thick or thin the diameter of the hair shaft is), its resistance (how tightly the cuticle scales are laid against one another) and the overall condition of the hair (is it already damaged, and if so, how badly?).
Continue reading ...