Hair Dyes – Industrial pharmacy – I B. Pharma 5th Semester PDF Notes

Hair Dyes

Hair Dyes or Hair Color, Discuss the formulation aspects of hair dyes, Explain the evaluation of hair dyes

Learning objectives

  • At the end of this lecture, students will be able to:

        – Discuss the formulation aspects of hair dyes

       – Explain the evaluation of hair dyes

Hair Dyes or Hair Color

  • Hair coloring is the science of changing the color of the hair by either removing or adding color to hair with chemicals
  • Hair Dyes and Hair Colors are products intended to impart color to the hair
  • Used mostly to hide grey hair; a sign of an advanced age
  • Younger people that used hair dye use it as a fashion

History of hair dye

  • French researchers have found that Egyptians, Greek and Romans were using to dye their hair several thousand years ago
  • Since the Greco-Roman period, organic hair dyes obtained from plants such as henna have been used, but other unusual formulas based on lead compounds which generated lead sulfide (PbS) nanocrystals with a diameter of only 5 nanometers
  • Pharaoh Ramesses II, reddish-yellow colour of the mummy’s hair had been brought about by its being dyed with a dilute henna solution
  • Like many great modern inventions, hair color as we now know it was invented by accident
  • English professor William Henry Perkin was attempting to come up with a cure for malaria when he instead discovered the first synthesized dye
  • Chemistry professor August Wilhelm von Hoffman enhanced Perkin’s discovery, creating para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is still the base for many permanent hair colors today— but more on that later
  • In 1907, French pharmacist and entrepreneur Eugene Schueller took PPD and created the first hair color for commercial purposes, dubbing the new product Aureole, which soon became known asL’Oréal,as was the company that Schueller founded
  • Throughout the early and mid-1900s, hair color formulas advanced, including at-home hair color that boasted longer staying power and hydrogen peroxide-free lightening hair color

Desirable Qualities of a Hair colorant

  • It should impart the same color which it indicates on its label
  • It must color the hairs only and not the skin
  • The color that it imparts to the hair must be stable to air, light, water and shampoo
  • It should be easy to apply
  • It should have reasonable stability or shelf life
  • It should not be toxic to the skin or hair and should not impart the natural gloss and texture of the hair
  • It should not be allergic and a dermatitis sensitizer
  • It should impart color to the hair in a short contact time

Hair colorants- Types

Modern hair dyes are classified as

1) Semi-permanent- low maintenance and wears off in just about three weeks because it doesn’t contain any chemicals, such as ammonia or peroxide

2) Demi Permanent (or oxidative) – wash out over time (typically 20 to 28 shampoos)

3) Permanent (or oxidative) – it’ll last about six to eight weeks. It often needs a root touch-up about every four weeks because dark roots are noticeable as the hair grows out,

4) Temporary – easily removed with a single shampooing.

Level 1 or Semi-Permanent Colorants

  • Semi-permanent hair coloring involves little or no developer, hydrogen peroxide or ammonia, and is thus less damaging to hair strands
  • The reduced amount of developer, whether peroxide or ammonia, means that hair previously damaged by applying permanent color or permanent reshaping is less likely to be damaged during the color application process
  • Semi-permanent hair color uses compounds of lower molecular weight than are found in temporary hair color dyes
  • These dyes penetrate the hair shaft only partially, because of the reduced amount of developer used
  • For this reason, the color will survive repeated washing, typically 4–5 shampoos or a few weeks, before undergoing significant fading or washing out entirely
  • Semi-permanent color cannot lighten the hair

Liquid Hair Colour (Semi-Permanent)


Basic dye


Cetyl trimethyl ammonium chloride-30%




Hydroxy propylmethyl cellulose



Up to ph 8





Benzyl alcohol


Deionised water

Up to 100


Level 2 or Demi-Permanent Colorants

  • Is hair color that contains an alkaline agent other than ammonia (e.g. ethanolamine, sodium carbonate) and, while always employed with a developer, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in that developer may be lower than used with a permanent hair color
  • Since the alkaline agents employed in demi-permanent colors are less effective in removing the natural pigment of hair than ammonia these products provide no lightening of hair’s color during dyeing
  • As the result, they cannot color hair to a lighter shade than it was before dyeing and are less damaging to hair than their permanent counterpart
  • Demi-permanents are much more effective at covering gray hair than semi-permanents, but less so than permanents
  • Demi-permanents have several advantages as compared with permanent color
  • Because there is essentially no lifting (i.e., removal) of natural hair color, the final color is less uniform/homogeneous than a permanent and therefore more natural looking
  • They are gentler on hair and therefore safer, especially for damaged hair; and they wash out over time (typically 20 to 28 shampoos), so root regrowth is less noticeable and if a change of color is desired, it is easier to achieve of color is desired, it is easier to achieve
  • Demi-permanent hair colors are not permanent but the darker shades in particular may persist longer than indicated on the packet

Level 3 or Permanent Hair colorants

  • Most Popular hair dye products
  • The dyes are formed during the dyeing process and are not present, as such in the solution before application
  • Consists of two parts –

(i) Dye intermediate

(ii) Oxidizing agent

  • Dye intermediates are blends of primary intermediates and coupling agents or modifier, in a suitable base
  • During the dying of hair, the intermediate solutions and the oxidizing solutions are mixed and applied to the hair
  • The primary intermediates are gradually oxidized and then undergo reaction with coupling agents
  • Permanent dye systems are able to dye hair a lighter shade than the original
  • Permanent hair color generally contains ammonia and must be mixed with a developer or oxidizing agent in order to permanently change hair color
  • Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide act together to open up the cuticle, interact with the melanin and keratin (those are responsible for color and texture), and change the structure in order to deposit dye in the structure of the hair fiber
  • The developer, or oxidizing agent, comes in various volumes. The higher the developer volume, the higher the “lift” will be of a person’s natural hair pigment
  • “Lifting” is when some of the natural pigment from the hair is stripped and the dye is deposited onto it
  • Someone with dark hair wishing to achieve 2 or 3 shades lighter may need a higher developer whereas someone with lighter hair wishing to achieve darker hair will not need one as high
  • Timing may vary with permanent hair coloring but is typically 30 minutes or 45 minutes

Adverse effects of hair dyes

  • Even when hair dyes are used correctly, they can cause toxicity
  • Skin damage and allergic reactions
  • Eye exposure can cause a range of toxicities from mild irritation to loss of vision
  • Unintentional swallowing can cause irritation or injury to the mouth and stomach as well as life-threatening allergic reactions
  • Hair breakage
  • Skin discoloration

Formulation Aspects of Hair Dyes

Hair dyes, also known as hair colorants, are cosmetic products used to change or enhance the color of hair. The formulation of hair dyes is a complex process that involves several key components and considerations:

Colorants: The primary function of a hair dye is to impart color to the hair. Colorants are chemical compounds that can be divided into two categories: oxidative and non-oxidative. Oxidative dyes require the presence of a developer (hydrogen peroxide) to penetrate the hair shaft and provide long-lasting color, while non-oxidative dyes deposit color on the hair’s surface and gradually fade with each wash.

Developer: For oxidative dyes, the developer is a crucial component. It activates the colorant molecules and facilitates their penetration into the hair cortex. The developer’s strength (usually expressed as a percentage of hydrogen peroxide) determines the level of color lift and permanence.

Base and Alkalinity: Hair dyes often contain alkaline substances to help open the hair cuticle, allowing colorants to penetrate. The pH level of the dye formulation is adjusted to ensure optimal color development.

Conditioners and Emollients: Hair dyes can be harsh on hair, so they often contain conditioning agents to counteract potential damage. These ingredients help maintain hair’s moisture balance, leaving it soft and manageable.

Fragrance and Stabilizers: Fragrances are added to improve the scent of the product, while stabilizers help maintain the color stability of the dye over time.

Preservatives: Preservatives are included to extend the shelf life of the product and prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.

Thickeners and Emulsifiers: These ingredients help maintain the product’s consistency and ensure even distribution during application.

Additional Additives: Depending on the specific formulation, hair dyes may contain additional ingredients such as antioxidants, UV filters, and botanical extracts for added benefits.

The base for Oxidation Hair Dye




Oleic acid


Coconut diethanolamide




Deionised water

q.s. to 100


Natural Permanent Dye

• Vegetable Tints:

– Made up From plant materials and henna which gives Brownish-chestnut shade

– Henna is obtained by grinding leaves and stems of Lawsonia alba known as Egyptian privet

• Problem

– Henna can trigger asthma and other allergic reactions

– Application is laborius and messy

– Cause staining of Fingers and nails

Temporary Hair colorants

• These type of hair colors used to color the hair temporarily

• The pigments in temporary hair color are high molecular weight and cannot penetrate the cuticle layer

• The color particles remain adsorbed (closely adherent) to the surface of the hair shaft and are easily removed with a single shampooing

• Temporary hair color can persist on hair that is excessively dry or damaged in a way that allows for migration of the pigment to the
interior of the hair shaft.

• The various types of products used for temporary coloring of hair include rinses, lotions, aerosols, crayons, etc.,

• In rinses – aqueous or hydro alcoholic solutions of simple dye stuffs are used

• In lotions- dyes in solution with a transparent polymer, such as 3% polyvinyl pyrolidone in water or aqueous alcohol

• Crayons are used either directly rubbed on to the wet hair or applied with the help of hair brush

Hair Crayon

• Formula



Glycerol monolaurate


Gum Tragacanth


Stearic acid




Carnauba wax






Hair Dye Powder

• Formula

p-Phenylenediamine sulfate




m-Phenylenediamine sulfate




Tetra sodium EDTA


Erythorbic acid


Carrageenan and Xanthan gum


Sodium lauryl sulfate


Monohydrate sodium perborate


Sodium Chloride


Temporary Colour-in-Shampoo

• Formula





Methyl Paraben


Propylene Glycol


Disodium Cocamido Propionate


Lauramide DEA


Citric acid


Lauramide Oxide


PEG-5 hydrogenated tallow amine





Labeling of Hair Dye

The FDA requires that hair dyes bear a caution statement and appropriate “patch test” instructions for determining whether the product causes skin irritation in the user

Caution –

This product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation on certain individuals and a preliminary test according to accompanying directions should first be made. This product must not be used for dyeing the eyelashes or eyebrows; to do so may cause blindness

Evaluation Parameter of Hair Dye

Safety Testing: Hair dyes must undergo rigorous safety testing to ensure they do not cause adverse reactions, such as allergic reactions or skin irritation. Patch tests on human volunteers are often conducted to assess the potential for skin sensitization.

Color Performance: The color performance of hair dyes is assessed for factors like color accuracy, vibrancy, and fade resistance. This evaluation includes laboratory testing as well as consumer panels to gauge real-world results.

Hair Damage: The potential for hair damage, including dryness, breakage, and brittleness, is evaluated through scientific studies and user feedback. Hair samples are often subjected to mechanical and chemical tests.

Stability: Hair dyes are assessed for stability, including resistance to environmental factors like light, heat, and humidity. This helps determine the product’s shelf life and performance under various conditions.

Ease of Application: User-friendliness is a crucial aspect of hair dyes. Evaluation includes the ease of mixing, application, and rinsing, as well as the presence of clear instructions.

Longevity: The longevity of hair color is assessed to determine how well it withstands repeated shampooing and exposure to water.

Allergy Testing: Hair dyes are tested for potential allergens and sensitizers to ensure they meet safety standards and do not pose risks to users.

Regulatory Compliance: Hair dyes must comply with regulatory guidelines and meet specific standards set by relevant authorities, such as the FDA in the United States or the EU Cosmetics Regulation in Europe.

Consumer Feedback: Consumer feedback and user satisfaction play a significant role in evaluating hair dyes. Reviews, surveys, and feedback from users help manufacturers refine their formulations.

Consistency- It should not too viscous, otherwise application will become difficult, the consistency should be minimum so that after application it will not drain off

Spreadability- Hair dye should be easily spreadable so it can easily apply evenly

Color Uniformity-The color of hair dye and hair color should be uniform, color shade should be remains same and gives desired color after application

pH-pH should be neutral

Evaluation Parameter of Hair Dye

Allergy test process:

– Remove earrings. Behind the ear and using a cotton bud, apply a small quantity of unmixed colorant product sufficient to cover an area of 1-2cm² (e.g. the size of a small coin)

– Re-apply two or three times allowing it to dry between each application. Carefully reseal the colorant container and keep it for the application 48 hours later

– Leave for 48 hours without washing, covering or touching

– If during this period you notice any abnormal reactions, such as itching, redness or swelling in or around the test area, Do Not Apply the Product


  • Hair Dye or Hair Color: is a chemical tool that is used to change the color of a person’s hair
  • Evaluation Parameter of Hair Dye

– Consistency

– Spreadabillity

– Color Uniformity

– pH

– Allergy test

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) About Hair Dyes

What are the primary types of hair dyes available in the market?

The main types of hair dyes are oxidative (permanent), semi-permanent, demi-permanent, and temporary. Each type offers different levels of color change and longevity.

What’s the difference between permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes?

Permanent hair dyes use oxidative agents to penetrate the hair shaft and provide long-lasting color. Semi-permanent dyes deposit color on the hair’s surface and gradually fade with each wash.

Can I change my hair color significantly with a semi-permanent hair dye?

Semi-permanent dyes can enhance or darken your existing hair color but are not suitable for drastic color changes. They are more gentle and fade with time.

How do I perform a patch test for a hair dye to check for allergies?

To perform a patch test, apply a small amount of the hair dye mixture behind your ear or on your inner forearm. Wait 48 hours to check for any signs of allergic reactions, such as redness or itching.

Can I use a hair dye if I have sensitive skin or allergies?

Individuals with sensitive skin or allergies should opt for hypoallergenic or ammonia-free hair dyes designed for sensitive scalp and skin.

Is it safe to use hair dyes during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using hair dyes during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Some experts recommend avoiding dyes containing certain chemicals during this time.

How often should I touch up my roots with permanent hair dye?

Root touch-ups with permanent hair dye are typically done every 4 to 6 weeks, but the frequency may vary depending on hair growth and the desired look.

Can I change my hair color from dark to light with hair dye?

Transitioning from dark to light hair typically requires a bleaching process before applying a lighter hair color. This should be done by a professional to avoid damage.

What should I do if I’m not satisfied with the hair color result after using a dye?

If you’re unhappy with the color result, you can consult a professional colorist for correction or use a color-removing product. Avoid re-dyeing immediately, as it can damage your hair.

How can I maintain the vibrancy and longevity of my hair color?

To maintain color, use color-safe shampoos and conditioners, avoid excessive sun exposure, and limit the use of heated styling tools, as heat can fade color.

Are there natural or organic hair dye options available?

Yes, there are natural and organic hair dye brands that use plant-based ingredients. They are often gentler but may have limitations in terms of color range and longevity.

Do hair dyes contain harmful chemicals like ammonia and PPD (p-Phenylenediamine)?

Some hair dyes contain ammonia and PPD, which can be harsh on the hair and skin. Many brands now offer ammonia-free and PPD-free options for a gentler experience.

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