At Tribeca, I have trained our colorists to always try to color hair in a damage-free manner. To that end, we have a basic rule, do not use alkali color unless it is deemed necessary. Usually this means that alkali color is used for resistant gray hair, blonding or increasing vibrancy. What is alkali color? Alkali color is any color with a pH higher than 7 (water) The higher the number up to 14 is it’s alkalinity, and the more alkaline a substance is, the more it is caustic to organic substances. In the case of hair, it allows the cortex and cuticle to swell and expand so that your natural color may be removed (blonding) and artificial color put into the hair. Once ammonia is introduced to the hair, along with peroxide, oxidation occurs. Oxidation breaks down the natural pigments in your hair so you appear lighter and brighter. This chemical reaction PERMANENTLY alters your hair, and some damage occurs. One pass of alkaline color is fine, but it is the successive passes that cause more and more damage.
So when we have a client sit in our chair, we discuss using non-alkaline colors when it isn’t necessary. Many times we use the term permanent versus demi-permanent color and many clients wonder why wouldn’t you want the color to be permanent? So to explain, both permanent and demi-permanent colors have the same color molecules with the same longevity and retention. Here’s the difference: permanent color PERMANENTLY changes your own hair. Demi-permanent cannot alter your own base color. So don’t worry about how long a color may last, it is the permanent alteration of your own hair you should consider. Hopefully this clears up any confusion!