Unveiling the Invisible Threat: Understanding the Role and Risks of Ammonia in Hair Color

December 10, 2023by admin

Ammonia In Hair Color

ammonia in hair color
Ammonia In Hair Color

Well, hello there, fellow follicle fanatics! If you’re here, I’m willing to bet my hairdryer that you’re interested in the juicy details about ammonia in hair color and that bottle of hair dye sitting on your bathroom counter. Or perhaps you’re here because you were scarred by that one time your hair turned pumpkin-orange instead of sun-kissed auburn. No judgment; we’ve all been there.

Let’s chat about good ole’ ammonia, shall we? That silent, invisible…err… sellable accomplice tucked inside your favorite hair dye, working its magic. By magic, of course, I mean it’s willing to break down some doors (your hair cuticles, to be precise) to escort the color pigments to their destination. It’s like a bouncer at the club of your hair shaft. Sounds great, right?

But wait, there’s a catch. While ammonia in hair color certainly knows how to throw a party in your hair, it has no clue about cleaning up after itself. In the long run, this rascal can damage your cortex, make your hair more grey than a Victorian ghost, and even mess with your health by irritating your skin and lungs. And let me not get started on the havoc it wreaks on the ecosystem, damaging crops and turning innocent aquatic creatures’ lives upside down. So, who’s ready to RSVP for that hair dye party now?

The Science Behind Ammonia in Hair Dyes

Well, let’s dive right into the deep end! Did you know that ammonia, that little thing lost somewhere in your high school chemistry text, decided it loves hanging out in your hair dye? You heard it right! Its role is a lot like that of a bouncer at a club – it opens up the cuticles (the hair’s outer layer, not some bizarre crustacean) and lets all the fabulous color in.

Art nerd or not, we all know, without even going to the Louvre, that a painting needs a base layer. Similarly, for your dye to show up, it requires the base of your hair, the cortex. Ammonia lifts the cuticle layer, exposing the cortex, where the dye can make itself at home. It’s like Airbnb for your hair strand houses.

Does anyone fancy a swollen haircuticle? I didn’t think so, but that’s what ammonia does. It makes the hair cuticle swell and party till, well… it’s unable to! Hair becomes weak and vulnerable over time—a pretty tragic party.

Now, if you think you can kick ammonia out of the party, bazanga! Here’s the plot twist! Alternative alkalis like monoethanolamine (MEA) are here to join the hair coloring fiesta, especially for Color Virgin Hair. (Talk about a party crasher!) They are like the lovely, gentle cousins who don’t like creating a ruckus (read: less damaging). However, MEA loves hanging around longer in the hair, like that one guest who won’t leave!

Plotting ammonia against other alkalis is a scene from a hair-dye-action movie. Who will dye the hair faster?  and Who will cause less damage? Who will walk out triumphant? Well, dear readers, the results are hair-raising (pun intended). Spoiler alert! There may not always be a clear winner. Now, wouldn’t that be a dilemma?

ammonia in hair color
ammonia in hair color

Risks of Ammonia in Hair Dyes

Ah, the joys of hair coloring! Who doesn’t love a refreshing and thrilling change to their appearance? But, as with all good things, a tiny villain lurks in the background: ammonia. This mischievous little molecule is present in hair dyes, and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s not exactly a team player regarding the health and well-being of your hair, scalp, and surroundings.

Let’s get into some juicy details, shall we? For starters, when ammonia generously shares its toxic presence with your skin or scalp, it can cause irritations, redness, and even burns. Ouch! And that’s just the beginning of ammonia’s misadventures. When our dear ol’ little frenemy comes in contact with our hair cuticles, it causes them to swell, allowing the hair dye to seep in and do its thing. But alas, this seemingly helpful deed is a double-edged sword. Sure, it helps the hair color last, but it also leaves your hair dry, brittle, and more prone to damage. Yikes!

Let’s discuss how ammonia thinks it’s a walking

talking about environmental hazards, especially for Dark Curly Hair. If it were a supervillain, its name would probably be “Eco-Annihilator” or something equally dramatic. As it turns out, ammonia loves to evaporate rapidly, causing a potent (and obnoxious) smell. Worse yet, it can damage our crops and forests and disrupt aquatic life when released into the ocean. Not excellent, ammonia. It’s not cool at all.

So, there you have it, folks. We’ve exposed ammonia’s dark secrets when it comes to hair dyes. From its adverse effects on our health to turning our luscious locks into a frizzy mess and even haunting the environment, it’s clear that ammonia isn’t exactly winning any popularity contests. But worry not reader – keep reading to learn about alternatives and helpful advice on keeping your hair vibrant and healthy despite ammonia’s nefarious intentions.

Is Ammonia Present in All Hair Dyes?

Is Ammonia Present in All Hair Dyes?

In the good old days (think pre-historic cysteine bonds or animal fat days), ammonia was the show’s star regarding hair dyes. Who didn’t love that pungent smell while you sipped on a glass of wine, waiting for your hair to turn a fabulous shade? However, it turns out that our beloved ammonia has some severe skeletons in its closet. It’s like finding out your favorite band lip-synched their live performances.

Ah, but fear not, my hair-savvy comrades, for we have stumbled upon the brave new world of ammonia-free hair dyes! *cue the confetti* Apparently, certain chemical daredevils thought it was high time to kick ammonia to the curb – especially with too many people complaining about nasty allergies, damaged hair, and the general lack of desire to suffocate on toxic fumes. Modern-day geniuses have cooked up some sultry substitutes like monoethanolamine (MEA), ethanolamine, and some other jazzy ingredients you probably can’t pronounce.

So, dear readers, the future looks pretty bright (like that neon pink you rocked last summer). You now have the freedom to dye your hair with less hazardous chemicals while keeping up with the Kardashians’ hair colors. Are you concerned about the well-being of your luscious locks? Then ditch ammonia like an ex-partner and embrace the world of Chemical Liberation dye with ammonia-free dyes!

Ammonia-Free Hair Dyes

Say hello to ammonia-free hair dyes! Perhaps you’re wondering, “How do they even work?” or “Are they just some colour-infused witch’s brew?” To satisfy your curiosity, let’s talk science – don’t worry, even Bill Nye would make this sound not very interesting!

While ammonia swaggers around like a medieval castle raider, barging open the hair cuticle for the hair dye to storm in, ammonia-free dyes prefer a subtler approach. They are like those shy party guests who don’t dance on tables but still make their presence felt. These dyes simply coat your hair strands with color rather than prompting a cuticle riot.

But what’s their secret ingredient, you may ask? These demure partygoers, or ammonia-free hair dyes, use an equally mouthful component, monoethanolamine (MEA), that’s fused with alcohol. Say that ten times fast! MEA, in a less concentrated form and teamwork with emollient oils – sounds like a comforting spa for your hair. – does its job diligently without causing the damage ammonia does.

Humor aside, other ammonia look-a-likes exist, too, called Cocamide MEA and aminomethyl propanol MEA. Even though the ‘no ammonia’ tag might ring synonymous with ‘natural’, let’s pop that bubble – they still contain alkalis akin to ammonia. So, while your hair enjoys a less harmful color party, remember it’s not entirely an organic soiree! In the world of hair dyes, the absence of one villain does not make the town safe! But hey, as long as your hair looks fabulous, right?

ammonia in hair color
ammonia in hair color

Choosing the Right Hair Dye for You

So, you’ve decided to color your hair. Congrats! Now, the big question—what hair dye to choose? Hold your horses before you rush off to the nearest beauty supply store. Remember, your hair could eventually turn into a haystack if you select a ” pretty ” color that is not necessarily “pretty for you.”

Before starting, you may want to schedule a date with your hairstylist because that’s what they’re here for— to save us from hair disasters, remember? And, if you think you can skip the boring patch tests for sensitivity, lemme tell you, it’s not worth the risk of turning into a human radish with a swollen face!

Aside from your obvious appeal to that dazzling rainbow color, consider your hair’s ‘feel-factors’—its type, existing conditions, and what will suit your style after the coloring spiel. After all, we don’t want to look like a hilarious meme from a comic book. Trust me, darling, it’s all about making color choices that wouldn’t scare off people on the subway!

Caring for Your Hair Pre and Post-Hair Coloring

Caring for Your Hair Pre and Post-Hair Coloring

Before you jump into the hair coloring world, let’s chat about prepping your hair. It’s essential to start with a clean, shampooed, and conditioned mane for optimum color absorption (oh, how we cherish our pre-instagramable, untouched follicles). Post-coloring, we all know how critical after-care is! A sulfate-free shampoo, a color-protective conditioner, and weekly hair masks should be your new BFFs; after all, they’re the ones that will bail you out when your vibrant new locks begin questioning their long-term survival prospects. Remember, a healthy and stylish mane is just a few product swaps and TLC away!


So, there you are! We just took a thrilling roller coaster ride through the world of ammonia and hair dyes. Are you still hanging on tight? Good. To quickly refresh, remember that ammonia in your hair dye is like that unruly cousin at the family reunion; it gets the job done (lightening your hair) but causes quite the ruckus (potential health risks) along the way. Then, there’s the gentler, well-behaved cousin – the ammonia-free dye. It’s less harsh, but does it pack the same punch? Well, that’s where your informed decision comes in handy.

And you thought choosing the right hair color was difficult! Now, you must ponder ammonia and non-ammonia options, too. Well, there’s never a dull moment in hair coloring, right? And hey, remember, the internet and your trusty hairstylist are your best friends here. But as a safe bet, always respect your scalp because just like all great hairstyles start with a good haircut, all great colors start with a healthy scalp! Until your next hair-raising salon adventure, stay shiny and colorful!