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Color fading, oxidation, and UV protection
11-12-2014, 08:15 AM,
Color fading, oxidation, and UV protection
One thing that I've noticed with hair systems is that the color tends to fade over time. This is typically due to two factors. One, is exposure to UV light. This is something that's been addressed many times in the forums. The second is oxidation. Oxidation is a natural processes. We hear about it all the time when it comes to our bodies. We hear how important antioxidants are to health, how they can fight aging, etc. What we don't hear about is their importance to hair health. Human hair, is actually not a living thing. Hair does not contain living cells. This is why you cannot use hair for DNA matches unless it has the follicle attached. But antioxidants are important for hair. They help maintain the natural color and health of the hair. Have you ever noticed a woman with long un-color treated hair? Even if they stay of out of the sun, the hair at the ends is lighter in color than the hair near the scalp. This is because of oxidation.

As hair wearers, the hair on our pieces doesn't grow. So the oxidation is more apparent as the entire shaft of hair oxidizes at the same rate. Because it's not growing, it's not being replenished with new hair so there's no gradient of color. The entire piece just begins to lighten. The traditional way to fight this is with coloring. Either permanent or demi-permanent dye or with temporary coloring such as a liquid toner or a conditioning colorer like Back2Natural. While these solutions work well they do have their draw backs. Dyes usually contain harsh chemicals that can damage the hair, dry it out, or give it a coarse texture. the temporary coloring is well, temporary and must be reapplied after each washing.

So what else could we be doing to extend the color and life of our systems? The answer, in theory, is simple. Antioxidants. For example, Vitamin A, E, and C are all natural antioxidants. Vitamin E and C together have a synergistic effect in terms of antioxidation. This means that they actually work together and have an increased antioxidant effect when paired. If you'd like I can explain the chemistry of this but for this post I'll just keep it simple.

I'm currently trying to find leave in conditioners that use Vitamin E and C. It's my hope that the use of these antioxidants will slow the oxidation and color fade of my hair and extend the life of my pieces.

It's also interesting to note that Vitamin C is ascorbic acid and has a pH level of about 3. Human hair has a pH level of about 5 and many shampoos and styling products have a neutral pH level of 7 or are slightly higher, which make them slightly basic. Using a leave in conditioner with Vitamin C can also negate the damaging effects of using products which have a more basic pH than natural hair. Keeping proper pH balance should, in theory, keep the hair healthy and help keep the color longer. This is why you'll notice that most products formulated for colored hair use citric acid (which is different than ascorbic acid). When the pH level of hair becomes more basic than the natural pH level of 5 it beings to lose it's color.

I'll keep everyone updated of what products I find and the results that I get from them. Hopefully my hypothesis is correct and these antioxidants will help extend the life and color of our pieces.
11-13-2014, 03:09 AM,
RE: Color fading, oxidation, and UV protection
Hi AmericanJambo,
Thanks so much for that info. It's intriguing to see someone that has the curiosity and interest to dig so deeply into this subject. There's not a lot of people that do it at your level. We'll be looking forward to your updates---we appreciate your work!
11-14-2014, 03:52 AM,
RE: Color fading, oxidation, and UV protection
Most if not all shampoos today are acid balanced with the exception of Baby, No more tears type shampoos. This became an industry standard in the late 70's at least in professional shampoos and shortly after in retail products.

Remember as well that hair pieces are generally died with fabric dye and not hair color and with most if not all of the cuticle stripped away (or lace systems would know and matt up) the inner fiber of the hair is always exposed as it has no protection. The best thing that can be done is to actually add silcone (dimethicone actually) directly to the color that you use to color the hair. Dow Corning did a study a few years ago and found that would prevent fading for about 45 days which is quite good. The silicone encapsulated the color molecule and provide a barrier. Now this was on Bio hair that was washed daily and was fully intact with cuticle and color with hair color.
11-25-2014, 04:48 PM,
RE: Color fading, oxidation, and UV protection
Any update to a very real issue AmericanJambo?

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