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Inoa vs regular dyes

March 6, 2013

Forget the question of whether or not to dye your wig, but once you’ve decided…. Which one is the right one for your wig???
The latest trend in hair dyes (not styles like “ombre” or highlights vs low-lights, but the chemicals and processes used) is a whole new science: oil based or gel based delivery systems. You may have heard one or both of us talk about INOA, a new science from L’oreal, but other brands are popping up with oil based colors, some in powder form, others cream. We briefly wanted to explain the difference between these new systems and the old school original forms of dyes. 

Previously, dyes used ammonia, combined with hydrogen peroxide (used in varying strengths) as developers to activate the color. The ammonia blows open the cuticle of the hair to allow it to accept the new color molecules. Since color molecules are attracted to water, many molecules will wash back out as the dye is being rinsed out and in future washes too. As the dyes is washed out, the cuticles return to their original position and often close back up more nicely, leaving hair shiny and restored to its previous sheen. This process takes a toll on the cuticles over time, and eventually, they don’t hold the color in as well, or take funny shades on severely oxidized or previously highlighted hair. 

The newer oil based dyes are built differently and include a different chemical make up that just tweaks the cuticle open a drop. Since its oil based, the color molecules are pushed into the moisture at the core of the hair, then sealed in by the oil or gel like layer the dye will leave behind on the surface, essentially sealing in the color and securing the cuticle of the hair closed, possibly better than before. Since color molecules are attracted to water, the color washes out with each subsequent wash. With the oil barrier created by these new dyes, color stays truer, longer, shinier and healthier looking. Also, because they wash out differently, ammonia based dyes use more color molecules, so there is more risk of color taking too dark or unevenly. With inoa, there is a limited amount of color molecules, so if applied evenly, it takes more evenly, providing consistently good coverage or grays for human head and excellent correction of the typical oxidizing pattern in wigs.

Once again, this is an overview of the science of the new types of dyes. We will attempt to try individual different brands of each new product as they arrive on the scene and on the shelves. There is plenty more details to the science of this new trend, but much of it is a discussion of hair cuticles, which is a whole separate article for us to write for you…

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