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The Science of Hair Coloring


A big part of becoming a hairstylist is taking care of customers who want to transform the way their hair looks with color. Switching up your hair color can give your style a new edge, or even just a bit more pop, but how does haircoloring actually work?

Here’s some of the science behind hair coloring:

woman with variety of hair colors

What is Hair?

To understand the science of coloring hair, you have to know what hair is. Hair is made up of a few different layers:

  • The medulla – This is the first layer of the hair strand.
  • The cortex – The second layer of hair, the cortex, is the main body of each strand. It’s where all the cells and pigments live that make the hair strand and give it color.
  • The cuticle – This is the outside layer of the hair strand. It acts a shield from the outside elements and keeps the cells in the cortex protected. It also reflects light which is why your hair looks dull and colorless when your cuticle is weakened.

Different Types of Hair Color

  • Temporary Hair Color

    You can use a temporary hair color if you only want to change the way your hair color looks for a few days. This is a good idea if, say, you want to change your hair color to a radical color for a sporting event.

    When you take this route, the color simply coats the outer layers of the hair. Because it’s just applied to the outer layers, it washes away within a few days.

  • Semi-Permanent Hair Color

    This type of color actually penetrates the cuticle and attaches itself to the outer part of the cortex. Because the dye is under the cuticle, it is protected. This means that when you wash your hair, you’re only washing away a tiny bit of the color each time. For this reason it lasts quite a bit longer than the temporary color each time, so it lasts significantly longer than a temporary dye does.

  • Permanent Hair Color

    This is the most common method of hair coloring that people ask for. This type of hair color penetrates the cuticle of the hair and enters the cortex. Instead of coating the cortex with color, it actually leaves color pigments in the cortex with your natural hair pigments. This changes the color of your hair for good. It may fade over time, but the introduced color never changes.

woman with balayage blond hair color

Why You Want a Pro to Color Your Hair

Your natural color pigments will affect how things turn out when you try to change your hair color. Professionals are trained to recognize what types of hair color to use and how much to apply with certain colors, levels, and tones of hair. The expertise that trained cosmetologists have in hair coloring goes a long way in getting the look that you are going for.

If you want to learn more about the science behind coloring hair, check out our cosmetology program. You can learn how to use hair color properly as well as fun techniques to create the perfect look!

Protecting Your New Color

Once you have the color you are looking for, it’s important to take care of your hair to help keep the color vibrant and sharp. One of the best ways to do this is by conditioning. Conditioners help strengthen and smooth out the cuticle. This is important because the cuticle is what protects the color and makes it shine so make sure you are conditioning often enough with the right products.

Ready for a Color Change?

If you’re ready to spice things up with a new color, come visit the Hair Professionals Career College Salon. Our students, under the supervision of a licensed professional, can help you get the look you’re searching for!

Want to Be a Hair Pro?

Want to learn how to color, cut, and style hair? Want to make creating awesome hairstyles your profession? Contact us. We can help you build a career in the beauty industry that you can enjoy. Don’t wait. Get started today!