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Why Grey Hair is Resistant

Most hairdressers don’t quite understand what makes grey hair so resistant to color.  Sometimes it is because the hair has been coated with silicone that is not water soluble.  However, MOST of the time it is because grey hair is extremely hard hair.  It has many more layers of cuticle than pigmented hair, and those cuticle layers or very tightly packed down.

If you do a Wet Stretch Test on grey hair you will find that the hair does not stretch at all.  Therefore, before coloring with Organic Color Systems we recommend that you pre-shampoo with Organic Care Systems’ Aqua Boost Shampoo 2 times prior to applying the color.  Towel dry the hair and repeat the Wet Stretch Test.  If the hair stretches then you may proceed by applying color to the damp hair.  Why damp hair?  Because damp hair, like a damp sponge will absorb more than dry hair, and with resistant grey hair the key is penetration. If the hair still does not stretch then apply an Aqua Boost Reconstructing Treatment to the hair, cap and place under a medium dryer for 15 mins.  When you repeat the Wet Stretch Test the hair should stretch up to 30% of its length and return to normal.

This technique applies no matter what color line you are using, however since Organic Color Systems is 100% ammonia free and one of the gentlest color lines on the market, you may need to coax this hair along in order to get the best possible color results.

As always, I hope you found this Technical Tip helpful.

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4 Responses to “Why Grey Hair is Resistant”

  1. This is not completely accurate. Beauty School 101. The resistance from gray hair taking pigment is there is no underlying pigment to support the color. Gray hair has no pigment in return making the hair resistant to holding color.

    • Loretta
  2. Loretta- Thank you for your response, in additional to the grey cuticle being “hollow and having a lack of pigment” it is still very important to soften that cuticle to the best of our ability to ensure 100% grey coverage. Grey hair tends to have up to 24 layers of cuticle, while pigmented hair usually has less than 10 cuticle layers. The hair color must penetrate through all 24 cuticle layers in order to reach the cortex, that is why taking the extra steps to soften the cuticle and ensure that the color has “penetrated all the way through” the grey hair cuticle is important.

  3. Does post chemo hair that is 60 % gray tend to react differently
    To hair color? I’m getting very warm results with a green based formula..

    • Monique
  4. Post Chemo hair might have a tendency to react a bit differently and would always recommend a wet stretch test to see if any treatments would be required. When you mention a green based formula, I am curious as to what formula you are using. I am certain that this can be easily remedied and would love to chat more about your mix. Please phone me so we can chat further about this client’s formula and what we need to do to get the results you are after. Call me any time you have a free moment….
    Kind Regards,
    Rebecca Gregory
    Technical Director
    888-213-4744 ext 202

    • Rebecca

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