I can’t tell you how many times a client enters our doors at juju and proclaims, “it smells sooooo good in here!” And she’s right: wafting through the air are overtones of ylang ylang, fresh lavender, lemongrass and, over the past holiday season, ginger, pine and cinnamon. I’m lucky to work in such a smell-good joint, in fact, I take it for granted. The scents from our pure, clean, organic hair products, soy candles and bath soaks never take backseat to nasty, noxious hair dye fumes.
The Scary Dangers of Ammonia. Hair dressers and clients alike are still drinking the Kool Aid: hair dye must have stinky, over-powering ammonia in it or it won’t work. I hear it all the time. “It won’t cover the gray,” “it will wash out next week” and so on. Let’s face facts, we want to look good and often that wish will take back seat to health concerns. What harm could occur? What’s a little ammonia now and then?
Well, to a client, it’s just an hour or two of gasping, take-your-breath-away chemical air pollution. But to us stylists and salon workers, it’s our everyday air. It’s the beauty industry’s Love Canal. And, Federal regulations have yet to address this issue in any meaningful way. I predict future class actions from workers, manufacturers and yes, the millions of us who dye our hair.
The beauty industry continues to use ammonia in its products because it’s cheap and abundant. Non-ammonia color lines, like Mastey, Organic Color Systems, and Chi Ionic used at juju, contain more expensive natural oils and extracts of aloe vera, comfrey, orange and grapefruit instead of ammonia to do the job. It’s money over health concerns, it’s as simple as that.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology in Atlanta, Georgia, ammonia is listed as a hazardous substance which has related negative health effects. Ammonia is irritating to the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Nearly all professional salon and “box” hair color contain ammonia. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in the air may cause severe burns in your skin, eyes, throat, and lungs. In extreme cases, blindness, lung damage, or death could occur. Breathing lower concentrations will cause coughing and nose and throat irritation.
I know that hair colored with non-ammonia dyes at juju are even more silky, soft, and vibrant than conventional colors. We wouldn’t still be in business if our color services (sucked!) weren’t top notch. We give you permission to be vain, demand great color, cover your gray, highlight that hair and be healthy and awesome at the same time!