Logically it makes sense – however, alkaline hair – that has been exposed to ammonia in colour – can and should be treated with acid normalisers &/ anti-oxidation treatments, post colour, to return it to a normal state. This means that you have longer lasting colour, without the damage. You know your hair’s in an alkaline state when you can’t get a comb or your fingers through your hair. It will tend to be matt and colour strips out really fast – it’s just really unmanageable and not fun. Colour containing ammonia or it’s derivatives should not damage your hair when professionally done.
Now the problem: with lower levels of ammonia, there’s normally higher levels of ppd. This is Paraphenylenediamine (pronounced: Para-Fennel-Lean-Dye-A-Mine) We’ll just call that PPD for short. It was voted allergen of the year in 2006 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. It’s an organic compound – just because it’s natural, does not mean that it’s safe.
What does it do? It makes your colour stick to your hair.
What it does to you? Nothing – hopefully, you could colour your hair 700 times without a reaction – However, when you do react, your scalp might have a burning sensation, you experience throat irritation, coughing, tight scalp, an insistent itch, swelling, a full body rash, eyelids swelling shut, face swelling, enlarged glands etc… Usually you’ll have at least one of these reactions, but it quickly becomes worse with PPD exposure. Think of any of the hair colour stories involving really bad reactions – it was probably PPD.
Once you have had an allergic reaction – you will always be allergic to PPD. The sensitivity then spreads to include black clothes (PPD fixative), dyed leather, certain inks and some brands of black make-up (liners and mascaras)
There is good news. If you are reacting, or just worried about allergen loads and carcinogen levels, there are many brands of PPD-free colour available. Luckily most PPD-free colour is also SLS and SLES-free, which means no damaging reaction with chlorinated tap water or ammonia.
Check your colour ingredients – ask your stylist for the box or for the package insert with the ingredient list – there is ALWAYS an ingredient list.
PDD will appear as one of the following: