June 23, 2006, Newsletter Issue #42: Ammonia in Hair Color

Tip of the Week

Ammonia gets a bad rap. In small concentrations, ammonia is not toxic to the body and is necessary for some colors to cover gray or lighten the hair.

Permanent hair color can open the hair shaft with either ammonia or monoethanolamine (a chemical with an odorless fume). Before putting this in your hair, know the facts:

In large concentrations, it can be toxic

Monoethanolamine doesn't cover gray or lighten hair as much as ammonia can

Monoethanolamine color may be better if your hair fades quickly and is extremely porous or damaged, but it still depends on the brand

Some ammonia hair colors can be extremely conditioning depending on the other ingredients in the hair color such as natural oils

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