Category Archives: hair products

Chemotherapy and Hair

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to show our support, we want to provide some more information on how cancer and its treatment can affect your hair, as well as hair options during chemotherapy. Today,we are going to look at why and how chemotherapy causes hair loss.


While not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, hair loss, also known as alopecia, is a common side effect of many cancer-treating drugs. Some chemotherapy drugs cause complete alopecia, some cause hair thinning, and some have no effect on hair at all.The amount of hair loss depends on the drug used, the dosages and how it was administered. Hair loss may vary person to person, even if two patients are taking the same medicine for the same cancer.


Hair loss caused by chemotherapy may be gradual or sudden. You may notice clumps or handfuls coming out at a time. The loss of hair could occur as early as the second or third week after the first cycle of treatment, or it may not occur until the second cycle. Some chemotherapy treatments only affect the hair on your head, while others may cause the loss of other body hair- leg/arm/underarm hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, or pubic hair.

The reason chemotherapy causes hair loss has to do with the way hair grows and how chemotherapy works. Hair growth occurs in three phases- anagen, catagen, and telogen. The growth cycle of hair is random, with every hair at a different stage of growth and at any give time, hair will be at one of three growth stages. The first stage of hair regeneration, the anagen phase, is most affected by chemotherapy. This phase is considered the growth phase, lasting between two to eight years. During the anagen phase, the growth cells in hair follicle beneath the scalp rapidly divide every 23 to 72 hours, dividing at some of the fastest rates in the body. These cells produce the hair strand, or shaft, which then pushes up and out through the scalp. Approximately 85% of all hairs are in the growth phase at one time. Because chemotherapy targets all rapidly dividing cells- healthy cells along with cancer cells, the fast-growing hair cells are often destroyed by chemotherapy. When the chemotherapy begins to destroy these cells, the hair growth cycle is unable to continue. The hair detaches from the follicle and falls out.


While the loss of hair may seem startling or distressing, it is important to know that your hair loss is temporary. Once treatment has stopped, the hair cells will begin to repair themselves and divide again. Hair regrowth will start to occur about one to three months after chemotherapy ends, and complete hair regrowth takes about six months to a year. Due to the new development of cells, your new hair growth may come in a different color or texture. This is usually temporary, and your hair will return to its normal texture after six to twelve months.

What does National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Mean to Us?

Why is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Important?

Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, with just under 30% of all cancers in women are breast cancers. According to recent statistics, about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. However, women aren’t the only ones affected by this disease. Though far less likely, about one percent of all breast cancer cases occur in men.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important because it provides education and awareness on breast cancer and its prevalence. The campaign helps provide resources on breast cancers, its symptoms, and its treatment, as well as providing information on how and when to be tested. Additionally, NBCAM helps to offer support for those already suffering from breast cancer.



What does National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Mean to Us?

At Benoté Salon, Breast Cancer Awareness is important to us. We are committed to offering our support of NBCAM, as well as our support of those affected by breast cancer. We want to do everything we can to help raise awareness about breast cancer.


As hair stylists, NBCAM is also important to us because of the effect breast cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can have on the hair. We realize that many breast cancer patients may face hair loss as a result of their treatment. To help support NBCAM and breast cancer awareness, we want to provide education on how certain cancer treatments can affect hair, as well as provide information on hair options for those suffering with breast cancer.

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In support of
Breast Cancer Awareness,we will be releasing a series of blogs on breast cancer,
chemotherapy’s effect on hair and what hair options are available for cancer patients.


What is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is an annual national and international health campaign sponsored by major cancer and medical charities and associations every October to increase awareness of breast cancer, as well as raise money for research into breast cancer’s prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. Additionally, the month-long campaign provides support and information to those affected by breast cancer.


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca), maker of several breast cancer drug treatments. Originally, the aim of the campaign was to promote mammography as the most effect weapon against breast cancer. With the foundation of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993 by Evelyn Lauder, the Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies, the pink ribbon was adopted as the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s symbol.


What Foundations Support Breast Cancer Research and Awareness?

Several organizations and foundations are involved with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These foundations support funding, research, and education on breast cancer, its treatments, and its prevention. Here are a few of the foundations associated with NBCAM:


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The Part of Hair you Don’t See

When you think about the roots of your hair, you may think of the hair found at the base of the scalp. However, the root of the hair, despite popular belief, is actually found underneath the skin. Hair roots are found in the the second layer of skin, the dermis, where the hair growth and coloration takes place. In fact, the science of hair growth and regrowth all take place in the root of the hair, unseen to our eyes.


The root of our hair is found in the hair follicle, which is the birthplace of your hair growth. The tunnel-like segment extends from the epidermis, the first layer of skin, down into the deeper level of the skin called the dermis. The structure of the follicle contains many layers with separate functions belonging to each layer. Let’s take a look at the several components of your hair follicle and the role they play in hair growth and regrowth.


Dermal Papilla

The dermal papilla is located at the base of the hair follicle. Buried approximately 4 milimeters down into the scalp, the papilla is the driving force of the follicle. Through several tiny blood vessels, or capillaries, the papilla proves the nutrients and information necessary for the multiplication and differentiation of the hair cells. This nourishment from the papilla helps regulate the life cycle of your hair, providing hair health and helping you grow your hair.


Pilar Matrix

Located around the papilla, the pilar matrix is the deepest component of the hair follicle. It is within the matrix that the hair cells, known as keratinocytes, begin to multiply and differentiate. As these cells divide, the different compartments of the hair follicle- internal root sheath, external root sheath and hair shaft- begin to form. The keratinocytes differentiate at a much faster rate than any other cells in the body, dividing every 24 to 72 hours. The fast rate of these cell differentiations is why chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which kill dividing cells, may lead to temporary hair loss.


Internal Root Sheath

The internal sheath, formed by the piler matrix, surrounds the growing hair shaft. Since the hair shaft is soft and fragile during the beginning stages in the hair growth cycle, the internal root sheath serves as support and protection. This internal sheath follows the shaft, ending just below the opening of a sebaceous gland.


External Root Sheath

Continuous with the epidermis, the external root sheath surrounds the internal sheath and the hair shaft. The external root sheath also contains the outermost layer of cells, which are activated by the dermal papilla during the restart of the hair growth cycle to enable the reconstruction of the hair follicle and new hair growth.


Erector Pili Muscle

Connected to a fibrous layer around the outer root sheath is the erector pili muscle. Under the influence of emotional response, this muscle can contract, causing the hair on your head to stand up. The contraction of this muscle can also cause the release of oil from the sebaceous gland.


Sebaceous Gland

Each of your hair follicles have at least one of more sebaceous glands. These oil glands contain large cells known as sebocytes which are filled with lipid droplets. When sebocytes burst, they release sebum, which is essential for protecting your hair and preserving is shine and flexibility.


Hair Shaft

The central part of the hair follicle is the hair shaft. Surrounded by the outer and inner root sheath, the hair shaft is pushed towards the surface of the skin by the cells multiplication and differentiation within the pilar matrix. The hair shaft is composed of three parts: the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. It is made up of keratinocytes, which die at 0.5 millimeters from the base of the follicle. The formation of the shaft is completed as it passes the sebaceous gland. It is then released from the root sheath as it pushes its way through the surface, making it the part of the hair we see everyday.




At Benoté, we believe, not only in hairstyle execution but, in hair education. It is our job and our privilege to have you as a client / potential client. We hope that by helping you to understand your hair, we can help you maintain your healthy hair for the rest of your life. Remember, we’re not just a salon. Benoté is an experience.

Wet Hair vs Dry Hair

Water can dramatically change the way our hair looks and acts. The structure of wet hair feels and acts different than dry hair. When wet, hair appears to be longer, heavier and smoother. But what are the actual physical changes between wet and dry hair?


Hair is permeable, meaning it allows water to pass through it. This permeability allows hair to absorb large amounts of water. Healthy hair can absorb over 30 percent of its weight in water. Damaged hair can hold even more, allowing for up to 45 percent of its weight in water. This water absorption leads to swelling in the hair shaft. When wet, hair’s diament can swell 15 to 20 percent. The heaviness of wet hair is a result of the water absorbed by the hair.


Wet hair also allows for greater elasticity. When healthy hair is wet, it can stretch in length by up to 30 percent, while still being able to return to its original length after drying. This increase in elasticity is why your hair appears longer when wet. However, stretching your hair too much when wet can lead to damage and possibly breakage. When hair is stretched over 30 percent of its original length, permanent damage begins to occur. Hair stretched 80 percent of its length will fracture.


Due to its greater elasticity, wet hair is more sensitive than dry hair. Wet hair has a higher combing friction than dry hair, making it more susceptible to damage. Combing wet hair is more likely to stretch already brittle hair beyond its breaking point.


Different types of water have different effects on hair and hair structure. Prolonged exposure to saltwater can dry out hair, leaving your hair brittle and rough. Saltwater damage can cause the ends of hair to split and break. Water with chlorine can strip hair of its natural lubricant, leaving hair dry and porous. Hard water can also affect hair structure. Hard water contains a large amount of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which can build up on the hair and scalp. Prolonged use of hard water can leave hair feeling dry, brittle and weighed down.

When hair is wet, its structure and feel change. Water causes hair to be heavier, more elastic and more sensitive. Due to the increased sensitivity of wet hair, it is important to be gentle with your wet hair. Wet hair is at a greater risk for damage and breakage.





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How many strands of hair do humans typically possess on their heads?

We all know at least a few people that are balding or have thinning hair. These observations have probably raised a question or two for you about the typical number of hairs on someone’s head. How many hairs does the average human possess on their head? Does that number change depending on what color hair they have? How many hairs do they lose over the course of a few days? Well, here we’ll discuss some of the answers to those questions and hopefully encourage you to have a conversation with your stylist at the same time.


As far as how many hairs are on a person’s head, typically, humans average between 90,000 and 150,000 hairs. Why such a large gap? Well, the number of hairs on your head depends on the number of hair follicles that your scalp contains. The average person has up to 150,000 follicles, but the number on your particular head is hereditary. That means that you inherited the amount of hair on your head because you inherited the number of follicles in your scalp. The number of follicles also stays constant throughout your life, so even if you begin balding, you aren’t losing those follicles. They just aren’t producing strands of hair anymore.




The number of hairs on a person’s head also depends upon that person’s hair color. Hair color and number of follicles are both inherited traits, and generally speaking, blond people have smaller diameter hair and more follicles than people with another hair color. Blonds average about 145,000 hairs on their heads, while brunettes average around 108,000. Black and red hair strands are often thicker and more dense, so people with these colors of hair average lower than blonds and brunettes. Black hair averages around 100,000 strands, and red hair averages around 90,000. Of course, variance in hair diameter and density will vary from person to person, but the reasoning for the general occurrence makes sense. Blond hair has much lower levels of pigmentation, so the strands are thinner, so more hair is needed to cover and protect the scalp. The opposite is true for those with darker colored hair. Any tips from your stylist about maintaining healthy strands will help you protect your hair.


The hair on your head is constantly in a cycle, and at the end of the resting phase, you’re hair will fall out. As new hair is produced within the follicle at the beginning of the growing phase, the old hair is pushed out, thus ending the the resting phase for that hair. The hairs on your head can last between two and six years, but because you have so many hairs, approximately 90% of your hair is in the growing phase at any given point in time. However, the average person loses between 50 and 200 hairs throughout each day. You can ask your stylist about ways to strengthen your follicles, but you shouldn’t be worried about this natural hair loss and regrowth.


While your hair color and parent’s genes may determine the number of hairs on your head, you can be pretty sure that your number and color combination are totally unique. Here we provided a little bit of insight into the averages across many people, but it’s up to you to talk with your stylist about the right way to approach maintaining the health of your hair.



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Where is Keratin found? An infographic brought to you by Benoté Salon!


How does hair grow?

As you grow, your hair goes through a cycle of growth and loss and regrowth. Human hair is random, not seasonal or cyclical like other mammals. At any given time, hair will be at one of three growth stages, with every hair at a different stage.


To first understand the growth stages of hair, we should look at what makes up our hair. There are two distinct structures to hair: the follicle and the shaft. The hair follicle is a tunnel-like segment of the outer layer of skin that extends down into the second layer of skin called the dermis. At the base of the hair follicle is the dermal papilla which contains tiny blood vessels that provide nourishment to the cells. Surrounding the papilla is the bulb, the living part of the hair. The cells of the bulb divide faster than any other cell in the body, dividing every 24 to 72 hours. Two sheaths surround the hair follicle, an inner and outer sheath, which protect and form the growing hair. The hair shaft is made of keratin, a hard protein, and is composed of three layers. The inner layer is medulla, the middle layer is the cortex and the outer layer is the cuticle. The cortex makes up the majority of the hair shaft and holds the hair’s pigment with the medulla.


The first stage of hair growth is referred to as the anagen phase. The anagen stage is the growth phase, usually lasting between two to eight years. During this stage, the growth cells in the papilla rapidly divide, producing the hair shaft which becomes keratinized as it pushes up and out of the follicle. During the same time, the follicle grows down deeper into the dermis to get nourishment. People with long anagen growth rates are able to grow longer hair than those with shorter anagen phases. Approximately 85% of all hairs are in the growth phase at one time.


Following the anagen phase, the hair goes through a transitional stage, referred to as the catagen stage. This stage usually occurs over a brief two to four weeks. During the catagen phase, the hair follicle shrinks and breaks away from the dermal papilla. As the hair follicle separates from the papilla, the bulb detaches from the blood supply and the hair shaft is pushed up as the follicle disintegrates. About three percent of all hairs are in this stage at any given time.


The follicle then goes into the resting phase known as the telogen stage. The telogen phase lasts from two to four months, during which the hair does not grow, but remains attached to the follicle. In this phase of hair growth, the follicle and the dermal papilla below are completely at rest. Approximately 10-15 percent of all hairs are in the telogen phase at one time. As the resting phase comes to an end and new hair is formed, old telogen hairs are pushed out and lost. About 50-100 telogen hairs are lost at this time due to the growth process, which is considered normal hair shedding.

Once the telogen phase ends, the hair growth cycle is complete. Hair will go back into the anagen stage and the process begins again.





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How is hair made? An infographic by Benoté


It is SHOCKING to see how many women aren’t truly happy with their hair!!

Reading the article titled

“Survey Shows That Only 7 Percent Of Women Love Their Hair”

…. my heart sank a little. It shocks me, even in this business. We (Benoté salon) are so used to seeing women leave happy and empowered that we tend to forget how many others are either stifled or misinformed when it comes to healthy hair care.

The article by Huffington post said this:

“According to a survey conducted by Dove, only 7 percent of women in the United States love their hair.


The project also surveyed 1,000 U.S. women to find out how much they loved their hair. Sadly, not many.

Although the overall finding was that only 7 percent of women love their hair, the survey also found that African American women (14%) were the most likely to vote that way.”


  • Hair Care is a higher priority in a woman’s morning routine than eating breakfast (45% versus 41%), applying makeup (39%) and extra sleep (35%).
  • When asked how many hair products they use on an average day to manage/tame their unpredictable hair, 58% of women said they use three or more.
  • 1 in 5 women have passed on a social event as a result of unpredictable hair.



LADIES…. this poses the question… DO YOU LOVE YOUR HAIR?

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Aside from hair, where else is keratin found?

Keratin is the protein that gives hair strength and rigidity, but it is also found all throughout the human body. It is actually the key structural material for both the outer layer of your skin and your fingernails and toenails. In fact, approximately 90 percent of the cells in your outer layer of skin are filled with keratin.


Your epidermis, the outer layer of skin, is virtually waterproof and helps protect your body from infection, as well as regulating your body temperature. The reason that your skin is so strong is that the majority of your epidermis’ cells are keratinocytes. These are cells that are filled with keratin, which acts as a pathogen fighting protein that hardens as it builds up. The cells die and come off, which we know as dead skin, but they are constantly being replaced. The hardening of these cells is known as cornification, and constant abrasion causes a thickening of this cornified skin. These are the calluses that help us resist pain and extreme temperatures upon contact. Without this helpful layer of keratin infused cells, our immune systems would need to fight much harder to keep us healthy.


Keratin also gives us healthy, strong fingernails and toenails. However, the human nail is much more than just the nail plate to which we often refer. The matrix of the nail is the tissue which the plate protects. This tissue contains nerves and veins that transport signals to the brain, blood and other fluids. It is also responsible for producing the translucent keratinocytes that make up the nail plate. As new cells are formed, they push against the older cells, compacting and creating a strong but flexible plate. The nail bed is the skin surrounding the matrix, and like all skin, contains keratin infused cells, as well. A healthy nail helps us protect our fingers and toes from injuries, as well as giving us more precise motor function and increased sensitivity in the fingertips.


Without keratin, our hair would have not strength, our skin would be much more prone to infection and disease and we would not have the security and sensitivity in our hands and feet that we do. This crucial protein protects our entire body, so don’t forget to ask your salon stylist about any tips that will help you keep your hair, skin and nails healthy.




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What is hair made of?

You may be familiar with your hair, what shampoos and conditioners you should use and your favorite type of styling products, but do you really even know what makes up hair? While each strand of hair is a rather simple structure, the makeup of hair is interesting and complex.


Each strand of hair has three layers. These are the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cuticle is the outer layer made from overlapping keratin scales. Keratin is a strong protein, and these scales act as shingles on a home, protecting the inside from the elements. The cuticle is also covered with a molecularly small lipid layer which protects the hair from water.


The middle layer of each strand is called the cortex. The cortex is the primary source for structural support and water uptake. Approximately 91% of your hair is made from protein in the form of long chains of amino acids, and these chains are found within the cortex. This is also the area of each strand of hair that contains melanin, the pigment that affects hair color. The amount of melanin in each cortex is determined by genetics, and as you grow older, the melanin concentration depletes, causing your hair to turn gray and white.


The medulla is the core of a strand. This innermost region of the hair is not found in all hair types. For example, very thin hair or very light hair generally does not contain a medulla, but it is almost always found in very coarse hair. This means that some people may have strands of hair that only contain two layers, because the essential aspects to healthy hair growth and life are within the cuticle and cortex.


Each shaft of hair that you see extends below your scalp into the hair follicle. The part of the hair that is within the follicle is the hair root. New cells are formed and nutrients are received at the hair bulb, which is the round end of the hair root at the base of the follicle. These new cells mature through a process known as keratinization, which is where the protein hardens, and the new cells push the older cells up and out of the follicle, causing your hair to grow.

The shape of each strand of hair is determined by the shape of the hair follicle, which you can learn about in the “Not all hair is created equal” blog. Regardless, each hair strand consists of the same proteins and nutrients. Now that you know a little about how your hair grows and its makeup, you might can more easily understand why your favorite hair care products work for you. Make sure to discuss with your stylist any question you might have regarding keeping your hair healthy and yourself happy.





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Man Up Monday


… in the past you may have experienced Salons that are catered only to women… but Benoté doesn’t discriminate. In fact, our stylists aim to be skilled with both genders, all hair types, and all hair colors. There is nothing we can’t do! So when you get your next cut in September, remember to visit us on Youree Drive in Shreveport.


Is there a safe alternative to using Ammonia based hair products?

Hair stylists long believed that ammonia was absolutely necessary to artificially color hair with lasting results. Ammonia is a harmful chemical that damages hair and leaves it dry and unhealthy. However, natural, more gentle solutions have grown in popularity in recent years.



Herb UK, A small company in England, has produced an organic solution to hair coloring that has been available in the US since 2002. It is known as Organic Color Systems (OCS) and is available in a range of 65 colors. The base of OCS is alkaline, which raises the pH of the hair, allowing color to enter, but it also conditions and softens hair. It does not destroy the tyrosine, which creates the melanin that give your hair its natural color, in the cuticles of the hair, so the artificial coloring can bond to it and remain vibrant over time. Not only is the active compound monoethanolamine safer and less damaging, it is also odorless. This means that your salon visit will be much more pleasant, and your hair will be much easier to style and keep healthy.


L’Oreal Professionnel has recently entered the non-ammonia game, as well, with their INOA (Innovation No Ammonia) coloring system. An oily mixture containing dye molecules and monoethanolamine is applied to dry hair where the dye bonds with the moisture within each cuticle and escapes the oily substance. This allows the hair to be colored and conditioned at the same time. The vice president for marketing at L’Oreal, Peter Schiraldi, says that INOA delivers “vibrant color, great coverage and maintain[s] the condition of the hair prior”. This is really important because L’Oreal has the potential to inform and educate their vast audience of women about the importance of non ammonia based dyes.


These natural and gentle hair dyes present a very compelling alternative to ammonia based treatments. With the added benefits of softer, healthier hair and an odorless application, before long, non ammonia treatments will be the norm for salons across the country. The next time you visit your stylist, ask about non ammonia hair dyes and the benefits to your hair and health.




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What you need to know about Ammonia

If you plan on having the color of your hair changed the next time you visit a salon, make sure to talk to your stylist about the chemicals involved. Many hair dyes and hair dying techniques rely on ammonia to open up your shafts of hair to allow different colors to permeate the hair. Recently, however, the producers of hair care products have started moving away from using ammonia, a dangerous chemical, as an ingredient.




The primary role of ammonia in dye is to open the cuticle layer of hair to allow for new pigmentation. The pH of the hair is increased by the ammonia and the cuticle swells according to how much ammonia is in the dye. Another function of the ammonia is to neutralize your hair’s natural pigments. This is accomplished by mixing the ammonia with peroxide. However, the artificial pigment count must be very high, so the ammonia-peroxide mix doesn’t neutralize it, as well.


Because the chemical blasts open the hair, it is irreparably damaged. Your hair may be a different color, but your hair won’t be healthy enough to be styled efficiently. When the dye is swelling the cuticles of your hair, proteins and moisture are released, which is why your hair feels dry and brittle afterwards. Also, because the pH levels are raised so much, they cannot return to normal. This means that as long as your hair is colored, there will be continued protein and moisture loss. The artificial coloring will fade for the same reason, as well as the fact that tyrosine, the protein that produces the melanin responsible for naturally coloring your hair, is destroyed. This means that the artificial color has nothing to bond to.


Not only does ammonia seriously damage your hair, it is potentially very harmful to you and your stylist’s health. Ammonia exposure has been shown to irritate and burn the ears, nose and throat, as well as cause severe coughing and choking. If ammonia is accidentally mixed with bleach, the results are disastrous. The combination of these chemicals produces toxic chlorine gas. This gas will seriously harm and possibly kill those exposed to it.


There are very serious risks associated with the use of ammonia in hair salon products. Thankfully there are natural, more beneficial alternatives to ammonia based hair dyes. When you visit your salon, ask about non ammonia based permanent hair coloring.



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Organic Hair Color: Is Everything Really Natural?

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In more recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the potential dangers of artificial hair color. The synthetic chemicals within artificial hair dye have led to concern from stylists and clients alike. Chemicals such as ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, toluene and  para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which are present in artificial hair color, have all been shown to have hazardous effects on health. There is even a link between some of the chemicals used in hair color and higher risk for cancer. With all of the concern surrounding artificial hair color, many clients have started to look into organic hair color as a viable option.

Organic hair colors are dyes that consist of little or no harsh chemicals. Many organic hair colors do not use ammonia, the harsh chemical used to lift the cuticle layer of the hair and lighten the hair. Since an alkaline agent is needed in hair color, these dyes often use ammonia substitutes such as ethanolamine or monoethanolamine. Other dyes use small amounts of diluted aqua ammonia which is non-toxic. Resorcinol, a chemical used in artificial dye, is usually excluded in organic hair dyes. Resorcinol is used as a color coupler that oxidizes with hydrogen peroxide to provide permanent hair color, but it has been known to be a highly toxic skin irritant as well as a frequent cause of hair dye allergy. It is frequently excluded from organic hair dyes, but may be substituted for 2-methylresorcinol or butylresorcinol, which are synthetic non-toxic chemicals. A couple of the organic hair dyes are PPD free. Para-phenylenediamine is used as an oxidation agent in hair color, but is thought to have extremely dangerous effects on health. Not all organic products exclude PPD from their dyes.  In the place of these potentially dangerous chemicals, organic hair colors use natural essential oils, fruit extracts and soy bases. Henna is also used in many organic hair colors as a colorant.

Most organic hair dyes continue to use hydrogen peroxide in their color. Hydrogen peroxide is used in permanent dyes as an oxidizing agent that helps start the color-forming process by breaking down the natural hair pigments. Since it is a non-toxic chemical and necessary to the hair coloring process, most organic hair dyes still include peroxide in their products.

Organic hair color has grown in popularity in recent years as clients try to find safer, healthier alternatives to artificial hair colors. While organic dyes are free of many harsh, potentially hazardous chemicals, they are not completely natural in their ingredients.



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Artificial Hair Color: What Chemicals Are You Using?



Having your hair color changed at the salon is a common practice, and with the right stylists, your hair can be kept beautiful and healthy. However, some of the chemicals in modern dyes can be harmful to your hair and your body.

The chemicals found in hair dye and treatments can weaken your hair and cause it to degenerate over time. Hair that has been exposed to chemicals excessively, is considered to be over-processed. Over-processed hair feels dry and rough because the harsh chemicals have removed natural elements that are found within each strand of hair. When your hair is damaged, strands are more likely to break, leaving your hair uneven and looking unhealthy.

Not only do the chemicals affect the quality of your hair, they can also affect your health. Some of the more potent chemicals found in hair dye are phenylenediamine, coal tar, lead acetate, DMDM hydantoin, ammonia and resorcinol. Phenylenediamine is a potential carcinogen which can also trigger allergic reactions where the skin will become irritated and burn. Coal tar is a synthetic coloring agent which has also been found to be a possible carcinogen. Lead acetate is a toxic lead compound that is usually the principal active ingredient in hair dyes. Lead acetate is so serious that many European countries have banned it. DMDM hydantoin is a preservative that is commonly found in hair dye, and it has been linked to problems in the immune system. Ammonia, although common, is a toxic and corrosive substance and has been found to cause respiratory problems. Resorcinol is another ingredient in hair dyes that has been labelled a possible carcinogen.

Even though studies have not conclusively linked using hair dye to a higher risk of cancer, all of the carcinogens found in dyes are a good reason not to continually subject yourself to them. However, modern salons have much more healthy alternatives to dying your hair. Make sure to ask your stylist about the hair dying process and discuss the safety and health concerns associated with it. You can also come by Benoté Salon and ask us to help you with all of your haircare needs.


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The Science of Hair: How does artificial color interact with light?

Hair coloring has been a huge beauty trend throughout history. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans altered the color of their hair. Today, 75 percent of American women report coloring their hair. While the Greeks and Romans used harsh soaps and dyes concocted with boiled walnuts, we now use artificial dyes to alter the color of our hair.


Artificial hair color is comprised of two main chemical ingredients that interact with your hair to create a new color: hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Hydrogen peroxide, also known as the developer or oxidizing agent, helps start the color-forming process by breaking down your natural hair pigment. Ammonia is an alkaline which allows for lightning in the hair by acting as a catalyst when the permanent hair color comes together with the peroxide. Ammonia separates the cuticle, the outer layer of your hair, and allows the hair color to penetrate the cortex.

There are different levels of artificial hair colors that each interact with hair differently. The first level is semi-permanent color. Semi-permanent dyes add color without dramatically changing your natural hair color. Semi-permanent hair color adds small color molecules to the cuticle layer of your hair. Due to the small size of the molecules, semi-permanent hair color exits the cuticle after 6 to 12 shampoos, leaving your hair as it was before. It does not contain ammonia or peroxide, so it won’t lighten the natural pigment of your hair.

 Demi-permanent hair color is a longer lasting artificial color that typically lasts up to 26 washes. In this coloring process, demi-permanent color molecules get under the cuticle layer of your hair but do not penetrate the deeper cortex. The absence of ammonia in demi-permanent color means the natural pigment of your hair can’t be lightened, but the small amount of peroxide will allow for a noticeable color enhancement. Demi-permanent colors work to enhance the natural pigment of your hair. 

Permanent color is the artificial color used for the most significant color changes. In permanent hair coloring, ammonia and peroxide are both used to alter the color. Tiny molecules enter all the way into your hair’s cortex, where they react and expand to a size that cannot be washed out. The ammonia opens the cuticle and lightens your hair’s natural pigment to create a new base. The peroxide works alongside the ammonia to break down the natural pigments in your hair. As the hair is decolorized, the new permanent color is bonded to the hair cortex. This process results in a combination of your natural hair pigment and the new shade you choose. Hair colored with permanent artificial color has to grow out over time.





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