A new safer hair dye has been formulated by researchers at Northwestern University, which may help in preventing hair loss
from chemical damage and over-processing.
The research group, led by Jixiang Huang, applied a black, graphene-based solution to samples of blonde human hair.
Hair dye experiment
The team discovered that the dye equalled the performance of other bleach-based products, and made hair immune to static electricity and frizz. Its waterproof properties also meant that it could withstand 30 washes before needing re-application.
The graphene solution could be customised to create the popular 'ombre' look, where hair dye is faded from dark to lighter shades of the same colour, from roots to ends.
Huang explained how easy it was to use: "It doesn't rely on any chemical reaction - you just brush it on the surface of the hair, comb it, and the hair changes colour".
The research was published in the Chem
By negating the need to bleach the hair or colour it as often as usual, it could help people to avoid hair loss from over-processing the hair.
The end of bleach?
Over-processing whether through chemicals or heat, or both, can cause hair breakage
and, in more extreme cases, chemical trauma which can lead to hairloss which may be permanent. The former can occur following excessive bleaching and/or heat styling
, which weakens shafts until they snap, leaving them dry and brittle.
Numerous celebrities have admitted to signs of hair breakage or hair loss caused by over-bleaching. These include singers Zayn Malik
- who referred to the damaged caused as getting a "chemical haircut
" - and Solange Knowles
who has now become an advocate of the Natural Hair movement, having previously spent an estimated £18,000 on treatments to relax and style her hair. The Afro hair type
is naturally more brittle and porous than Asian and Caucasian hair so can be more sensitive to the effects of risky styling practices.
refers to follicular damage resulting from over-exposure to harsh chemicals, such as bleach and relaxers. In extreme cases, excessive chemical use can result in burns to the scalp or enough damage to destroy the follicles: this condition is known as cicatrical alopecia
, or scarring alopecia.
Many chemicals involved in the bleaching process, particularly hydrogen peroxide
, have been linked to hair thinning, while allergic reactions to PPD
have nearly been fatal in some instances.
A team of researchers at North Carolina State University recently compiled a database
of hair dye substances, including detailed information about which are most likely to cause allergic reactions.
The researchers hope to inspire the creation of new hair products that are safer for users.
In the case of hair breakage, a visit to a stylist for a trim can help; ensuring the hair is sufficiently nourished is also extremely important. This can involve strengthening treatments and good-quality shampoos and conditioners
aimed at restoring damaged hair. Another way to help encourage healthy regrowth is to ensure the body has a good supply of nutrients, so a balanced diet and avoiding stress
For those who feel like they want to top up, Belgravia's dedicated Hair Vitalics
supplement is a highly-targeted, one-a-day tablet which contains key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, including selenium, biotin and zinc to support healthy hair growth.
If hairloss from chemical trauma or acute hair breakage is suspected, the best thing to do is to stop using any products or styling methods which may be damaging, then seek help. Depending on the severity, this could mean a visit to the doctor or a hair loss specialist.
, results have been seen when treating cases of chemical trauma hair loss that were caught early on, using custom treatment courses tailored to the precise needs of the individual client. Once an initial consultation has taken place, either online - using the photo upload tool to assist with the diagnosis - or at one of Belgravia's City of London or Central London clinics, a personalised hair loss treatment course can be recommended based on the client's level and pattern of shedding as well as their medical profile.
While the graphene-based dye needs to clear a number of regulatory hurdles before it becomes available to the general public, it seems to be a step in the right direction for those looking to embrace a new hairstyle, without risking the health of the hair.