Para-phenylenediamine or PPD: This compound belongs to a family of chemicals called Arylamines or Para-dyes. They offer a vast colour range, are permanent, quick and easy to use. All permanent chemical hair dyes, without exception, contain one or more of the Para-dyes. The darker the hair dye shade, the higher the quantities of Para-dye it contains.
It is not possible for a chemical hair dye to work without one of the Para-dyes.
Please beware of chemical hair dyes claiming to be PPD-free, as these brands undoubtedly contain one of the other Para-dyes. Chemicals such as p-toluenediamine, 2-nitro Paraphenylenediamine, p-aminodiphenylamine, M-aminophenol, P-methyl aminophenol sulfate, 2,4-diaminoanisole and para-aminophenol are all Para-dyes.
If you’ve ever had a burning reaction to hair dye with redness, blistering and welts, you were probably reacting to one of these chemicals.
Para-dyes are not good for us and have been linked to various health problems. However, they are the only way to reliably cover grey in one quick application.
To reduce your exposure to these chemicals, we suggest shifting to a lighter shade of chemical hair dye, or mixing the Ultra Low Chemical dyes with the 100% Herbal dyes (see Helpful Hints), or using the 100% Herbal dyes on their own.
Barium Peroxide: This chemical is an oxidising agent. When the oxidising agent combines with a Para-dye it creates a new compound called a Meta-dye. The oxygen released by the reaction develops the colour, enabling chemical dyes to work very quickly. Herbal dyes rely on air and time to oxidise, this is why they take longer to work.
Citric acid: This is an alpha-hydroxy acid used to adjust the acidity, thus ensuring the desired colour result.
Sodium Laurel Sulphate: This is a Surface Acting Agent (surfactant). It is used to break surface tension and separates molecules in order to allow better interaction between the product and your hair. All chemical hair dyes contain a surfactant.
Sodium sulphate: Used in hair dyes to adjust viscosity, which determines the flow of a liquid.
If you want to find out more, a very handy guide is the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database Skin Deep http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.