Hair color change by dye application is a common procedure among women. Hair dyes are classified, according to color resistance, into temporary, semipermanent, demipermanent and permanent. The first two are based on molecules which are already colored. Temporary dyes act through dye deposition on cuticles, but semipermanent may penetrate a little into the cortex and so the color resists up to six washes. Demipermanent and permanent dyes are based on color precursors, called oxidation dyes, and the final shade is developed by their interactions with an oxidizing agent, but they differ from the alkalizing agent used. In oxidation systems, there is an intense diffusion of the molecules into the cortex, what promotes a longer color resistance. Dyes and color precursors present differences related to chromophore groups, hair fiber affinity, water solubility, and photo stability. The aim of this review is to discuss the differences among hair dye products available in the market and their action mechanisms, molecular structures, application methods, and some aspects of formulations.
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