Is there a better way to get my gray hair dyed?

Gauhar goes gray…I am 34. My hair is about 80% gray. I am in a very conservative profession. I know that going all gray will negatively affect my career. I am having troubles with hair dye sticking to my hair. Is there any affordable, easy, simple do-it-yourself hair color, which is much better for gray hair coverage?

The Right Brain replies:

Hair color technology has been around a long time and there have been very few earth-shaking breakthroughs in the category. But now Clairol says they have a new Advanced Gray Solution technology that is gentler and provides better gray coverage. They claim that it covers gray by combining the best of demi and semi permanent hair coloring technology. While this technology is being marketed primarily to African Americans, you might find that it applies to your hair type as well.

Does Clairol Advanced Gray Solution really work?

The information on Clairol’s website was intriguing but it didn’t provide enough information for us to make a balanced assessment. So we asked for Clairol for more information. We submitted the following five key questions which they were nice enough to answer. Here are our questions along with their answers.

Q1. How does it combine the benefits from both semi and demi-permanent color?

A1. Beautiful Collection Advanced Gray Solution combines the gentleness of a semi-permanent color with the coverage capabilities of a near demi-permanent color. Typical semi-permanent colors often wash out quickly and provide only limited gray coverage. This is because semi-permanent color is a one-step process that delivers dye molecules that sit just under the hair cuticle, causing the color to wash out quickly. Alternatively, demi-permanent hair colors are used with a developer that contains peroxide. The developer, in conjunction with an oxidative dye, forms a molecule that is able to penetrate the hair shaft to provide longer-lasting results. Unfortunately, peroxide is not beneficial to African-American hair because it weakens it, making it even more susceptible to chemical damage. Advanced Gray Solution’s SynAIRgy technology creates a whole new kind of dye system – one with direct acting dyes that wrap the outside of the hair, and oxidative dyes that react with oxygen in the AIR (instead of a developer) to form a larger molecule able to penetrate more deeply into the hair shaft. With no ammonia and no peroxide, it’s gentle enough to use immediately after a relaxer service.

Q2. What are the ingredients in the product?

A2. Advanced Gray Solution’s enriched formula contains oleic acid and fatty alcohols to leave hair feeling moisturized and full of shine. The entire ingredient list includes:

* Water * Oleic Acid * Toluene-2 * Ascorbic Acid * Undeceth-3 * Cetearyl Alcohol * 5-Diamine Sulfate * 2-Methylresorcinol * Alcohol Denat. * Glycol Distearate * Fragrance * 2-Amino-6-Chloro-4-Nitrophenol * Ethanolamine * Cocamidopropyl Betaine * Resorcinol * Disodium Edta * Hydroxyethyl-2-Nitro-P-Touidine * Basic Blue 99 * HC Red No. 3 * M-Aminophenol

Q3. How does Advanced Gray Solutions react with oxygen in the air instead of a developer?

A3. Advanced Gray Solution’s breakthrough SynAIRgy technology contains an oxidative dye that uses oxygen in the air as a color developer to form a large dye molecule, eliminating the need to use a product with hydrogen peroxide for longer-lasting coverage.

Q4. How does it form a “larger molecule able to penetrate more deeply into the hair shaft” when generally speaking, smaller molecules penetrate better?

A4. The word ‘larger’ is a relative term. A molecule that is larger than the direct dye molecules will stay under the hair cuticle and begin to wedge itself into the cortex. Smaller dye molecules like the ones in direct dyes will simply sit under cuticle and rinse out within 4-6 weeks.

Q5. Are there any details on the testing that was done to establish that Advanced Gray Solution provides up to 50% gray coverage vs. up to 25% for most other semi-permanent colors?

A5. The secret to Advanced Gray Solution’s greater gray coverage is the formula’s new-to-the-world SynAIRgy technology. With this breakthrough technology we are able to have two dye systems: direct acting dyes that sit just under the hair cuticle, and oxidative dyes that penetrate more deeply into the hair shaft. Since gray hair lacks melanin, we found that this two dye systems works significantly better than other semi-permanent colors to provide longer-lasting gray coverage.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Without first hand information of their formulations or access to their test results, it’s difficult for us to determine if this technology provide differentiated benefits that are consumer perceptible or not. But Clairol was kind enough to provide relatively specific answers to our questions, even if they may be lacking in some detail. Nonetheless, we thank them for that information. In our experience, very few brands are willing to submit their products to this kind of scrutiny; so we give them high marks for their openness. Having said that, its up to you to decide if you think the information they provided was helpful in making your decision to try their product. I’m sure they’d appreciate hearing your feedback.

What do YOU think? Did Clairol’s answers to our questions convince you that their product lives up to their claims? Here’s your chance to have your voice heard by a major beauty products manufacturer. Leave a comment!