Graphene: The Secret to Hair Dyes that Last | AIChE

Graphene: The Secret to Hair Dyes that Last


Although hair dye has become commonplace in our culture, it can contain toxic components and can harm hair if used too often. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 5,000 different chemicals are used in commercial hair dye products, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic. And, if inhaled or absorbed through the skin, these dyes can cause allergic reactions.

Researchers from Northwestern Univ. may have solved these issues with a new hair dye made of an unlikely substance: graphene. The team used graphene oxide (GO) and its reduced form (r-GO) to create aqueous brown and black dyes that can form smooth, continuous coatings on hair.

Most hair dyes change hair color through a series of oxidative chemical reactions under alkaline conditions. To permanently dye hair, stylists treat it with an ammonia-based product to open up the cuticle on the hair, so that a colorant solution can penetrate deep into the cortex of the hair. The hair must then be treated with an oxidant, such as hydrogen peroxide, to bleach the natural hair pigment and activate the synthetic...

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