Haircare Advice, Haircolor Advice

Graphene Hair Dye Is Coming, And It Looks Incredible

A research team at Northwestern University has discovered a way to use sheets of graphene to dye hair. Unlike current chemical hair coloring products, the scientists report in the journal Chem that their new dye is nontoxic, antibacterial, antistatic, and you can apply it yourself with a spray. It looks like we can add “the holy grail of hair color” to graphene’s seemingly endless list of applications.

This is how it works: The user applies the graphene dye using a spray, then brushes the hair and dries it. The graphene forms a gentle film around each and every hair strand. Like in a sci-fi movie, your hair will change color before your very eyes as the sheets of graphene attach themselves to your mane. And since the research team says their method doesn’t require toxic solvents, or molecular ingredients, or extreme heat, you don’t have to worry about damaging your hair, skin, or yourself. The color lasts for at least 30 washes, like what you expect from any conventional chemical-based dye. The graphene material will disappear leaving your hair in the exact same state as it was when you applied it.

Your graphene-enhanced superhero hair will also have some other super powers. First, it’s anti-static–so you can say goodbye to flyaway hairs. Secondly, it’s antibacterial–your hair will stay cleaner longer. Third: thermal regulation capabilities. In theory, your graphene-enhanced hair will be able to regulate the heat on your head better than your regular hair.

The fourth power is quite intriguing. The Northwestern team mentions that your graphene-treated hair will be able to interface with electronic components, since the coating can carry an electrical current. I can’t imagine the potential applications for this one–beyond adding LED beads that could display different colors depending on the thermal conditions of your scalp (purple for anger, for instance, or green for happiness).

So when will you be able to pick up a box of this dye at Walgreens? I asked Jiaxing Huang, research lead and professor of materials science and engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering: “I am optimistic,” he says, although he couldn’t give me a precise timeline yet. There’s no word on potential price points for a final product either. Right now, the main problem holding them back is the available colors. Their graphene-based dye comes in different shades of black and brown at the moment. There’s no blonde, red, or any other hue. However, Huang tells me that they already have some ideas about how to solve this: “Once we secure research funding to work on this, we expect [the other colors] can happen within a few years.”

So we’ll have to wait at least “a few years” for the perfect cyber dye job. Until then, the closest thing to a holy grail of hair color is still at the salon.

Haircare Advice, Haircolor Advice, Haircolor and Makeup Advice

What Is Causing Your Itchy Scalp?

Having a dry, itchy scalp is an annoying skin condition. Find out why your scalp is itchy so you can take steps to get some relief.

Is itchy evera good thing? The answer has to be never. And when it comes to your scalp, this kind of irritation is often accompanied by embarrassing flakes. Here, skin and scalp experts explain what could be causing your scalp to itch.  Dandruff is the most common culprit to blame for an itchy scalp. The medical condition of dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of yeast.  The yeast normally live on your scalp and in other hairy areas, such as the eyebrows, the ears, and men’s beards. With changes in body chemistry, the yeast overgrow and feed on your dead skin cells and oils, which causes the itching and flaking.  To properly control dandruff, you need to eliminate its fungal component without creating more irritation and redness.

For mild cases,  use an over-the-counter shampoo that contains selenium, zinc pyrithione, or tea tree oil, all of which help control yeast. If your scalp is not itchy but more flaky, then try a salicylic acid shampoo to reduce buildup. More stubborn cases may require a prescription antifungal shampoo or cortisone foam, or, for especially severe cases, anti-yeast pills. Scalp itch can also result from trips to the hair salon. Repeated chemical hair treatments like permanent color, relaxers, and keratin treatments can sap your scalp of moisture.

Another culprit could be a daily blow-drying habit. The excessive heat can irritate and dry out the scalp. Avoid using the hair dryer at its hottest setting, especially when hair is very wet. That’s actually the hair’s most fragile state. 

An itchy scalp can also be an allergic reaction to certain hair products. Some products, such as hair sprays, contain ingredients that tighten as they dry. This causes a slight pulling sensation on the scalp, leading to itchiness. Sometimes the root of the problem is environmental. Other factors that contribute to scalp irritations include exposure to cool environments with low humidity, and the effects of wind and sun.

The way back to a healthy scalp (and healthy, shiny hair) begins with upping the moisture. Avoid hot water when washing your hair, because it can strip the natural oils from your scalp, making it very dry and sensitive. 

Sometimes an itchy scalp can be a red flag signaling other, more serious medical conditions. If your scalp develops thick, scaly patches that hurt, crack, or bleed, you may have psoriasis — a chronic autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. If, along with the itchiness, your hair is falling out or breaking, you may have ringworm. If any oozing occurs, or a crust develops or pus appears on the scalp, you could be suffering from a staph infection. Your safest bet is to consult your doctor with any concerns about an itchy scalp.

Look for moisturizing and protective ingredients like dimethicone, a silicone compound that smooths the hair surface, making it shiny also I recommend using a good conditioner to soothe the scalp and leave hair moisturized.