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Is Metal Affecting Your Client’s Hair Colour?

by eleanor / last updated June 23, 2021

metal affect hair colour

Is metal affecting your client’s hair colour? HJ speaks to Adam Reed, editorial ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel Paris to find out the role that metals in our water has on the hair.

Why is excess metal a problem for clients’ hair?

“As a colourist, coppers found in water is one of the biggest challenges for ensuring a consistent colour result – with every wash, copper can build up and accumulate inside the hair fibre which can make each strand vulnerable to breakage during colour, balayage and lightening,” says Adam. And there’s no escaping coppers in water – even the cleanest, purest water from a tap still contains metal because of pipe erosion, he explains. “The condition and porosity of a client’s hair will also impact how susceptible they are to damage, the more porous a client’s hair is, the more metal particles it will absorb,” he says.

How does excess copper affect hair colouring services?

Copper can have a detrimental effect on hair colour services. “Excess copper inside the hair fibre can interact with the oxidant in colour, which in turn can cause a mini chemical reaction, or micro explosion, inside the hair,” explains Adam. “Not only can this lead to breakage, which we know is a massive concern for clients, but also means the colour cannot fully do its job and will need to work harder to achieve the desired result.”

How can you tell if you live in an area with high levels of copper and how does this appear on the hair?

There are many ways to find out the water harshness and levels in your area and if metal if affecting your client’s hair colour, says Adam. “I love the L’Oréal Professionnel Style My Hair Pro app. It’s a fantastic diagnostic tool for hairdressers to not only use with clients for consultations, but to deep-dive into the copper levels in your area,” he says. “You can also tell if a client lives in an area with high levels of cooper based on the way this shows on their hair – in blonde hair you may notice a green tinge and on darker hues, the hair can look life-less and dull in colour.”

How can you educate clients on excess metals and how it affects their hair?

“I’ve found that clients are fairly savvy when it comes to understanding that “hard water” can impact their hair and skin, but we know there is a massive importance in educating on excess metals, particularly for guests who regularly colour their hair,” says Adam.

How can clients minimise the effect of copper on their hair health and colour?

“I always explain the importance of preventative treatment rather than trying to stick a band aid on once damage is done,” says Adam. “Encouraging clients to combine masks, oils and treatments into their routine is the first step – and the new L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Masque is a great place to start that will help to continue protecting the hair from excess copper between salon treatments,” he adds. Lifestyle factors are important to consider too. For example, chlorine in swimming pools can lead to a build-up of additional metals. “Educating the client on the effect this has and encouraging solutions such as hair caps is a great way to ensure hair is protected on-going,” recommends Adam.

What other measures can stylists and clients take to prevent copper build up?

“The most important measure to prevent copper build up is to continually maintain the condition of hair,” explains Adam. “Ensure every colour service your client books in for includes a L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Professional Treatment at the backwash – a quick and easy add-on that protects hair. To continue to keep hair in great condition at home, encourage your client to use L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Shampoo and Mask at-home to manage the build-up ongoing and neutralise hair,” he says.

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