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How Can Collagen Protect Hair From Colour Damage?

Trichologist Eva Proudman joins us for a guest blog on the benefits of collagen for your hair, and explains the science behind hair colouring.

September 28, 2020

Photo of a woman with long brunette hair having silver foils applied by a hairdresser

September 28, 2020

Hello to all you Absoluters out there! I have had so many questions about hair colour and the damage that it can do to your hair, so this month I thought I’d put together some key facts about hair colour, how to safely colour your hair, and the benefits of Absolute Collagen.

The Hair Colouring Chemical Process

First of all, it’s important to understand that when we change the colour of our hair it is all about chemistry. We use chemistry to open up the hair shaft, and then to deposit the colour molecules and secure them, which is what creates a permanent colour change. And did you know… over 75% of women colour their hair, with a growing percentage of men now using colour too?

Photograph of a light skinned Black woman smiling into the camera with dyed pink hair blowing across her face

Hairdressers are trained by the professional hair colour providers such as Wella and L’Oréal to understand the range of colours, what can be achieved and what cannot, along with the science relating to the strength of the colour product, the time that it will need to be on the hair, and whether heat will be used to assist in the process. This is incredibly important because if you get any one of these three factors wrong, the hair can be damaged. This training is what really makes the difference between home colours and salon professional colours.

How Does Hair Colour Work?

The hair is made up of three layers. The cuticle is on the outside and protects the cortex, which is made up of the keratin fibres, and has a medulla sitting in the centre of the hair shaft.

Graphic showing a cross section of human hair showing the medulla, cortex and cuticle

The hair colouring process firstly opens the outer protective layer - the cuticle - and the dye then reacts with the cortex to either deposit or remove colour, depending on the desired outcome. Most professional hair dye processes use a two-stage approach; firstly, removing the original colour, and secondly, depositing the new colour. Ammonia is the chemical that usually opens the cuticle, while peroxide is the chemical that develops or oxidises. At the end of the colouring process, the cuticle is closed again. It is this final stage that can potentially lead to hair damage because, if the cuticle is not properly closed, then the cortex can be left exposed - which may lead to damage.

How Can Absolute Collagen Help Chemically Coloured Hair?

Absolute Collagen helps protect coloured hair because it aids with the formation of keratin, the main protein structure of the hair’s cortex. Absolute Collagen is packed with amino acids necessary for healthy hair.

  • Arginine. This amino acid supports the production of keratin, supporting healthy hair growth by opening the potassium channels, improving blood supply, and stimulating hair growth. Research also shows that arginine helps to shield the hair from the potential damaging effects of hair colouring by preventing the attack from peroxide on hair proteins and surface lipids. In other words, it helps to keep the strength in the hair if it has been treated with chemical dye.
  • Isoleucine. This amino acid is found in keratin. It supports keratin production and helps with the absorption of proteins from our diet, which is key to healthy hair.
  • Leucine. This amino acid is found in keratin. Leucine has multiple benefits; it supports keratin production, helps in regulating blood sugar, stimulates wound healing, and also supports the production of growth hormones.
  • Threonine. This amino acid is essential for the metabolism of protein. It supports the formation of keratin and enhances the effectiveness of the immune system.
  • Methionine. This amino acid supports the production of keratin, and contains sulphur which is important to strong healthy hair. It helps to protect against oxidative stress and may help to slow down greying and hair thinning. A dermatology congress in 2006 saw a 10% increase in hair growth using a methionine and B complex supplement.
  • Tyrosine. Melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin, giving our hair its natural colour) use tyrosine to support their function. Tyrosine can therefore help to ensure that our natural hair colour is vibrant and healthy.

Hair Colouring Dos and Don’ts

When colouring your hair, DO try to work within what is achievable. For instance, taking very dark hair to platinum blonde in one treatment is unfortunately not possible, and if you try it, you will most certainly suffer hair damage.

DO be aware of the natural tones in your own hair. For example, sometimes red tones can make a blonde colour look quite warm and yellow, so before you go ahead with a colouring appointment, you should discuss in detail exactly what you are trying to achieve with your hairdresser, and always take their expert advice.

Photograph of a white woman holding a hairdryer and laughing with a hairdressing client sat in a chair with their back to the camera

DON’T colour the hair too often. Between 6 – 12 weeks is the usual time between colour applications - and remember, try not to overlap colour applications, as the more you open and close the cuticle the weaker the hair becomes.

DO look after your coloured hair with special colour protecting shampoos, not forgetting the all-important conditioner to keep hair smooth and shiny.

DO eat well. You may not think this makes much difference, but protein and amino acids are so important to the structure, strength, colour and health of the hair. In fact, that’s why I love Absolute Collagen, as it delivers a great boost in a very easy-to-take and easy-to-absorb format - and the results really do speak for themselves!

As always, if you have any general concerns then please feel free to email me at and I will be very happy to help and support you.

Photo of a white woman with short hair and glasses, alongside text explaining her expertise as a Trichologist

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