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New Color Chemistry Improves Hair Quality

The first major hair color chemistry innovation in nearly 50 years, amino glycine delivers vibrant color with reduced fiber damage.

For the millions of men and women around the world who color their hair, fiber damage is a significant concern. P&G Beauty has confronted this problem head on with the first major chemistry innovation in nearly 50 years, a new hair color chemistry called amino glycine technology. This new color chemistry changes the rules of hair coloring and delivers great color with less fiber damage.

Re-assessing the Color Process

In 1999, a small team of P&G researchers were challenged to develop a hair color system that would be less damaging without compromising hair color results. The team began to develop new chemistry that worked at a lower pH, but could still effectively lighten the hair. Current permanent color uses a combination of hydrogen peroxide, ammonia and a high pH, which removes up to 99 percent of the protective, lubricious f-layer of the hair's surface. This causes irreversible physiochemical changes that result in dryness, dullness and increased susceptibility to mechanical stress. The majority of this damage is caused by a very high pH (10-11) and the HO* radical, an undesired by-product of the peroxide lightening system.

Controlling Radicals Is the Key

"Our new amino glycine technology features a combination of ammonium carbonate, peroxide and glycine. It not only reduces pH but also helps minimize undesirable free radical production," said Jennifer Marsh, PhD, Principal Scientist, P&G Beauty and Technology Division. "This process is actually quite different from current color technology. We have harnessed the power of the new lightening system to more efficiently lighten and color hair, while the addition of the amino acid glycine helps mitigate radical formation. As a result, the damage caused to the hair fibers is dramatically reduced." The combination allows scientists to reduce damaging radicals and color hair using a pH level of 9, compared to a standard pH of 10-11. Hair fiber damage is further minimized due to the amino glycine technology's higher selectivity for melanin, the hair pigment, versus keratin, a strong protein in the hair follicle that would incur damage without this selectivity.

Old chemistry vs. Amino glycine technology
Old chemistry vs. Amino glycine technology

Radicals Across Disciplines

The mitigation of radical formation in a lightening system has important implications in the field of science outside of hair care. Harmful radicals attack and damage DNA, proteins (collagen, elastin, keratin) and moisture barrier lipids and contribute to aging and decomposition of cells.These radicals can be fought by using antioxidants.

"This has been a prominent issue across various areas of research, including applications not only in skin care and hair care, but also in ozone damage and medical research," stated Dr. Marsh. "You can't have oxidant chemistry without radicals somewhere along the way. Any type of radical research is fundamental research to understand the mechanisms at work. We hope this research will help further improve the progress being made in this arena by looking at unique ways that radicals can be managed."


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