All the latest home hair dye kits rave about being ammonia free, No one ever said ammonia was bad for your hair, however through the power of the TV, people now believe this to be true, fact of the matter is Ammonia has a job to do in order for your colour to take, so if the ammonia is no longer there, they have to use a substitute, and the substitute is 10 times worse than ammonia itself!!
General home Dye's have far too much ammonia in them, Salon colours are regulated and only use the amount required for their colours to work.
Joico's salon exclusive colouring system has the lowest ammonia levels needed for their colours to take effect.
What is ammonia and what does it do?
Ammonia is a gas, it's job is to open the cuticle of the hair in order for the colour to penetrate through to the cortex of your hair and allow it to process. As ammonia is a gas, it goes in, opens the cuticle, lifts the natural hair pigment and disperses leaving the colour penetrate. The next step is to close the cuticle again after the colour has taken, this is usually where your hair stylist would use specific shampoo and conditioners for your hair to close the cuticle and re-hydrate your hair after a colour.
Ammonia substitute is called mono-ethanolomine or MEA, like ammonia MEA does the same job as ammonia but as the molecule is 3.5 times larger it cannot penetrate the cuticle as well and might not be as effective at lifting the natural colour pigment out. MEA can be left in the hair even after removing the colour meaning the hai gradually becomes darker and duller over time.