Salon Allergy Specialist

Salon Allergy Specialist

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PPD Allergy in the U.K.? I Need You to REPLY

Hi out there! I've been contacted by a journalist that is looking for a severe PPD sufferer with photographic proof that is horrific. (which we all know how bad that really is...)

How has it changed your life, or ruined it?

 How crazy is it that there are no doctors that have any idea what's going on?

 Why is there so little knowledge out there?  

Why haven't they put a better warning inside of the box, or changed the patch testing?

It's your time to say your peace/piece!!

Contact me ASAP!! and leave your e-mail in the comment box


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hilighting with a PPD Allergy (or a metal* allergy)

I was planning on posting the final result on the new color I have been trying lately, but I've had a few family things to attend to this week. I will have to attempt to get to that ASAP. My apologies. I've been holding this one for a bit, so I'm releasing it now.  

I've been asked about hilights, and in most cases it is possible to do with a PPD allergy, if you use bleach. Hair bleach, I use white, then I know it doesn't have any coloring at all. I do feel that some PPD reactive clients might need to be more careful than others, so here is my advice on why.

The answer is two parts, and you will need to take me seriously. Cover your bases, and you can be safe. I am NOT a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one. You ALWAYS need to seek a doctor for medical help, and follow your doctor's directions first! I have been a licensed NYS cosmetologist for 30 years, and I have a background based in chemistry. (aka nerd) For the past 14 years, I have been studying hair color allergies.

IF YOU HAVE A SEVERE PPD ALLERGY, YOU NEED TO HAVE 2 EPI PENS FROM YOUR DOCTOR. They may save your life. Tape one to your fridge, and put one in your purse. (If you don't carry a purse, you may be able to keep it in your vehicle, but you will have to read the package about temperature) If you feel tightness in your throat, it can take seconds for it to close off your breathing, and suffocate you. An epi pen is a way to get the drug into you.These are two VERY different medicines!This is only for a severe reaction of anaphylactic shock. It is NOT for minor itching, hives, welts, sores, open wounds,burns, burning sensations, or any of the like.

When I had the symptoms of tiny, itchy bumps all around the edges of my face after I colored it the night before, I thought I was getting a break out from my monthly visitor. I had washed up for the evening and took 2 Tylanol PM's for my aching head, and my need to relax. So, no itching because the PM part is Benadryl! I knew my face and hairline were bothering me, but holy cow, All day the next day it was really Itchy. When I got home, the tiny bumps were larger bumps with fluid in them. Still small though. I actually had a friend online catch it for me while we were chatting. Too close to the situation to think I could all of the sudden be allergic?! I certainly was. She told me that I accidently took the benadryl and had relief. She had been Prescribed Zyrtec and Benadryl. I called my doctor's office, they told me to do the same thing, and the amount of time to use it.  

What I had been taught about bleach previously, was that you can become allergic to bleach, but it is in our drinking water, pool water, and spa's/hot tubs.* If you can scrub things with bleach, swim in a pool, or soak in a spa, you should not be allergic to bleach for hair. HOWEVER, I have done MUCH MORE extensive research on this myself now, and I know this is not the case. There are two main ingredients in all hair bleaches that you can become allergic to, they are both persulfates. One is ammonium persulfate, the other is potassium persulfate. I would stay away from ammonium Persulfate, as it has a higher rate of "uticaria" or hives according to a report from Cornell University.

Also, There are bleaches that have bluing in them. They can be ultramarines, or CI77007, it they are usually in very small quantities, and I have never heard of it bothering anyone. This is something that if you have a very bad reaction, I would use an ammonia persulfate in a white bleach over the CI77007. Just because it won't touch your head, I've learned the hard way that some of my clients can't take chances.

High lift tints - You can not use tints of ANY KIND. Period. I can not stress this enough. Spanish medical study done on hair color to determine if PPD free color had any amount of PPD. Guess what? Some of it actually did. Each of the 22 color companies tested were color companies used worldwide. The number one company that was cited? Wella. Has it been rectified? Does it matter? The company was bought by the second culprit. Proctor and Gamble. Please do not take chances with color.

If you want to do a hilight, you can do foils OFF the SCALP,(BLEACH) or a cap OFF the scalp with bleach. If you have had a reaction that sent you to the hospital, you MUST use white bleach.

There you have it. Hilight 101 for PPD sufferers.

* Some powder free bleaches contain Titanium Dioxide. This is a chalk like substance that is a byproduct from mining titanium. It's not confirmed, but I believe it is possible to have a reaction to this bleach if you have severe metal allergies. There is a test for metals, it's called the MELISA test. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First Report on the New Color

I've been hounded with people asking me about the new color. I have been trying to postpone my post because of two reasons. The first is that I've been in the process of moving my salon about a mile up the street, the new place isn't done being built yet. The owner of the building I just left made me leave sooner than he had stated, and let's just say I've had a learning experience. The second reason is the Chemist for the color company is still in Italy until August 8th. I would prefer to make my statements AFTER I have been able to speak with him. Since I have had so many requests, I will post my initial findings. (Notice, I am still not posting the brand)

(Hover along the right top side of this blog and sign up for e-mails of new blogs so you will know when new information is out before anyone else!)

I applied the brown, to myself, and to my poor husband. He was VERY patient, especially since it was his goatee! I will say thank you, and I love you for putting up with me!! (Now, I hope he never see's the photos...)

Here is how my experience went:

I found the box was bigger than I expected, and packaged very nicely. I was surprised that it came with a nice pair of gloves, and a color brush. There is a pre-treatment, which is like a shampoo, but has baking soda to help open the cuticle up. There are also three dry packets, and three liquid bottles.

I shampooed my hair and did not use conditioner, in the shower. I then opened the box, and tried to experience the box like a new client would. I had read the instructions once already, so I knew I would be using the pre-treatment now. It would have baking soda in it. I didn't know it would be a shampoo, so my hair was pretty tangly, being that I had already used a shampoo for before chemicals. It still came out fine, but I would never recommend that to anyone else. It would be too hard for other's to section the hair, and I think they would get dark ends. My ends did not get darker than the hair shaft, possibly because my hair is healthy, or because of my delay in the application to the ends. After rinsing the pre-treatment, I mixed the first bottle and packet, and applied. The consistency is light, airy, and has a bit of foam. It reminded me of the inexpensive diluted cream rinse we used in hair school, but THAT stuff smelled like %$#&! This product seems to have very little to no odor at all. I left it on for 15 minutes, and rinsed.

On the left, my hair just before the application, in the middle, completely covered, 5 minutes left before rinsing. It's messy, that's because it's a fast timed product. My husband, Phil being the best guy EVER! He itched a few spots...fortunately it didn't seem to stain his skin.

I then mixed the second bottle and packet, quickly, as the instructions say, and this time the formula is made to be applied quickly, not sectioned. The first two mixes start out looking very red, but do turn very dark. The color of the liquid do not effect the color of your hair. I applied it quickly, and after 15 minutes, rinsed it. 

The third bottle is the same size as the others, but the third packet is smaller. The color is darker, it looks more plum when you mix it. The consistency seemed the same to me. You quickly apply it, leave it on for 15 minutes, and then rinse it, very well, until the water runs clear. I choose to not shampoo my color after. I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed some more. I time myself for a full 5 minutes. I did put a touch of light conditioner on, worked it through, and then rinsed that off. If my hair wasn't so tangled, I would have skipped this as well


The photos above are my roots before and after. 


 The photo's above are both after. The one on the left shows how my roots are still a bit brown compared to the red henna. I am told that it will take about two applications to cover the henna.

Over all, The color definitely has some AMAZING qualities. It is considered permanent by law, but seems to remind me of the old Sebastian Cellophanes. It is very blending, it lasts for about a month before it begins to wear off. I have a few sprinkles of resistant greys, it seemed to not cover them. I suspect that over time it will. For a color that is 100% organic, that the owner and his employee's have, and ARE willing to EAT, This has a huge potential market.

Can anyone say, "Allergic clients?" I'll post again as soon as I speak to Paul the Super Chemist!! Hover over the top right corner of this blog and sign up for e-mail updates. That way you will know what's coming out before everyone else does!! These are the only articles I've posted in three years, so you will not be sent more than one e-mail a month. In fact, it's much less than that. Thank you for reading!!

- Gina

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Hello my little friends! I've been chatting with a new friend, Paul, in California. He tell's me that when I get this new stuff in the mail and use it, ALL of you will be very excited! It's actually not even considered a color. It's so organic, you could eat it. (They have!)

So, if you are interested, please hover over the top right corner of this box, just past the advertisement, and click on follow, or subscribe via e-mail. The next blog post will have ALL the information on this brand new technology!

I will leave you ONE HINT:

It went through the U.S. Patent process in EIGHT MONTHS! That's a three year process folks!

Stay healthy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Today on "The Doctors" TV program, and in 2013 over 3 million adult women became allergic to PPD

My husband sent me a text today that on his computer there was something about hair color allergies on The Doctors, so I went on-line to watch it. It had similar information to the last time that I had watched it.

I sent them an email again. If you would like to be heard, or want more people to know, please send your own email and if I've helped you, mention that too.

You want to look for the contact page. I want to concentrate on education for doctors and hairdressers. I also want to address the fact that congress still upholds the 1938 law in spite of a 1979-1980 GOA study that said it should be reviewed, and the FDA should at least have SOME control. 

It was easier to get the addition for toxic shock syndrome for the insert into tampon boxes than being heard for this, and the numbers don't lie. 

1950 60,000,000 60mill women
7% colored hair 4,200,000
6% allergic= 252,000

2013 73,000,000 73mill women
75% color 54,000,000 54mill
6% allergic= 3,285,000. 

Remember, this is only adult women in the US, no teens, no men. The insert says you MIGHT get a rash. 

Send them your emails, and your photos! 

Thank you!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Indigo Gives me a headache, am I alone?

Some people are getting headaches from indigo. I previously had not had issues in the salon, nor on my own head, with several hundred uses per year. I can't say how many times I have heard this, and I was stumped. It nagged at me...I sat at stop lights, thinking of what to type into a group search engine. (I use dog pile a lot) So, here are the answers. The first information is some chemistry.  It's from Wikipedia, "Indigo Dye". I know people can change things on wiki, it currently matches the other info I have. If I missed something, let me know. I chose this article because it was short, easy for others to look up, and the least technical. Most of my personal information is much more chemistry based, and I have to sit with it almost every time I need it. I can't just whip it off the top of my head. -but I wish I could!

Chemical synthesis of Indigo
Given its economic importance, indigo has been prepared by many methods. The Baeyer-Drewson indigo synthesis dates back to 1882. It involves an aldol condensation of o-nitrobenzaldehyde with acetone, followed by cyclization and oxidative dimerization to indigo. This route is highly useful for obtaining indigo and many of its derivatives on the laboratory scale, but was impractical for industrial-scale synthesis. Johannes Pfleger[10] and Karl Heumann Karl Heumann eventually came up with industrial mass production synthesis. The first commercially practical route is credited to Pfleger in 1901. In this process, N-phenylglycine is treated with a molten mixture of sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and sodamide. This highly sensitive melt produces indoxyl, which is subsequently oxidized in air to form indigo. Variations of this method are still in use today. An alternative and also viable route to indigo is credited to Heumann in 1897. It involves heating N-(2-carboxyphenyl)glycine to 200 °C (392 °F) in an inert atmosphere with sodium hydroxide. The process is easier than the Pfleger method, but the precursors are more expensive. Indoxyl-2-carboxylic acid is generated. This material readily decarboxylates to give indoxyl, which oxidizes in air to form indigo. The preparation of indigo dye is practiced in college laboratory classes according to the original Baeyer-Drewsen route.

Now, if you get your indigo from anywhere besides where I order from, you could be getting some of this in your package. The other explanation could be that you are getting pesticides in your indigo. Both of those can be causing headaches. If you read the second sentence, it refers to "o-nitrobenzaldehyde" , which you will notice has the nitrobenzene right in the name. That is directly related to the PPD allergy. The NITRO and the BENZENE.

If you are getting your indigo from a good source, I can try to help you. I finally had a reaction in the salon, and I can tell you exactly why it happened. In my case, I was taking a client from bleached blond to black. I first colored it with henna, then indigo. I had her under the dryer for an hour, and instead of washing off the indigo and replacing it with new indigo, I allowed her to remain under the dryer for another hour. She developed a migraine. So, the amount of time you have straight indigo on your head is a contributing factor. I normally have the client under the dryer with straight indigo for about 30-45 minutes. With this normal timing, I have never had a problem. I have also never had a problem with mixing the henna and indigo together and putting a client under the dryer. The timing for that is the same, about an hour.

 I would also have liked to check to see if the plastic wrap being wrapped close on the head is better, or if it's better to have some amount of breathing room. This would only be for the straight indigo. since the looser plastic wrap can sometimes allow the indigo to dry, it will be difficult to test. I may not have the patience to actually try this. Success sometimes is best left untouched.

I hope that this will help some of you who have had headaches with the indigo. If you have not been using heat as a catalyst, then it's time to invest in a heated conditioning cap from Sally's. It's quiet, and you can hear the TV, or kids, and you can un-plug and go to the laundry area, kitchen, and so on.,default,pd.html,default,pd.html

You can also purchase a bonnet style dryer, which is what I use.  I've had many of them given to me, as I collect old ones.,default,pd.html,default,pd.html

It will be the best investment you make for your color. Remember, if you buy an ugly outfit, you can throw it back in the closet, return it, send it to the rescue mission, give it to ________, (we all have that person who looks good in everything!) or just plain old throw it away! Hair is not so easy. If your spending several hours to do something organic, healthy, and good for you, save your pennies and do it correctly. In the desert, they had heat. A LOT OF HEAT.  They sat in the sun, sometimes in 120 degree heat. We may not have access to that, but we can mimic that. You have to think outside the box, and remember that these plant pigments have been used for thousands of years. What did they have that we don't? Sun, heat, dry air. That adds up to a dryer, or for sanity, a heated cap.

Cheers, as a friend of mine in NYC says!


Remember, I am NOT a doctor, if you are having any symptoms that you think may be an emergency, please call 911. If it is not an emergency, please call a doctor. The doctors that usually deal with the PPD allergies the best are allergists and dermatologists. You may need the T.R.U.E. test information from the FDA web sight.  Feel free to provide the doctor with the link as well, or a printout of the information. Here are the links:

The next one is just the PDF of the actual test.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Hair dressers, doctors, and laymen alike don't always know all of the truths about this hidden deadly allergy. The amount of miss-information far exceeds the amount of correct information. I read on message boards about hairdressers saying that box home color is the culprit, when the diamines in the color that ALL of us use is the same thing. I have a PPD free salon, and I still have clients that become reactive to TDS, or Toluene-Diamine Sulfate.
Anaphylactic shock
Statistics say that the rate of allergies to hair color have been relatively steady, around 6%. Since I have been specializing in this for the past 13 years, the majority of people I hear from are self diagnosed, and can not find doctors to treat them. I suspect that these numbers would change dramatically if there was proper diagnosis and documentation. This also should note that PPD was voted as the number one allergen in the U.S, in 2006 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.
Anaphylactic shock
 Why is this so important? I hear from hairdressers, "No one has ever even heard of PPD, or anyone who is allergic, so why be concerned?" Look at the numbers, which seem to grow exponentially. The manufacturers of hair color don't want you to know these facts.  In 1950, 7% of the adult female population in the U.S. admitted to coloring their hair. So, according to the National U.S. Census Department, there were about 60 million adult women. 7% of that would equal 4,200,000. There has been approximately a  6% rate of allergy to PPD, making the number of allergies to PPD round about 252,000 in 1950. -Remember, once allergic, always allergic! The same statistics state that there were 73 million adult women in 2013, and 75% of them admitted to coloring their hair. This only includes women above 18, so no younger teens, and no men are included in these numbers. Large companies, like P&G, or Loreal continue to sweep these stats under the rug, and try to make them seem immaterial. If you looked like these photos, and could not touch hair color again, would you believe that? The percentages of the allergic will always continue to accumulate, as once you become allergic, you are ALLERGIC FOREVER. Medical journals ALL say, more education is needed. If they PROPERLY taught the symptoms in hair school, and did updates for ALL licensed hairdressers, maybe we could save some people from a lot of pain and suffering. A little prevention is worth a POUND of cure.
Systemic and topical
The symptoms that start begin with itching. How many of us colorists have had a client that ask for something to scratch their scalp with? HAIR COLOR DOESN'T ITCH! -Of course, there is the exception of some very high lift tints, and liquid oil bleaches. The next sign is eczema on the eye lids. Not everyone will get these signs. Some people go right into anaphylactic shock. If they have a compromised airway, they will dye. PERIOD. They can't talk to call 911, if they can, they may not make it by the time the ambulance gets there.
The worst eye eczema I've ever seen
Why don't we patch test? Because it is like preparing your client to have the allergy. You CAN NOT REACT  on your first application. Only your second. This is proven chemically, so if there is a doctor who would like to challenge me, I will gladly take out medical journals to prove this. This is also what large color companies stand behind when they are sued by loved ones when people die. People love to say, well, that just doesn't happen. IT DOES. IT HAS, AND IT WILL AGAIN. People have died. Jackie Kennedy Onassis died from Lymphatic cancer, directly related to coloring her hair. Her doctors came out and said this, but finding information about this is difficult. It gets scrubbed from the web as soon as it pops up. Two women in England died from this. One 17 year old died from anaphylactic shock, and the other went from anaphylactic shock to a coma, and died a year later. She was a young mother, and a real estate agent.
Patch testing that can go wrong. Local only

Chemists don't know why some people react, or when they will react. They can react the second exposure, or the thousandth exposure. There is no rhyme or reason. They have spent a lot of money and time trying to figure this out. If I find out anything, I will post it. They are getting closer, From what I'm reading, they are finding new information all the time. It might not be a cure, but at this point, a WHY is a start.

There are two different kinds of reactions. One is systemic, one is external. Systemic is when you have it going through your blood stream, you will have to get to the ER. External is when you have itching, redness, or anything minor that is localized.


Local, hopefully

If you want more information, I offer private paid consults for clients by e-mail that are $60 and up. I offer PPD classes for salons, $250 plus $25 per person to cover workbooks. (I have a 5 person minimum, plus accommodations and travel) The class can be one hour to three hours, depending on how many people are attending, and the time that's available. (Hands on is extra)

I hope you are getting less snow that Syracuse, NY has been! Have a great day,

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wella Koleston Innosense, the answer to PPD allergies? IT'S NOT...

Here is the full information on why the new super color that Wella claims is the best thing to happen to hair color since it's invention. I'm here to tell you why IT'S NOT. The advertisements have been misleading, and with hairdressers and laymen alike being kept in the dark about the truths of what can happen to them with hair color. I'll give you a little bit about the merger, and then explain the chemical information more in depth.

P&G  acquired Wella in 2003, and now owns not just Clairol and Wella, but they also own Sebastian, Nioxin, Graham Webb and Back to Basics, Belvedere, Sassoon Professional, Londa Professional, Welonda,  High Hair, and indecently, an international fragrance company. ( Gucci®, Rochas®, Escada®, Montblanc®, Dunhill®, Anna Sui®, Escada®, Cindy Crawford®, Mexx® and 4711®. )Reuters reports that P&G is "exploring the sale of Wella", but I'll believe it when I see it. They have wanted to expand their professional line to compete with rival company, L'Oreal.

According to Wikipedia, this is what they report  on the molecule in the color:

Me+ In 2014, Wella patented a new molecule called ME+. This molecule is a substitute for PPD, also known as P-Phenylenediamine, which is present in most colouring products to fix the colour. PPD has been known to cause mild to severe allergic reactions. The ME+ molecule is currently used in the Wella Professionals colour brand Koleston Perfect Innosense, which is the first permanent colour product to be approved by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF).

All of this sounds fantastic. If it helps a few people, even a lot of people, to not become allergic to hair color, then that would be great. However, when I look at the MSDS papers, it's really more about those BENZENES. They are known carcinogens, and in most hair color. They boldly listed it in the ingredients, who can stop them from doing this? In the U.S., no one.  Remember, our Congress said that the FDA can't touch hair color. This means they can put whatever they want in it. It would take an act of Congress to change it. Anyone old enough to remember what it took to put a small note in the tampon box about toxic shock syndrome? (google that, you won't believe it! It's from the 1980's Lucky us!!)The chart below is copied and pasted directly from the MSDS on level 5/7 Wella Koleston Innosense. I count THREE benzene based chemicals. I would not allow this chemical into my salon. PERIOD. There is a link  for the MSDS for Benzene, should anyone want to look at that.

Chemical Name Partition Coefficient (n-octanol/water)/

Alcohols, C16-18 6.65

Ammonia solution 13.8

Poly(oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), alpha-sulfo-omega-hydroxy-, C12-14-alkyl ethers, sodium salts, 0.3

1,4-Benzenediamine, 2-(methoxymethyl)- -0.65

Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt (1:1) -2.03 (at 20 C; Computational Approach in OECD Guideline 107)

Resorcinol 0.8 (octanol-water,20 °C )

Ethanol, 2-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-ylamino)-, hydrochloride (1:1) 0.412 @ 36 C and pH 4.65

1,3-Benzenediol, 2-methyl-   .018

In the chemistry of permanent hair color, you need Primary Intermediates, and Couplers. It's not used  very often, but one Primary Intermediate group is Dihydroxy-Benzenes. These PI's are the main "dyes", or color that you can react to. Color couplers help give a change to the color, so these "dyes" allow for more choices in the color palette. Some of these are Phenols and Resorcinols. If you look at dye structure, (below) all the hexagon shaped molecules stand for benzene. It is referred to as the "Benzenoid Ring", so having benzene structures in hair color is not new. In fact, it is a part of every color that I have ever seen.

Here is a link to a Government Accountability Office Report to our U.S.Congress, from 1977-1979. Interesting reading!! -well, maybe scary reading...

It doesn't matter that it might save clients from a hair color allergy. I would have to see a lot of serious in vivo testing, done properly to even believe that it would do what they say. I will be checking this out, and posting on that when I have the time. Sorry that I haven't posted in a while, it's been so very busy! I'll do my best to try to get something in every month.