Kristi Lee Troy HS 11th Grade
Changing the color of one’s hair is a fashion statement that is becoming more and more popular every day as companies continue to produce a wider variety of hair colors to complement every outfit, occasion, and mood. Hair dying however, is a process that requires lots of effort, time, and most importantly, the sacrifice of the health and the luscious texture of hair. To settle the conflict between the aesthetics and the health of the hair, scientists have been researching the newest idea for a possible remedy - graphene hair dye.
The darkness of a material called graphene led professor Jiaxing Huang at Northwestern University to experiment with it in creating a new hair dye with graphene replacing the harmful chemicals that are most often used today.
Graphene is a material made out of one layer of pure carbon atoms bonded together in a beehive pattern. Despite it being extremely thin - one million times thinner than paper to be exact - it is an incredibly flexible and strong material.
Upon experimenting with the newly-formed graphene-based dye on samples of blonde human hair, Huang and his team discovered that the dye clings to the surface of the hair strands and wraps itself tightly around them, creating a dark color that can be considered permanent, lasting more than 30 washes.
Hair dyes commonly found in stores and salons today contain ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, chemicals that are widely known for being harmful to humans. These chemicals dye the hair by peeling open the cuticles of the hair to add more chemicals that can damage the hair as well as the surrounding skin.
Compared to these methods of coloring that are detrimental to the hair, graphene hair dye does not chemically alter the individual hair strands, leaving the hair completely unharmed. The hair dying process is also shortened, as stated by Huang - “It doesn’t rely on any chemical reaction - you just brush it on the surface of the hair, comb it, and the hair changes color.” The experiments showed that the whole process only took ten minutes to completely dye the hair, proving to be a significantly more efficient and healthy way to color the hair.
Another benefit to using graphene hair dye is that because graphene is a good conductor for electricity, it can tame the annoying flyaways that everybody gets occasionally. Imagine not ever having a “bad hair day”!
Although the idea of graphene hair dye can be extremely exciting, it is not yet approved for use, but is under continual research and testing. However, it can be ensured that if graphene hair dye does hit the store shelves, people would be ecstatic to be able to rock their luscious, newly-colored locks that many would consider are “to dye for”.
<Kristi Lee Troy HS 11th Grade