Women have been incurring risk in order to achieve beauty ideals since the beginning of time — from ancient Grecian women using white lead to lighten their complexions to present day neurotoxin injections used to smooth wrinkles.
It’s natural for people to want to enhance their beauty, but many of the products and methods we’ve employed over time are anything but.
Rewind to 1856 — a chemistry accident led to the discovery of the first synthetic dye, a bright shade of mauve. This discovery made a drastic impact on the world of textiles, introducing bright hues never before possible. The beauty industry followed quickly behind.
By 1908, Eugène Schueller, chemist and founder of L’Oreal, had filed his first patent for a product that uses a blend of chemicals to alter hair color. Since then, little has changed about the way we dye our hair.
And why should the technology change? The desire to have beautiful hair is practically genetic and certainly (as a trend) unwavering, and the FDA has little authority to intervene when something goes awry. The demand for hair dye has thus consistently continued to grow.
So when an award-winning chemist — founder of the Green Chemistry movement, John Warner — designs a product that mimics biology and creates a non-harmful and non-chemical natural hair color, it’s a really big deal.
A couple months ago, we sent an email to our We Heart followers — a group of people who have signed up to find out each month what company or product the ASC team has fallen in love with.
In that email, we asked them to tell us what they love for a change. Over the last two years since we created the We Heart column, we've posted about everything from coffee-infused chocolate to baobab coconut water drink packets… So we wanted to give the We Heart community a turn to tell us what company has truly wowed them with their dedication to natural ingredients, ethical sourcing, company policies and outstanding results.
(Want to get in on We Heart? Click here.)
We decided to make it a contest, making the winning nomination our next We Heart feature and gifting 10,000 points to the person who recommended it.
After receiving dozens of amazing nominations, we decided on a product that stood out as being not only natural, but totally innovative and unlike anything we had seen before.
Congratulations to Alba, who nominated Hairprint!
While a Typical Hair Dye ‘Paints Your Hair…’
Hairprint restores your hair to the color it was before you went gray.
It sounds too good to be true, simply because it is so unlike the way that typical hair dyes work.
Jasmine Scalesciani, a certified nutritionist and Hairprint co-founder believes in the sanctity of the body and the earth and wanted to offer a way for women and men to enhance their beauty without compromising their health. Turning to John Warner, winner of the 2014 Perkin Medal, a very prestigious award in the world of chemistry. (Coincidentally, that award was named after Sir William Henry Perkin, who was the scientist who accidentally discovered mauveine, the mauve-colored synthetic dye we mentioned above.)
Warner went to work studying hair and looking for a way to cover grays without using harmful chemicals. He took a cue from the beetle…
When a beetle sheds its exoskeleton, it replaces it with one that that starts out soft and white. After a couple of hours, the new exoskeleton turns hard and black, just like the one that was just shed. Like hair that has gone gray, the young white exoskeleton is brittle and loses water quickly.
So if a beetle can restore color to its exoskeleton, can we do the same for our hair?
Dr. Warner looked at what is missing from gray hair: the natural pigment eumelanin, a type of melanin. He noted that L-dopa, the precursor for melanin, is made from phenylalanine, an amino acid present in both human diets and the diet of beetles. The beetle is able to make melanin quickly enough to generate its exoskeleton color in a couple hours, so Warner wondered if he could mimic this chemistry and apply it to human hair.
He ordered samples of gray hair and got to work.
And he saw success — the gray hair samples regained colored after a couple hours, but they weren't all the same color. He imagined people applying this treatment to their hair and getting varying results. That wouldn't do.
So he called the lab and they informed him that these hair samples came from different people…
The reason he was seeing different results was the treatment was restoring the hair to the color it was before it went gray.
Hairprint is made of 8 food grade ingredients and restores brown and black hair to its original, pre-gray color. (Blonde and red hair have an additional pigment, pheomelanin.)
For people whose hair has been gray for many years, it can take two treatments to cover, but for most people will get coverage after just one treatment. It's easy to do yourself at home, or you can bring it to the salon and have them apply it for you.
For the first time in decades, there is a healthy way to cover gray hair or restore shine and softness to hair that has become brittle and dry (they have an anti-aging kit for those whose hair has not yet gone gray).
We are so excited to introduce you to this amazing product, and we look forward to hearing about your success using it!
Every month, we tell you about something we love in We Heart.
We also make an effort to get to know the company we feature. Since Hairprint is local (based in Sausalito, Ca), we invited Jasmine (one of the founders we mentioned above) into the office so we could all chat and get to know each other.
One of the coolest things about this column is that we get to connect with people who are doing amazing things in the world. A hair coloring process that mimics biology and restores hair to its original color? How amazing is that!
We so appreciate Alba for recommending this product and everyone who submitted nominations for this contest.
To find out who's on our We Heart list next month and beyond, get on the list: