The World’s First ‘Green’ Hair Bleach

If you love the way coloring your hair makes you look and feel but hate what it does to the environment, get ready for the world’s first “green” hair bleach.

Japanese scientists say they have developed an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional hair bleaches that comes without the unwanted effects, such as the need for frequent applications and subsequent hair damage and irritation to the scalp and other parts of the body.

Each year, millions of people use hair bleach to lighten their hair. The bleach is made of hydrogen peroxide, which is highly effective at breaking down the pigments that give hair a dark color. But it usually has to be reapplied to hair every few months, which can leave hair brittle and lifeless.

This new hair dye is made from a type of “white-rot” fungus that has also shown potential to clean up pollutants in the soil, researchers said.  It naturally breaks down the melanin, or dark pigments, in the hair, without the damaging effects of hydrogen peroxide.

Study author Kenzo Koike, Ph.D., of the Kao Corporation’s Beauty Research Center in Tokyo, said this enzyme could be added to traditional hair bleaches to prevent hair damage. Because it needs hydrogen peroxide to complete the chemical reaction, a small amount of peroxide would still be needed for the product to work.

SOURCE: Study presented at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society on March 24, 2009