Back to Basics: Permanent Hair Colour

Permanent hair colourants, such as Schwarzkopf Professional’s IGORA ROYAL range, provide ultimate coverage and rich, luminous colour… But do you understand exactly how permanent hair colourants work?


A permanent colour is achieved when oxidative tints combine three chemical components; the alkalising agent ammonia softens the hair and opens up the cuticle layer, which acts as a catalyst for the oxidising agent hydrogen peroxide. A colourless, undeveloped dyestuff is then able to penetrate the cuticle layer.


Hydrogen peroxide is used in varying strengths and quantities, providing a dual purpose – oxygen released from the peroxide lightens natural hair pigments, whilst reacting with the pre-colour dyes to form large colour molecules within the cortex (polymerisation). These newly formed artificial pigments are unable to pass back through the cuticle layer, leaving behind permanent colour.



1. Pigment penetration

2. Polymerisation

3. Oxidation


Remember that oxidative tints can fade if hair becomes damaged. In damaged hair, the cuticle layer will be open or in bad cases, it can be worn away, exposing the inner cortex and the developed dye pigments.


Certain hair care and colour products can help to minimise this damage through innovations, such as high performing Fibre Bond 4.5 Technology. New bonds are created and the pH level is balanced, locking in colour pigments to ensure superior hair quality, long-lasting colour brilliance and ultimate shine.