Hairprint: Nontoxic Hair Color Product Review

March 30, 2016

Hairprint! The review we have all been so anxiously awaiting!  Hairprint is a nontoxic color treatment that restores gray hair to it’s true color. Hairprint has a couple of product options and you pick according to your hair type. This is the one we used. 

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Okay so lets cut to the chase – everyone wants to know if Hairprint works right? Okay well see for yourselves. Here are before and afters. No photo editing or post processing. As my husband likes to say: the proof is in the pudding. 

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Before
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After
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After

Can you believe it?! Sometimes it’s hard to see from the pics but the color is beautiful. It’s deep, rich in pigment and shinny.

Okay there is a lot to say about this product so lets get started.

First of all, Hairprint is made up of 8 food-grade nontoxic ingredients and an inert thickener. It works by putting the eumelanin protein back into the cuticle of your hair. 

Conventional hair dyes use one of the following toxic chemicals to dye hair: PPD, PTD and/or aminophenols all which rate between a 5-8 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database (0 being the lowest toxicity and 10 being the highest). There are a lot of brands these days boasting organic or natural dyes but the down and dirty is if your hair dye is working, it is employing one of these harmful chemicals. Check out my post “Organic Hair Dyes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” for more info on what this means.

Hairprint is the first NEW technology that has been developed in over 100 years that is successful in permanently coloring hair. This product is going to change the world and I am not being sensational.  It is a nontoxic scientific breakthrough empowering women and men with a choice. I wish I could say I am bigger than the color of my roots but it 100% has a direct impact on my day to day psyche. With my hair dyed I feel confident, focused, beautiful and equal. When my hair is overdue I am distracted and paranoid others are judging my grays. It has a direct correlation to my self-confidence, how I feel and function – and I know I am not the only one.  No longer do women have to make the unfair choice of either exposing themselves to toxins or going gray – an expectation and practice that has been institutionalized in our society that gray = less than.

I’m not saying the desire to look beautiful is the issue. The issue is that historically the only way to get there, in the world of hair, is through the use of chemicals that compromise health. That is where society, pop culture, big business, hair dye companies and formulators have set the standard and expectation. The problem arises when people who choose not to dye their hair get treated differently by society than their counterparts who do dye. 

It’s interesting to note that the practice of bodily adornment and hairstyles is not just a modern day practice.  These are universals that cross all times and all cultures along with government, language and fire making. It is a human, innate, deep rooted desire to make one’s appearance beautiful. And over the past 100 years this desire has been met with chemical toxins. We do not need to compromise our health any longer and when we step away from this practice we create a shift. A new standard. One by one we scaffold a new paradigm for ourselves, society, our sons and daughters and future generations.

Some people will say hair dye does not bother them. They experience no itching, burning or chemical irritations of any kind. Whether they realize it or not, every time a woman (or man) dyes their hair, they are rolling the dice.  When chemicals are applied to the scalp they make their way into the bloodstream within seconds. The immune system continues to fight off these toxins again…and again….and again as we keep our standing four week salon appointment. 

When these toxins are applied on the scalp, some of them will be excreted and some stored in fat cells, and for 6-7% of woman the immune system will finally give in and break down leaving them not only permanently sensitive to hair dyes but with many other chemical sensitivities to lotions, perfumes, detergents, etc. Just because you are not experiencing a reaction now or you “feel fine,” just know that next time could be the time your body gives up. Here is an interesting article from The Atlantic that includes one person’s account plus more about the history of hair dye.

It’s not fair that society makes woman, and men, choose. I believe in shifting expectations and change making. This is why I dove *hair-first* into Hairprint to see what they are all about.

Hairprint is a groundbreaking technology brought to market just one year ago.  It was developed by a team of scientists including Laura Muollo, Amie Stewart and John Warner working out of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Wilmington, MA.  I got an opportunity to meet with the scientists this past January and not only talk shop but they also treated my hair with Hairprint for the first time.

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Hairprint in action – January 2016
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Laura Muollo and Amie Stewart in the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry’s testing salon.
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Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry – Wilmington, MA

Okay so Hairprint has some major strengths as well as some limitations. So let’s break it down.

Strengths:

The ingredients. Eight nontoxic food-grade ingredients and a synthetic thickener (which rates a 1 on EWG). You could LITERALLY EAT THIS PRODUCT (and the scientists have by the way)! These are the ingredients:

  • Baking Soda: what we use at home for baking and cleaning.
  • Mucuna pruriens: an extract made from velvet beans.
  • Sodium Carbonate: made from salt and limestone.
  • Ferrous and manganese are both vitamin supplements.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: is made from oxygen and water and naturally occurs in the hair follicle.
  • Carbomer: a inert thickener used in shampoos and pharmaceuticals.
  • Diatomaceous earth: is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock made from ancient deposits of hard-shelled algae.

Just a note about the hydrogen peroxide here. Most salon formulas use hydrogen peroxide at 12-15% to open up the cuticle. Over the counter hydrogen peroxide is a 3% solution. Hairprint uses it at 1% and not for the purpose of opening up the hair cuticle, which is damaging, but to oxidize the mucuna pruriens extract. By the time the color is applied to your hair the hydrogen peroxide is virtually gone.

No toxic chemical exposure.

It works

There is NO SMELL! Literally, it smells like nothing.

It repairs hair and makes it stronger.  Conventional hair dyes rip open the hair cuticle and strip the inside structure of your hair forcing it to accept whatever color you and your hairdresser have selected. This ultimately leaves hair with “no bones” – brittle, weak and vulnerable. Hair gets dryer, more hollow and you will experience breakage over time from exposure to this process.

Hairprint’s success is contingent on keeping the structure of the hair intact.  John Warner describes this structure as a parking lot where the eumelanin protein is deposited or “parked.” Hairprint opens up the cuticle using….get this, baking soda and pH. And it works best on “virgin” hair that has never been conventionally dyed and still has this internal structure in place.

So this protein is deposited and it makes hair shinier, stronger and thicker. Picture a long thin deflated balloon but as the protein is put back into the hair/balloon it will “fill up” again. Conventional products give hair shine by coating it with silicone. Although it may appear shinny it is just that, an appearance, an illusion and unhealthy for your hair.

Restores hair to it’s true color. You know when you dye your hair and it looks great in the salon and then you step outside and you look like your hairs on fire? That does not happen.  There are no red undertones or washing out to a brassy dull variation of the original color which is a dead giveaway for died hair.

Hairprint works with your natural chemistry and will color your hair to its true color as of today. Pretty much whatever color your eyebrows are is a good indicator of how Hairprint will work for you.

Gray coverage. Great for people with dark hair who are trying hide gray roots.

Blonds! Hairprint is releasing a hair color for blonds in a couple of months!!! 

A nontoxic option for pregnant woman and nursing mothers. No more compromises ladies!

You can do your eyebrows with it.

It’s gluten-free and vegan.

Excellent for most hair types. Really works great with corse, think hair.

Great for both women AND men.

Hairprint gives back. They believe that if you want to make a girl beautiful, give her an education. They give 20% of their profits to The NoVo Foundation, a nonprofit which allocates these funds to support this goal.

They are looking to bring it to salons across the US.  Stylists will need to be taught how to apply because it is very different than conventional dyes so this will take some time but it is happening! If you are a salon or if you know of a salon that would be a good fit for Hairprint please leave a message in the comments!

Okay now let’s talk limitations:

It’s messy. And it stains. It will stain your hands, your skin, your towels and any porous surface like unsealed granite or stone tile (similar to conventional hair dye). What worked for me? Wear the supplied gloves, no clothes or old clothes (I wrapped in a towel), cover the floor with a painters tarp and do it in the bathroom where you can wipe down walls and floors easily. I’m not going to lie – your bathroom will look like a crime scene. (I haven’t tried this but if you stain your wall or tile people have reported success using bleach or OxiClean to remove the stain).

It’s time intensive. I have gotten Hairprint applied three times now.  Once by the scientists at Warner Babcock, once in my own bathroom with my sister and once professionally at the Hairprint salon in California.  Each time it took no less than two hours.

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Hairprint Salon, Sausalito, CA

It can be a trial and error process. There are some barriers that may go unseen and will prevent the color from penetrating. This will yield less than desirable results. This can be things like hard water or well water, soap scum, silicone or henna residue or super dry skin/scalp. The good news here is that the science works, you just have to figure out how to identify and break down these barriers to get you there.

Here is the results from the first time I tried Hairprint with the scientists:

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First time before
Lisa F after
First time after

These photos have not been altered. I would quantify the coverage here at around 80%. During my most recent experience at the Hairprint salon, we increased my prewash time from 5 minutes to 20 minutes and used two boxes instead of one and got close to 100% coverage.

There is no choice of what color your hair comes out.  You don’t get to pull out the color swatch book and pick the latest “it” trend or your favorite chestnut brown. You get what your body dictates.  Pretty much your eyebrow color.

It can over-darken roots and ends. If this happens it will fade a bit looking its best week 2 and week 3. In the salon, the stylist said in this event she would use the prewash again immediately after to try and tone down the color.

This is not a product for red heads or strawberry blondes.  At this time it is not possible to create the unique pheomelanin pigment that creates red hair while creating eumelanin. And the company is not currently pursuing this. 

For most users, you have to apply it yourself. This may not be a negative for some but for people like me, I ain’t got time fo dat! But I will make time because it’s my only choice – stay tuned!

It’s not cheap. If you happen to live in the bay area, you are lucky enough to have the option of going to the salon and getting it professionally applied.  The results will be better for sure but it will run you 150.00-200.00 and about 2 hours of your time.

If you do live local or want an appointment at the Hairprint salon, you can email Pippa@myhairprint.com  Pippa is THE WOMAN when it comes to Hairprint. Plus she is gorgeous, funny and she will take good care of you, worth every penny.

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Me and Pippa – LOVE her!

If you are ordering online, a box costs 39.00 and if you sign up for their subscription service you get a 10% discount. Free shipping for orders over 99.00. Some people will be fine with one box and others will need two. My best results came from using two boxes. You can order here.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is this is an absolute life changing product for some people and for others…not so much. It’s also great for anyone with a PDD or PTD allergy. The best way to explain it is its like the difference between fast food and a home-cooked meal.  One is quick, dirty and driven by instant gratification, the other takes time, love, work and is reward driven.

After using Hairprint for a few times many people report better coverage with more use. And also people report weaning from two boxes to one after a few consecutive months as well as faster application times with practice. I will keep you posted on my experience and what is working for me.

The good news is that the company is still playing with the formula and trying to streamline application with the goal being a single application process.

Okay let’s sign off with a final pic or two of Hairprint’s success. I’ve had several conversations with the scientists about how the chemistry works and I still have no idea. Honestly, it is mind boggling to me. All I can say is I freaking love science and scientists who are dedicated to green chemistry.

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Third time after
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Third time after

I just want to end this review with a big heart felt thank you to the scientists who worked so hard, and continue to work hard on this formula. And also to those who have invested and believed in the importance of nontoxic hair dye enough to support these efforts. Thank you for caring about chemical exposure and for the greater good of humanity.  From the bottom of my heart to the top of my head, thank you.

I will be posting updates as I keep up with my color at home – make sure to check back! And please share this article/review with others so people who are trying to avoid toxic chemical exposure can know there is an option out there.

Also, if you plan on applying yourself read this first for application tips

 

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