Frequently Asked Questions

Are the products you use natural and do they contain chemicals?

The words, 'natural' and 'chemical' are often employed as positive and negative words respectively but it isn't necessarily true that everything natural is good for you or safe to use on your body or even actually desirable.  The word 'natural' is often placed on food packaging to imply that it is healthy or wholesome in some way.  However, we all know that sugar for example, is very natural but not all that good for us.  There are also many natural substances that are essential to our well-being in tiny quantities but potentially very harmful in larger quantities.  Thus we prefer to let our clients know as much as possible about the ingredients of the products we use and allow them to use that information to decide how 'natural' they think those products are as it is such a subjective term.  See our PRODUCTS page and click the links for detailed information from each or our suppliers concerning what goes into the products we use.


Similarly, the answer to the question 'do your products contain chemicals?' is undoubtedly, 'yes' as pretty much everything contains chemicals.  Every substance produced naturally by a plant is a chemical.  Lemon juice contains chemicals.  However, what we avoid using are chemicals known to be harmful to health such as Ammonia and SLS.


Do your products contain PPD?(paraphenylenediamine)

There is no permanent hair colour currently in existence that does not contain PPD .  A major objective of all companies currently producing hair colour products (including large multi-nationals) is to find a hair colour not reliant on the use of PPD.  The current legal limit for the percentage of PPD within a product is 2%.  The products used at Harriet's contain between 0.05% and 1% PPD.  The darker the colour, the more PPD the product contains.  


What is PPD?  

Paraphenylenediamine is a petroleum-based  substance  that changes colour in the presence of Oxygen and also binds with protein which is the main constituent of hair.  This makes it very useful as a pigment in lots of dyes including hair-dye.  A very small percentage of people will be allergic to PPD which is why it is always essential to perform a skin test before someone receives their first colour treatment.  Over 99% of Harriet's customers have no adverse reaction to PPD. Most research suggests that over the entire population 1.5% of people could potentially be affected by PPD.  In comparison about 2% of the UK population have a genuine food allergy.


I've heard that PTD is a viable alternative to PPD.  Is this true?

PTD (para-toluenediamineis a substance so similar to PPD that it will  affect those allergic to PPD in a similar way. PTD however is not as effective a pigment as PPD which means more of it has to be used to get the same effect as PPD. Some permanent hair colour products will claim to be PPD-free but what they do contain is PTD.  We believe that on balance, PPD at very low levels is better from a health perspective than higher levels of PTD.


I've been using Henna on my hair.  Can I start colouring my hair with your products?

Henna and Hair colouring products containing PPD or PTD are incompatible.  If you have been using Henna and then dye your hair using a permanent hair colour or vice-versa, you are more likely to develop an allergy to both.  Many people who develop an allergy to PPD often do so as a result of having used Henna previously.  However, it is still very unusual for anyone to develop an allergy at all.  Again, it is merely the case that you must have a skin test before we colour your hair for the first time.  It is important that should you have your hair coloured at Harriet's you reduce any chance of developing an allergy by avoiding the use of Henna.  The important thing is to always inform your stylist if you have used any Henna based products or if you have had a Henna tattoo.  



Do your products contain Peroxide?

In order for permanent hair colours to work, the colours need to be oxidised which means basically that Oxygen has to be introduced to the pigment and the hair.  This Oxygen comes from Hydrogen Peroxide which is a molecule containing 2 Hydrogen atoms and 2 Oxygen atoms; one more Oxygen atom than water.  As oxidation occurs, one Oxygen atom is lost and the by-product of this process is, water.  The word 'Peroxide' is often associated with bleach and the damaging of hair but whilst bleach is damaging (we don't use it!) peroxide is a benign activator of the colour pigments.  We use pharmaceutical grade Hydrogen Peroxide at 1.5%-9% concentration, which is the same substance used to clean contact lenses.  It's also used in mouthwash for treating gum disease and has several medicinal uses within mainstream medicine.


Do you offer dry cuts?

No, we don't do dry cuts for several reasons.  Firstly hair has to be wet in order to get a good cut.  The same results cannot be achieved with dry hair and we pride ourselves on the quality of the cut we provide so we only ever do things properly.  Also we insist on washing client's hair before we do anything else for the benefit of our stylists' hands.  Hair acts like a filter, capturing all the pollution, pollen, etc floating around in the air around us.  A hair stylist's hands take a great deal of punishment and this is greatly exacerbated if they have to work with hair that isn't freshly washed.  It makes such a difference that any stylist can tell as soon as they touch someone's hair whether it is clean or not.   Our whole ethos of being as healthy as possible extends to our staff too.  Plus we like to think that lying back and having your scalp massaged and thoroughly cleaned is a pleasant and relaxing experience and an itegral part of of what should be, the great pleasure of getting your hair done.



I've recently undergone treatment for cancer.  Are your products safe to use?

Doctor's generally recommend that anyone who's undergone chemotherapy or radiotherapy doesn't colour their hair until six months after the last treatment session.  The reason for this is that these treatments introduce substances into the body that will enter the hairs and remain there for up to six months.  After six months we would perform a skin test as normal.