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Hair Coating Blocks Gentle Products

Hair Coating Blocks Gentle Color Products

I know lots of you have tried Hairprint, an amazing product that restores your natural hair color.  I tried it over a year ago and continue using and loving it (read more about my experience with Hairprint, here). Some of you told me that the product worked out great for you, but some did not achieve the results they expected. I receive lots of questions as to why. I would love to help figure that out. Recently, the Hairprint company informed me that it found out that certain ingredients in shampoos or other hair products may prevent the Hairprint product from doing its job.



As you might know, there are lots of shampoos that claim to make your hair healthy, smooth, hydrated, moisturized, restored, thick, etc. The truth is no shampoo can truly do that. Instead, there are ingredients in the shampoos that coat your hair, hiding the damage caused by chemical dyes or other factors.



I remember the times when I dyed my hair with chemical dyes, I could not comb my hair without using tons and tons of hair conditioning products. Hair dyes contain coating ingredients. Once the coating came off, my hair looked awful and it was time to dye my hair again. When you use chemical hair dyes, you have to resort to using coating agents so your hair looks good.



When you decide to transition to Hairprint, these hair coating agents may block this gentle product from working. Makes sense, right? The Hairprint Company recommends using a clarifying shampoo before Hairprint application. Clarifying shampoos are supposed to contain strong surfactants (aka detergent or cleansers) that will remove any buildup the coating agents created. Clarifying shampoos are not good to use on a regular basis because they will strip your hair of natural oils as well. Use it only if your regular shampoo or conditioner or other hair products you may use have coating agents.



Here is the list of hair coating agents of which to be aware (this list may not include all coating ingredients):






The most common silicone used in shampoo is called dimethicone. Silicones are very common in shampoo/conditioners because they make the hair smooth and shiny.  Silicones are not water soluble they will build up and up on your hair. It takes a powerful clarifying shampoo to remove them.  There are no scientific studies as to whether silicones are damaging for the hair.  However, some healthy hair experts believe that silicones can clog the cuticles and contribute to hair thinning or even hair loss.



To spot silicones, look for ingredients ending with -cone, -conol, -col, or -xane.



Guaternary Ammonium Compounds (aka “quats”)



They also impart a “slippery” feeling to the hair. There are a number of different quats. Some may cause skin and respiratory irritation such as quaternium-15 and benzalkonium chloride. The safest out of them is Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride but it appears that the health data on it is limited.



These are the ingredients to avoid:



  • Babassuamidopropalkonium chloride
  • Benzalkonium chloride
  • Benzethonium chloride
  • Methylbenzethonium chloride
  • Cetalkonium chloride
  • Vegetable Oil Quaternary
  • Quaternium-15
  • Stearalkonium chloride
  • Polyquaternium
  • Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (this is a common quat used in almost all so-called “natural” shampoos, including the ones I reviewed on my blog here and here.)
  • Behentrimonium chloride
  • Behentrimonium methosulfate






Proteins in shampoos and conditioners can stay in the hair for a few days to a few weeks depending on the size of the protein and how it is applied. Smaller proteins will lodge inside the cortex of the hair and larger proteins adhere to the cuticle. Keratin and silk proteins stay in the hair the longest.  If your shampoo has those, you might have to use a clarifying shampoo.  All other proteins should not pose a problem.  To be on a safe side, do not use a shampoo with proteins prior to Hairprint application.






Hair wax that helps achieve that “wet” hair look are problematic.  John Master’s shampoo has copernicia cerifera cera wax that may be problematic, too.






Various ingredients with the word “PEG” in the same such as PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Cetyl PEG/ PPG-10/ 1 Dimethicone. They have high molecular weights, which is problematic because they may leave behind and create hair coating.






As you can imagine, hairprays have polymers such as polyvinylpyrrolidine. Polyvinylpyrrolidine is also a glue used to laminate wood.






These are all those greasy, waxy substances used to style hair (and the punch line to a great Cohen Brothers movie).

Look at your shampoo to see if there are any hair coating agents in it and let us know in the comments what you find.

Do not see any hair coating ingredients?  Congratulations!  Share this post with your friends who use Hairprint.



More Information: 



For more information on application Hairprint guidelines, head over to the Q&A section on the Hairprint website

Read my original review of Hairprint over here.




Hair Coating Blocks Gentle Color Products





33 thoughts on “Hair Coating Blocks Gentle Products”

  1. I have been using Hairprint and I knew about this already because I emailed them and asked for help. They even have a procedure for putting a paste of baking soda on the stubborn grays on my hairline to get them to take the color (they were a little better). It worked somewhat. I am ambivalent about Hairprint because it is a lengthy procedure to use it and I also think it is kind of expensive for what it is. But I will keep using it.

  2. Karen Mortazavi

    Since the list of products to stay away from is long, I emailed Hairprint for a list of recommended shampoos, conditioners and styling products. They told me they could not recommend any products but were coming out with their own shampoos and conditioners, hopefully by the end of September or early October. I decided to wait for these products. I’m not sure if styling products will be part of their launch but personally I cannot go without styling products for frizz. The only styling product they mentioned to me that was OK was Argan Oil and that alone won’t work for me so I’m not sure what I will do.

    Dorothy (or others who have successfully used the product), I have some questions for you. Hairprint’s website says that if you currently use all over color and have hair that is lighter than a 1 to 2 (which is pretty much means your hair is not black), you have to put shea butter over all your hair except for the roots or else your hair will turn too dark. Did you have to do this? This seems like it will be very challenging to do so I want to know if it’s possible and what technique to use to do it successfully. Also, what do you use for styling products that won’t coat your hair? Thank you.

  3. Hi! They told me that while they couldn’t make recommendations they could report what other people using hair print had used and liked. I’m sorry I accidentally deleted the email so the only one I remember is the one I bought, which is Shea moisture remoisturing (?) shampoo and conditioner. They didn’t mention a hair style product. I like the Shea moisture, although it’s a little heavy for my thin hair. I can’t use Argan oil either so I am also looking.

    My hair is very gray, but my original color was medium brown, and I had colored it, so I had to use the Shea butter. It didn’t help a lot, my colored hair still went darker than the roots. I have compensated for this by getting the “dark” version so it blends a little better but my overall color is darker than I would like. What can I say, so far I feel that it is worth it to use a product that is so harmless. So I will continue, even though I find it a bit time consuming and expensive.

  4. My pleasure! Looking at the bottle, it is actually “Raw Shea butter moisture retention shampoo “.
    Forgot to add, the girl also said it was good to use a clarifying shampoo before the rest of the procedure and said Prell made a good one, I got the Prell rinse clean concentrate.
    Another thing I do to save money, because my hair is short and thin, I use half of the contents at a time.
    Good luck if you decide to try it!

  5. Thanks, I will consider that. And I am also looking for some kind of appropriate styling product to keep my hair a little calmer looking. If I find anything good I will say so 🙂

  6. HI, I have been using the brown Hairprint for the past year. The good: my hair is shinier, with good texture, and the color, after about 5 washings does calm down from the dark-dark color it turns, back to my natural medium-brown, even with my red and golden highlights appearing that used to be natural for me in younger years. The bad: I truly hate the extraordinarily time-consuming and unpleasant process it takes to get the job done; plus with my shorter hair I have to very carefully use the gram counter I purchased for this purpose to half the quantity and do it properly. However, I am still having trouble with the product coating my silver hairs, at the hairline and sideburns. Other than these two spots I probably have about 15-20% silver/gray hair at this point. Can anyone recommend a good, hopefully not so toxic clarifying shampoo? The baking soda paste approach did not help, and I really scrubbed it in! Thank you.

  7. Hi, Irina, Thanks for your reply. I find is so impossible to decipher the list of ingredients that I just started using my husband’s choice at Whole Foods. It’s their brand named Moisturizing Conditioner and their same brand shampoo for color treated hair; he does not color his hair but I suggested that over the regular one figuring it’d have less chemicals, etc. I will definitely check out Hairprint’s shampoo once it is available, but I’m behind in doing my color so can’t wait! Thank you for your link, I’ll go ahead and order that in the meantime. One other thing you might be aware of, or not, is for the first time in using Hairprint in over a year now I am seeing some formerly colored hair with their product, a large strand of it, losing the color that had changed it to brown; it’s now gotten almost entirely washed out so. I am very surprised by this and wish it wasn’t happening. Any clue to why this would happen? Again, thanks. Kat

  8. I did see a hair product that looked interesting, “Seafoam volumizing mousse” by Virgo Essentials, I think. Haven’t tried it yet. I was thinking I could share the procedure the Hairprint customer service person gave me for using baking soda. She said before using the pretreatment, to take a small amount of the pretreatment and wash your face and stubborn grays with it. Then make a thick paste of baking soda and water, rub it on the stubborn grays, then leave for at least 5 minutes, then wash with the pretreatment and go ahead with the rest of the procedure. I did it last time and it did work somewhat, some of the grays turned a sort of light brown. I will keep doing it, even though it adds yet more time. I am also growing out my hair to cover them up 🙂

  9. Does anyone have advice for how to best just treat roots – I asked Hairprint and they said to only color the roots because the previously Hairprint colored hair will get too dark if it is done twice. The process sounds intimidating and I’m getting some serious roots. Also the grey that is colored is getting almost blond 4 months out – has anyone else had that? Are there any professional salons in the Bay Area that are using it? Thanks!

  10. I often read that people have trouble getting the gray hair close to their face to take up the Hairprint, and I wonder if facial moisturizer or other facial products are being absorbed by that hair near the hairline, and blocking the product? It’s a thought. ☺️

  11. As to roots, I thought it was ok to use Hairprint all over your hair unless you had previously colored it with something else. That’s why I cover my previously colored hair with Shea butter after the pretreatment.

  12. That’s how I understand it as well. If you do NOT have color on your hair OR you have very dark (almost black) hair you can use Hairprint all over. If you have color on the rest of your hair, you have to use Shea butter on the colored part of your hair or it will turn very dark.

  13. When I started using Hairprint about three months ago, they had listed on their website some shampoos to use prior to treatment. A pre-pretreatment, if you will. The only one on their list of about 6 shampoos that I recognized and thought I had a chance of finding locally was Neutrogena anti-residue shampoo. I use it prior to the pre-treatment and also the day before if I can. I get better results (better coverage) with Hairprint the more I precede it with this Neutrogena anti-residue shampoo.

  14. I love you blog. This has become a new interest for me. Luckily I live in the EU where there are a bit more restrictions on these things (but not enough if you ask me).

    However, you write behentrimonium methosulfate on as a no-go coating agent. On ewg’s skindeep database it’s marked as a good ingredient. Why do you think this is?

    1. Hi, Louise! Thank you for reading so closely. I should have named behentrimonium methosulfate along with Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride as the safest in the quat family. Behentrimonium methosulfate is marked as having limited data in the Skin Deep though. When I listed no-go ingredients, I was referring to the fact that may block Hairprint from working, not their toxicity. Does it help? Thank you! ~Irina

  15. Irina,

    I’ve purchased the Hairprint shampoos and conditioners and have just started using them but am not sure what to do for styling products. I need a non toxic, non coating product to control frizz. This may be somewhere else on your blog so I apologize if that’s the case. Any suggestions?

  16. Amy Hermanson

    I am very interested in using Hairprint, but will need assistance with the process. Does anyone know of a salon providing this service in Massachusetts? I live in the Berkshires, close to borders of N.Y. State & CT.
    Thank you,

  17. Hi Irina
    I am new to Hairprint and I’ve read a lot about it, I wrote to Hairprint people and since I’ve coloured my hair they recommended to start with transition treatments. Do you know roughly how many course of treatments I have to do before starting colouring my grays? I need to put an order from the UK and want to get amount of boxes right to minimise shipping costs. How frequently do I need to apply it?
    Thank you very much for the amazing work you do, it’s very appreciated!
    Best wishes

    1. Hi, Katia: I have no experience with transitioning. You might want to post your comment on this blog post because there are more people subscribed to it and chances are that somebody had the same question. Tell us what your hair length too. Thanks. Good luck. ~Irina

  18. Hi Irina! I so appreciate your blog and all the contributors to it. I’m very thankful for the recommendations to try the Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention and Desert Essence Italian Lemon Shampoos, as well as the John Masters Organics Green Tea Conditioning Mist spray. I did try the Hairprint shampoos first and sadly, they didn’t work for me. I used the Bamboo shampoo for 5 weeks and my hair didn’t get clean. Instead, a waxy white residue was left in my hair. I emailed Hairprint’s customer service (which is excellent!) and they suggested using a clarifying shampoo to get rid of the residue in my hair. I used a baking soda and water mix, which wasn’t strong enough, so I tried their Chelating shampoo for 2 weeks. I didn’t have as much of the white, waxy residue in my hair, but I felt like my hair still wasn’t getting clean. If anyone has experienced the same and the white residue eventually went away, please let me know and I’ll go back and try again. In the meantime, I’ll try out these other products. Many thanks, Irina, and to your followers!

    1. Hi Grace,
      I know your post is old but did your issue with the residue ever get resolved? I use the Amla shampoo and conditioner and feel like my hair isn’t fully clean and it seems coated or lank.

  19. One last thing I forgot to mention. When I emailed Hairprint that the Bamboo shampoo wasn’t getting my hair clean, they mentioned that some of their clients have luck with Body Deli Shampoo and Conditioner and
    Miessence Desert Shampoo and Conditioner. I was wondering if you know these brands and what do you think of them? Thank you!

  20. Hello everyone,

    Thanks so much for all your GREAT info in sharing your experiences with using the Hairprint… I only wish everyone also shared their natural hair color as well as it appears there are different results accordingly. I am a true light/medium blonde, but since hitting 48, my color now contains about 20% greys, so I was wondering:
    1. if anyone with similar natural blonde color like mine color has had good results using the Hairprint?… and;
    2. if so, what color they used of Hairprints to cover their overall hair (so as to match as closely as possible the natural color)?;
    3. Also, how long did the Hairprint color last for you?
    Sincere appreciation,
    Brandy 🙂

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