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Last updated on November 3rd, 2017
When I scheduled my third hair appointment for Hairprint, it became apparent to me that I should tell you about this unique hair product. It differs from all the other hair dyes because instead of coloring the hair, it restores its natural color.
After I read the ingredients of permanent hair dyes (read my reviews of Madison Reed, Organic Color Systems, and my thoughts on so-called organic hair dyes ) and even semi-permanent hair dyes, and saw numerous potentially harmful ingredients, I decided that I should avoid them. In the meantime, my hair started showing some grey and as much as I want to avoid toxins, vanity is not a stranger to me.
About a year ago, I tried henna and while it worked well, I wanted to find a product less messy, more predictable, and that hair salons could adopt easily.
I may have found just that. There is a new company based in Sausalito, California, called Hairprint. Hairprint has been invented by a gentleman named John Warner, Ph.D. (By the way, Dr. Warner seems to be a pretty impressive guy. If you Google him, you will learn that Dr. Warner is a co-founder and leader in the “green chemistry” movement. It also appears that in 2014, he was awarded the Perkin Medal, widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American chemistry.
There are two types of hair pigmentation: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Hairprint restores eumelanin- the brown spectrum pigment in hair. So far Hairprint works for light brown, brown, and black hair only. Hairprint does not work for red heads or blondes. Not yet, at least.
When hair pigment is compromised, our hair color becomes dull and turns grey. When I learned that permanent hair dyes remove the hair pigment to replace it with chemical color, I decided that it’s not something I want for me.
According to the people at Hairprint, Hairprint places pre-cursors of eumelanin onto the hair – molecules small enough to slip under the cuticle. Inside the hair, they polymerize into a granular protein that does not easily leave the hair because it has linked up into larger molecules. Intriguing, right?
To hear from Dr. Warner himself about how this scientist breakthrough product works, click here.
Let’s look at the ingredients together – my favorite part.
I love looking at the ingredients and figuring out how products are made, and if marketing claims are consistent with the ingredients.
Bicarbonate of soda
This is also called baking soda; we use it in baking and cleaning, and some people use it to wash their hair – i.e., the “no-poo” hair washing method. I tried the “no-poo” method for the sake of research (it’s crazy what I am willing to do for research) and I do not recommend it). In concentrated amounts, baking soda is too alkaline and abrasive for regular use on hair. However, I find it very helpful and harmless, if used properly, for removing silicone and waxes that are often deposited into our hair by conventional shampoos.
This is also called soda ash or washing soda. It is rated only 1 out 10 (10 being the most toxic) in the Skin Deep database. Irritation is one of the concerns of course. I would not apply it to my hair or skin as is but I feel comfortable with it in a small amount as part of Hairprint’s formulation. By the way, sodium carbonate can be used in baked goods preparations.
This is an extract powder made from velvet beans, which are tropical legumes known for their various medicinal properties. L-dopa found in Mucuna pruriens extract is the precursor to eumelanin. Mucuna pruriens contains a natural form of L-dopa as many other plants, animals, and humans do. L-dopa is made and used in the human body all the time as a normal part of human biology.
Ferrous Gluconate can be used as a dietary supplement and as a nutrient. It is also known as iron, which has a vital function in combining with protein and copper to make hemoglobin.
Manganese Gluconate is another dietary supplement and nutrient. Manganese is important in the breakdown of amino acids and the production of energy.
This is a fine powder made from fossilized phytoplankton that is used in skin care or as a supplement. It can be too abrasive because of the high content of silica. To combat that, the diatomaceous earth used in the Hairprint formulation is of the smallest particle sizes possible and also not much is used. So I feel comfortable with it, considering that I did not observe any damage to my hair.
Hydrogen Peroxide (1.5%)
The concentration of hydrogen peroxide is half of what you buy at a drugstore and a fraction of what is used in chemical hair dyes. It is not used to to open the hair cuticles as are developers in conventional hair dyeing applications where they can go as high as 15% or more. By the way, our hair follicles naturally make hydrogen peroxide in small amounts.
Carbomer is the only synthetic ingredient made of petrochemical acrylic here. It is rated 1 in the Skin Deep database and does not seem to be harmful. The reason it has to be used in Hairprint is that it creates viscosity – i.e,, it makes it thicker so that it does not immediately run off the top of your head. However, according to Hairprint, it is completely inert, so it in no way interferes with the complex and delicate chemistry Hairprint is creating.
My Experience with Hairprint
Whoa! What an unusual list of ingredients! I do agree with the company that there are no harmful ingredients in Hairprint.
Because of the unique and intricate way Hairprint works with the chemistry of hair, you can imagine that the results will vary from person to person. You know me, I won’t ever lie to you so listen to me, please: I do not know how Hairprint will act on your hair. I know it has not worked for some people.
However, Hairprint has stated that it works better over time and encourages people to use it multiple times before forming an opinion as to its efficacy.
What I can tell you is how it worked for me. First of all, you should know that at present, I don’t have very much grey. Most of my grey hair is on my temples so when I have my hair loose, my grey hair is not very noticeable. At least, I’d like to think that. 🙂
Here is a closeup look of my grey temples.
I have now used Hairprint three times.
The second time, the result was better than the first. Take a look at the before and after pictures:
Again, by looking at the pictures, you can probably say, “whoa.” But again, as honest as I am, I want to tell you exactly what happened.
The first and second time, Hairprint did not cover my grey hair. But there was something to it that made me want to use Hairprint regularly. After the second application, I could still see some grey. However, it somehow camouflaged my grey hair so well that my husband and a lot of other people could not see it. It was such a bizarre experience. I could see it (probably because I knew exactly where to look), but I also felt like it was not there anymore if I did not stare straight where my grey hair was.
I also loved the fact that my hair got shiny (maybe that shine camouflaged the grey hair) and thicker and just for these two reasons alone I love Hairprint. They offer a product for people who do not have grey hair.
The overall color was a little darker at first than my natural color but after a week or so it returned to the color I had in my childhood – warm, rich brown.
The vibrant color and thicker texture lasted a month or so. However, even after the Hairprint wore off, I felt like I had fewer grey hairs than before.
So I decided to use Hairprint a third time. I went to see my wonderful hairdresser who is the only one I know in Marin County, California who uses it on her clients. Her name is Philippa and if you live close by ask me for her phone number.
After the third application, my grey temples were gone! So it is true that with every application it gets better! I am so happy! I keep looking in a mirror and enjoying the hair color I used to have in my childhood. The grey temples are gone. The product worked perfectly! Here is my picture right after the third application.
Is it hard to apply Hairprint?
Speaking of the application process, it looked easy when Philippa did it. Personally, I don’t have patience for anything related to DIY beauty. I like to leave all those procedures to professionals.
You can read application instructions on the Hairprint website. In short, if you did henna or any other hair color at home, Hairprint will be VERY easy for you. If you have never done hair color at home, you can still do it. Just watch demonstration videos and buy proper brushes, bibs, gloves, etc. Watch this video to see how easy it is to make the mixture.
By the way, Hairprint stains, so be careful. The good news is that if you stain your clothes, soak it in hot water with hydrogen peroxide for a few hours and it will come off.
All in all, it is the safest hair “coloring” treatment on the market. As for whether it works, I think you owe it to yourself to give it a try, especially if you do not have much grey hair or simply want more vibrant color and thicker hair. Hairprint also sells an anti-aging hair treatment for people who do not grey hair but want more healthier hair.
Update as of November 3, 2017
I am writing this almost two years after I first published my review of the Hairprint Color Restorer. Yes, I still use it! And to save money, I apply it at home now instead of going to a hairstylist. While it’s a little more work, it is not too bad. Just know that if you splash it, wipe it right away as it stains. To make it easier, I do not rinse after the first application.
Two years later, I have a bit more grey, not only on my temples but also on the top of my head. The Hairprint Color Restorer does not restore grey hair 100% (probably about 80%) and blends the rest so well that is hard to see it, if you do not know where to look. And it lasts me 4-5 months! Because this is not a permanent hair color, there is no color line. There is no hair damage. My hair is healthy and vibrant.
If you currently use shampoo/conditioner with coating agents (99% of shampoo do have them), for best results, discontinue its use 3 weeks before the Hairprint application, and wash your hair at least 2-3 times first with a Hairprint clarifying and at least once with a Hairprint chelating shampoo. For more tips on the application, visit the Hairprint Support Center, especially if you have dyed or bleached your hair.
If you have about 50% grey or more, the Hairprint Color Restorer most likely won’t work for you, and you might have to resort to chemical hair colors, unfortunately. To learn about how to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in permanent hair colors and which ones are the least harmful, head over here.
Where to buy Hairprint?
The company’s website. I used the services of Philippa Shenandoah because she is the only one I knew who applied Hairprint in Marin County, CA. If you are not up for applying Hairprint yourself at home, you might want ask your hairdresser to apply it for you.
And if you are a hairstylist, head over here.
In conclusion, I am SO happy that Hairprint exists and my hair’s natural color is restored. Ask me any questions you may have. As always I love to hear from you. And if you have a Hairprint application-related question, visit the Hairprint Q & A section.
Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk by American Cancer Society
Disclaimer: This post has an affiliate link, which means I will get a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you. Please also know that I didn’t finally decide to recommend this product until after it worked for me. It took me almost 7 months to test this product for your benefit.
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