Safe Hair Dyes to Be Made from Shetland Seaweed

Scientists are working on a new type of cosmetic products

By on July 24th, 2009 18:31 GMT
Because of the increased concern over the safety of currently available hair dyes, researchers at The University of Leeds are now working on a project meant to bring to market such products, and other beauty treatments as well, made from Shetland seaweed. Not only will the products be healthier, but they will also be considerably more environmentally friendly, EurekAlert informs.

The idea to start this project came about because of the pressing urgency to find something that did not include the many chemicals and allergens found in today’s dyes. The sum of £500,000 has been invested in the two-year project so far and, from what researchers are saying, chances are the revolutionary products will reach international markets soon enough.

“Scientists at the University of Leeds are planning to extract chemical compounds from different species of seaweed and use them to develop a new range of hair dyes. The naturally sourced compounds will be used by scientists as substitutes for synthetic ingredients that can be found in most hair dyes currently on the market. Many compounds in existing products are allergens and certain chemicals, notably p-phenylenediamine (PPD), have been linked to more serious, long-term health effects. The project also hopes to develop other safer and more environmentally friendly cosmetics, including hair treatments and skin care, from the compounds extracted from the Shetland seaweed.” the aforementioned publication says.

While the products resulted at the end of the project will certainly be environmentally friendly, they will not be green, researchers promise. As a matter of fact, they are positive they can extract from the seaweed colors such as blond, brown and even black, so women will have a wide range of options to choose from.

“We are hoping to be able to offer people a real alternative to current hair dyes that contain chemicals which are known to be very bad for you. Seaweed is especially suited to being used in cosmetics because it has evolved very clever techniques to protect itself from weathering. And cosmetics are all about protection from ageing and the elements.” project leader Dr. Richard Blackburn explains. Co-researcher Prof. Christopher Rayner agrees in adding that, “We can make a range of colors using these natural compounds because the variety of British seaweed species is so diverse.” 

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