Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Hair Formulating/testing Hair Color

  • Formulating/testing Hair Color

    Posted by CLiCS4U on September 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Hi All,
    Does anyone have experience with developing and testing hair color dyes? I’m interested in what the testing cycle is?
    I am in start up mode and have a chemist that is developing the line (he says 6-9mos. and stability testing another 3mos.) and then will hand it off to me to formulate our unique shades and do the comprehensive testing.
    I have been a colorist for over 20 years and look forward to creating the shades, but the testing phase is still a bit fuzzy. Could anyone help shed some light on how long that process may take before releasing it to our beta test customers? TIA!

    bill_toge replied 7 years, 5 months ago 2 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • bill_toge

    September 8, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve got a few years’ experience in that field

    what kind of dyes are they, i.e. are they direct or oxidative?

    also, if they’re oxidative, are they liquids or powders?

    in either case, formulating and testing different shades in the lab is the longest part of the process

  • CLiCS4U

    September 9, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    They are oxidative dyes. Crème haircolor.
    We are developing 7 base shades and 15 pure tone shades. Our chemist is creating the 22 components of the line and I will mix and match to create the shades.
    I’m wondering about the water test, the leave it in the sun test, the apply, then wash/rinse-reapply test, etc. I haven’t done that kind of testing so I’m trying to get as much info as I can to gauge our time to market as best I can.
    In your experience, should we be looking at the 6-9 mo. window he set, but assume it will be closer to 9mos. instead of 6?
    Thanks for the reply Bill.

  • bill_toge

    September 9, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    it all depends on how much previous experience they have creating oxidative dyes, how much manpower they’ve assigned to your project, and how high you are on their priority list

    if they don’t already have one to hand, creating a reasonably stable base for the colours could in itself take 6-8 weeks

    the water test, leave it in the sun test etc. are way above and beyond our normal procedures; that said, assuming they carry these tests out on seleced representative variants rather than all 22, I can’t imagine this testing would take up a huge amount of time

    when we create oxidative hair dyes, our routine testing procedure consists of determining whether or not the colour can be applied evenly and consistently, how easy it is to apply, how easy it is to wash out, and how stable the formula is in the final packaging

    I don’t know anything about your chemist’s background, experience, available resources or anything else, but I will say now that if we got a project like this tomorrow I’d quote the turnaround time for initial samples as 2-3 months, and that’d be a conservative estimate

  • CLiCS4U

    September 10, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks so much for the reply Bill!
    I found this informative article on The Journal of Cosmetic Science’s website and it isn’t just testing hair color, it’s a paper on also testing a patented color lock ingredient Polyquarternium 55.
    They tested the hair color extensively to be able to make the claim of the color lock. It’s insightful because it gives me more details and procedure than I had previously known. And, it clears up the discussion on whether or not we need color analysis equipment. We do :)  
    Do you have any equipment that you can recommend for testing purposes? I have been looking at some of the newer technology for spectrophotometers and it looks like you can get good equipment for $2-3K, does this sound right?

    Here is the article:


  • bill_toge

    September 13, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    personally I’d contact the manufacturer of that raw material and ask if they can carry out similar tests using your finished product (which I assume contains that material)

    unless you plan to offer testing services for other people, any equipment you buy to carry out this test will likely be used once and spend the rest of its life gathering dust

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