Here’s a little inside Industrie secret: most of us have a nerd-streak about a mile wide. When we catch wind of something that involves science or technology in an innovative way, we start to resemble dogs with bones; we won’t let it go until we’ve dug in deep. Case in point: a product that claims to change the pigment of gray hair, naturally. Not just cover it, not make it a different color—change it. Here’s the thing that made our collective ears perk up: the science was developed in part, by studying bugs.
Our discovery of Hairprint was a complete fluke. While doing some research on another Industrie project, we stumbled upon an article from someone who had tried it. Curious, we visited the site and like any normal person who is looking for more information, we sent an email to the generic “info” email address listed. Within an hour, the president of the company called and told us his fascinating story. We’re sharing it with you because we find it an incredibly interesting concept, and frankly—that’s our job. As of today, we haven’t had a chance to try it for ourselves, but if that ever changes we will let you know what happens, in the name of science.
What Is It?
Hairprint is a natural, food grade hair dye that replicates natural hair color. What this means, is that if someone wanted to color their gray hair, without getting caught up in the perpetual cycle of color upkeep, they could. It also negates any color-matching concerns that many non-color users have when making the decision to cover their grays.
Hairprint was started mostly by accident when its inventor, Dr. John Warner, was contracted by a major hair color manufacturer to find a way to remove lead acetate, a known neurotoxin, from their product while still maintaining effectiveness. This initial project–which was eventually shelved– led to the development of a product that worked and was safe, but had an incredibly long processing time and required cumbersome equipment. Some intriguing discoveries about hair structure were made in this development process and Dr. Warner was unable to get it out of his mind. Eventually, the stars aligned in such a way that he was able to pick up where he left off and Hairprint was born.
What About The Bugs?
You can read the in-depth report on the science behind Hairprint on their site (trust us, it’s a fascinating read), but we will do our best to summarize, here:
Long before his foray into the world of beauty, Dr. Warner studied biomimicry, or how to synthesize natural processes. An area of fascination that was introduced to him by a colleague at the time was the way that the exoskeletons of insects change in color and permeability when shed and regrown. Insects continually shed and regrow their exoskeletons, which are actually just large cuticles, throughout their life cycles. When it is first exposed, the new exoskeleton is almost white in color and highly susceptible to water loss. Within just a few hours, however, the cuticle hardens and changes color to a deep brown or black.
Are you seeing where this is going?
Many years later, when Dr. Warner found himself confronted with the challenge of developing a safe alternative to lead acetate, he remembered his colleague’s exoskeleton research and applied the findings to human hair. They found that human hair had many of the same qualities as the insect exoskeleton and acted in much the same way in regards to color molecules and water retention (which is why gray hair is so much drier than hair with pigment). Furthermore, they found that each individual’s hair that they tested had a completely unique makeup, much like a fingerprint (or…Hairprint) and reacted in its own way to the test product, producing its own unique color as a result.
How Does It Work?
Much like how the Reverse Flash is the exact opposite of The Flash (see? told you we were nerdy), Hairprint is the complete opposite of conventional hair color. Instead of stripping natural pigment out of hair and replacing it with synthetic, Hairprint restores eumelanin, which is a derivative of melanin–or, what causes the color of your skin and eyes. It is a naturally occurring pigment that causes dark brown and black hair. As lighter shades have a completely different chemical makeup, Hairprint can only be used on darker shades at this point. By adding, as opposed to replacing, Hairprint is able to restore the health of gray hair, along with the pigment.
Because of the ingredients used, Hairprint does not “wash out.” While there is some initial fade age in the first few washes following an application, subsequent applications will only ever need to be applied to new growth. So, users will simply continue with root touch-ups, after their initial application. Forever.
We’re not here to sell you on Hairprint. We don’t know if it really works or not. We’ve never met the people or seen the product in action. We simply applaud anyone with the drive to step into a lab and whip up something so original, so out-of-the-box, that it makes us wonder for just a moment what year it is and where the hoverboards are.