You might think you’re leaving chemistry behind in high school, but it’s actually an essential part of our cosmetology program. Chemistry is a part of every cosmetology fact you’ll learn in beauty school. Chemistry is a big part of hair, hair color, relaxers and makeup. That’s why understanding how science and beauty work together is so important as you embark on your cosmetology career.
1. Chemistry in Your Hair
Quick cosmetology fact: your hair is composed of proteins made up of long chains of amino acids. These amino acids are connected with chemical bonds. The more bonds you have, the curlier your hair is. The whole top of your head is structured around chemistry! If you want to become a hair stylist, you’ll need to know how every hair product works and how it reacts to different hair chemistry because no one is exactly the same.
2. Chemistry in Hair Color
The chemistry of hair color will decide if you’ll damage hair or keep it healthy when changing from blonde to brunette or brunette to bright pink. Stylists often use bleach to lighten hair, and this works because bleach reacts to hair’s melanin. Melanin gives hair its color. When the bleach gets to it, your hair loses its pigment. Permanent hair coloring is the process of embedding small molecules into the hair’s shaft. When the molecules reach your hair, they expand, making it difficult to wash them out. From the application to the processing, cosmetologists monitor these chemical reactions. Everyone’s hair is a little different, so skilled stylists know to keep their eye on the hair color. Who knew there was so much science behind hair coloring!
3. Chemistry in Relaxers
Want straight hair? Well straightening hair is a chemical process, as well. Remember all those bonds we talked about? Relaxers break them down. The more bonds in a piece of hair, the curlier it is, so relaxers have to break apart the old bonds. Stylists then use a neutralizer to rebond hair into a straight form. This is a very powerful chemical process, and the most skilled stylists know that understanding the chemistry behind it is key to a successful style.
4. Chemistry in Makeup
Cosmetologists need to know the ingredients and the chemical makeup of their makeup (pun intended.) This is especially important if your guest has an allergy, has sensitive skin or is vegan. The chemical composition of makeup will determine what products cosmetologists use on their guests. Knowing about the ingredients and how they work on skin allows makeup artists to create the best beauty looks possible.
Studying chemistry doesn’t end in high school, and if you loved experimenting, then cosmetology is the career for you! The cosmetology industry is where science, beauty and creativity all come together. You can learn what a cosmetology career (and education!) look like here.