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Brief Published: 21 Feb 2017

Fire: Colour-Changing Hair Dye

Fire (Photographer: Gabor Szantai/Hair: Kierna Tudor)

A new dye based on thermochromic ink makes hair change colour with fluctuations in temperature and light – showcasing multidimensional innovation for the haircare market with strong youth appeal.

Called Fire, the product changes the colour of the hair based on external factors such as heat, cold, and the environment the wearer is in. Launched amid the buzz of London Fashion Week by UK product development company The Unseen, the black dye turns red with heat, while others transform from black to white, silver to powder blue, blue to white, and black to yellow. 

Fire also promises this chameleon-like wow factor without causing any damage to the hair. Regular thermochromic ink is toxic to human skin, but this barrier was removed via polymeric stabilisation – a process that wraps chain-like molecules (polymers) around the irritating elements.

Lauren Bowker, material alchemist and founder of The Unseen, was inspired by a scene in 90s film The Craft where a teenage witch changes her hair colour with a spell. “It’s about bringing sci-fi to real life, and why not?” she told Forbes. “Material science is now at the point of bringing all the things we imagined as kids to life.” For more on how magic and spirituality are driving beauty innovation, see Make It Magic

The company is working on a permanent version of the dye (it currently only lasts a few washes) and is looking for commercial licensing opportunities to bring this innovation to market. Bowker hopes to see Fire on shelves by the end of 2017.