If you were ever a kid, chances are you owned a “mood ring”. This intriguing piece of jewelry would come with a card that told you what “mood” you were in when the “stone” turned a certain color.
The rings may not have really known your mood.
They were (and still are) made of liquid crystals that respond to even minute changes in temperature. As they respond, their internal structures actually twist into a different shape, and this alters their color by changing which wavelengths they reflect or absorb.
So, disappointing science lesson aside, mood rings were cool. Perhaps this is why a similar technology has been put to use in hair dye.
Before we look at that particular product, though, let’s take a moment to understand how we got here. After all, we’ve seen some amazing hair color trends emerging in the last few years. It could be said that the immense popularity of the “granny hair”, in which young women stripped and colored their hair a variety of grayish whites and blues, was the beginning.
Since then, we have seen trends like succulent hair (dyed to match the popular plants), Light Bright hair (dyed to emulate the bold hues of the popular children’s game of the 1960s and 70s…yes, there is a theme here!), and even Lisa Frank hair (packed with the dazzling hues of the 1980s icon noted for stickers, notebooks and other items). We’ve seen hair in dazzling solo colors that range from electric blue to deep green, purple and glowing pink.
Yet, the “mood ring” hair, formally known as “Fire” dye may be the most amazing of them all. Created by Lauren Bowker, the scientific artist who runs an art house named The Unseen, it is the end result of high fashion meeting weird science.
Meet Fire Dye
Making its debut at the spring 2017 London Fashion Week, the dye was actually inspired by a late 1990s movie, The Craft. In one scene, a character (who is a witch) is able to change the color of her hair. This led the designer to head straight to her lab and find a way to turn fantasy into reality.
She identified some pigments that would respond to changes in temperature. As she has explained, “When heat hits the pigment, or if the cool hits the pigment, it changes the bonds of the chemistry to give you a different color, so it’s like a chemical reaction.”
This semi-permanent dye will change into a variety of pastel hues – both vibrant and subtle. The base hue is a bright red, but this can shift into any number of hues based on the user’s choices. The product video shows a model whose hair turns from a golden and red array of hues to a deep green and black. Clearly it is incredibly dramatic and likely to launch endless trends when it hits the market.
Yes, and that’s where we hit a snag…as the title of this says, it is “on the horizon”. Though the Fire dye was a tremendous success when it appeared on the runways, it has yet to actually launch. The firm is currently “looking for commercial partners to help take the innovation to market.”
When they do they also intend to release another of their innovative dyes. This is one in which the dyes change structure to refract rather than reflect light. This would make holographic hair a possibility in the near future, too.
So, keep an eye out for the appearance of the Fire dyes and products from The Unseen. When they do arrive, it is likely that you and everyone you know will be eager to get “environment responsive” hair color!