Good news for any hair dying enthusiasts, as scientists have found a new technique to use a byproduct of making fruit syrup in the manufacturing of a new type of dye, Sky News reports.
This discovery comes courtesy of researchers at the University of Leeds who experimented with the leftover blackcurrant skins used in the production of Ribena fruit juice syrup. Specifically, it was Richard Blackburn, a color chemist at the school, who set out to find some sort of alternative to the highly chemical and potentially irritating dyes on the market currently.
What he found was that these skins contained an especially high concentration of anthocyanins, a pigment which provides color to other types of berries. These anthocyanins remain in the skins after they are used for making syrups or other products, meaning they can easily and efficiently be recycled for use in things like all-natural hair dyes.
Currently, this pigment is used in parts of the world as a natural food coloring, though Professor Blackburn had other ideas. According to him, anthocyanins have always been shown to bind well to proteins. Given that hair is made primarily of protein, he got the idea to try dying hair with it.
Through the use of different forms of technology, the pigments in blackcurrant skins can be extracted for use as dyes, allowing hair to be dyed in blue, purple, violet, red, and pink colors. Not only that, other colors can be made by mixing the pigments with other natural pigments from other sources, essentially making a completely natural and non-toxic version of almost any hair color one could imagine, lasting for around 12 washes according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
While not yet hitting shelves, it is expected that the first line of these blackcurrant-derived hair dyes will be available for purchase sometime this summer.