Home » Courses » Understanding Artificial Haircolor


You should always be more knowledgeable than your clients, this is the only way you can establish yourself as an expert in their eyes. Do you agree? Well, our clients are bombarded with information about different product lines, artificial haircolor types, ingredients to avoid, etc. this means you need to be ready to have high-level conversations with them on this topic.

This lesson will set you up to understand artificial haircolor better, but also help you better defend (or attack) certain ingredients based on facts, not branding propaganda.

I highlight the most important details and talking points, so you can educate clients confidently when they have questions.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

    • How to Choose the Correct Type of Artificial Haircolor
    • Difference between Direct and Indirect Dye Molecules
    • How Oxidative Color Works
    • Ammonia VS Ammonia-Free Options
    • What MEA is
    • What are PPDs
    • What PPD’s are and why we use them
    • How to realistically perform a patch test

By the end of the lesson, you should be well-versed in all the different types of artificial haircolor, different types of dye molecules, why ammonia needs to exist, why ammonia alternatives exist, what paraphenylene diamines (PPDs) are, PPD allergies, and what to do if there’s a sensitivity to PPDs.

After purchasing this lesson, my biggest piece of advice is to watch the video first, and then watch it again while answering the workbook questions. It’s important that you actually understand your answers so you can remember this information while working behind the chair.

This Single Lesson Purchase Includes 1 video lesson (31 minutes) and 1 workbook.

*If you’re interested in purchasing all three lessons in Haircolor Foundations Course, please click here.

Meet Your Teacher

Heather Ward Kepshire, Creator

  • Educated in San Francisco
  • Refined in Boston
  • Thrived Everywhere Else


I’m a hairstylist and a haircolor curriculum creator. I know first hand that none of us receives the haircolor education we thought we would get in Beauty School, no matter how much we paid for it. When I graduated and passed my State Boards I knew virtually nothing about haircolor formulation.


Yet still 15 years later, newly licensed hairstylists continue to struggle like I once did with haircolor formulation because they are not being taught how to formulate haircolor, consult with a client, or build a loyal following.


I am bridging the gap between the Beauty School education you received, and all the things you need to know about haircolor formulation to help you thrive behind the chair quickly.


Every hairstylist deserves the chance to have a profitable career, regardless of the salon they work in or the brand of products they use. If you want to make more money, feel more confident with haircolor formulation, and get so popular with clients you have no choice but to keep raising your prices, you’re in the right place.

Understanding Artificial Haircolor
  • 1 Video Lesson
  • 1 Workbook
Haircolor Foundations Bundle
  • 3 Video Lessons
  • 3 Workbooks
  • Salon Exercises
12 Lesson Master Class
  • 12 Video Lessons
  • 12 Workbooks
  • 12 Workbook Answer Keys
  • Salon Exercises
  • Model Release Forms
  • Headsheets
  • Color Wheels
  • Underlying Pigment Chart
  • Color Maps

Course & Understanding Artificial Haircolor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts immediately after purchase! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish.


What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.


How can color education be brand-neutral?

It’s simple, color theory is just science and rules. Every color line will have their own nuances, but this is all the real information you need to get you up to speed and formulating confidently.


What are PPDs in hair color?

PPD’s are very present in dark hair color, like level 5 and lower, the darker the color, the more PPD’s are present.  The issue is, PPD’s are the common culprit when someone has an allergic reaction to artificial hair color, but PPD-free hair color has a similar replacement to PPDs that causes a similar reaction.  Truly PPD-free color doesn’t offer the depth, coverage and longevity that the PPD containing version does.


How to do a patch test?

With any new haircolor client, you should do a patch test prior to their color service, typically during a color consultation appointment.  A great way to do it is to mix a level 10 haircolor with 10 volume developer, apply a dab of the color to the inside of the client’s arm, they can wash it off after 30 minutes and 24 hours is enough time to know if the client has had an allergic reaction. 


Is it better to use ammonia free hair color?
Ammonia is an ingredient in hair color that helps facilitate the overall performance of the product.  Choosing an ammonia-free option versus an ammonia containing option is entirely up to you depending on what your end result needs to be, what the client’s texture is, what the client’s condition of hair is, etc.  There’s no right answer, but in general you should pick a product that does the job with the least amount of stress placed on the hair.