Scientists pin the blame for our 'bad hair days' on copper pipes
IT IS one of the inexplicable frustrations of modern life, but scientists believe they have found the cause of those bad hair days when your locks just will not do what you want.
Researchers discovered that traces of copper in the water from the pipes in our homes can damage hair.
They found the metal gradually builds up in hair, helping to speed up damage caused by sunlight, causing split ends, fly-away strands and less shine, and making it harder to manage. The effect is said to be more pronounced in those who use hair dyes.
The beauty products firm Procter & Gamble (P&G) is now attempting to exploit the findings by developing new dyes and a range of shampoos.
Dr Jennifer Marsh, who led the research, said: "Copper is not present in large amounts but it is important as it is catalytically active. The copper comes in from the tap water and the hair acts like a sponge, picking it up over time."
The researchers analysed hair from 450 women from around the world and found that they had varying levels of copper in their hair.
Low levels are thought to occur naturally in drinking water, but purifying processes used by water companies can add more.
The researchers, whose findings are published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, found that treating hair with chelants – chemicals used in washing powder – could reduce the action of the copper.