News and Features

ME+ hair colourant product from Wella

In response to various queries, here’s a republication of an article we produced back in 2013.  It’s been 20 years in development, but now Proctor & Gamble (P&G) have announced they’ve developed a new molecule that offers permanent colour performance with a reduced risk of inducing allergy*.

The new ingredient, 2-methyoxymethyl-p-phenylenediamine, is called ME+ for short and its development has been enabled by the use of the latest scientific computer modelling techniques. “The development of ME+ represents a major step forward in hair dye technology, enabling the creation of hair colourants that reduce the risk of inducing allergy compared to the PPD/PTD based options”, comments Dr Bianca Piraccini, a dermatologist from the University of Bologna in Italy.

Because hair colourant allergy is such a serious issue it’s important to understand exactly what is being claimed for ME+.

Allergy has two phases. The first is called ‘induction’, when the allergy is developing but shows no symptoms. The second phase is called ‘elicitation’ which is when the symptoms can actually appear. The claim for ME+ is that it has lower potency than PPD/PTD, and so induction of allergy is less likely. But it still could elicit reactions, especially in those who already sensitised to PPD/PTD. As Dr Piraccini says: “Severe allergic reactions can still happen, but the induction of an allergy is less likely with the new ME+ technology”.

ME+ is a development of ME PPD introduced by Schwarzkopf in their Senea Colour range several years ago, hence the ‘+’. The full chemical name of the PPD replacement in Senea was hydroxyethyl-p-phenylenediamine sulphate and this was assessed by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety in 2008 as a strong sensitiser.

The full chemical name for the new ME+ is 2-methyoxymethyl-p-phenylenediamine. It is also an analogue of PPD and was assessed by the Commission early in 2013. The Scientific Committee’s Report concludes that ME+ is a moderate skin sensitiser.

What we don’t yet know is exactly what P&G will do with ME+ and how they will market the products containing it. Professionals will be watching closely to see what further information emerges from Wella. For example, how will they make it absolutely clear that using ME+ products still presents a risk of allergy and that skin testing will still be an essential part of the colouring process?

“We are currently working with a variety of channels to disseminate the information on ME+. One key way of doing so will be through hair stylists and salons, as ME+ will first be introduced as a Salon-exclusive product” Dr Ruth Rust of P&G told us.  P&G say they are working closely with dermatologists to share the properties of ME+ further

Wella currently plan to launch the new ME+ molecule as part of their Salon Professional portfolio in early 2014. The product will be called Koleston Perfect Innosense and it will come to salons in 22 shades on launch.

Salons are still advised to carry out an allergy alert test 48 hours before each use of hair dye, this includes the new products containing the ME+ molecule.

*Although the risk of developing new allergy (allergy induction) is reduced with the new ME+ molecule, there remains a risk of allergic reaction, that can be severe. This technology is not intended to be used by consumers who already have a hair dye allergy. Everyone should perform an Allergy Alert Test 48h before each colouration. If somebody has ever experienced an allergic reaction to hair colorants, they should not colour their hair.