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Learn more about COLOUR ALCHEMY’s prismatic hair colour and discover how the human eye perceives colour.

White prism on black background
Scarab beetle and COLOUR ALCHEMY products


Discover the 'magick' of prismatic colour.

Collaborating with THEUNSEEN Beauty we have crafted a truly innovative product, COLOUR ALCHEMY. It's inspired by colours found in nature but designed with science – our magical formula is delivered in the form of five prismatic, colour-changing hair dyes, specially designed for dark hair bases...

What exactly is prismatic colour?

The effect COLOUR ALCHEMY has on the hair is a replication of structural colour – a visual effect or elemental phenomenon that can only be found in nature and complex molecular anatomies. Think of the spectacular, shimmering iridescence of the scarab beetle, a peacock's feature or the wings of a butterfly.

Unlike static pigmented colour each COLOUR ALCHEMY shade scatters the light in a range of kaleidoscopic hues, which transform in response to temperature. This process is illustrated by the rainbow spectrum bursting from the 'prism experiment'.

If a beam of white light is passed through a prism, a spectrum of different colours can be seen to emerge, including Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. This is the visible light spectrum as we see it; each of these colours has its own wavelength within the range of 400 – 700 nanometres.

The prism refracts light, enabling white light to separate into its individual components. A similar effect can be seen in a rainbow: when it rains, water droplets in the air refract the rays of sunlight; the curvature of the Earth produces the bow effect we are so familiar with.

Beam of light passing through prism
Multi-coloured eye

So, how to we see colour?

For us to perceive colour there has to be a source of light. In simple terms light is made up of wavelengths and each wavelength is a particular colour. The colour we see is a result of which wavelengths is reflected back to our eyes.

Natural light comes from the sun and is described as pure, white light; all other sources of light are man-made. Light is in fact radiation in the form of electromagnetic vibrations from the sun, similar to the pulses of sound that come from hi-fi speakers. The human eye registers these waves of energy, and the brain interprets the information as colour. 

We can only detect a limited range of these vibrations, known as the visible light spectrum, between wavelengths of 400–700 nanometre. The known electromagnetic spectrum ranges from 0.01 nanometre or less at one end of the scale (gamma rays), through to 0.1 metres or more at the other (radio waves).

Colour and Colouring Agents

Light can be influenced by two important rules of nature, additive colour and subtractive colour. Additive colour is simply colour generated from a light source, for example directly from the sun or a light bulb. However, when light hits an object it is influenced by the properties or colouring agents of that object. With COLOUR ALCHEMY we have been able to manipulate this by adhering micro-prisms to the hair's surface creating instant, holographic effects – responsive to temperature and light in tonal spectrums that appear and disappear.

Multi-coloured hair
Multi-coloured surface

Atomic Structure

Ultimately, it is the atomic or molecular structure of an object that influences how much light is reflected and absorbed. A molecule is constructed of a number of atoms, which are constantly moving around in ‘intermolecular space’; a process called the Brownian movement. These Brownian movements are similar to light. 

If the vibration frequency is similar or synchronised, the light wave is reflected. If the vibration frequency is not similar, the light wave is absorbed. This explains why the sun easily warms up black objects; black surfaces absorb all light waves and this extra energy warms up the material, whereas white objects reflect the sunlight and therefore absorb less energy.

Are you ready to see the unseen? Keep an eye on @schwarzkopfpro for the latest COLOUR ALCHEMY

Where can I learn more?

Explore our range of colour seminars; developed to enhance the skills you already have and help you do what you do, better.

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EDUCATION Seminars eAcademy


Master any in-salon service by staying on-trend with the latest colouring tips and tricks and essential product knowledge over on the ASK Education eAcademy.