This “Magic” Hair Dye Changes Color Depending on Temperature

UK-based company The Unseen has recently revealed a revolutionary hair dye that can change  between two colors whenever the temperature around the user fluctuates. This ingenious new product is called FIRE and despite being based on science, it looks like magic.

Within fashion circles, The Unseen founder Lauren Bowker is known as ‘The Alchemist’. It might sound like an exaggeration, but she and her team have indeed had some remarkable breakthroughs in design and fashion. The Unseen has patented color-changing technology that has allowed the company to create a variety of bespoke inks and coatings. These can in turn be used to create clothes and accessories that change color depending on certain factors, like temperature and humidity. But their latest creation, FIRE – a specially formulated hair dye that causes the hair to change color whenever the temperature fluctuates has been drawing the most attention.

A chemist, fashion designer and businesswoman, Lauren Bowker says that she came up with the idea for FIRE while watching a scene from the 90’s teen movie “The Craft”, more specifically a scene where Robin Tunney’s character goes from brunette to platinum blond by simply combing her fingers through her hair. “It was in that moment that the penny kind of dropped,” Lauren said. “I was like, ‘We could do that.'” And she did.


Bowker and her team at The Unseen have come up with seven different semi-permanent hair dyes, each with different reactions to either the body’s temperature, or that of the surrounding environment. For example, one of them changes from black to crimson with a hint of orange whenever the user blushes or when their body temperature rises.  Another goes from white blond to an ice-y blue whenever you go outside and the temperature is under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Other dyes cause the hair to change color from silver grey to pastel pink, or  from red to green to blue, depending on various temperature changes.


According to WIRED Magazine, “When the temperature drops or rises, the carbon-based molecules at the core of the FIRE dye undergo a reversible reaction. Above a certain temperature change, one of the molecules in the carbon bond is more stable than the other, and so a reaction produces a molecule with a slightly different absorption of light, thus creating a different color.”


The “magic” color-changing dyes produced by The Unseen do contain some toxic elements, but then again, so do most other dyes on the market today. The company has made sure to reduce the levels of potentially harmful substances, replacing them with polymers, to prevent scalp irritation. The dye is temporary, and comes off after a few washes.


The Unseen is planing to eventually partner with hair-care companies to bring their innovative color-changing hair dyes to the market, but for the time being, Lauren Bowker homes that by showcasing the creative results of science, they can convince young people to work in this field. “Modern witchcraft and modern alchemy is possible,” she told FastCo Design. “All the sort of sci-fi visions from 15 years ago”—or 20, in the case of The Craft—”can now be true.”