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Bye bye pricey salon trips: Ribena hair dye is actually a thing

Who knew berries could create gorgeous hair colours?

Sophie Hamilton

A visit to the hairdressers to colour your hair can be an expensive affair, plus there's the worry of chemicals within hair dye to think about and possible allergic reactions. Well those issues could soon be in the past thanks to a new natural hair dye created from Ribena berries. Yep that's right, your favourite squash could be the answer to covering your roots. It sounds weird but is actually a clever use of leftovers.

The University of Leeds has developed a hair dye made from Anthocyanin colour pigments found in blackcurrants, which is due to go on sale this summer. Don't worry, your hair won't look like Ribena – the chemists have created a technology that can mix reds, blues and purples with a natural yellow to give a range of hair shades.

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Photo credit: ribena.co.uk

Colour chemist Dr. Richard Blackburn and organic chemist Professor Chris Raynor worked together on the dyes. Dr. Blackburn said: "Because of issues and concerns around conventional dyes, we wanted to develop biodegradable alternatives that minimise potential risks to health and offer consumers a different option."

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He added: "Anthocyanins are pigments that provide colour to most berries, flowers, and many other fruits and vegetables. They are non-toxic, water-soluble and responsible for pink, red, purple, violet, and blue colours and are widely used as natural food colorants all over the world."

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Professor Rayner explained that blackcurrant skins remain as a waste product after being used to make products such as Ribena. The skins have high levels of anthocyanins and because we drink so much Ribena, there's a huge supply of the natural colour. They extract the colour using a water-based process and special filters.

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So who's up for a splash of Ribena hair dye then? We're so giving it a go.

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