Lauren Bowker, the founder of the London-based material design studio, The Unseen, now surely can be called a modern-aged alchemist. She is already known for launching a collection of color-changing leather purses, but now she went further and created color-changing hair dye. It is exactly what it sounds like – the dye reacts to your body temperature changes and shifts relatively.

Modern Witch Lauren Browker

Browker admitted that the idea of this product struck her when she was rewatching The Craft and the iconic hair-color-changing scene. “It was in that moment that the penny kind of dropped,” says Bowker, “I was like, ‘We could do that.’”

Well, actually Browker is quite related to witchcraft, she grew up in Reed, very close to Pendle Hill where women were infamously hung in 1612 after being accused of murdering people with witchcraft. “I have always been into the occults and into mixing stuff,” she says to Dazed. “Even as a kid I used to mix bath potions, and was really hands-on with the stuff I had around me, making new products out of them, without even knowing I was doing it.”

How Modern-Day Witch Has Created The First Color-changing Hair Dye

However, behind the magic. there is a fact that Browker is a talented scientist who finds fascinating ways to show her skills. She experimented with colour-changing materials for a long time. Bowker has used her skills to create color-shifting crystal headpieces for Swarovski, a jacket that responds to air pollution and now her latest project FIRE – hair dye that changes color as temperature drops and rises. Unseen is launching the project at London Fashion Week with a series of videos that showcase the technology.

How Does It Work?

“When heat hits the pigment, or if the cool hits the pigment, it changes the bonds of the chemistry to give you a different color, so it’s like a chemical reaction,” says Bowker in the interview.

How Modern-Day Witch Has Created The First Color-changing Hair Dye

Unseen team has worked out seven different semi-permanent hair dyes, each with its own unique reaction to either bodily or environmental temperature. Like, there is black hair dye that shifts to crimson, with a hint of fire-y orange, when you blush—or your body temperature rises. “It will change if you get embarrassed, or if there’s someone in the room you fancy,” says Bowker. Also, there is white blond that changes to an ice-y blue when you go outside on a cold day. So what we did was look at data patterns of weathers and the environment in different countries and tailor the color changes to correlate with those,” comments Bowker.

How Modern-Day Witch Has Created The First Color-changing Hair Dye

FIRE uses the same thermochromic ink used in Hypercolor shirts that were popular back in the 90s, but made safe to be used on the skin and hair. It uses “less toxic” materials, such as irritants that are wrapped in polymers to minimize the damage to your hair and scalp. In theory, it shouldn’t be any more harmful than the dye you buy at the store.

How Modern-Day Witch Has Created The First Color-changing Hair Dye

Of course, it still needs to be refined and fully assessed for safety before you can buy it. But anyway, it is not one of those projects that will take ages to get on the supermarket shelves.

Like all Unseen projects FIRE hair dyes are eye-catching, consumer-facing products that attract lots of attention. The company also has some serious works in the health sector, bur they are not yet public. In fact, Unseen shows a high level of development when it comes to science sphere. Bowker says that before creating FIRE ans experemeting with hair dyes, they were researching how the body responds to extreme heat and cold, and the ways we can detect its discomfort. Still, she can’t say what was the purpose of this research, she assures it’s the kind of materials science that might be useful for designing, for example, better sportswear.

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