Team:HUST-China/Human Practices 01

Human Practices | iGEM HUST-China

Human Practices

Part 01 Discover and analyze the problems

At present, perming and dyeing hair has become a trend and a new trend of beauty. However, in China, the popularity of perming and dyeing is not as expected. Many people have the desire to improve their image by perming and dyeing, but it has not been realized in the end. After consulting the information, we found that there may be the following reasons: first of all, the most common chemical hair dyes on the market will cause considerable harm to the human body; secondly, the domestic public may have a certain degree of prejudice against the exaggerated styling; in addition, the potential value of the plant hair dye market is great, but the market share is very low.

In order to solve the problems above, our team decided to develop a healthy, humanized and reversible integrated ironing and dyeing product. While solving the problems, the plant dyes we choose have also achieved an environmentally friendly breakthrough and contributed to the world's environmental protection.

In order to confirm our cause analysis and extensively investigate the opinions of the public, we have conducted extensive surveys on people of different identities, consumers, entrepreneurs and relevant stakeholders by means of interviews, questionnaires and so on.

1 Interview

In order to explore consumers' concerns about the health hazards of chemical dyes and people's attitudes towards perming and dyeing, we selected a number of people of different ages and occupations to conduct interviews

1.1 Health Concerns

Young people

Young people

Figure 1: Young people

Chemical dyes do great harm to our hair, but nowadays many college students know the harm, but still choose to dye their hair. Today, college students seem to have become the main consumer group in the hair dyeing market. For this reason, we interviewed several college students. Through our interviews and investigations, we found that most college students are very aware of the harm caused by hair dyeing, and they are also very worried about it. After the interview, we found that some people who use chemical dyes to dye their hair more or less have hair health problems, such as poorer hair quality, hair bifurcations and so on. Frequent use of chemical dyes leads to the deterioration of hair quality. The sequelae of appearance reduction such as hair loss, hair loss and bifurcation are the main reasons for college students to give up dyeing their hair. Most students who have dyed their hair or want to dye their hair say they will choose not to dye their hair if the dye makes their hair worse. For natural plant hair dyeing products, most students are very willing to try and accept, but a small number of students say that they doubt whether natural pigment hair dyeing can have the advantages of various color selectivity and high color fastness like chemical reagents. Some students said that the price of natural plant hair dyeing product is also the prime consideration of their choice of dye. College students who do not have a fixed income may have no choice but to choose relatively cheap chemical dyes.

Elderly people

In order to investigate the views of different age groups on hair dyeing and hair care, we interviewed the middle-aged and elderly people by means of online video. Through our interview, we found that more and more middle-aged and elderly people choose to dye their hair because of the increase in gray hair. Most people say that they are very supportive of hair dyeing, which can cover their silver hair and make a person more energetic in appearance, and their mentality will become younger when they see themselves younger. Many people say this is an act of killing two birds with one stone. Through our survey, we also found that people today are under great social pressure and a fast pace of life, resulting in a continuous decline in the age of silver-haired people, and many middle-aged people in their forties and fifties (not really old age) also have a lot of gray hair. This group is also one of the main consumers in the hair dyeing market. Compared with college students, this kind of hair dye consumers are different in their higher consumption and more pursuit of quality and raw materials. For them, the safety and health of dyes are more important. Many people choose dyes with advertising words such as "traditional Chinese medicine", "natural" and "health". They value health more than a variety of colors and cheap prices. Therefore, we believe that middle-aged and elderly group will be the main consumers of natural dyes.

Elderly people

Figure 2: Elderly people

1.2 Social Attitude

In addition to the health effects of dye reagents, the public's attitude towards hair dyeing is also an important factor restricting the freedom to perm and dye hair. In China, especially among the older generation, perming and dyeing hair, especially those with exaggerated shapes and colors, are often regarded as informal or too lively. Considering the universal practicality of the product, we investigated the attitudes of different classes towards hair dyeing. The overall survey results show that most people are not resistant to hair dyeing, and many people say they want to try. The main problem is that if you want to dye your hair, you need to dye it back, which not only do harms the quality of your hair, but also makes it more troublesome. Therefore, we imagine that the "fade" function will be added to the project, and the color can be faded by using other substances after dyeing the hair.

Company and employees


Figure 3: Company-and-employees

For individuals, dyeing hair shows personality, represents avantgarde and their attention towards appearance. But for employees at work, they may be tied up in order to maintain their appearance at a critical moment. For companies, employees should be loyal to their work when they are at work. If there are more such employees, it will increase unnecessary economic and time costs for the company. The boss said that enterprises need to have enterprise culture, regulations, and some restrictions. Company needs to regulate employees' behavior and appearance during work in order to maintain the image of the company. At the same time, the boss also said that apart from working hours, the company has no objection but respect all ideas of employees to manage their appearance and publicize their personality. When interviewing employees, we come to the conclusion that although most people have the desire to dye their hair, it is inconvenient or troublesome for them to go to work. Although the company does not restrict the behavior of individuals during their non-working hours, dyeing their hair after work and back to work for a day or two is both time-consuming, and it will do more harm than good for people who work in society. The person in charge said that he very supports the idea that employees have such an idea to dress themselves up. Employees do what they want to do without violating the company rules, and keeping a happy mood is also a guarantee for the boss

Teachers and students


Figure 4: Teachers-and-students

We interviewed a student and his counselor teacher from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. The feedback is that the teacher has no objection to hair dyeing. However, he believes that when a student is still a student at school, his main mind should be on study. There is still a lot of opposition to hair dyeing during class. Holidays, winter and summer holidays, such holiday time, students can do whatever he likes, including hair dyeing and perming. Students dye and perm their hair is their own choice, if he can feel happy from it, the external improvement will also increase self-confidence. For the students, we interviewed him separately and learned that his idea was similar to that of the counselor. When he's at school, he focuses on his studies and doesn't care about it at all. In addition, too conspicuous hair color, also reflects the individual personality publicity, may attract more attention, but the student's personality is quiet, he chose to give up hair color to maintain his serenity. May be during the holiday, a whim will want to try some new hair color, change the mental outlook. As a result, we are more certain that the market acceptance level of the "fading" design will be very high.


We came to the houses of several students and had an in-depth understanding of what parents think of hair dyeing. A small number of parents said that they could not accept their children to dye their hair because they would think that their children were not paying attention to their studies. But most parents show respect for their children's choice to dye their hair. They say that times are changing, external changes will not affect internal changes, hair dyeing is only a way to pursue fashion personality, they do not want their children to leave regrets on the way to grow up. After investigation, we found that most parents have something in common, that is, children are required not to dye their hair during school. Other parents say that hair dyeing is more harmful to their hair and do not want their children to try. However, after learning about our faded product concept, they expressed their interest. Such healthy and convenient products can not only allay the worries of parents, but also satisfy the will of children to show personality and pursue themselves.

2 Questionnaire

For thousands of years, people persist in aspiring after beauty, while beauty can't exist without people. Hair perming and dyeing had been a trend of the world since 4000 B.C.. Nowadays, though we could see a blooming hairdressing market of over $380 billion, glance into the deep-seated requirement of the market is needed. To have a clearer sight of this, we initiate a public survey about perming and dyeing and our idea of them.

Sample Status

Male : Female = 4 : 7.

Most around 18-30 and above 45.

50% have job under serious circumstances.

From left to right: Gender, Age, Vocation

Figure 5: From left to right: Gender, Age, Vocation

Did You Dare?!

Most did have perming and dyeing but mostly through the chemical method, and we all know what will happen when it comes to 'chemical' in human body.

From left to right: Have you ever had a perm?, Have you dyed your hair before?

Figure 6: From left to right: Have you ever had a perm?, Have you dyed your hair before?

From left to right: How did you have your perm? What kind of dye did you use?

Figure 7: From left to right: How did you have your perm? What kind of dye did you use?

The Latent Beast

Most people do concern about the danger behind chemical hairdressing. There is scream of new perming and dyeing method with less 'cost'.

From left to right: People's know-about of negative effects of perm, People's know-about of negative effects of dyeing

Figure 8: From left to right: People's know-about of negative effects of perm, People's know-about of negative effects of dyeing

Instant: In and Out, On and Off

Aside from damage, we find out that it is the time cost of getting the hair back to normal that is the main factor blocking people from trying perming and dyeing. Instead of having for days and weeks, what if we could shorten this time window into hours?

From left to right: Why didn't have a perm?, Why didn't have dyeing?

Figure 9: From left to right: Why didn't have a perm?, Why didn't have dyeing?

From left to right: Why don't choose potion perm?, Do you need a product of instant hair customizing or reverse reaction with simple operation.

Figure 10: From left to right: Why don't choose potion perm?, Do you need a product of instant hair customizing or reverse reaction with simple operation.

Mr. Tony Has a Light Touch and a Long Way to Go

Little damage, instant decolorization, DIY, environmentally friendly... With all these shining points, Mr. Tony still has a lot to conquer.

From left to right: Have you ever heard of plant-based dye?, Would you choose plant-based dye?

Figure 11: From left to right: Have you ever heard of plant-based dye?, Would you choose plant-based dye?

From left to right: What do you worry about plant-based dye?, What feature attracts you most?,  Is there anything else you are worry about?

Figure 12: From left to right: What do you worry about plant-based dye?, What feature attracts you most?, Is there anything else you are worry about?

The original questionnaire

3 Key Stakeholder

3.1 Hair Salon

In recent years, consumers' awareness of "green health" is getting stronger and stronger. In barber shops, people are more inclined to healthy and harmless green products than chemical ironing agents that do great damage to their hair. However, in China, the upstream of plant perming and dyeing industry is mainly the extraction of various colored plant components, dye processing equipment, etc. in the process of plant dye production, the problem of long consumption cycle, large input of manpower and material resources and low extraction efficiency cannot be solved well. In the downstream of plant dye industry (like dyeing barbershop), plant dyes are difficult to fix and fast to decolorize. High cost also discourages domestic barbershop from using plant hair dyes. Therefore, with the diversification of market consumption and the need for the pursuit of health, the traditional plant perming and dyeing process needs to absorb modern scientific knowledge and use materialization methods, so as to develop into high-tech fields, improve and enhance its own application value. Mr. Tony needs to grasp this trend, to use microbial fermentation to overcome the problem of low extraction efficiency of components in the traditional industry, and to reduce the production manpower, material resources and time cost, also explore the best coloring conditions of each dye by carrying out relevant experiments. It is also necessary to evaluate the ability of natural dyes to adhere to hair and the effect of natural dyes on hair properties. Pay attention to the decolorization time of dyes while improving color fixation. In the part of hair dyeing, we need to select the perm agent which can easily enter the hair cortex on the basis of the traditional perm principle, so as to meet people's perm requirements healthily without harming the quality of the hair.

3M original barber shop in Jiaozuo , Henan

3M original barber shop in Jiaozuo , Henan

Figure 13: 3M original barber shop in Jiaozuo , Henan

Mr.Tony need to reduce the cost of plant hair dyeing and provide customers with long-lasting and healthy hair dyeing effect.

Plant-based hair dye shop

Plant-based hair dye shop

Figure 14: Plant-based hair dye shop

Mr. Tony need to comply with contemporary consumers in the pursuit of beauty while paying attention to the trend of health and solve the problems of high pollution.

3.2 Environmental Protection Agency / Company

In daily life, textile printing and dyeing industry is one of the industries with the greatest degree of environmental pollution. The existing dyeing technology is mainly based on chemical dyes, which will bring pollution of air, water and solid wastes. Pollutants such as NPE and aromatic carcinogens can cause irreversible damage to human body and surrounding environment. In the long run there will be huge economic losses. In recent years, chemical dyes have gradually retreated, and plant hair dyes have emerged. Using plant dyes to dye hair will not only minimize the harm to human body, but also zero pollution to the environment due to the source of biological materials. However, because of various problems of natural dyes, it is difficult to open the market. Mr. Tony adopts microbial fermentation, which not only needs to avoid various problems in the production of plant dyes, but also provides new methods for the production of traditional plant dyes. In addition, in the fermentation process, the precursors and intermediate products of dyes we adopt should be environmentally friendly with few by-products and meet the needs of environmental protection. Based on biological science, we need to produces products eco-friendly and meet the needs of the public. At the same time, in order to avoid the overflow of engineering bacteria in the environment, we need to adopt strict sterilization in the production process, optimize the fermentation process, not only reduce the probability of contamination of miscellaneous bacteria in the fermentation process, but also eliminate the possibility of biological contamination caused by the overflow of engineering bacteria into the environment.

Jiangsu Ronghui Environmental Protection Equipment Co., Ltd.

Jiangsu Ronghui Environmental Protection Equipment Co., Ltd.

Figure 15: Jiangsu Ronghui Environmental Protection Equipment Co., Ltd.

A very good dye product that avoids pollution from the production process achieve the integration of enterprise production and biotechnology to solve environmental problems from the root causes is needed.

Environmental Protection Bureau of Yantai

Environmental Protection Bureau of Yantai

Figure 16: Environmental Protection Bureau of Yantai

Try to make good products that can protect the ecology, protect the environment and meet the needs of the public, so as to achieve a win-win situation of economic development and environmental protection.

3.3 Chinese traditional Plant Dye Workshop

Tie-dyeing set off a fashion craze because of its gorgeous and simple design. However, due to the promulgation of the national policy on environmental protection, the tie-dyeing industry is becoming extinct, and because of the serious aging of the employees, the tie-dyeing technology has the risk of losing generations. At the same time, the key point of tie-dyeing technology is to use plants for dyeing, but in the production process of tie-dyeing, plant dyes have low productivity, raw materials are more expensive and rare, which makes more convenient and fast chemical dyeing to replace plant dyeing in a large area. Mr.Tony was born in the laboratory. In order to synthesize natural dyes by engineering yeast, it is necessary to solve the problems of complex preparation process and low purity of dyes in the traditional tie-dyeing process, so as to realize the mass production of natural dyes. In the follow-up, the team needs to explore the optimal dyeing conditions and color mixing experiments of the dyes, so as to provide the possibility for showing a variety of colors in the tie-dyeing process. At the same time, it is also very important to realize the quantitative analysis of plant dyes and clarify the chemical composition, optimal dosage and biochemical principles of dyes and auxiliaries in the dyeing process through experiments. so as to help tie-dyeing, a traditional handicraft industry on a large scale. Let the tie-dyeing process which strongly depends on traditional dyes go further and grow stronger.

Lan dyeing workshop

Lan dyeing workshop

Figure 17: Lan dyeing workshop

The development of any dye needs to clarify the chemical composition and optimal dosage of dyes and auxiliaries in the dyeing process, as well as the biochemical principles in the dyeing process, so as to help more craftsmen accurately grasp the amount of dyes.

Dali Puzhen Museum

Dali Puzhen Museum

Figure 18: Dali Puzhen Museum

Mr.Tony is needed to solve the problems of complex dye preparation process and low purity of dyes used in traditional tie-dyeing process, so as to achieve mass production of natural dyes, to help more craftsmen to achieve large-scale, better promotion of traditional technology.

Lanxu ancient tie-dye experience Hall

It is necessary to realize the quantitative analysis of plant dyes, clarify the chemical composition of dyes and dyeing aids in the dyeing process, the optimal dosage and the biochemical principles in the dyeing process, so as to provide solutions to the traditional processes facing the crisis of extinction.

Lanxu ancient tie-dye experience Hall

Figure 19: Lanxu ancient tie-dye experience Hall

Unbelievable! You have done such a thorough and detailed job just in the step of identifying the problem!! Let's get to the second part: 'Formulate implementation plan' right away!


Huazhong University of Sci. & Tech., Wuhan, China

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