Is Organic Hair Color Really Safer?

Most of us would never knowingly put harmful chemicals onto our skin, but if you're not using organic hair color to color your hair, you could be doing just that.

The synthetic ingredients that go into over-the-counter or salon hair dyes can be very harmful to both you and to your stylist over time.

Toxic Ingredients in Hair Color

Unfortunately, the hair dyes manufactured in the United States are not regulated by the FDA, which means these products are not put through any kind of safety testing before they are released to the public.

It's important to look for these ingredients when looking at the hair dye box. This is just a short list of the chemicals that have the most potential of causing health issues either immediately or down the road.

  • PPD - para-phenylenediamine
  • Ammonia
  • Toluene
  • 2.5 diamine
  • Resorcinol
  • Heavy metals
  • Azo-dyes
  • Peroxide
  • Coal tar
  • Lead
  • P-aminophenol
  • Diazo-dyes
  • M-aminophenol
  • Parabens
  • Disperse dyes
  • Pesticides

Now obviously, the label isn't going to read pesticides or heavy metals, but if you do thorough research, you can find out which chemicals in your hair dye might be harmful to you.

Any hair color with PPD should automatically be banned from your list, as it is a known carcinogen and could be linked to certain types of cancer.

Why Organic Hair Color?

Thankfully, several brands of organic hair dyes for home use can now be found on the market. These brands contain more pure ingredients like customized oil blends, antioxidants, and herbal extracts; basically the organic options are plant-based hair dyes.

Why should you consider organic dye for your hair over the widely used chemical version? Your hair will be healthier and shinier and you will be treating your body much better by not allowing chemicals to seep into your skin. Gray coverage is still possible with plant-based dyes, so even if you fight gray hair regularly, rest assured that you could get great results from an organic product.

Which Brands of Organic Hair Dyes Are Best?

Organic Hair Color

Organic hair dyes for at home use are available in health food stores and through online retailers.

The top name brands to consider are Light Mountain, Palette by Nature, Aubrey Organics, Morrocco Pure Henna, and Rainbow Research. These brands are free of PPD, which is the top chemical ingredient in most hair dyes on the market today.

You may be wondering, are there hair dyes marked organic that are actually unsafe? The answer is yes, there are some hair dyes that are marketed and sold as organic products, when in fact they contain not only PPD, but other ingredients as well that could be harmful.

It's possible that the PPD levels are lower than over-the-counter hair dyes, but even lower levels of this chemical could potentially be harmful if used consistently over a long period of time.

Which Organic Hair Colors Aren't Actually Purely Organic?

The following hair dyes are marketed as organic and safe, but it's important to note that they each contain chemicals that have been linked to cancer other health issues. Reading the ingredient list is key when choosing a truly organic hair dye.

We've highlighted a few of the harmful ingredients these supposedly organic hair colors contain, but please note that this is not a comprehensive list of ingredients for any of the products listed.

  • Surya - mineral oil, azo dyes, fragrance, Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine
  • Tints of Nature - PPD, phenylene diamines, ethanolamine, propylene glycol, fragrance, M-aminophenol, P-aminophenol, peroxide
  • Hennalucent - Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, fragrance
  • CHI Organics Conditioners - silicone derived ingredients, dyes derived from coal, fragrance
  • Herbatint - PPD, Tetradsodium EDTA, propylene glycol, P-aminophenol
  • Naturtint - PPD, Tetrasodium EDTA, P-aminophenol, propylene glycol, fragrance

One note regarding Hennalucent: two of their hair colors seem to be free of harmful chemicals and potential irritants. Those two are Earth Brown Hennalucent Hair Color and Neutral Hennalucent Hair Color. Do keep in mind however that even natural ingredients can cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin, so read through the ingredients thoroughly before purchasing.

Big City Salons Offer Organic Dyes

Not comfortable dyeing your hair at home? High-end salons in some of the bigger cities also offer organic hair dyes as an option for their clients. A few of the professional lines of organic color are OHC, Organic Color Systems, Teinture, Simply Organic Hair Color, and EcoColors.

Organic Hair Dye Reviews

The burning question is, do these organic dyes really work? Can they cover my gray? Will they last and make my hair look terrific like the hair dyes with all the chemicals?

What are people saying about the organic hair coloring products? We've done some research and here's what we learned.

Light Mountain Cover the Gray

  • Longer process but excellent results
  • Covers my gray nicely
  • Get great compliments
  • Shiny and glossy hair
  • Love this product
  • Seems to deliver natural highlights

Palette by Nature

  • Love how it makes my hair look healthier
  • Covered my gray
  • Hair feels fantastic
  • Rich even tones
  • No terrible smells

One comment about the Palette by Nature - if you have more than 80% gray hair, you may have to repeat the process or look for another product.

Aubrey Organics

  • Very easy to use
  • Covered most of my gray
  • Delivered nice soft natural highlights
  • Messy, but worth it

Morrocco Pure Henna - also referred to as Morroccan Method Henna

  • Worked well for me
  • Good results from this color
  • Turns grays a slightly different color, but they're covered
  • Hair is fuller and thicker since using this color

Rainbow Research

  • Produced a rich color
  • A bit bright at first, but toned down nicely after a few washes
  • Does not cover gray, so not good option for that
  • Made my hair really soft
  • Shinier and thicker hair

One review on Rainbow Research did mention that she used the product after having a keratin hair treatment and the hair dye turned her hair green in some spots, indicating that the Rainbow Research hair dyes may contain metallic salts.

Everyone's hair reacts differently to hair color, whether it's organic or otherwise, so keep this in mind if one brand doesn't work well for you. It's well worth the time to try another brand, especially since the organic hair products are chemical free, smell great, and are so much healthier for you!

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