Organic hair color comes in many of the same shades as conventional hair colors, but most of these dyes do contain at least a small amount of ammonia or other chemicals. It is important to read the product label carefully before you begin coloring your hair.
The Danger of Conventional Hair Dyes
Conventional hair dyes contain a variety of chemicals that not only damage your hair but have been associated with various cancers in laboratory studies. These dyes are usually made with some of the following ingredients:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- p-Phenylebediamine (PPD)
The National Cancer Institute lists the use of hair dyes as possibly increasing the risk of cancers including Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Leukemia. In addition, a study was done in 2001 by the International Journal of Cancer. This study found evidence that people who used permanent hair dyes on a regular basis are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who do not color their hair at all.
What Is Organic Hair Color?
It is important to remember that while there are stringent controls and requirements placed on the producers of organic food there are no such regulations on organic beauty products. It is definitely a case of let the buyer beware.
Just because a product is marked organic or natural does not mean that it is. It is important that you read the labels and look for the ingredients listed above. You will find that many of these are listed in some amount even in organic dyes and you will want to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to use them. Organic products will usually contain less of the chemicals than the conventional products and so really are the better choice.
Salon quality organic hair colors promise to be gentler and less likely to cause allergic reactions. The companies that make them often strive to keep their carbon footprint as small as possible and support environmental concerns in other ways as well.
Ingredients in Organic Hair Dyes
Remember that the ingredients must be listed in order of greatest percentage to the least. This will help you compare conventional and organic hair products. Some of the ingredients you can expect to find in organic hair color are:
- Flower essences
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Vegetable dyes
- Vitamins like E, C, and A
- Walnut husks
What Is Henna?
Some organic hair dyes do not contain chemicals, but you may have limited color choices. Most of the dyes that are truly organic are made entirely of henna, a product that has been used since the ancient Egyptians to color hair.
Henna is a temporary hair color made from the leaves of a shrub that grows in Northern Africa. The leaves are ground into a powder and then added to hot water to make a paste. The color achieved is dependent on the amount of time that the henna is left in the hair and how often it is reapplied.
Variations in the color can be achieved by the addition of coffee and other natural ingredients. It is important to note, however, that henna cannot change dark hair to light hair. It can darken hair or add highlights only.
There are risks of allergic reaction with henna, so a patch test should always be done about two days before using the henna.
Where to Find Organic Color for Hair
- LUSH carries a variety of natural henna colors.
- Act Naturals has a line of hair colors that are made with plant based dyes and are made without bleach or peroxide.
- Palette by Nature has hair colors that are all natural and plant based, without many of the chemicals in conventional products.
- You can also find all natural and organic hair dyes at local venues such as CVS, Walgreens, and Target. In addition, many salons are now using and carrying organic products.
Be Beautiful, but Be Safe
Many women feel it is important that they keep their hair dyed to look younger or as a "lift" to their coloring. These decisions should not be made lightly. More chemicals added to your skin and your immediate environment may mean added health problems later in life.
Always choose the safest and most gentle product that will work for you.