Choosing Natural Hair Dye

Did you know that nearly 10% of consumers now use natural hair dye to color their hair? The hair coloring market captures a little over one billion dollars a year from consumers wanting to change their hair color or cover the gray that inevitably appears with age. Unfortunately, the chemicals in the products break down the hair cuticle and eventually cause hair to appear dead and lifeless.

Manufacturers of chemically laden hair color products are not required by law to meet safety standards, however there is now more attention being drawn to the ingredients in hair dyes. Some people who use them are developing hair dye allergies and other health problems. The chemicals in these dyes have been linked to severe allergic reactions and could be increasing your risk of developing more serious health problems such as cancer.

Harmful Chemicals in Hair Dye

What chemicals should you look for when looking at a label? These are some of the ingredients which research studies have shown are more toxic and therefore pose more health risks.

PPD – also called p-Phenylenediamine, phenylenediame dihydrochloride, benzenediamine dihydrochloride, or aminoaniline dihydrochloride
Hydrogen Peroxide
Aniline dye – a liquid chemical manufactured from coal tar
Ammoniated mercury
Metallic chemicals
The allergic reactions associated with the use of synthetic hair color with these chemicals include red and swollen eyes and eyelids, swelling in the neck and facial area, difficulty breathing, chronic cough, dermatitis, and sneezing.
In severe cases, blindness and blue lips have also been reported. Research indicates that prolonged exposure to PPD in particular could cause adverse reactions in the liver or kidneys. PPD could also cause lips and skin to turn blue after several uses.

Benefits of Natural Hair Dyes

As awareness grows about the hazards of using most commercial hair dyes, new natural hair coloring alternatives are being developed.

Natural dyes for hair are derived from plants, so they contain no harmful chemicals or synthetically derived ingredients, which means you can enjoy the beautiful hair color you desire without worrying about the potentially harmful side effects now or later in life.

Natural dyes won’t harm the hair cuticle because they simply coat the hair instead of penetrating it, which means you can have great hair color without damaging the hair now or in the future.

Look for natural hair colors that contain plant based ingredients such as henna, rhubarb, black walnut hulls, black tea, or sage.

Additional Benefits of Coloring with Natural Products

Deep rich color that enhances your natural color
Shiny healthy hair, soft to the touch
Protection from sun, chlorine, and other environmental hazards
Protects against split ends
One of the drawbacks of natural dye is that you may not be able to achieve the desired shade or hue with a single application. People who want a drastic change in hair color will be disappointed – you’ll simply get an enhanced color that’s close to your natural hair color.
Temporary vegetable based natural hair coloring washes out within one week and will have to be applied frequently. However, natural products marked semi permanent could last up to 7 or 8 weeks with regular use.

Not all Natural Hair Color is Truly Natural

It is possible for natural or herbal hair dye products to contain small amounts of PPD, harmful metals and mercury-based products since there are no established guidelines for labeling a product as natural.

Always read the label of the product! Talk with your local health food store associate. They are often knowledgeable and usually very willing to help you make the best choice when it comes to natural hair coloring products.