The Truth About Natural Hair Dyes

Pros & Cons of Hair Dye Types


In today’s day and age, it can be tricky to trust a “natural” label.

You get confused over the range of brands all claiming to be natural or organic. Don’t you get overwhelmed?

It’s difficult to trust products labeled natural, because many contain harsh chemicals. When it comes to safe, natural hair dyes, the trust is well-deserved!

Natural hair dye options are not only better for your health and well-being, but it can also stay longer.

I have some bad news to share, natural hair dyes are technically not the only option.

The chemical process needed for making hair dye is often legislated. Unless you use pure henna or natural alternatives, the dye may not be ‘clean’. Whoops!

Yet, that doesn’t mean good natural dyes are impossible to find.

You can find natural hair color options in stores right now, but it may take some searching for one that fits your requirements.

So, if you’re looking for better options than traditional hair dyes, look no further!

I will discuss in this blog post the pros and cons of hair dye types, learn to interpret chemicals labels, and much more.

I’m hoping all of this information will help you make an informed selection about your hair dye type.

What’s actually in conventional hair dye?

The main common hair dye ingredients are ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Both are known to be hazardous to your health.

Ammonia helps the dye penetrate the hair shaft. While hydrogen peroxide lightens the hair color. Thus providing you with permanent hair color.

When consumers see terms like “permanent,” “semi-permanent” and “demi-permanent” on the label of a hair dye, they become perplexed.

Let me try to simplify what all this means.

Permanent hair dye

Permanent hair dye is the most common type of dye and lasts the longest.

Also, these hair dye chemicals contain ammonia and peroxide, and will change your natural hair color.

Semi-Permanent hair dye

Semi-permanent dye is ammonia-free and does not require the use of peroxide, it just covers the hair shaft with color.

So it doesn’t lighten your hair as much as permanent dyes. It may be washed up to 15 times.

Do you know that semi-permanent, demi-permanent, and glosses do not work effectively on grays?

If you want to dye your gray hair, permanent hair dye is the best method. This type of hair dye will go deep into the cortex of your hair.

Demi-permanent hair dye

On the other hand, demi – permanent dye is a compromise between permanent and semi permanent dyes.

It typically contains a low level of ammonia and peroxide, and usually washes out after four weeks.

It’s great for people who want to add a little color, but don’t want too permanent of a change.

Traditional dyes contain a cocktail of chemicals

Hair dyes can contain a mixture of harmful chemicals.

Due to this, consumers are known to have allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and even cancer.

However, hair dyes that induce cancer have yet to be proven in scientific studies.

Other hazardous chemicals used in dye formulas include resorcinol, phenylenediamines (PPDs), diaminobenzene, and toluene-based solvents.

Safety regulation

Do you know that manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients in their products?

This makes it difficult to know exactly what’s in them, don’t you agree?

The European Union banned the use of 22 chemicals found in the hair industry. This is because of their suspected connection to cancer.

You can check out Living Safe if you want more information on chemicals listed on hair dye bottles.

What is a natural hair dye?

The term natural is more frequently associated with the cosmetics industry today.

This phrase is also applied to the hair industry.

The term isn’t regulated, so it can be used to describe anything from a plant-based dye to one based on minerals.

Most natural hair dyes produced from plant extracts are in powder or liquid forms. The color comes from plant-based ingredients.

These are usually more natural and cruelty-free than those found in chemical hair dyes.

The plants used to produce the color may differ depending on the color wanted.

Henna makes red shades, indigo blue ones, and walnut browns for example. It’s important to note that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ natural hair dye.

You’ll still need to read and follow precisely the instructions shown on labels to get the color you want.

All hair colors fade

All hair colors fade, whether chemical or natural.

But, the length of time they last depends on how often they’re applied and the washout formula of the shampoo.

Some contain conditioning ingredients that help keep the colour in for longer.

Toning down the orange with a blue or purple-based dye can help extend its life.

Drawbacks of natural dyes

  • The time taken to apply natural hair dyes differs for different brands. It depends on which one you use, but usually ranges from half an hour to two hours.
  • You have to wait for them before washing your hair, so they won’t suit everyone who wants to dye their hair the same day.
  • Natural dyes don’t lighten hair as much as chemical ones.
  • It can be messy to apply.

If you’re hoping for a lighter shade, this might not be the best option.

Advantages of natural dyes

  • The ingredients used in natural hair dye are plant-based and 100% hypoallergenic.
  • They’re also vegan, and not tested on animals.
  • You could dye beards, goatees, and brows with natural dyes.
  • You also have a decent choice to cover gray hairs, since they can be used on any style of hair.
  • Many people find that natural hair dyes work better on gray hairs than chemical ones.
  • Natural ingredients can keep the color fresh and vibrant for a long time.

If you are struggling to choose the right natural hair dye, seek help from a “celebrity stylist”. They can help you get the best possible result.

What about the price?

Natural hair dyes are generally more expensive than their chemical counterparts.

Setting a price limit is a good place to start if you want to go all natural.

Once you’ve accounted for your budget, you may narrow down your choices based on the color you desire.

What natural hair colors exist?

There are few shades of hair colors that can be naturally made.

The most popular natural hair color is black. This is actually caused by the pigment melanin in our hair follicles.

Other natural hair colors include

  1. brown (eumelanin),
  2. gray or silver hair (which has no pigment and reflects light instead of absorbing it),
  3. red hair (caused by a mutation in the MCIR gene that codes for eumelanin production),
  4. and blonde hair (caused by a lack of melanin).

There are also many shades of gray, brown, red, and blonde hair.

For example, there are light blondes, dark blondes, brunettes, and light black hair.

Finally, the natural hair color of your choice can be manufactured by mixing different colors together.

What does natural hair color mean?

I’ll try to break down my response in the simplist term as I can.

The Natural Colours family offers 10 different colors, from darkest (1) to lightest(10).

To reflect this spectrum in the mirror is impossible with other pigments, as they will all appear black or white. This depends on how much dye was applied at any given time.

However, these hues do not contain any artificial dyes, which can cause reactions when put onto your skin tone-so you’re guaranteed a perfect match!

Henna hair dyes are typically made with plant extracts and minerals to achieve the most subtle results.

The range is free of ammonia, parabens or optical brighteners.

Which means it will not damage your locks in anyway, but also PPDs have been left out!

So you don’t need to worry about whether someone might think this colour isn’t good enough.

This is because there’s no animal ingredient involved at all – simply amazing stuff, if I do say so myself.

How can I naturally color my hair?

There are a few methods for adding color to your hair with natural products.

You might use natural ingredients that you have at home, or food coloring.

Fruits or vegetables can be used to dye your hair in one of the simplest and most popular ways.

Carrot juice may be used to colour hair red-orange, while avocado oil can darken brown hair.

You will find more recipes online using ingredients like tea, yogurt, ginseng root extract, argan oil, essential oils etc.

How can I color my GREY hair naturally?

One of the best-known natural hair colors is henna, which comes from the Lawsonia plant.

Make henna powder by first heating castor oil, then letting the oil absorb the color in the henna.

Once cool, use these pastes on your hair. Let it stand for 2 hours before washing it with a mild shampoo and water.

Your breakfast coffee is also suitable for reducing the gray streaks. Mix instant coffee with hot water and apply to hair. Wait for 30 minutes before shampooing off.

Black tea can be a great hair colorant, and it will keep your locks healthy too. Brew strong black tea, let it cool, then pour over hair. Leave on for an hour, then rinse off.

You can also use chamomile flowers to lighten hair color. Steep chamomile flowers in boiling water and let it cool before using as a hair rinse.

Should I use natural hair dye?

This is a question many people ask themselves. Especially when they are looking for an alternative to conventional hair dye.

The truth is, there are both good and bad things about using natural hair dye. There might be more of one than the other.

The advantage of natural hair color is that it is made with ingredients that are good for your hair.

They are less damaging to your hair and scalp.

It also doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals found in most conventional hair dyes.

This can be beneficial for those with sensitive skin or allergies.

On the other hand, natural dye does not make your hair as bright as chemical dye. And it may not last as long.

Is there an all-natural hair coloring?

Currently, there is only natural hair dye. It consists of either henna cassias or indigo extract.

You can mix to produce an artificial brown hue, red and brown colour. It’s more of a temporary color that can last long.

For permanent coloring, the pH of the mixture must be adjusted to open up and lift the cuticle at the same time.

The most common way to do this is by adding ammonia. This is the main ingredient in conventional permanent hair dye.

It is not popular with hairdressers who suffer from headaches and nausea when contacted with ammonia.

So if you’re looking for an ammonia-free, your only option is to use temporary colour that will wash out over time.

Without chemicals, you may not get permanent hair coloring on your hair.

You can only use a conventional hair dye if you want those results.

What hair dye is safe for natural hair?

This is a question many people have, and the answer is it depends on the dye.

Here are a few best natural hair products on the market that contain fewer or no synthetic chemicals:

This chemical-free color coats the hair shaft, so it looks natural and radiant even in the sun!

  1. Your hair will be stronger, healthier, and more manageable with tons of shine and volume!
  2. Not only will it give stunning color, but it can also smooth split ends.
  3. This protects from the elements and cleanses the scalp, promoting hair growth.
  4. It is like a facial mask for your scalp!
  5. This unique blend of natural plant ingredients creates a new hair coloring experience.
  1. Natural hair color, best for hair to make it soft shiny & healthy hair, no chemical or additive.
  2. Including application gloves & hair cap – LA GREEN 100g / 3.5oz.
  3. 100% organic indigo powder for hair dye.
  4. It is made of pure natural indigo plant and used as a natural colorant for thousands of years.
  5. It is safe to use and does not contain any chemical additives or synthetic ingredients.
  6. Indigo powder can be mixed with henna powder or other natural herbs. You get different color, such as red, brown and black etc.
  7. The color will last longer if you apply it on your hair after mixing it with henna paste (1:1).
  1. 100% Natural & pure temporary herbal hair color – Indigo leaf powder mix
  2. Gives a soft black color to most hair types.
  3. Alternate to chemical hair dye.

Contains 5 Rare Himalayan Herbs –

  • Amla (Gooseberry)
  • Brahmi (Bacopa)
  • Falsedaisy (Bhringraj)
  • Acacia Concina (Shikakai)
  • Soapnut (Ritha) besides Indigo powder

1 pair of disposable gloves included within the jar. The jars are double-sealed in PET bottles to keep freshness and prevent lumping.

  1. NEW! Get a rush color and a boost of shine for radiant, healthy-looking hair shiny. A most gentle color to the hair, with 80% natural ingredients.
  2. Natural Instincts are available in 9 natural hues that deliver rich tones and bold highlights.
  3. The formula contains Keratin, Wheat Protein, and Sunflower Oil to nourish your hair while coloring.
  4. Plus, new Ammonia Free Technology gives you up to 25% gray coverage and lasting longer.
  1. This shampoos and conditioners can color your natural hair or before dyed locks.
  2. This may revitalize your hair, so there’s no need to dye it again.
  3. Aveda color enhance clove shampoo and conditioner is a professional hair care product. It helps intensify brown shades.
  4. This shampoo and conditioner set is made with natural ingredients. Such as clove, which helps keep your hair healthy.
  5. It also has deep conditionals, while leaving your hair lightweight and manageable.

What is organic hair dye?

Organic hair dyes are not the same as permanent colors. These hair dyes often have natural ingredients and botanic extracts.

The best natural hair dye products manufactured from plants extract are organically grown.

Generally, organic products are grown and processed in a way that minimizes adverse effects on the environment.

Every country has its own rules on organic crops. In the United States, organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.

Permanent colors use harmful chemicals such as ammonia, PPDs (para-phenylenediamine), resorcinol and parabens.

Organic hair dyes are safer than others. Some still have chemicals that can hurt you, so be careful when using them.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not certified any organic hair dye to be ammonia-free.

I therefore cannot say that organic hair color is always less harmful than synthetic hair dye.

Hair color produced with organic products is usually called “organic hair dye.” It has less chemicals and may be safer.

Do natural or organic hair dyes actually work?

There’s a lot of debate around this topic, with many people swearing by organic and natural hair dyes.

Others find that these products don’t always produce the desired results. So, what’s the truth?

Difference between meaning and effects

Right away, I must remind you about terminology use in the hair dye industry.

All chemicals or synthetics that can change your hair color are man-made.

You must study the labels and look up the chemical names.

These organic or natural products may have lower amounts of chemicals than standard products.

They do not contain ammonia, but to properly work, it may have other chemicals.

Without ammonia, it is gentler, and less pungent.

Also, it is likely it would not stay longer than your conventional chemical dyes.

Another drawback is that unique colors will be hard to reproduce.

It may take some work, but organic or natural hair dye can definitely change your hair look in the way you want it to!

Other chemicals will not only damage locks, but also harm users.

This is one reason why organic and chemical-free hair dyes are the preferred option of many.

Ingredients to consider when buying “organic” hair dyes.

Not all ingredients in organic hair dyes are organic.

It is also unlikely you can tell if the entire formula is botanical extracts with natural hues.

If you are after permanent hair color, one of the ingredients should be henna extract. After all, this is one of the safest permanent hair color ingredients.

Other organic dyes you should look at are indigo, amla extract and cassia obovata.

These botanical extracts give you permanent hair color with similar benefits of henna. Also, it gives your hair a smooth texture, better gray or white coverage, with a healthy shine.

Is organic hair dye cleaner than conventional hair dye?

The organic hair dye market is rapidly growing.

This shows that people are interested in the ingredients in their personal care products.

Yet, there is still a lot of confusion about what organic hair dye actually is.

Some people think organic hair dye is healthier and cleaner than other types. This isn’t always true.

There are many organic hair dye brands on the market these days. Majority of them use fairly harmless ingredients.

But, some brands of organic dyes still contain ammonia or other harsh chemicals.

Before you buy any organic hair dye product, ensure to read the ingredient list.

Marketing jargon and actual ingredients

It is important to learn to understand marketing language.

But you should focus as well on the actual ingredients. That’s what customers want – not the marketing words.

Some companies may claim their products are “ammonia-free” if they are organic.

However, organic does not always mean non toxic and safer for your hair and scalp.

Many organic brands still use harmful ingredients like PPD and resorcinol.

It can also cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Organic hair dye might seem healthier, but it is not for everyone. It may cause harm to some people.

That is why it’s important for users of organic hair dye to learn what ingredients are in the dye.

Many organic brands use natural ingredients in their dyes. They may have added fragrances, preservatives, or hair dye chemicals unsafe for the scalp and skin.

It’s not always black and white when it comes to organic hair dye!

Other hair dye alternatives

I’ll direct you Wellness Mama’s excellent post on all-natural herbal hair rinse recipes.

Recipes include lemon rinses for light hair, calendula for red hair and many more.

Also, one of my recent blog posts, I explained how to replace chemical hair dyes with essential oils.

In conclusion

Dyeing your hair is a matter of personal choice.

You need to try them and see which one is the best for you.

If health and safety is a priority, it is worth avoiding harsh chemicals in traditional dyes. Why take the risk?

However, you may want to try herbal extract shampoo, as they are ammonia-free color enhancer shampoos created specifically for colored hair.

Natural dyes like henna are applied to cover dark roots, but they will alter with time, so keep that in mind if you go that route!

I hope this post has provided all the information you need to dye or color your hair at home, without using any of those harsh chemicals found in most commercial products today!

If you have any questions, leave them below.

Lastly, please share this article with friends or family members who may find it interesting too.

Thank you for reading!


Disclosure: Just a heads up: My articles may include affiliate links! If you buy something after clicking one of those links, you will not pay any extra money, but I will get a small commission. Many thanks for your support!

Disclaimer: We do not recommend or encourage you to use any of these statements as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. They are for educational purposes only. The FDA has not conducted any studies on them. If you have a medical concern, see your doctor immediately.



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