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The Facts About Organic Hair Dyes

There are numerous women and men who choose to dye their hair for their own reasons.  The truth is, most hair dyes are damaging to your hair and even your body.  There has been a lot of hype about organic hair dyes.  We are here to straighten out some of the facts for you.


The most important thing you will learn from this post is there is no such thing as organic hair dye.  At least not in the sense we would like to believe.  Some companies use the word “organic” as a marketing technique to increase sales.  These brands will often describe the harsh effects of synthetic chemicals found in almost all hair dyes in attempt to scare buyers into choosing their product over another.  They omit that their product also contains them.  However, there are hair dyes made with natural ingredients.  Choose a product that doesn’t contain harsh ingredients, such as ammonia, peroxide, coal tar, lead, toluene, resorcinol, and PPDs.

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PPDs (para-phenylenediamines), a chemical found in most hair dyes, is widely thought to be carcinogenic.  Most hair dyes that claim to be organic do not contain this chemical.  Some hair dyes contain PTD (para-toluenediamine), an alternative to PPD.  It has only been on the market for a short time, therefore its effects have not been studied as harshly.

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Henna is one of the only known natural dyes, but its results are often unpredictable or undesirable.  In most cases, the hair color comes out much more orange than anticipated.  Even people that use the same natural dye products over and over may have varying results with each application.  There are also vegetable dyes that produce even fewer consistent results.  However, natural dyes can leave hair looking healthier and shinier than before dyeing if you find one that works well with your hair.

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Natural dyes do not penetrate the hair shaft.  As a result, their color does not last as long as synthetic dyes, which do penetrate the hair shaft.  Synthetic dyes produce the best results in most cases.  The only issue is the chemicals used are often harsh on your hair and body.

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The best hair dye for you depends on your hair type and sensitivity level.  Anyone can develop a sensitivity to any material, natural or synthetic.  Always do a skin test prior to dyeing your hair.  It is best to avoid certain chemicals that are harsh on your hair, but if you want to use them, go for it.  After all, it’s your hair.

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6 Responses to “The Facts About Organic Hair Dyes”

  1. Cindy Davis June 16, 2012 3:28 am #

    I love the article. I am a licensed Homeopathic Doctor as well as a licensed Cosmetologist. I specialize in providing hair care for cancer survivors and am thrilled that you mentioned Organic Color Systems in your article. I have done exhaustive review of hundreds of hair colors and OCS has the most natural and organic ingredients. Although they do contain some synthetic ingredients, one would be foolish to believe that any hair color that has a permanent effect could possibly actually work. The goal should be to use the safest product that doesn’t sacrifice a professional result.

    I have used OCS for almost 4 years now and feel that it performs better than any chemical based hair color products. One note I would like to make for any professional colorists reading this article is a warning against henna. Besides lacking in performance and results (it coats the hair rather than oxidizing within the hair shaft), it also often contains high levels of PPD’s (the color tar your mentioned). I have found that people are often mistaken about this. For anyone who has allergies to PPD, before you try henna, please make sure to get a skin patch test!

    • Lydia August 11, 2012 10:48 pm #

      Actually the reason I am researching now is that I am debating to stop using Henna and start to dye my hair. By the way, I am a native Egyptian and I have to admit that Henna that is sold here in the states whether in Indian stores or Middle Eastern ones doesn’t seem to me to be natural. The reason I am saying this is that after I apply it to cover the few gray hair I have on top of my head, parts of scalp is itchy, while if I use Henna I buy from overseas I am not itchy…that makes me wonder what is the Henna we buy here is mixed with ….Chemicals, dyes…etc

      so if I am comparing between the down sides of Henna vs. no-amonia dyes which should I pick ?

      Appreciate your advice,

    • S September 23, 2012 4:14 pm #

      so you suggest OCS for cancer survivors as the safest… thanks, s

    • June November 29, 2012 9:53 pm #

      Hello Cindy, I have major problems with my scalp that hair dye makes worse. Can you please recommend an organic hair dye that I could use?

      Thank you.

      Best regards,

  2. NJ June 10, 2013 11:16 am #

    Cindy, please tell which OCS we should use as my scalp and the skein is so itchy after I use hair color products . please suggest any safe product and where should we buy it.


  1. Pulling the Cancer Card | Choriocarcinoma Chronicles - March 20, 2013

    […] I must explain that there is no such thing as organic hair dye. The dye she used was ammonia-free, herbal-based, with low PPD. The dye was also lead, toluene and […]

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