Non-Toxic Hair Dyes and Hair Color Products


“The signs are sufficiently disturbing for the European Union, through the SCPHC (Scientific Committee of the Products for Human Consumption) to publish a list of 22 colouring substances prohibited since December 2006. There remain quite a few authorized substances which are food for debate: resorcin (or resorcinol), diaminobenzenes (p-phenylenediamine and m-phenylenediamine), ethanolamine (to replace ammonia). All are proven irritants and allergenic. Main culprit: p-phenylenediamine (or PPD). PPD is even prohibited by the European legislation in all cosmetics intended to be in contact with the skin. It is only authorized in dyes, provided that its concentration does not exceed 6%. While waiting for the decisive investigation which will be conclusive, it is better to apply the principle of precaution by preferring semi-permanent colourings or better still, by choosing plant colourings. ” [1]

In October 2011, a Scottish teenager, Tabatha McCourt, died shortly after the application of a hair dye. One suspects that the reaction to the dye PPD (p-phenylenediamine) was the cause. In Canada PPD is not authorized to be used in make-up but it is a common ingredient in capillary dyeings. A little more than a month after the death of Tabatha McCourt another British woman finds herself in a coma because of a colouring from a supermarket. The diagnosis is identical: the two women suffered from a severe allergic reaction due to the chemicals contained in the dyeing (L’Oreal Préférence).

Now, consumers in the United Kingdom question the use of PDD, and a lawyer from Manchester launched a campaign to get it out of the shelves  [2] .

If you wish to know the 22 ingredients that have been used in hair dyeings and which were recently prohibited I recommend to you the French website Le Flacon [3]   according to which 60% of women and 10% of men in Europe dye their hair.

Here’s a series of problematic ingredients present in capillary colourings  [4]  :

Resorcinol : used in three quarters of chemical colourings, it is allergenic. It can penetrate in the skin and damage the kidneys and the liver. Clinical tests have shown that it modifies the blood globules and the chromosomes.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulphates : surface-active. (see ” Dirty List “)

P-Phenylenediamine (PPD) : very allergenic, suspected of cancerogenicity.

P-Aminophenol : mutagen of class 3 (possibility of irreversible effects)

O-Aminophenol : mutagen of class 3 (possibility of irreversible effects).

M-Phenylene Diamine : mutagen of class 3 (possibility of irreversible effects). It damages the embryo in the rat and has a mutagenic effect on bacteria

Butoxyethanol (a glycol ether): proven genotoxic effect, carcinogenic activity.

PEG (polyethylene glycol) : used as emulsifiers, solvents or to give a pearly brightness. (see “ Dirty List ”)

  • Are obtained from pollutant gases:◦ Toluene-2,5-diamine : very allergenic.
  • Toluene-2,5-diamine sulphates : very allergenic.“The main responsible for allergies is para-phenylenediamine, PPD, a colouring agent which comprises multiple derivatives present in almost all permanent dyeing.

Are there risks?

[DR.] a fact aggravates dermatologist Pierre Piletta: “It is a little sad, because para-phenylenediamine is a colouring that causes many allergies. It is known and licensed since the 19th century and it has always been present in the products used to date. The more one uses a product, the greater the risk that one becomes allergic to it… (read more)   [5]

The glycol ethers present in the dyeings for hair are toxic for the blood cells, for the cells of the immune system and the reproductive system. [6]

“One should minimize the use of permanent capillary dyeings of dark colour. Many of them contain coal tar ingredients, including aminophenol, diaminobenzene, and phenylenediamine, related to cancer. ” [7]

Watch also the 2 minutes video Hair Colouring Nightmare.

Now that we know that dyeings for hair are dangerous for health, let us turn towards hair dyes known as “natural”.

Over the years, several “natural dyes” evaluations have been made.

Since March 29, 2007 (date of publication), there are still reactions to the article ” Colourings: a real poison”  on website (in French). This text is still valid and is a good summary about the “natural color” hair.

In 2007 the  Maison bio  publishes a comparative table of 6 hair capillary colourings  sold in Organic stores (still available on the Internet, however, I must point out that the analysis are done for one  single color by brand and the chosen colors are quite light).

In the TV show ” Hair coloring: the natural change their spots ! ” broadcasted on February 16, 2010 on RTS , a decryption of several « natural brands » such as Herbatint , Phytocolor , Sanotint , Naturtint is reveled. Conclusion: “In these products, which are presented as natural, you will see that there is PPD, well known to dermatologists because it is very sensitizing, very allergenic. They also contain synthetic chemical dyes, which are not toxicologically harmless. “  [8]

Detailed analysis ( 2011 ) of brands like Martine Mahé , Color & Soin , Tints of NAURE , Phyto Color , Essential Color , Herbatint , Beliflor made by Rita Stiens clearly show that “under an impression of nature lies a good deal of chemistry.” [9]

A recent investigation published on about the so-called plant colourings sold in France (some can be found over here also) reveals the same thing.

“The so-called plant or natural colourings which have a convincing result on the coverage of white hair contain many substances of synthesis and this, even if these products are sold in organic stores; result: mistrust. A 100% plant colourings are certainly better for the health, as much the one of the hairdresser as the one of the user, but do not expect to cover white hair completely or to go toward platinum blond. At best they will deposit a pretty lasure and will bring vitality and brightness to your hair. It is up to you to make an enlightened choice between beauty and health. ” 


The conclusions of all these researches on capillary colourings are rather disconcerting: put aside henna which is a natural product, the only clean card is the one from Logona; all other colourings, it does not matter what one writes on the package as a catching slogan, contain products resulting from the petrochemical industry in variable quantity from one product to another and one colour to another.

All researches converge towards the same conclusion: dark colourings are more dangerous than those of clearer colours.


To understand the subterfuges of the industry, you should know that there are roughly three classes of dyes:

  • Vegetable powders plant based   dyes (henna, indigo, walnut, beets, pepper, etc..) mixed usually with hot water and for which the exposure time is very long, 4 to 24 hours ;
  • Temporary dyes or semi-permanent  (tone on tone) used to give a reflection or revive a color, with low surface oxidation, the pigments do not penetrate into the hair, they just cover it superimposed on the natural pigments; these dyes fade after 6 to 8 shampoos and do not cover proprely the white hair;
  • Permanent dyes  by sustainable oxidation allowing a radical change of color and effective recovery of white hair ; they are composed of two elements to mix, 1 color + 1 dye developer (peroxide) accompanied by an essential neutralizing product. The principle of this color technic is to deposit the synthetic pigments directly inside the hair. To allow these pigments to go in, the outer scales of the hair must be opened and this is done by the action of an alkali such as ammonia or his substitute, less irritating, ethanolamine. This is where the peroxide which, by releasing its oxygen, will gradually develop the color pigments making them swell inside the hair. Once this development is complete, it is sufficient to neutralize the alkali to close the scales   .
You also must know that the exact concentration of the ingredients is known only by manufacturers and Health Canada (a code is used). As for cosmetics, ingredients are listed in descending order of their importance in the formula, hence the need to read the first 4 to 6 ingredients.


But let’s  rather see what is really in the box and what are the ingredients, especially for dyes sold in the stores of natural products, so-called  ”natural dyes” and what has changed in the industry today, in 2012?


Here are six analyzed hair dyes available on the natural and organic stores shelves.

For accuracy in the comparison of the brands, all analysis were made for one color, black.

For the meaning of numbers and colors listed ingredients, see Chapter Skin Deep and other tools…


1. SANOTINT 01-NERO (Black), Cream, 12.50 $

INCI: aqua 0 , cetearyl alcohol 1 , ethanolamine 4-6 , polysorbate-80 3-6, p-phenylenediamine 10 [11] , isopropyl stearate 0 , ceteareth-30 4-7 [12] , sodium lauryl sulfate 1-2 , propylene glycol 3 , tetrasodium EDTA 2 , parfum 8 , sodium hydrosulfite 0 , ascorbic acid 0 , juglans regia extract 0 , betula alba extract 0 , vitis vinifera extract 0 , biotin 0 , panicum miliaceum extract 0 , calcium pantothenate 0 , amyl cinnamal 1 , limonene 6 , benzyl salicylate 6 , 4 chlororesorcinol 5 , resorcinol 9 [13] , 2-amino-4-hydroxyethylaminoanisole sulfate 1

This formula is similar to many other conventional dyes sold in pharmacies, the only advantage is that of being a cream, [14]  therefore kinder to the hair.

Collaboration of the company: very good cooperation and full transparency

2. NATURTINT 1N Ebony Black, gel, 15.95 $ « with selected certified organic ingredients »

« Green Technologies »

« No Ammonia, No resorcinol, No parabens »

INCI : peg-2 oleamine 3 , aqua (purified watter) 0 , cocamide dea 6 , alcohol denat (alcohol) 2 , propylene glycol 3 , oleic acid 1 , ethanolamine 6 , p-phenylenediamine 10 , sodium sulfite 1 , tetrasodium edta 2 , hydrolized vegetable proteine (not precised), sodium erythorbate 0 , n,n-bis (2-hydroxythyl)-p-phenylenediamine sulfate 3 , 2-amino-4-hydrohyethylaminoanisole sulfate 1 , 4-chlororesorcinol 5

Color developer : aqua (purified watter) 0 , hydrogen peroxide 2 , cetyl alcohol 1 , cetearyl alcohol 1 , laureth-3 3 , ceteareth-20 4-7 [12] , oxyquinoline sulfate 4

3. Color & Soin 1 N Ebony Black (3 Chênes), gel, 15.95 $

“Permanent color with plant extracts” ( yes, but the dyes are synthetic )

“Rich in pure pigments” ( it means nothing )

“Without ammonia, resorcinol No, No Parabens, No silicone” ( no guarantee as to the other ingredients in the formula and their safety )

“Dermatologist tested” ( in this case, why make a warning dermatological testing before use !? No legal obligation rests with the manufacturer after this display )

INCI : peg-2 oleamine 3 , aqua purificata (purified watter) 0 , cocamide dea 6 , alcohol denat (alcohol) 2, propylene glycol 3 , oleic acid 1 , ethanolamine 6 , p-phenylenediamine 10 , sodium sulfite 1 , tetrasodium edta 2 , hydrolized vegetable proteine (triticum vulgare 0 , corn ? not precised, avena sativa 0 ), sodium erythorbate 0 , n,n-bis (2-hydroxythyl)-p-phenylenediamine sulfate 3 , 2-amino-4-hydrohyethylaminoanisole sulfate 1 , 4-chlororesorcinol 5

Fixateur: aqua (purified watter) 0 , hhydrogen peroxide 2 , cetyl alcohol 1 , cetearyl alcohol 1 , laureth-3 3 , ceteareth-20 4-7 [12] , oxyquinoline sulfate 4

Here is another analyzed  Color & Soin hair dye , contribution of Marie C., the 3 N Dark Chestnut Brown .

2-amino-4-hydrohyethylaminoanisole sulfate  1 , 4-amino-2-hydroxytoluene  5 , 4chlororesorcinol  5 , alcohol denat (alcohol)  2 , aqua purificata (purified watter)  0 , cetearyl alcohol  1 , cocamide dea  6 , ethanolamine  6 , hydrolized vegetable proteine -triticum vulgare-  0 , hydrolized vegetable proteine -corn- (not precized), hydrolized vegetable proteine -avena sativa-  0 , hydrolized vegetable proteine -soy- (not precized), m-aminophenol  5 , n,n-bis (2-hydroxythyl)-p-phenylenediamine sulfate  3 , oleic acid  1 , peg-2 oleamine  3 , p-phenylenediamine  10 , propylene glycol  3 , sodium erythorbate  0 , sodium sulfite  1 , tetrasodium edta  2

FIXATEUR : ceteareth-20  4 7 , cetearyl alcohol  1 , hydrogen peroxide  2 , laureth-3  3 , oxyquinoline sulfate  4

NATURTINT 1N Ebony Black and Color & Care 1 N Ebony Black : the formulas and the price are identical for it is the same manufacturer, the only differences are the details in plant proteins on the NATURTINT boxes. No Resorcinol but Cocamide Dea 6 and Ethanolamine 6

As for ingredients “from natural sources, approved and certified according to Natural and Organic Standards”, as it says on the box, we do not know in which one (there is no *), or their percentage in the formula or the name of the certifying organisation. ” Natural and Organic Standards is pure fiction , it does not exist! Here is a clear evidence of “green-washing.” When the « how much of the nourishing elements are present in the formula factor » will be honestly clarified (this does not alter the damage caused by heavy chemicals) we will change our consumption choices, as long they are listed at the bottom of the pack (probably below 1%) their presence makes no significant difference.

Collaboration of the company: none.


4. Herbatint Permanent Herbal Color Gel , 1N,  BLACK, 16.99 $  ( Skin Deep ) globale score: 8

With Aloe Vera, No Amonia, No Paraben

« More conditioning lasting color with Aloe vera and Limnanthes alba. »

INCI: Laureth-5 3 , Propylene Glycol 3 , Water 0 , PEG-2 Oleamine 3 , Ethanolamine 6 , Walnut Extract 0 , Rhubarb Extract 0 , Cinchona Extract 0 , Aloe Extract 1 , Meadowfoam Extract 0 , Birch Extract 2 , Cetrimonium Chloride 3 , Echinacea Angustifolia Extract 0 , Hamamelis Virginiana Extract 0 , Sodium Sulfite 1 , Ascorbic Acid 0 , Tetrasodium EDTA 2 , Resorcinol 9 , M ( 5 )-O-P Aminophenol 8, 2 Amino 3 Hydroxypyridine 1 , M-P Phenylenediamine  P- 10 , M- 8 .

Glycol Developer: Water 0 , Hydrogen Peroxide 2 , Etidronic Acid 0 , Wild Marjoram Extract 0 , Thyme Extract 1 , Cinnamon Extract 0 , Rosemary Extract 0 , Lavender Extract 0 , Golden Seal Root Extract 0 , PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 4 , Propylene Glycol 4 , Simethicone 0 . Royal Cream Conditioner: Water 0 , Mallow Extract 0 , Rosemary Extract 0 , Behentrimonium Chloride 1 , Wheat Bran Lipids 0 , Fragrance 8 [15] .

I have no comment to make, the classification of Skin Deep says it all. 22 Herbatint dyes analyzed, all in the red, between 7 and 8 on Skin Deep. Ouch!

Many conventional products sold in pharmacies are better ranked than this ” Herbal ” Tint! Are we and our health really taken care of when people put products on the shelves containing ppd, resorcinol,  aminophenol and perfume! ?

Collaboration of the company when I asked the INCI list: ” All the ingredients are listed on the bottom cover of  the packaging. If you have questions about the ingredients do not hesitate to contact us again. Good day.

You be the judge!

5. Hair Fashion Allegretti is a professional dye (cream) which retail sale is strictly forbidden in Europe, but acceptable in our market… 13.99 $

On the box, a single list of ingredients for all colors.




The SYNTHETIC PIGMENTS for the Black 1N are hidden beneath the white label on the box : P-PHENILENEDIAMINE 10 , RESORCINOL 9 ,  2.4 DIAMINOPHENOXYETHANOL 1 , HCL 0

Is that possible?


Intrigued, I went to see another color, the  Copper Light Blonde/Biondo Chro Ramato  8 R  and there, more surprises, the specific pigments (“according to  color”)  are written on  the tube:  P-PHENILENEDIAMINE  10 , M,O,P-AMINOPHENOL  8 , RESORCINOL  9 ,   2-AMINO-3-HYDROXYPYRIDINE   1 1.5 DI-HYDROXYNAPHTALENE   1 , P-AMINO-O-CRESOL  5 , 2-AMINO-4-HYDROXYETHYLAMINO ANISOLE SULFATE  1 ,  N,N-BIS(2-HYDROXYETHYL  0 , p-PHENYLENEDIAMINE SULFATE  1 ,  2.4 DIAMINOPHENOXYETHANOL  1 and what follows is masked with a dark blue pen, almost black … the camouflage is done with a permanent marker, you can not know what is written under …

But what do they sell to us? 11 synthetic pigments in a “no ammonia, no lead” dye, labels substitution and hidden ingredients on the shelves of health food stores !  On this tube, we are still not able to know if the ingredients « according to color » are those which correspond to Light Copper Blonde / 8R Biondo Chro Ramato… but they are not the same « according to color »  written on the cardboard box, so we deduce that these are ingredients specific to this color!?! And if this is the case, it is a true horror story, because the blond is supposed to be less toxic than dark colors!

You will find websites that recommend this product as one of the best of the “natural color” choices! But who writes on these forums!?! Another example that “no ammonia” (like “no paraben” for cosmetics) does not guarantee a less toxic product. You will find more blondes dyes like semi-permanent Clairol Natural Instincts and other companies listed 5 or 6 on Skin Deep which are sold in pharmacies for $ 10.49 ($ 6.99 on special) which have no green claims or indecent prices and which do not contain P-PHENILENEDIAMINE 10 , or P-AMINOPHENOL 8 , nidher RESORCINOL 9 , like this product.

Collaboration of the company: none.

6. In my research I found that Eco Colors permanent dye also enjoyed good comments from surfers but again, I am sorry, people do not know what they are talking about … hey! PPD in a “eco” dye?

Here is the company’s response:

« We do not have the INCI list for you at this time, but this is EcoColors full ingredient list which is formulated in non-toxic amounts. ( well, give as the exact percentages for more credibility… )

Haircolor: Water, dihydroxyethyl soyamine dioleate, aqua ammonia, denatured alcohol, oleic acid, linseed oil, castor oil, lecithin, lanolin, silk, ascorbyl palmitate vitamin C, rosemary oil, vitamin E, love , grapefruit seed extract, organic flower essences. May contain one or more of the following ( this information is irrelevant, the consumer wants to know what the product he uses contains, not the full range of colors ): aminophenol sulfate; aminophenol, methyl-resorcinol; napthol, 3-methyl-1-phenyl-5-pyrazolone; 2-methyl-1,4-benzene diamine sulfate; ppd ; 2 hydroxyethyl amino2-ethylphenol.

Developer: Water, buffered food grade hydrogen peroxide, jojoba oil, oleic acid, acrylic copolymer, castor oil, linseed oil, lemon grass essential oil ».

«  Also, ppd in EU is now regulated with 2% being acceptable. We don’t know if the woman who died from an allergic reaction had reactions in the past that she ignored. Just because ppd is present, doesn’t make it a mutagen but it is an allergen for some people  ».

Collaboration of the company: good and thank you for the most important ingredient: love.

Ha! Good news! 2% of ppd is permitted in the United States, 6% in France, but not limits in Canada (“The specified percentage of PPD authorized in such preparations is not defined in the regulations” Health Canada’s response).

Several analyzed (970) dyes as Clairol , Garnier , L’Oreal , Herbal Eseence , Revlon (several “ammonia free” are rated 10 !) Preference are available on Skin Deep . Enter the exact name of your color (in English) to see if you are lucky enough to find it.


  • All permanent dyes sold in the natural products shops contain heavy chemicals, hormone disrupters and ingredients linked to cancer and allergies such as PPD, Resorcinol, Perfume or Aminophenol and are distinguished,  only by their higher price compared to the conventional products. THERE ARE NO PLANT PIGMENTS IN THE PERMANENT DYES ! ALL PIGMENTS ARE SYNTHETIC !
  • Plant extracts are not dyes (the coloring is made by chemical oxidation pigments) and their emphasis falsely suggest to consumers a natural dye product. Avocado, bamboo, honey or beautiful teeth on the box, do not change the product composition, it is marketing!
  • The colors called “natural” or “ammonia-free” may contain PPD, »  Ammonia Free   » only means that your hair will be less damaged, but the chemical dyes are the same.
  • The words  »  without resorcinol   » or  »  paraben free   » (the conditioner that comes in the box contains a lot as well as perfume) make no safety warranty if the product contains toxic oxidation dyes.
  • The term “hypoallergenic” on their packaging boxes does not give you any guarantee. Here’s what we found on the Health Canada website on this subject:
  • “Hypoallergenic  is neither a legal nor a scientific term. It simply means that the            manufacturer has chosen ingredients to produce a finished product with minimum potential for causing allergy. This does not guarantee that the product will not cause an allergic reaction for some individuals, since people are allergic to a wide range of substances. There are no non-allergenic cosmetics. ”
  • If the product exhibits a “warning” on the instruction sheet and a test before use, there are, among its ingredients, substances hazardous to health.
  • In 2012 there is still no improvement in the industry, nor on the choices that the health stores offer us , only the green washing proliferates shamelessly.




(INCI): aqua 0 , cetearyl alcohol 1 , ethanolamine 4-6 , polysorbate-80 3-6 , toluene-2.5 diamine sulfate 5 , ceteareth-30 4-7 , sodium lauryl sulfate 1-2 , isopropyl stearate 0 , propylene glycol 3, tetrasodium EDTA 2 , parfum 8 , ascorbic acid 0 , sodium hydrosulfite 0 , panicum miliaceum extract 0 , biotin 0 , calcium pantothenate 0 , olea europaea leaf extract 0 , vitis vinifera leaf extract 0 , betula alba bark extract 0 , urtica dioica leaf/stem juice 0 , limonene 6 , linalool 4 ,  m-aminophenol [16] , 4-chlororesorcinol 5 , 2-amino-4-hydrohyethylaminoanisole sulfate 1

With Sanotint Light we avoid PPD 10 and this product may be the way to salvation for those allergic to this ingredient.

Alas, toluene diamine sulfate-2.5 5 is allergenic and the dye also contains ceteareth-30 4-7 and Perfume 8 .

Limonene, linalool and benzyl salicylate fragrances are primarily associated with allergies.

In my opinion, this is the most honest product on the market, no pretentions of “eco-naturo buy me I’m not dangerous,” and has the advantage of being a cream. I tried the number 87, the Light Golden Blonde and I was very satisfied with the result but, like all other products that are on this website and that I’ve tried, this remains a very personal experience.


2. Aubrey Organics Colour Me Natural permanent hair colour contains no PPD, no colors derived from coal tar, and no synthetic fragrances. But to cover the gray hair (over 20%) the company recommends calling the customer service for special instructions … to read between the lines.

Aubrey Organic Dark Brown INCI: Indigofera tinctoria, Lawsonia inermis alba , Emblica officinalis, Eclipta alba, Acacia cathechu.

Judging from the ingredients that dye would fall in the category of vegetal colors such as Logona ( Lawsonia inermis alba is the botanical name of henna), I think that “permanent color” is a bit strong as an attribute.

3. In Palette by Nature there is no black color, the darkest color is 4N Dark Brown Natural whose ingredients list is actually very clean and according to their website , « provides completely natural looking results with neutrally cool tones. Suitable for dark brown/black hair for tone on tone or gray coverage. This shade is compatible with conventional permanent hair dyes on the market and can be used after bleach and on foils ».

However, if it is a tone on tone coloration there is agreement that this is not a permanent color but a semi permanent one. (See Newsletter for explanations.)

Finally, available at Jean Coutu pharmacy, the SOL.FINE colorline NATURAL COLOR permanent coloring cream contains parabens, resorcinol, toluene, perfume and just about anything you do not want to put on our hair but  without PPD. I do not really recommend it but for people allergic to PPD this could be a solution …

$ 8.49 + peroxide, ask for advice before buying.



All semipermanent and vegetal dyes colors such as those below  (henna Logona Soin Colorant Tints of Nature semipermanent Sanotint Reflexe Herbatint Vegetal Color) fade after 6 to 12 shampoos, (according to the manufacturers, the reality is quite different) do not fully cover gray hair (see bellow) and do not allow radical change color but are better choice from a safety point of view.












There are also other plant based colors claiming to cover gray hair by giving hints, apparently certified BDIH but I have not checked on them because they are sold in France and not in Canada.

Those who want to pursue research, go ahead! or

Another question that frequently comes from France is about the coloring powder K FOR KARITÉ.

These new natural colorations without henna powder are ECOCERT certified, so the composition is safe. However you can read “covers naturally the gray hair”, that means the same thing as for the other vegetable and semi-permanent dyes, they do not completely cover gray hair, do not allow radical change of color and are more interesting to use when you have light hair. You can see all the ingredients for the chart on the website of the company.

I have not seen them for sale in Quebec.



Ingredients : Aqua, Glycerin 0, Alcohol dénat. 4, Benzyl alcohol 5, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice (Jus d’Aloe vera/ Aloe vera juice) 1, Salvia officinalis (Hydrolat de Sauge/Sage) water 0, Citric acid 2, Basic yellow 57 (CI 12719) 3, Basic brown 17 (CI 12251) 1, Basic Blue 99 (CI 56059) 3, Basic Red 76 (CI 12245) 1, Hydroxyethylcellulose 0, Butyrospermum parkii (Oléine de Karité/Shea butter) oil 0, Hydroxypropyl guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride 0, Sunflower seed oleic polyglyceryl-6-esters 0, Aminomethyl Propanol 3, Parfum (Fragrance) 8

The product is certified ECOCERT, so all the ingredients are accepted by the organic certification and frankly, it’s not bad at all in terms of safety if the product is also effective. The question is: how is it possible that the generic “Perfume” is present in the formula while this is a certified organic product? Normally components of Perfume should be listed in full transparency so that consumers can make the difference with the conventional products … This “fashion” is present mainly in Europe. I’ve never seen ECOCERT certified with “Perfume” in the INCI list for products manufactured in North America products.



COLOUR WELL the 100% natural hair colour (no PPD, no ammonia, 100% chemical free)

The company does not provide the specific list of ingrédinets by product, this lack of transparency always plunges us into doubt …

The INCI lists of colors analyzed below were provided to me by an Internet user.

“We’re talking here about hair color, not hair dye.” Here’s what you can read on the first page of the Colour Well Website. This means the same as for the product listed above, and the same thing that for all the other vegetable dyes: this product does not completely cover gray hair, does not allow the radical color change and it is more interesting to use when you have light hair. Yes, they are 100% natural ingredients but with the limits that we know.

Colour Well Châtain Foncé : Indigofera tinctoria (Indigo) 1, Lawsonia inermis (Henna) 1-4 1, Coffea arabica (Coffee) 1, Acacia catechu (Catechu) 0, Emblica officinalis (Amla) 0, Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) 0, Eclipta Prostrata (Bhangra) 0, Accacia concinna (Shikakai) 1, Rubia tinctorum (Madder) 0


Colour Well Noir Doux : Indigofera tinctoria (Indigo) 1, Lawsonia inermis (Henna) 1-4 1, Acacia concinna (Shikakai) 0, Emblica officinalis (Amla) 0, Rubia tinctorum (Madder) 0, Accacia catechu (Catechu) 1, Coffea arabica (Coffee) 1, Eclipta Prostrata (Bhangra) 0, Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) 0

1read below



Surya Brasil Henna Light Brown Cream

INCI : Water, Dipropylene Glycol Methyl Ether 2, Cetearyl Alcohol 1, Cetrimonium Chloride 3, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil 0, Glycerin 0, Hydroxyethylcellulose 0, Essential Oils (Rose 
Flower 0, Cananga Odorata 3, Jasminum Officinale 3 and Santalum Album 2), Achillea Millefolium (Aquiléia) Extract 3, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract 1, Arnica Montana Extract 0, Bertholletia Excelsa (Castanha do Brasil) Extract 0, Chamomilla Recutita (Camomila) Extract 0, Corylus Rostrata (Avelã) Seed Extract 0, Daucus Carota Sativa (Cenoura) Root Extract 0, Euterpe Oleracea (Açaí) Fruit Extract 0, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Leaf Extract 1-4, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract 0, Malva Sylvestris (Malva) Extract 0, Paullinia Cupana (Guaranà) Fruit Extract 0, Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla) Fruit Extract 0, Ziziphus Joazeiro (Juà) Extract 0, Genipa Americana Extract 0, Aminomethyl Propanol 3, Sodium Citrate 0, Benzyl Alcohol 5, Dehydroacetic Acid 1, 6-Chloro-4-Nitro-2-Aminophenol 6, Disperse Black 9 3, HC Blue n.º 2 3


Essential Oils (Rose 
Flower, Cananga Odorata, Jasminum Officinale and Santalum Album) : essential oils can be allergens, but it is very personal, if you do not react, then there is no problem !

Glycerin : the formula does not specify the origin, animal, vegetable or synthetic? it makes a big difference …

Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Leaf Extract : (henna dye) is classified from 1 to 4 by Skin Deep (depends on use), with a limited data base, but is rated 3 smilis by Rita Stiens , depends on whether it is organic or not, which is not the case in this formula…

Benzyl Alcohol :  is classified 5 but it is a conservative accepted by organic certifications

6-Chloro-4-Nitro-2-Aminophenol : this is the most problematic ingredient of all the formula , ranked 6 but it is written incorrectly, so if you want to research it, you  can not find it …

The correct ingredient is: 2-AMINO-6-CHLORO-4-NITROPHENOL

An Internet user worried about her health (see comment on the French page) asked me to analyze this hair dye. Here are the results:

ELCEA CREME DE LUMIERE N°1 (NOIR/BLACK), permanent hair colour.

Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol 1, Ethanolamine 6, PEG-2 Oleamine 3, Toluene – 2.5 – Diamine Sulfate 7, Glyceryl Stearate 0, Sodium Laureth Sulfate 3, Ceteareth-33 3, Ceteareth-20 3-7*, Sodium Metabisulfite, 2.4 4, Diaminophenoxyethanol HCI 5**, m- Aminophenol 5, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil) 1-3, Oleyl Alcohol 1, Polyquaternium-22 0, Ascorbic Acid 0, 2 – Methylresorcinol 4, Pentasodium Pentetate 0, p-Aminophenol 7, PEG-40 3, Castor Oil 2, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate (F01) 0.

*possibility of contamination with 1.4 dioxane and ethylene oxide (carcinogenic)
**ingredient is poorly written which often happens in formulas where the ingredients are more problematic 2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol hcl
This hair permanent dye has the advantage of not containing resorcinol and ppd, but  other (red) hazardous ingredients replace them…


Organic Colour Systems is a professional hair dye that is sold only under license.

I went to see the ingredients of Black (1Black), like all the other brands that are on this page, so there is no discrimination.

Here is what I found for the 1 Black : PEG-2 Soyamine 5, Cocamide DEA 7, Alcohol Denatured 4, Oleic Acid 1, Cocamide DEA 7 (yes, 2 times !), Hydrolysed Wheat Protein ( not listed on SD), Ascorbic Acid 0, PEG-7 Coco Glycerides  3

Anyone who has read a label dye understands that the list is incomplete, where the pigments are? so I searched for more information. In fact, what interests us is in on a “Note”, on another Website.

“Some of Organic Color Systems include mineral pigments. If mineral pigments are included in the color, only the smallest amounts (an average of 00.006) are used. Organic Color Systems employs only the purest and most natural virgin minerals available including HC Yellow 2, HC Red 3, 4- Chlororesorcinol, 2-Amino-4-Hydroxyethylamino-Anisole, 4-Amino-Hydroxytoluene, M- Aminophenol, 2-Methly Resorcinol, Phenylenediamine, P-Aminophenol”.

As you can see from the link, Organic Color Systems uses PPD 7 ! ! !

Moreover, you can read on their website that only a few shades do not contain.

The 2-Méthylrésorcinol is rated 4 on Skin Deep, the P-aminophénol is rated 7, the M-Aminophenol 5, the 4-amino-Hydroxytoluene 5, the 2-amino-4-hydroxyéthylamino-anisole 3, 4 – chlororésorcinol is 6,  the HC Red 3 is 7 and the HC Yellow 2 is rated 5.

One wonders then what the “ORGANIC” has to do with this hair dye? Does the presence of some certified ingredients like chamomile, some orange and grapefruit extracts give the right to these products to use the ORGANIC name !?!

There is a list for some shades of blonde without PPD made ​​by Organic Colour Systems and also a new range of dyes that do not contain PPD, but you would not be surprised, ladies, to know that it is a semi-permanent dye ! It’s called “No limits“.


In conclusion: if you have light brown or blonde hair you do not know your happiness, because vegetal dyes or semi-permanent options are excellent.

If you have dark or black hair and if the gray seriously starts to settle in, I sympathize with you…the more one chooses dark colours the more the risk increases to find these harmful substances for health. It is besides for that reason that one recommends not to wash the hair before dyeing it, because the sebum protects the scalp from these harmful substances. The discoloration (bleaching) of the hair is also less dangerous, because it is practiced with hydrogen peroxide and it does not use toxic dyes.

I am very sorry about this discrimination coming from nature but also from science of which I am a victim myself also… Since the beginning of my research about hair colourings until today, I have more and more gray hair and I quietly join the ranks of the auburns, and even the blond, with hightlights due to the chromatic confusion which results from it, thus contributing to the ambiguity of the membership of the classes. As Verlaine would say: “… brown, blond or red head? I am unaware…” Very happy to have lived that period when “the unpleasant regrowth” was not a serious infringement to the aesthetic standards that defined “a woman of taste”.

Here is my journey, knowing it could perhaps save you a lot of time and money…

After having tested three dyeings known as “natural” which they are not, I chose Herbatint and once or twice per year a colouring without peroxide at the hairdresser. It was a good decision even if I had to redo my dyeing every other week (but I was told that other women could go as far as one month). After one year of being faithful to this option my hair really wasn’t in good shape anymore. I was loosing them and the spectrum of my bald skull during the chemo haunted me.

I thus turned to henna. Once again I did a lot of research and read thousands of pages on the Internet and I revisited the boutiques in Montreal, this time around with more multicultural alternatives: Iranian henna, Moroccan henna (with or without coffee in the composition), finally I exasperated everyone at home with my ‘tartinage’ sessions with henna, in the bathtub to keep the floor clean, using a large plastic bag for protection of my clothing. After a few months, there were less and less voluntary persons available for the application (it should be known that one really cannot do it alone) and I then invented the last alternative: application at the hairdresser’s and then return home with the hair englobed in saran (cellophane) and a large hat on the head, followed by 6 to 8 hours of waiting. At the end of my henna period, I found the Henna of Lush which has the merit of having a texture that approaches more conventional dyeing and a shorter waiting period. It is mixed with several oils which makes it very consistent during  application. I waited six hours with what they call the “black excrement” on my head and the result was remarkable. A pretty black colour, quite natural, not too dark and uniform enough. IT COVERS THE WHITE!!! I shouted Victory! Big advantage: it is sold in bar with six squares (23.65 $); for short hair two squares are largely sufficient, it is therefore a quite economical choice. After a few months, I disillusioned again: while washing, the henna which covered the gray hair washed much more quickly and then the gray became yellowish, not very sexy… I then invented the “Small trick for gray hair”: to do, from time to time, (two or three days before using the black henna) a colouring with the pure henna, (red-orange) so that one can have, after a few weeks and several washings, pretty reflections of mahogany rather than yellowish on the gray hair.

Finally, you have come to understand that all these tests take much time and require patience… Henna is certainly the only non-toxic solution for darker hair with the proviso of finding organically certified alternatives, because in the past there has been evidence of contamination especially to black henna (which is not really completely henna, because pure henna is of orange colour and to obtain the black colour one adds various plants like indigo, for example), to the paraphenylenediamine (PPD) whose dangers have been exposed above.

Two years later and with more and more gray hair, I gave up henna.

Oh! I forgot to mention that I obviously tested Logona, the only vegetable colouring with a clean card which uses organic BDIH certified henna and which you will now find in all the boutiques of natural products.

For my part, I bought Logona in Europe, because at the time I could not find it in Montreal. It had been answered to me that this brand had been withdrawn from sale, because it did not cover gray hair. Indeed, it does not cover gray hair. I had it tested (Ebene) by a girlfriend who was sympathetic to the cause of the greying brunettes and no, that was not a success either. It is not entirely a dyeing, judging from the results, it is rather a colouring shampoo which can be much more appropriate for blond hair, auburn or in any case rather clear hair. Plant colouring can give very pretty nuances and reflections, but it cannot cover the white or change the colour radically.

Here is what the manufacturer himself says about gray and dark hair  [10] .

LOGONA dye care and white hair.

“In theory, all the nuances except EBENE can be appropriate for white hair. (Caution: EBENE is not appropriate at all for white or fair-clear hair, because it contains chlorophyl which can leave “green-bottle” reflections on the clear or white hair). It should be known, that even after colouring, white hair remains clearer than the colour of origin. Therefore, the more white hair there is, the more the result obtained is clear.  ”

I have literally gone all around the world and spent days and nights doing research to find a “clean” and effective product but, as the conclusion of the comparative article of six colourings says it so well, the miracle product does not exist! Neither the natural permanent hair dye!

If the fashion of perms is in decrease, dyeing hair and dissimulating the gray has become, on the other hand, a real industry (hair care accounts for 20% of the total sales of the industry of beauty products).  From one country to another, the numbers vary: 50 to 60% of women of more than 25 year old affirm to use hair colourings and, according to Rita Stiens, one woman out of three dyes her hair in Europe and in North America. If this banal act of dyeing one’s hair partly reflects the ageing of the population (in North America at least), it is certainly also a flattering sign of our pretty ego (which, besides, my yogi Dr. Bali considers to be the source of all our sufferings down here on Earth) which, for certain women and certain men, can even take outright existential proportions. I could not, in this chapter, omit to greet and express my respect to the women who choose to remain very natural and to assume their gray hair gracefully, “these witnesses of the past”.


For several natural options for the health of your hair (Ghassoul, oils, butters) see the chapter “ Non-toxic Shampoos ”.

The hairdressing salons specialized in the hairstyle of women of Afro-American origin affirm that 85% of their customers come for an uncurling of the hair. These products are dangerous for health and may contain formaldehyde (see “ Dirty List ”). On this link from Health Canada , you can find the list of the most dangerous brands as well as an article on the Brazilian Blowout solution manufactured by Brazilian Blowout from California.

On the website of Dr. Oz, you can read remarks on this subject too.

I could find no less harmful version for uncurlings or perms, neither on Skin Deep, nor on Good Guide. I thus deduce from it that there are quite simply none available.

According to The Guide To Less Toxic Products, to obtain information on healthier choices for Afro-American hair, one should consult the site , but I rather refer you to the article  Best options for straight hair on  Skin Deep.

Guide of products of hygiene, beauty care and non-toxic cosmetics 




[1] ↑ Source : la maison bio

[2] ↑

[3] ↑

[4] ↑ Source : paperblog

[5] ↑ Source:

[6] ↑ INSERM, 1999 « Esthers de glycols, quels risques pour la santé ».

[7] ↑ Skin Deep

[8] ↑

[9] ↑ .

[10] ↑

[11] ↑  PPD is the most dangerous ingredient in the permanent hair dye, it is linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity and permanent allergies. In general, more the color is darker, more elevated levels the tube contains but there are quite a lot in the shades of red too. Read more about it on Skin Deep .

[12] ↑  This ingredient consists of cetearyl alcohol and a synthetic polymer polyethylene glycol; may contain potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane. Skin Deep

[13] ↑  This common ingredient in hair color and bleaching product is a skin irritant that is toxic to the immune system and a frequent cause of hair dye allergy. In animal studies, resorcinol can disrupt thyroid hormone synthesis and can produce goitrogenic effects. The federal government regulates exposures to resorcinol in the workplace, but there are no regulations limiting amounts of resorcinol in personal care products. Skin Deep

[14] ↑  A cream (sold in tubes) contains much more fat which is less damaging to the hair, the dyes sold to the professional hairdressers are also creams, gel or liquid dyes contain much more water (sold in a glass or plastic jar) which is more aggressive to the hair, to better differentiate their texture we can compared with the face cream for face and body (oil in water) versus lotions or milks (water in oil)

[15] ↑  It may help sell products from face cream to laundry detergent, but do you know what’s in it? Fragrances are in everything from shampoo to deodorant to lotion. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. Recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world.

[16] ↑  m-aminophenol is a synthetic dye used in hair coloring produced from coal tar

60 thoughts on “ Non-Toxic Hair Dyes and Hair Color Products

  1. Allo!
    J’ai beaucoup de compassion pour toi car j’ai le même problème et je suis à la recherche à Laval ou les environs pour trouver une teinture sans ppd. Ce n’est pas facile, je capote et je te comprends. Ça fait du bien de lire que quelqu’un nous comprend et essaie d’aider les autres car les nombreux cheveux blancs à 35 ans ça mine mon moral pas mal! Presque tous mes cheveux sont blancs!!! Merci encore et espère qu’il y aura une lueur bientôt…

  2. Is there a spot coloring option for hair that has a relatively safe profile than can be purchased in the US?

  3. The harmlessness depends on the color and also if it a permanent, a semi-permanent or a plant based dye…
    I know for sure that Eco Colors is available in USA, as for “relatively safe” you be the judge…
    You can also look on Skin Deep, you can buy some of their products on Amazone.

  4. In my research I found a site that said body art henna is stronger then any henna products you can get in a natural food store. After reading this article I am going to give up the chemical natural dyes. I’ve been using Sanotint Light and it works great but I know it’s not good for me. I am going to try the body art henna. Blessings.

  5. I am curious what you are using now and if you have any other recommendation for those of use with dark hair and some gray?

    Also, I noticed you reviewed the Solfine Natural but not their Crema Color delice which is supposed to be the most natural, no ammonia, no ppd, but a host of other chemicals ;-)

    thanks for all your time and research

  6. Well, I’ll tell you: after two years of research, trial and error, hundreds of dollars spent on products of all kinds and from all over the world, hopes and disappointments, a few more gray hairs helping, « I turned », from completely brunette to completely blonde. Toxicologically speaking, this is a better choice for me.

  7. I take it you used commercial dyes hoping to not have to dye as often as the grey blends in with the blonde more – seems to be more people are going this way. Any advice for us dark haired women who have some grey and dont want orange hair?


  8. On the French side of the Non-Toxic Hair Dyes, one lady posted the ingredients of this brand:
    Ingredients :

    “Indigoferae tinctoria leaf powder and lawsonia inermis leaf powder

    Our Chestnut Haircolor contains only the pure botanicals listed above and nothing else”.

    This henna is USDA certified organic, so it looks like a safe product.

  9. I am sorry about this discrimination of the nature, no, I have nothing to add to what is already said on the page…

  10. Thanks for the detailed study. I tried a Henna-indigo mix for graying dark brown/black hair, and it seemed to work well, but needs application in 3-4 weeks and is messy. Initially used Henna alone, but now too orangy with more gray. Found- Hair care natural (55%indigofera tinctoria, 20%hena,
    5% amla,5%shikakai,5% bhringaraj, 5%Bhilawa, 3% margosa, 2% methi- an Indian product from US groceries). Could not find it again and instead the store had- Hannah Natural, which lists similar ingredients( indigofera tinctoria/indigo, lawsonia inermis/henna, emblica officinalis/amla,eclipta alba/bhringaraj,azadirachta indica/neem, bacopa monnieri/brahmi, vetiveria zizanoides/khus). Did not find any toxicity per se in my initial searches for henna & indigo. in internet and pubmed (medical data base)
    Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Jul;5(7):1039-42.
    In vitro testing for genotoxicity of indigo naturalis assessed by micronucleus test.
    Dominici L, Cerbone B, Villarini M, Fatigoni C, Moretti M.
    Department of Medical-Surgical Specialties and Public Health (Section of Public Health), University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy..

    Your thoughts ,

  11. Hi! I usually use Skin Deep data base, but is closed in this moment, so here is what I found using other sources, you take you decision.
    First of all, the website is not giving the INCI ingredient lists specific to every color, so you have to check YOUR COLOR ingredients list, but here is some information about all the ingredients used in all their colors.
    sodium cocamphopropionate tensioactif : ok according to Rita Stiens (2 smilies)
    hydroxyethylcelulose : ok according to Rita Stiens (2 smilies)
    dowicil 200 – we do not know the concentration in the product, read more about in :
    solvent black 5 is mutagen and toxic
    disperse blue 1 is carcinogenetic
    basic violet 14 : This compound may cause allergic reactions (e.g. sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny eyes and nose, itching, skin rashes, hypotension). It may also cause bladder cancer.
    basic yellow 15 : No specific information is available for this one , but i did not have time to make an extended research

  12. Hi, can you please let me know what you think about the PhytoNatural Hair Colorant, which says has
    - No Ammonia
    No PPD
    No Paraben
    No SLS, SLES
    No Prophylene Glycol
    No PEG
    No Mineral Oil
    No Heavy Metals.

    Not sure how effective it is in coloring out dark hair but I am ready to give it a try. Also, I have been using Omar Sharif 60 second Coloring for the past 2 years. What type of information do you have on those products. Thanks.

  13. I had a *severe* allergic reaction to semi-permenant black dye. My face swelled and I ended up in the emergency room on steriods, with a rash all over my face and neck. The rest of my body has now developed a ‘sympathetic’ rash as a consequence of this experience. I will never, ever, use permenant hair dye again–or semi-permenant.
    That being said, I have had good luck with Henna/indigo. It is super-messy and a pain to apply, but it will cover grey. It is especially good for women like myself, who have naturally soft-black hair. I buy my henna from mehandi and have been pleased with their customer service and the quality of the henna.

  14. As I said on the Non-Toxic Hair Dyes page, whatever the company says, without this or without that, what matters is the exact INCI ingredients list of YOUR product, not the entire range. So, if you can sent me the INCI list of the ingredients your dye really contains, I may give you a more accurate answer…

  15. Now that you have gone blonde…could you share what product/color you now use. I’m at least 75% silver & dark gray, my natural color is med blonde. Thanks!

  16. I use the Sanotint Light Blond, 11.99$ almost every tree weeks, at least I avoid the ppd….apart from gray hair or shaving my head and wearing a wig, I did not find any other safe and effective solution…good luck to you!

  17. Where and how do you order this product. I tried other Henna products that did not work and in fact I had a bad allergic reaction. I am still hoping to find a miracle and cover my gray.

  18. I purchased my henna and indigo from Mehandi. They are very knowledgable and gave me exact directions and proportions. And all of their henna is organic and pure–lab certified. NOTHING added; about 6% of their customers have severe allergies, so they are very careful. They have a number that you can call and speak to someone about your circumstances. Also if you go online, they have a book that you can download for free that explains how to dye your hair with natural henna and indigo. But they do always say that everyone should do a patch test, so keep that in mind.
    The woman who owns Mehandi is wring her PHD thesis on it; she is extremely knowledgeable, so I would ask her or her associates any questions that you might have. Hope this helps and good luck.

  19. Thank you for everything you have written, so usefull. After cancer i finally deside to find a healthy dye for my hair, now i have dark blonde dye and i need to make them lighter but if i understand you well (cause my English is not so good yet), you said that Henna has to stay on your head 3-4 hours before you rinse? As for the hair loss, i sugest from my experiance, PRIORIN EXTRA capsules 2 every day for 3 months and the hairloss stoped ,that was a miracle for me ! Thank you again and God bless you !

  20. Hello Cornelia!
    First of all, thank you for all these researches you have made…I have light brown/gold/with some red in my hair.i would like to know if you can recommend me a brand, whichever brown you can find.(the least harsh)

    Thank you a lot :) ))))

  21. What is your opinion of cassia obovata? My hair is platinum blonde / white, and im looking to add a little blonde coloring. I have developed an allergy to ppd and am reluctant to use anything at all with chemicals.

  22. I never used but it looks like it doesn’t clolor at all, improves texture (brightness, thickness, more defined curls), revives naturally blond hair but has the same difficult application and smell like natural henna. Dries the hair, so be careful to moisturize it! Good luck to you!

  23. Have you looked into Organic color systems, or anyone on this site. I’d love to hear your thoughts and others on this and results for Auburn brown hair.

    Thanks for all your research shared!

  24. Hi, i use skin deep website, but limited on hair colors. I have tried tints of nature semi permanent, which took well to mostly white hair, but looks very artificial. I have used naturtint golden blonde with great results, but worry about ingredients(ppd) used every 4 weeks. I found a “Green” salon near by that uses ( has website that explains Ingredients, but I’m no expert) and products. I’m not totally up on organics and natural pigments, so not sure going there is best either. Can you comment on naturtint permanent or the salon products? I had breast cancer and might just go white at this point, due to being so confused as what is safe, although not my first choice.

    Thank you

  25. Hi! Davines products are listed on Skin Deep, very conventional formulas, with pritty bad rates.
    There is no INCI formulas for the ” Davines New Color Natural” hair dye on the Company Website, they only display the “natural active ingredients” which is the classical way of hiding the bad guys…so I think that the “natural” in the name’s product is just for fun.
    There is already a Naturetint 1 N Black analyse on my hair dye page, so as you can see, there is no such think as “permanent natural hair dye”. However, for the comments I receive from Internet Users, I think that Logona products are the best for “natural results” with the cleanest formulas. Take care of you!

  26. Pingback: Non-toxic hair dyes ? - - produits d'hygiène, de beauté et cosmétiques non-toxiques

  27. thanks for all your wonderful info! I have premature greys that get worse with stress, so I have been dying my hair for a long time. when I was younger I used henna a lot, but it is not always practical. I started going to a salon in Montreal many years ago that had a vegetable dye (voila, do you have info on it?), but the hair dresser kept using non-vegetable, chemical dye for many years without telling me. I ended up with a black mole on my hairline that I never had before. then I switched to INOA for a while under the premise that it was ammonia free, but they list a different form of the ammonia which breaks down into ammonia (ugh, L’oreal’s false advertising). Later I switched to farmia (another Italian brand) but I was never able to find info online, or ingredient list. Then I switched to organix again thinking it was chemical free, but doing more research, I found out that hydrogen peroxide build up in hair follicles is what causing them to go grey. On the previous colour systems I would colour my hair every 5-6 weeks, on organix due to the sudden increase in grey, I was colouring every 4 weeks! I am thinking to go back to henna, though it is not time efficient, and got a brick from lush. I like the essential oils they add, but I’m a little weary of the indigo henna, since I’ve never used it – real henna is only red. But I came across this site, Palette by Nature ( and they seem promising. Have you done any research on them? They do list their ingredients on their website, and I can’t see anything obvious that is harmful. Would love to have your opinion. Thanks!

  28. Hi,

    Thanks so much for your research! I am looking for something natural to color my hair. Have about 10% gray mostly on my temples. I had colored my hair in the past with naturtint 6n and one day I started feeliing anxious. I quickly rinsed out and been afraid since then. I have since gone to salons and they used redken on me and was fine. Other times I have used herbatint and don’t know if it is just the fear of feeling anxious again but I feel afraid of continuing to use it. What are the symptoms to PPD? Also considering going to cosmetologist salon that uses AVEDA products. Are their products safe? Please advise.


  29. Hello Cornelia,
    Thank you for all the info :) I always used Sanotint, but now I dont know what to use anymore…I didnt understand your comments about Logona is it a good product to use. I have a couple of white hair and I have light brown hair and I wanted to know if Logona would be good to use?

    Thank you for your help

  30. Yes, I think Logona may be a good choice for you, but, from what I was told, you need to use it 3-4 times before getting a good result.

  31. what I want is a burgundy color? What can I try? My hair has many colors in it, sort of light brown at the bottom part, I have some partial highlights, and dark brown hair color growing in, plus the 10% gray.

  32. Thank you so much for all your research. I just checked the Palette by Nature site and would love your comments on their dark brown formula, ingredients listed below:

    Aqua (Purified Water), Decyl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Water, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Lauryl Glucoside, Vegetable Glycerin, Henna (CI 75480), Panax Ginseng Root Extract*, Xanthan Gum, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Extract*,Curcumin* (CI 75300), Natural Indigo (CI 73000) from Indigofera Tinctoria, Annatto* (CI 75120), Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Powder* (CI 75840), Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract*, Aspalathus Linearis (Roibos) Leaf Extract*, Quercetin, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract*, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract*, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract*, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Fruit Extract*, Xanthophyll (from Carotenoids), Rubia Cordifolia Root Extract, Denatured Grain Alcohol*, Propyl Alcohol (natural, Kosher), Haematoxylon Campechianum Wood Extract (CI 75291), Rhus Glabra (Sumac) Bark/Berry/Root Extract* (CI 75620), Crataegus Monogina (Hawthorne) Fruit Extract* (CI 75695), Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex (CI 75810), Luteolin (CI 75590) from Reseda Luteola, Caesalpinia Echinata Extract, Anthocyanins, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Powder**, Benzyl Alcohol (natural, Kosher), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Quercus Alba (White Oak) Bark Extract*, Cuminum Cyminum (Cumin) Seed Extract*, Alkanna Tinctoria (Alkanet) Root Extract*, Emblica Officinalis (Amlaki ) Fruit Extract*, Hibiscus Abelmoschus (Hibiscus) Flower Extract*, Lactic Acid (natural, Kosher), Citric Acid, Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Essential Oils*
    Aqua (Purified Water), Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Water, Panax Ginseng Root Extract*, Denatured Grain Alcohol*, Vegetable Glycerin, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract*, Xanthan Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Prunus Amygdalus Amara (Bitter Almond) Kernel Oil, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Leaf Extract*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil*, Copper Gluconate (from corn), Propyl Alcohol (natural, Kosher), Zinc Lactate, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Citrate, Magnesium Citrate, Benzyl Alcohol (natural, Kosher), Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract*, Melissa Officinalis ( Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Ferrous Lactate, Lactic Acid (natural, Kosher), Copper Lactate, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract*, Ferrous Gluconate (from corn), Copper Citrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Gluconate (from corn), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract*, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Fruit Extract*, Essential Oils*
    Aqua (Purified Water), Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Citrate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract*, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Leaf Extract*, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract* , Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract*, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract*, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Extract*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract*, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Fruit Extract*
    * Certified Organic
    ** Wild Harvested

  33. I can not analyze this formula ingredient by ingredient, it would take me three days … but this brand is already listed on my website, I see that there is no ppd, no resorcinol no toluene, no Perfume, then, without prejudice, I think it is a rather natural formula.

  34. Hello, thanks so much for your thorough article. I am really glad I found your website as I can finally estimate by myself if a product is dangerous or not (I discovered as well Skin Deep website).I spend 30 min in my bathroom, checking my so-called “natural” shampoo and other items. Regarding the color, I did 5 years of chemical ones and I was naive to think it was ok because I used no ammoniac color. I was planning to switch to henna (I’m 32, dark with a lot of grey hair) but the fact that the results are not guaranteed and that it could be long & messy, I think more on dropping the color, and accepting the greys. I guess the transition period won’t be easy and I may be trying henna later. Now time to review your list on shampoo to get a good one :) . Again, thank you so much for the time you spend.

  35. Hi I have about 25% gray and I was searching online for an all natural hair dye for my black hair colour.. You mentioned COLOURWELL before and I have tried it and it does cover gray very well indeed.. They sell an add on pack that uses more concentrated indigo and coffee.. Which really works when you combine the black dye.. Also you have to do it twice within 48hrs when you first start to colour it.. And make sure you heat it with blow dryer at least 5 min after the initial hr on your hair..
    I’ve left it on for only an hr and great results.. Imagine 2 or 3?
    So for me this is the best 100% natural hair dye on the market..
    And p.s it lasts..

  36. Thank you so much! I`ve been thinking of going to buy eco hair dyer today. I have a BIO shop on my street and they are selling NATURTINT 1N Ebony Black. Good that I decided to check it online and end up on your website.

    I had really bad permanent colouring done few month ago and my hair is so weak. So I thought if I switch to natural dye it would cover old yellowish tone. But now I think of growing my own hair and just using toning shampoo in the mean time.
    I still remember how nice I felt with my natural hair. too bad I treated them so bad.. but lesson learned.

  37. What do you think of 5n its a light brown from naturtint
    Iis it better .? I could go a bit lighter
    Thanks so much , V

  38. The only truth is the INCI list, check yourself if the ingredients are different from the Naturetint 1N.

  39. Thank you so much for the hard work behind this post! I am in mid 30s, with 15-20% of my hair gray hair, and started dyeing them two years ago. When I started reading about the components in the dyes I found it difficult to find any opinions that would go beyond manufacturer’s marketing. I think I will simply give the dies up entirely and find out how to take care of the graying hair :)

  40. Hi Cornelia. I just would like to say a big sincere thank you for this amazing job. Also I would like to ask if I can link in my website to your site. I am a distributor of Sanotint Hair Care product, so this is wonderful.
    Best regards
    Gloria Ines V

  41. Thanks so much for all the hair dye info. I am 48 and 90% gray since age 30. Going for it has been a tough decision. I have dyed my hair since age 27. I have had a lot of health problems including depression and head aches. I decided to grow out the gray and just see what I look like. So far six inches of white hair. Some people gasp. Some say it looks cool. A few say its beautiful. I am an attractive person so my vanity has taken a beating. I know that I could look ten years youger but why? A man at the gas station said,”that snow on the mountain that god gave you is beautiful. Don’t you go dying it” Comments like that keep me form the dye bottle. Hope others will follow my lead. Hope to find a guy who digs me and my unique look. I feel better not using any dyes and my hair finally feels healthy again. My aunt is 65 and all white. She looks beautiful in it. I am going to work it and feel unique with it and beautiful. At least for now.

  42. Thank you so much for all the research you’ve done. I’ve learned a lot! I’m allergic to PPD and also have looked into finding a permanent hair dye without toxins and have failed. I only use Henna and Indigo from which is tested for purity (check them out, the website is full of information) but the earthy smell (it’s one way to call it i guess – my family and I hate it and it comes back each time I wash my hair after), the pure length of time it takes (for me the concoction has to be on my head for over 10 hrs.) and the resulting headache that last for days after due to having something heavy and wet on head for that long, the MESS of putting it on and rinsing it out keeps me hoping to find something!

  43. Hello there,

    I have a really bad allergy with hair colors.

    I just purchased Martine Mahe’s Black hair color and unfortunately very disappointed.

    This hair color is not covering gray hair at all, even with 1%, I have followed all of their instructions. Sorry, but I don’t understand what is the purpose to giving a false advertising? Their product is not cheap and it’s not working.

    Wasted money and time!


  44. Hi, I used “just for men” dye and had a bad reaction that caused a very itchy and red flaking scalp… Will no longer use it!.. I really hate my grey popping up …would you recommend any healthier substitute for men? Thank-you

  45. I ordered yesterday Martine Mahe colour in black, i hope it works, it seems to be less time consuming than henna… i read all kind of comments, so fingers crossing!! Marina you use the recommendes shampoo before?

  46. I can’t use henna and indigo, especially the indigo my vision gets blurry and I have terrible muscle aches for a few days after using it. I think I am sensitive to the coumarins in them. The indigo wore off after a week or two. I also used several different top pure henna and indigo brands online and from an Indian store but same.

    I did use Herbatint and other similar “natural” hair (e.g. Naturtint) dues that still contained PPD and it colors and holds but my hair texture didn’t seem so good after a few years of using it monthly. Herbatint was the better of that lot of so-called “natural/organic” hair dues. It also scares me to use something I could later develop a bad allergy to.

    I recently was using Ion demi-permanent hair color and it faded some the first time but next time lasted longer. It still has PPD’s cousin TDS though that’s supposed to be half as bad. I also tried Ion permanent hair color but mixed with the sensitive scalp 20% developer my hair felt so dry and the color is fading some. I left it on the minimum time instead of the maximum time though. Maybe should leave the gray roots the maximum time only.

    Soon I will try Sebastian colored laminates. I heard some people have success with this covering gray hair but not sure how long it’ll last, I’ve heard mixed reviews.

    Also would like to check out Well’a's Koleston Innosense line that was launched. The PPD molecule was tweaked so it’s less likely to cause allergies to those who don’t already have a PPD allergy but salon dye job is so expensive. I’m not sure it’s widely available yet in the US but it’s promising.

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