Hair Dye Colors

Hair Dye Colors

How Safe Are They?

All Hair Dyes and Hair Dyes are mutagenic and carcinogenic. Even the so-called “natural” products that use plant pigments also have harmful chemicals that can impair your health.

Hair Dye & Color Chemicals With the Greatest Risk:

p-phenylenediamine (PPD or PPED) or 2-nitro-p-phenylenediamine – causes cancer, allergies & immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), irritation (skin, eyes, lungs)

hydrogen peroxide causes cancer, allergies & immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), irritation (skin, eyes, lungs), neurotoxicity

ammonia peroxide causes cancer, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), irritation (skin, eyes, lungs)

lead acetate – causes cancer, allergies, immunotoxicity. developmental / reproductive toxicity. Lead is prevailent in hair dyes with striking colors like blue, pink and metallic colors.

coal tar (formaldehyde) causes cancer, allergies, immunotoxicity. developmental / reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive). Allergic reactions to dyes include itching, swelling of the face, and even difficulty breathing.

alkylphenol ethoxylates (APE’s), which are found in spermicides and pesticides and affects the body’s reproductive system.

Quaternium-15, a formaldehyde releaser; Diethanolamine; and Phenylene-Diamines.

If you have a box of haircolor under your bathroom sink, I encourage you to look up some of the ingredients for yourself using the Skin Deep cosmetics database to check if the contents of any personal care products are safe to use.

Hair Colors & Health Risk

hair dye color chemicals - dangers of pictureIn 2006, 22 of the chemicals that are in most haircolor products including PPD were banned in Europe. These “hair care” products are not regulated by FDA in the USA so claims of its safety are also not regulated either. In 2008, the WHO (World Health Organisation) said that there is evidence that hair dyes can increase the risk of bladder cancer for male hairstylists and hair colorists.

Reports suggest women who regularly use hair colors have a higher chance of many cancers including cancer of the blood, bladder and lymphatic system.

Women who use hair dyes for more than 20 years may nearly double their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Other risk factors of hair color are non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and perhaps leukemia and breast cancer.

Hutchinson’s melanotic freckle melanoma are associated with non-permanent hair dyes.

Allergic reactions to hair color are a common complaint not just at the time of the application of the dye but also days after its use – particularly scalp itchiness resulting in scalp sores and other related problems.

Types of Hair Dyes | Colors

Hair Dyes | Colors can be divided into five categories,each with a specific composition and action mechanism:

Gradual or Progressive hair colouring (using metallic dyes such as salts of lead, bismuth or silver).

Progressive hair dyes change the color of hair gradually from light straw color to almost black by reacting with the sulfur of hair keratin as well as oxidizing on the hair surface.

Plant-based hair colors (such as henna) marketed as natural hair color. So-called ‘natural’ hair dyesHerbatint, Naturtint and HennaPlus all contain man-made chemicals.

black henna with ppd chemicals resulted in scars this person pictureHenna is a plant that is also used for ayurvedic hair coloring. Henna should not be used on gray hair, as it turns it orange. Henna is derived from the leaves of the shrub Lawsonia inermis, which grows in India, North Africa and Sri Lanka; lawsone is the active dye ingredient. The major disadvantage of henna is it cannot be used to lighten one’s natural hair color.

Temporary Hair Dyes (water-soluble dyes that withstand only one shampooing),

Semi-permanent dyes penetrate into the hair shaft and do not rinse off with water like temporary colorings. However, many men’s semi-permanent products use lead acetate and work in ways similar to progressive permanent dyes. Temporary hair dyes can trigger allergies. Semi-permanent dyes will withstand only 4–5 shampooing), and

Permanent or Oxidation hair colours, the most important category. Most permanent hair dyes rely on a dual component system.

Permanent hair color are applied directly to the scalp, nearest to the root. Permanent dyes not only penetrate deeply into the hair shaft, but get locked within it due to a series of chemical reactions that occur while the dye is applied.

Permanent hair dyes use chemicals that strip the hair of its natural color and replace it with another color — a permanent dye.

Metallic hair dyes, which contain lead compounds, can give startling colors —a vivid red, a violent purple, a sober green or a dashing violet.

Bleaching – involves the use of hydrogen peroxide Relaxers – are also known as hair straighteners and involve a variety of chemicals.

Dark hair dyes are believed to come with the greatest cancer risk. Dark hair dyes are of particular concern because they contain a much higher concentration of chemicals than the lighter dyes.

But don’t mistake that to mean that coloring your hair once every four to six weeks is safe. Your scalp has a very rich blood supply that is more than capable of transporting the toxins in hair dyes throughout your entire body.

For instance, one study of nearly 900 people found that women who used permanent hair dye at least once a month were twice as likely as women who did not use permanent hair dye to develop bladder cancer.

Don’t let your chemical romance with sexy colored hair and hair highlights put your health at risk!

More than 75 million women color their hair regularly. One in 12 men colors his hair regularly. Permanent hair colors are the most popular hair dye products. Permanent dyes make up about 80 percent of the market. Commercial dye-makers sell over $7 billion dollars worth of hair dyes worldwide every year. When it is a big business, consumers must do the necessary research and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from quality and health deficiencies issues related to the business.

If you must use hair dyes, here are some tip on how you can minimize the risk of haircolor toxicity and other health risks:

  1. Steer clear of the darkest shades. Although all of the shades use essentially the same chemicals, there’s quite a lot more of them in dark brown and black shades than there are in blond, red or lighter shades. It is worthy to note that the lovely Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who regularly dyed her hair black, died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  2. Avoid permanent hair color, as they’re the most toxic. Semi-permanent and temporary colors are less so.
  3. Look for natural brands of hair color that use henna, herbal dyes and vegetable dyes as primary ingredients. These are likely to be much less toxic than the average hair color.
  4. If you go to a hair salon, choose one that is chemical-free, odor-free, herbal or caters to people with multiple chemical sensitivity and allergies. These salons tend to use less toxic products. As an aside, if you are a woman under 40 and have prematurely gray hair, it is usually a result of hypothyroidism. If you fall into this category, it would be wise to learn about these natural methods to help restore your thyroid imbalance.
  5. Never mix different hair dye products, because you may cause potentially harmful reactions.
  6. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, staying away from hair dye is particularly important because of the impact it could have on your unborn child (i.e. a 10-fold increase in cancer risk in the child)
  7. Take lots of good quality antioxidants to strengthen your immune system. Check out Isagenix’s powerful antioxidant system which can boost your body’s immunity against any toxic material (not just hair dye colors) that you may intentionally or unintentionally consume or be exposed to.
Best Organic Hair Permanent Color Dyes -  No Ammonia  No Hazardous Fumes  No Burn or Itch  No Banding  No Hot Roots No Brassing  No Animal Testing  No Animal Products  No Parabens  No Plastics  No Thioglycolates
Best Organic Hair Permanent Color Dyes – no parabans, No Ammonia, No Plastics No Thioglycolates



These are some of the better organic hair colors currently (2013) available in the market. I’m sure there are lots more permanent hair coloring systems . hair dyes with No Parabans, No Ammonia, No Plastics,  No Thioglycolates in the market – some you can buy on online sites like Amazon & eBay.

We suggest you try out one to see if:

  • the hair color effectively covers grays
  • the color fades after a few showers
  • it causes allergic reactions
  • it is affordable to you
  • it is truly organic hair colors. Check out the ingredients to see if they meet to your standards of “Organic
  • hair dyes color shades are the one you want (eg. henna in general, tends to be reddish)

So check them out and see which hair color systems meets your needs.

  1. Surya Brasil h=Henna Cream dark brown
  2. Tints of Nature 6N natural dark Blonde
  3. Hennalucent Semi Permanent hair color
  4. Naturtint Permanent
  5. Herbatint Permanent light blonde
  6. Aubrey Organic, Color Me natural
  7. CHI Organics Tone & Shine Color Silver Minx for gray and white hair
  8. Light Mountain Natural color the gray
  9. Rainbow Research hair color
  10. Morrocco Method Simply pure henna


© – hair dye colors: are they safe?

20 thoughts on “Hair Dye Colors

  1. The article is educative and Informative. Premature gray hair is a vexing problem and it is good to find vindication for deciding to go with the grey on health grounds.

  2. There is a company that produces a line of permanent hair colors that is completely free of harmful chemicals like PPD, ammonia, resorcinol. pthalates, coal tar dyes, amines, etc. The company is called Advanced Cosmetic Technologies and you can find them at www

    They are salon quality and actually leave your hair beautifully conditioned!

    Take a look and color away!!

  3. Greetings. I have been using hair color for many years, and I am very concern if using it for long term is causing unbalance chemicals in the brain. About 8 years I suffer from depression, anxiety and mental problem. Is it possible that I am intoxicated with lead? Exist some treatment to eliminate the lead? Thank you very much for your attention to this matter. Sincerely, Millie.

    • Indeed lead poisoning can lead you to be depressed. Lead tends to accumulate in your brain tissue, and is hard to get rid of. For example, children who have poisoning from lead based paint tend to have lower IQs and also have flat affect.

  4. HI, I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I am 53 so for the past 3 years I have been dying my hair and sometimes using Henna instead. I was wondering if I should stop both ? if so can I dye my hair afer the treatment?

  5. Hi – I’ve been salon coloring my dark brown hair for the last 10 years or so. Now I am at least 10-20 silver gray. As a person who is very health conscious and sensitive to chemicals, I am desperately seeking a safer way to color my white and still have healthy hair. I have tried ecocolor which did a decent job but my hair got drier and drier and just looked ratty. The color never did match my color. I am wondering about hennas but I already have color in my hair and worry that henna over what I already have might come out a weird color. Any suggestions out there?

    • There are now more hair color products that have No Ammonia & Peroxide / Herbal Base / Organic. Check them out. If they are not available in pharmacies, check out organic/nature stores. They may have them. Hennas are good but they don’t stay on long and they usually have a reddish hue.

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    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  7. This is the perfect webpage for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic.
    You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa).

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