But how natural are natural Hair Colors?

If you are coloring your hair, you have probably wondered whether there are natural alternatives to all the “chemistry” in commercial hair-dyes without the nasty smell of ammonia and the effects of Hydrogen Peroxide.

The simple truth about all-natural hair dyes is:

Ø They are not always all-natural, despite claims to the contrary.

Ø They are inconvenient to use, messy to apply and need to develop for a very long time.

Ø They don’t cover grey hair well.

Ø Range of available shades is very limited.

Ø They cannot lighten hair


When looking in stores at all the different products on offer, you may get even more confused.

Before we go into details, here are a few things to keep in mind:

· If the color requires mixing two components, it is certainly a chemical hair dye, no matter what it says on the package.

· Careful with products claiming ‘No Peroxide’. It is easily substituted by bromide, which delivers a similar chemical reaction.

· Don’t bother with products that do not display a list of ingredients.

· Truly natural hair dyes will make your hair darker with every application.

· Natural hair dyes will be very hard to lighten, should you change your mind.

· If it is your first time to color, choose the lighter shade. It is easier to darken the color than to lighten, should you not like the result.

· If there is a part of your hair still colored, don’t try a lighter shade as the re-grown, natural part of your hair will turn out lighter than the previously colored part.

In my opinion, we are unjustly criticising commercial hair coloring products from reputable firms, which have been formulated, analyzed, improved and pretty much perfected to deliver optimum aesthetic results with minimal damage, when used by professionals. From production to delivery, these products have been scrutinized and tested independently over and over again. Long-term studies have tried to establish a link between using hair dyes and the occurrence of cancer and other illnesses. No links have been found.

If you are not bored yet, read on for more in-depth knowledge:

Many people are looking for colors without Ammonia and Peroxide, but what’s so bad about these particular substances?

Ammonia is a chemical formula of NH3. The pH of standard ammonia is about 11. Ammonia is a base, which means it reacts in water to form a positively-charged ammonium (NH4+) ion and a negatively-charged hydroxide (OH-). In hair-coloring, its job is to open the cuticle of the hair to allow the pigments to anchor permanently inside.

Hydrogen Peroxide is H2O2 and it is widely used because of its property to split into H2O (water) and O- , active oxygen.

The question comes down to how “bad” are commercial, branded hair coloring products and how ”good” are natural and quasi-natural coloring agents.

Resorcinol is the essential component of an adhesive system used in the tire manufacturing process and other fiber-reinforced rubber mechanical goods.

Adhesives formulated from resorcinol-formaldehyde resins or phenol-modified resorcinol-formaldehyde resins are the criteria for wood bonding applications demanding room temperature cure, structural integrity, and waterproof characteristics.

Resorcinol is an important chemical intermediate in specialty chemicals manufacturing, such as light screening agents used to protect plastics from exposure to ultraviolet light. Resorcinol is used to manufacture dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, agricultural chemicals, fungicidal creams and lotions, explosive primers, antioxidants, a chain extender for urethane elastomers, and a treatment to improve mechanical and chemical resistance of paper machine fabrics.

INDSPEC resorcinol is manufactured by the sulfonation of benzene under conditions that promote disubstitution in the meta position, followed by fusion with anhydrous caustic. The resultant resorcinol is purified under controlled conditions to yield a technical grade product, typically 99.8 percent pure. INDSPEC also offers a U.S.P. grade of resorcinol which meets the U.S. Pharmacopeia for applications in which ultra-high purity is required such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.


In its report sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization

Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, Hanover, Germany

states the following excerpt:

In humans, exposure to resorcinol has been associated with thyroid effects, CNS disturbances, and red blood cell changes. Dermal sensitization to resorcinol has been well documented, but in practice is rare; the available data do not allow assessment of sensitization potency.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


p-Phenylenediamine is primarily used as a dye intermediate and as a dye. Acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of p-phenylenediamine may cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions, and coma in humans. Eczematoid contact dermatitis may result from chronic (long-term) exposure in humans.

Following are some references from outside sources for those who are interested to know more in-depth:

According to Popsugar Beauty


Henna is one of the oldest and most popular ways to change your hair color, but for such a commonly used dyeing agent, there’s comparatively little information around on why, how, and when henna is a good choice and when it isn’t. If you’re contemplating coloring your hair with henna instead of a peroxide or ammonia-based dye but don’t know whether you’re making the right decision, here’s a quick, easy guide to the pros and cons.

The Formula

Pro: Natural henna can make your hair knockout glossy and give it a rich red tint because the henna color molecule, lawsone, is a highly pigmented red-orange.

Con: Compound hennas (like the hennas that claim to dye your hair blonde, brown, or black) have additives. Some, like Lush’s Cacas, are natural and only have additional ingredients like coffee and cloves. Other brands contain metallic salts and chemical lighteners that can wreck your hair. So unless you’re going any color besides true red, be sure to read the box carefully.

The Color

Pro: Henna is a great way to go red without stripping your follicles or using chemicals that might irritate your scalp.

Con: Henna isn’t as predictable as a chemical dye, so your color isn’t guaranteed to be like it is on the box, especially if it’s already previously been dyed.

The Process

Pro: After using body-art quality henna, your hair should feel softer, stronger, and undamaged.

Con: If your hair has been previously dyed or bleached with regular drugstore or salon dye, the remaining chemicals and pigment molecules from your last dye job can interfere with the henna, causing uneven color and even weird pigment results, like green hair. If you’ve been dyeing your hair with anything other than henna, you’ll need to do a couple of strand tests to make sure.

Also, unlike 10-minute drugstore dyes, henna can be messy, and it may take a long time to dye your hair. Some people leave it on as long as six hours and wrap their hair in plastic wrap to keep in the heat and speed up the dyeing process. Basically, you might need to set aside a whole afternoon or evening for the process.

The Results

Pro: Henna doesn’t fade nearly as rapidly as synthetic red dyes, so this is a great option if you’re interested in being a redhead for the long haul.

Con: It’s a double-edged sword. Getting henna out with bleach or other chemical means is often a disaster, since using peroxide or ammonia just drives the color even deeper into your hair shaft. Basically, once you start dyeing with henna, your options are to keep dyeing with it, let your hair grow out, or cut off all the colored hair.

Source: Thinkstock


Mordant dyes

Mordant is a Latin word meaning ‘to bite’13. Mordants act as ‘fixing agents’ to improve the colour fastness of some acid dyes, which have the ability to form complexes with metal ions. Mordants are usually metal salts; alum [KAl(SO4)2.H2O] was commonly used for ancient dyes, but there is a large range of other metallic salt mordants available. Each one gives a different colour with any particular dye, by forming an insoluble complex with the dye molecules. Chromium salts such as sodium or potassium dichromate are commonly used now for synthetic mordant dyes.

HairBoutique.com @

Unknown to many consumers who were taken with the beautiful body art, they did not know that PPD (p-Phenylenediamine) can cause severe allergic reactions, with blistering, intense itching, permanent scarring, and permanent chemical sensitivities.

Expert estimates of allergic reactions range between 3% and 15%. Henna that is not mixed with PPD does not cause these injuries. On the other hand, henna boosted with PPD can cause lifelong health damage.

Black Henna Is Illegal

Para-phenylenediamine is illegal for use on skin in western countries, though enforcement is lax. When used in hair dye, the PPD amount must be below 6%, and application instructions warn that the dye not touch the scalp and the dye must be quickly rinsed away.

“Black henna” pastes have PPD percentages from 10% to 60%, and are left on the skin for half an hour.

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