Should You Try Organic Hair Dye?

Kelly Dougher
organic hair dye

Photo: Massonstock / Getty

Consider it a quandary of modern life: You want to color your hair, but you aren’t thrilled about the prospect of dousing your scalp in harsh chemicals. We understand—normal hair dye can damage hair significantly over time, potentially causing your lovely locks to become dry, coarse, and prone to breakage. And not only is your hair and scalp being exposed to these chemicals, but hair stylists and the environment are impacted negatively as well. And let’s not even talk about the awful smell that must be endured.

But there is another way, and it’s gentler AND more natural: organic hair dye. These colors will leave your hair softer and shinier, and contain far fewer chemicals than standard dye while still being effective. Whether you want to color your hair at home or go to a salon, there’s an organic hair dye solution for you. Check out some of our favorite brands, salons and resources to help you get your color on!

1. Organic Color Systems.
If you’re looking to make the switch to a salon that uses organic hair dye, then you need to check out Organic Color Systems. Their website will direct you to a salon near you that uses their products. Their hair dye is long-lasting, with 65 colors (including platinum!), and can even be used on stubborn grey hair. Best of all, it’s free of ammonia and is not tested on animals.

2. John Masters Salon.
This salon is another great option if you prefer to go to a professional to get your hair done. Masters’ salon is powered by 100% wind energy, has an outdoor garden, and all their hair dye is ammonia-free.

3. Biolights.
One downside of many natural hair dyes is that they’re not able to take hair from dark to light. Luckily, Biolights exists. This is an organic treatment that lightens hair color through the use of biodegradable cotton instead of foils. You can find the service at more than 100 popular salons, such as Patrick Melville in NYC. Your color will look natural and last for a long time—minus the harsh chemicals.

4. EcoColors.
EcoColors is a great option because it is for professional hair stylists (so ask your local salons if they have it) but they also provide a Home Haircolor Kit ($21.50) for consumers. Their organic formula contains soy, flax oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E and grapefruit seed extract—so it’s incredibly good for your hair. It is also free of parabens, sulfites, gluten, mineral oil and animal testing.

5. Herbatint Hair Color.
Herbatint hair dye contains only 3% peroxide (most hair dyes can contain up to 20% peroxide) and no ammonia. This dye is comprised of certified natural herbal ingredients that leave hair soft and shiny rather than damaged. They have both semi-permanent hair color ($15) and permanent hair dye ($14) available for purchase on their website, and the semi-permanent doesn’t contain any ammonia, alcohol, or peroxide at all.

6. Naturcolor Natural Hair Color ($13.79).
This isn’t the easiest natural hair dye to find but if you have a health food store near you, it’s worth checking to see if they carry it. These colors are awesome. You can mix different colors together to get your perfect shade, and the shine it imparts to your hair is second to none. The lack of ammonia and harsh chemicals means it won’t burn your scalp, and it even has pleasant scents (like lavender and rosemary) to choose from!

7. Lush Henna Hair Dyes ($26).
Henna is a great natural hair dye option, but it can be a little overwhelming. Lush makes it easy with their four henna hair dye varieties: Caca Marron (a dark chestnut), Caca Brun (glossy brown), Caca Noir (black), and Caca Rouge (a reddish glow). Each shade comes in a solid block that is made from Persian henna mixed with cocoa butter and other natural ingredients. It’s easy to use, too: simply break it up into pieces, melt them in hot water and mix it up before applying it to your hair for a few hours. It won’t damage your hair or irritate your skin, and has a natural, earthy scent.

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