Hair Colors


My journey to switch to all natural hair colors

Hair colouring

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( Updated April 2021)

Just before I start, we would love it if you would like to share all your thoughts and ideas on our community site here.

(It would be lovely to connect with everyone, find out ideas that you may have come across too.)


( Pro’s & Con’s plus Organic Brands & Colors Possible)

If You Are Interested In Coloring,or Highlighting Your Hair With More Natural Products & Ingredients please click here

This Blog hopes to give an insight, into what chemicals could be in the hair colors that we use, how to change what we are doing by finding safer products, which enable us to be more proactive with our own health and decision making.

Where to find safer and different products, that work in new ways to enable us to choose how we color our hair.

Ideas on how we can possibly remove colors more naturally. I guess we have all had that feeling of frustration, when it doesn’t look the way we dreamed!


Is it a wish to change our lives, or we think it will change what we think of ourselves?

I remember years ago seeing Charlies Angels on TV, the amount of women who wanted hair like  Farrah Fawcett! That blonde look was so popular, later came Friends, and Jennifer Aniston. There are always going to be celebrities’ that inspire us to want to change our looks.

If you are like me, often the search has been on covering my grey hair.

The internet is full of ways of ‘Getting Rid Of Grey Hair’, naturally or with a color. There are some wonderful and weird suggestions, from using black pepper? to different herbs, coffee, walnut shells, potato skins and many more.

The pressure seems to be on women, to conform or appear younger in their working environment. Going for an interview and wanting to appear at your best. More attractive? More employable. What ever reason you want to change your color or to cover those grey hairs.

Maybe you are going grey prematurely? I had a guy at school who started going grey at 18 years old! Why does that happen?

Skin Kraft“What, Why & How To Reverse Premature Grey “- They offer 9 reasons why this may be happening, from stress to diet, chemical hair products and medical conditions.

We can’t leave out the genetics too. You can understand not wanting to go grey at that age. Though now there are many younger people actually coloring their hair grey! The world is crazy. There is more about using grey color by grey blending on the link above.


Thinking back now, on just how long ago I started coloring my hair, I am not even sure what got me started on it.

I think the image in the media about being blonde and having more fun? Goodness knows, but I started with highlights. No one tells you, just how often you need to go for touch ups before you start!

I don’t know if you are like me? I hated the look of the dark roots.

Now this seems to be in fashion, so I guess women are embracing it, good for them.

It must have cost me a fortune over the years. I didn’t have a clue when I started coloring my hair, about the chemicals and the effect that they can have on our bodies .I guess in the back of my mind I was aware some sort of chemical must be needed to bleach my hair, but I don’t think people were as aware then, as they are now.

I wanted to share a little story about colouring hair. As I mentioned I had started colouring my hair in my early 20’s . I have to admit after moving to the States, it was getting so expensive to have a colour as often as I needed it.

The condition of my hair felt dry and unloved. I have to admit being really nervous in going back to brunette. I had heard all the horror stories of your hair going green or falling out!

I decided to at last take the plunge, and visit the upmarket hair salon in Manhattan. I thought I had more chance of my hair being ok.

I came out of that salon feeling ten feet tall, my hair swooshed like the models on a runway, the shine was amazing. To have such a clear memory of what happened about 30 years ago, just shows the impact that it had on me. ( I wont say how much it cost me though! )

It explains why we want to go and have someone else make decisions on our hair, and make us feel good. Maybe it is why most of us put up with what ever the salon is using without questioning it?

Though only today I saw an article on the Birmingham Mail Woman rushed to Hospital after hair dye leaves eyes swollen shut and scalp covered in blisters” This poor lady who hadn’t used hair dyes for many years had a reaction to using Schwarzkopf Live in ‘ Cosmic Blue’ and ‘Ultra Violet’.

At first I thought that she hadn’t done the skin test for any reactions, but after reading that she had tested both products without reacting to the skin test. “The blisters kept popping and oozing out blue dye”.

It makes me even happier to go the natural route!

Mind Body Green. Com -“Is Hair Dye Toxic? Our Guide To More Natural Hair Color” They explain what is in traditional dyes, what to look for and avoid. They have been talking with a clean beauty salon, who explain no product is going to be totally clean. They suggest that you look for salons that you know are going to use clean products. In the same way you would look for a specialist with curly or afro hair.

There are certainly more salons that advertise the brands that they are using, allowing us all to choose products that are safer for us to use.


Some great tips if you are coloring at home is to avoid the scalp, as this where most of the product can enter your blood stream.

Use a well ventilated area, to avoid inhaling fumes.

Try to go longer between your hair dyes, and if you have some greys coming through , try to spot color, rather than your whole head. ( this is what I do, even with the Henna product, it also saves you a load of money, as you can make that box last much longer.)

I wanted to add some information that I came across some time ago, I was listening to an online talk by Kris Carr, very inspirational. I have huge respect for the way she attacks life.

KRIS CARR has written this article on “Healthy Hair Dye Secrets that Work + Hair Care Tips” A really sensible article on why hair color can be harmful to our health and other ideas. Kris has battled with cancer, the way she has such a positive mental attitude is fantastic.

There is again a huge difference in what chemicals are allowed in each country. Even though Europe has banned a list of chemicals, which is great, there are still other chemicals which are allowed to be used in  hair colour.

A list of banned chemicals in the E.U. ( A link to the legal papers )

(Chloro-p-phenylenediamine– this is along with sulphate and dihydrochloride salts a recent addition.)

But these chemicals are not banned everywhere. America seems again to allow many more chemicals on their allowed list . I have seen some articles that show Canada are also banning more chemicals , which is encouraging.

Just today I came across an article on Journal Medizzy – ” Can Hair Dye Lead To Hair Loss?”

It is a story about a poor lady who has been using hair dyes for the past 5 years, had a allergic reaction to PPD’s in the hair dye and subsequently lost her hair.

It just brings home to me the importance of test on your skin before every hair color. These allergies can build up over time, and even if you think your ok, and have used the same dye for a long time, there can still be problems.

Finding a natural hair color without the added PPD’s has to be worth it.

I was reading an article that popped up on my google feed about the increased risk that hair color and straighteners can have on your health , including the possible increased risk of breast cancer.

The article was written by SCITECHDAILY.COM .

I am seeing more articles about this popping up on my news feed more than ever. Very worrying.


If you are interested in reading more information geared for women of color this is the link , including black owned companies and products

For me that really enforces the need to change what we are doing for our own health. If you can find something natural to use, even if the time spent actually achieving the results you want, takes longer, surely it is worth that effort.

Wiley Online Library has in depth scientific articles, free to research online. They have over 20,000 scholarly and professional books, and reference papers. This resource is a great place to find out more on some of these issues.

Even though products can often appear natural (Green Washing), you still have to read the labels to see what has been added.

Only today I read a really good article by MIND BODY GREEN.COM which gives a really common sense attitude on what is in the hair dyes that many people use ( I won’t say women, as men are also using more and more dyes, the amount of teenagers getting into hair coloring now, especially with bands like K-pop seems to be encouraging more dyes at younger ages)

The article is written by William Cole, D.C.,IFMCP a functional Medicine Practitioner. 

I love these articles on natural beauty written by Lindsay Kellner  on Mind Body Green. This lady has tried a number of different green approaches to beauty products, charcoal toothpaste etc.

MENS HAIR COLOUR IS FOUND ON THIS LINK TO MEN’S PRODUCTS ( Why do Men’s Hair Colors work so fast?)


Photo by Kamaji Ogino on

I guess at one time we have all not been as happy with a color that we have used. Maybe the color has turned out darker than we thought?

That has certainly happened to me, are we stuck with it? Or can we find a way of removing the color or toning it down?

Without the use of a stripping agent, which can be very harsh. A friends daughter had a similar experience at a hair salon, the hairdressers wouldn’t use a lightener due to excess chemicals.

She ended up not leaving the house until she could change the color. It can have a huge impact on our confidence.

I came across an article today on HEALTHLINE where they ask the question if Vitamin C will remove hair dye.

Suggesting that it could work in a similar fashion to the lightening effect of lemon juice. There are other ideas too, of using vinegar or Bicarbonate of soda. They give instructions if you would like to try these ideas.

But they do say that it may only work for some people, and that maybe it could lighten the hair a couple of shades.

The problem being, if your hair is damaged or bleached it probably wouldn’t do anything. worth a look to see if could help if you can’t get to a hairdresser. Of course there are products that you can purchase , and of course a visit to your hairdresser is recommended.

L’ANGE HAIR – also cover the Vitamin C idea too with more information.

LEWIGS – Also suggest using olive oil to remove dye. This wasn’t something I had heard of before . They have “8 winning strategies on how to remove permanent hair dye.”

(They suggest that removing LEAD FROM LIPSTICKS should be the next action. I have covered this in another part of this blog, linked above.)

CONSUMER REPORTS is a well written and informative resource. Well worth looking into. They are a non- profit and give advice on fairness in the marketplace.


Photo by Karley Saagi on

The amount of different hair colours that seem to be trending at the moment is amazing. The color Pink has been running out !

The different pink glows and shades of hair color are lifting peoples moods during this self isolation periods. I can totally get that , it is a fun candy floss happy feeling.

I read an interesting article on ALLURE , giving an insight into just how much Pink is out there! I think having a little control over what we can , in this Covid 19 lock down, is allowing us all to experiment with our hair color, especially when the hairdressers are shut.

I saw these really vivid colours for hair from Lime Crime Unicorn Hair colors. They do have the most amazing fun colours , a beautiful Pink and Blue Hair colour. But you do have to be wary of what is in them.

Admit-tingly they are not a permanent color and last around 8-10 washes . I have put a link here for EWG data base who have information on two of their colors, they seem to run from a rating of 8, which is pretty high.

PUNKY COLOR is another brand that advertise that they are –

(from link )”FORMULATED TO NOT DAMAGE YOUR HAIR: Worried your hair dye is damaging your hair? Thanks to Punky Color Cotton Candy Semi-Permanent Coloring Cream, it is safe to use, does not contain animal-derived ingredients and a top-quality product that will give you amazing results without ammonia, parabens or resorcinol.

The color will adhere to your precious locks with no need for the use of bleaches, or peroxide. Look and feel your best, by knowing you’re using a harmless and healthy hair tint!” ( taken from Amazon) EWG have the rating on these also, these run to around 3-5, about mid section of caution.

Though to change the color, has it got the chemical ethanolamine ? Which will open up the hair cuticle to allow dye to be absorbed.( a paper here on the use of Ethanolamine and ammonia based products on hair by PUBMED)


What actually makes your hair go blonde?

THOUGHT CO go into the science of how hair coloring actually works. Going into the difference between lightening of hair. Why there is a difference on how the hair reacts with permanent or temporary colors. What Peroxide does to bleach the hair, by  reacting with the melanin in the hair. They also have a very helpful video on what hair color suits what skin tone. At one point I was went on a course about skin tones and makeup , this included hair color and clothing. It can really make a difference to your skin tone to get this right.

BELLATORY have an article on going blonde without using bleach, but they are still suggesting using either a dye or a high lift colour

( “The main difference is that it has more ammonia and other boosters present to help open the hair cuticles up and catalyze the chemical lightening process occurring inside the hair.”) THIS IS FROM THE LINK . The result of these really depends on the original color that your hair is. They have a really helpful chart on the original color then what you may achieve. Again though this is through a normal chemical application.


The use of Lemon juice to lighten the hair is a very old method.

Thought Co suggest that vinegar is a similar way of lightening.

TEEN VOGUE have some more natural ways of lightening your hair, it seems to depend on the color of your original hair and how fine your hair is . They even suggest using a mixture of Honey and Cinnamon to lighten up your hair by two shades. They explain how using lemon juice can help too. Some very old ideas that were probably used by our grandparents.


Finding shampoos and conditioners that help keep the freshness of your colour. The problem with going blonde, is that it can go to a brassy colour quite quickly. These can also be used for grey hair too. This is where the purple shampoo comes in!.

SOFTER HAIR.COM have five sulphate free purple shampoo names.

ORGANIC BEAUTY LOVER also have a number of shampoo without harsh chemicals, the name of the product they are suggesting is KAVELLA. They have purple and blue shampoo.

( From Link Purple Shampoo: for eliminating yellow in brassy blondes or gray hair

 Blue Shampoo: for eliminating orange and brassy tones in light browns to dark blondes

Red Shampoo: To refresh red tones or add warmth to medium or light brown hair

Copper Shampoo: To brighten light red to copper tones)


Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on

On the quest for Pink , Blue and other colour hair for a bit of fun, but without using some kind of dye. I came across Brittanie Anne has had the great idea of using either a food dye ( of course you need to look for a natural one) also Cranberry juice or Beet juice, she says that these should give you a temporary colour .

Of course food colours come in many different colours, which opens up other tints such as Blue, Green etc. They mention that it does work on paler hair more effectively.

I came across a company offering food colours , which come from natural sources , for example vegetables, fruits and edible plants EXBERRY has a lot of information on their products.

So today I saw another article on what colours we will be leaning towards after the lockdown. With another lockdown seemingly around the corner, I wonder what we will all be missing again.

Photo by Godisable Jacob on


Since the Lockdown that we are all going through, there have been a few articles on colouring your hair with tissue paper! I thought that this was a new fad, but have since found a few articles dating back a few years. It is hard at the moment to get to the hairdressers . I don’t know what chemicals they have in them, I guess it is a very temporary colour?

Be careful with the boiling water she mentions in this video! If you want to use something more natural, check out the food colours below.

HEALTHLINE have a list of “7 different ideas for colouring your hair from natural items such as carrot juice, Beet juice, Henna, Lemon Juice and Coffee “( I did try the coffee mixed with Henna for a darker color, but this one didn’t work for me.) They suggest sage to darken brown hair too, with the possibility of it covering grey hair


My very talented niece is a hairdresser with her own salon. I asked her what hair coloring/dyes are they using, as they are a salon with a conscious ethic into using less chemicals. She mentioned that the colors they use , some with fruit and vegetable bases, most only being available for a professional to purchase are-

DAVINESFrom Link – More information on the link- but I cant find a list of ingredients, but I guess that your hairdresser would be able to tell you more.

“A formula derived from plants

The formulas have carotenoids and melanin derived from plants that counteract free radicals and have antioxidant properties. Formulas are ammonia-free to ensure an odorless application, providing comfort for both the stylist and client.”

I came across a fantastic looking salon, in Naples FL called

ORGANIC EDGE SALON– From what I can see they only use Davines Products and have a really great info sheet on FAQ and why they use the products, explaining the benefits. Also if you are lucky enough to go travelling, they have an online booking form!

INDOLA – This link is for the UK site.

A site called COOL BLADES.CO.UK have some information on their colors, though again I can’t find the ingredients list. Though they have the products.

FRAMESI – This is again only sold to professional hairdressers, many colors , again no list of ingredients but says low ammonia.

AVEDA – Is a company that I have gone for styling, just because I was happy with the ingredients in their shampoos and conditioners. They of course do color too, they say that they are 93% Naturally derived.

As I find more brands I will add them to the list.

Knowing what your salon is using and being able to chose where you go, knowing exactly what they are putting on your hair.


Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on


This article on SCITECHDAILY– have a story about Synthetic Melanin Dyes Developed for Natural-Looking Hair Colors– Northwestern University researchers doing a range of colors from Blond to Black, which is very different to other processes I have seen mentioned before, even Henna can’t make your hair blond.

This paper was only published in October 2020. This process can stop the use of bleach to strip the hair and allow the color to pernitrate the hair follicle. I think at the moment this is still being investigated but what a difference this would make to people who want to avoid the toxic chemicals in hair dye, , never mind the people who are allergic to them.


Gosh it is so hard to try and stay away from the chemicals in Hair Colour.

I began by growing out the chemical version, as I have read about leaving it some weeks before using a Henna Base.

This quite frankly was driving me nuts!

As I have mentioned , I hate to see the roots anyway.

I resorted to tying up my hair so I couldn’t see them as much.

Then the search was on to find a colour that I was happy with.


I began to read, that with the Henna base colours, if you have a different colour, as in the grey as your roots, then it could be two different colours coming through ( would this also look like roots! ) 

Then to realise some people actually sleep in the Henna ( with a towel on the bed) as the colour may need to develop longer. Not sure I could do that. How romantic!

Or at least some companies suggesting that you leave this on for about 3 hours. Since switching to Henna I have found that I need to leave it on for about 4 hours, but this is different for everyone. At least the latest brand I have tried is two hours which is a lot better.

The advice is normally on the box. 

You have to be committed to this time scale.You can in a way, understand that people want a quick fix. Since then, I have found that just touching up the roots seems to work, but again the length of time doesn’t change.

I went searching for one without the additives, it also depends where you live to be able to get the products. some were frankly too expensive with the postage too. 

As we are in France, the shipping cost for some of them was too much.


PPD, Ammonia , Ethanolamine, Parabens, Propylene  Glycol ,Resorcinol, Peroxide, Metals, Toluene, Diaminobenzene .Lead Acetate , 4-APB, Persulfates  and other chemicals.


It seems even on the TV a lot of hair colors are saying that they do not contain Ammonia, so what do they use instead?  Ethanolamine is an Ammonia type product .

I came across a lady called Irena Webb who has a website called I READ LABELS FOR YOU . She explains very clearly just the harm that using Ethanolamine can do, explaining the risks that may harm you if pregnant . This website is great for an in-depth look on some “Organic Hair Color Brands”

I have read that Ethanolamine can cause breakage to the hair as well. My thoughts were on the many women who use dye much more frequently than every 8 weeks. The harm to health and the condition of your hair must be very fragile.


I still don’t feel ready yet to embrace the grey, but I do know friends that look amazing with grey hair.

I have been on the hunt for years, trying to find a colour that wasn’t full of scary chemicals, and not harsh on your hair.

I resorted to either buying one in the health food shops, or now in our local chemists who offer a safer option.

I came across this list today on the 10 Best Organic Hair Color Brands in 2020 by

Going through their list I have heard of most them, and used a few of them, Logona ( a henna product – I found quite good ,but a long time for me to get the color I wanted)

 Naturtint Hair Color- this was a product I had been using before going totally plant based. Pretty good coverage for my greys but I found I needed to touch up the roots after two weeks.

Though some still have chemicals I wasn’t happy using for myself.

No 4 was a Henna product brand that I knew had a really great rating on the EWG site, called Light Mountain Natural Hair Color.

They do give the pros and cons of each product on the list, plus going into what is organic in hair colors. They suggest that no hair color is totally organic.

I thought that the one I had found was a safer brand, due to it not having the ammonia and the Parabens inside, but I found it does still contains some PPD even if the level is lower than other brands.

From what I have read, it seems that PPD is  put into Permanent hair color to penetrate the hair, and make it a permanent dye.( This chemical opens up the hair to allow the penetration of color to be absorbed.)

That still doesn’t make me feel comfortable to keep using it! It can cause some people to have serious reactions. As with all hair color – do a skin test first. As the reaction to the chemicals can build up with each use, so even if you have had no problem with using your usual brand, this can still cause you problems with future use.

Since starting this blog, I have found some alternatives , which I haven’t had the opportunity to try as yet.

Another article I found while on the hunt, was a product called HAIRPRINT

This seems to have a totally different approach, to getting rid of your greys.

It is not a dye but a hair colour restorer.

They seem to have produced, a totally different approach to changing your hair colour( non- toxic ).Ingredients list

It sounds a bit messy at first, until you get the hang of it.

I think it is worth seeing the reviews on this product.

It was the first time I have ever heard of this method, a totally different approach. They have some information, suggesting that this product doesn’t work on blonde or red hair at the moment.

As yet it is not something I have tried.

The cost seems a bit more than your average dye.

But still cheaper than going to a salon. Maybe a good idea if you have a friendly hair stylist who could work with you on this.

There seems to be a salon in South Africa offering to do this for you.

SRY LIVING .COM have a very good article on Henna or Chemical Dye, what is better for Gray Hair. 

The article is a little old, but if you are trying to decide what is better for you, it is an interesting read. 

SKINS MATTER has some really informative articles on using Hair colours with PPD and alternatives with links to other products. 


Photo by Spencer Selover on

I hate this part of dyeing your hair, it seems to come around so quickly!

Whenever I read about when to apply the the colour again, it is between 4-6 weeks.

Is it just me? or does anyone else have their roots showing after 2 weeks plus? Yes ,Just realized that this is also called OMBRE ! Some information above.

Then all I can see, when I look in the mirror is the roots! 

The amount of advertisements on the quick fix for your roots seem to be popping up more frequently. What is in this stuff?

They are not cheap either! Business insider have a list of the most popular on the market, they seem to range from around $10 to $35 , they do have harsh chemicals in them and most of them only last between shampoos.

There are a mixture of results on EWG for root cover, some are lower than others in the toxicity levels.It is better to look up the name of the product that you would like to use ,then look deeper to see what concerns there are . Some have a low overall mark but may have problems with allergic reactions.

I know how hard it is, without being able to visit a hairdressers. I have to admit, most of my friends when asked the first place they want to visit is the hairdressers for a cut or colour or both!

It is projected of an easy way to change your appearance, keeping us youthful. But it really hides the chemicals that are in these products.

The advertisements on TV are really appealing, they make it all seem so easy and safe. 

While I was looking at a different topic, I came across a product called COLOURWOW it is a Mineral cover up for your roots without Parabens and PPDs. 

I believe it does contain some Mica too. More information on the link.

Depending on the amount of grey you have, will determine the the length of time it will last you. Between 6 months and a year. It seems to have won a number of awards such as in Glamour, the list is on the link above.


Also looking at alternatives to a Henna base,as not everyone wants to use Henna.

As normal the superb EWG have an article on the dangers using normal Hair colors, as more and more are being used at home when we cant get to the hair salon

I have found a few companies, where the chemicals have been reduced to lower amounts.

I guess everyone has to make a choice on what suits their lifestyle.

Naturigin hair color whose main office is in Denmark, are offering a range of 19 different colors.

Their promotion says they offer the lowest PPD level, in a permanent hair colour in the world.

In fact they say it is between three and six times lower than their nearest competition.

It is also without Ammonia, Parabens, Resorcinol.  You still need to do a patch test as with all colors.

They also contain organic ingredients but they are on the pricey side.
Their range of products can be found HERE

I have found a company based in the UK who have a load of products, including Hair colour that have no PPDs or anything else in them, often they contain some Henna. the online shop is   SUVARNA .

This on line shop also carry’s many other brands of non toxic products. 

Wella Professional EOS( the ingredients on Say their Hair color is 80% plant based but 11% Chemical – as you can see on the link.

Schwarzkopf 100% Vegetal have a hair color with 100% natural ingredients as listed .


This article is now on the blog just on Henna.

Gel hair colourant that says it has no PPDs but does contain some other chemicals, such as TOLUENE and DIAMINE SULPHATE amongst others .

You can see the list of all the ingredients, by hovering over the picture.

I was quite excited to see no PPDs, until I realised it had the other ingredients present!

I know it seems impossible not to have some kind of compromise when you are trying to dye your hair.


Is there a difference in what is used in Permanent colours and semi-permanent ?

I have to admit I wasn’t too sure on this. I guess because it doesn’t last as long as the permanent type.

I thought it must be less harmful. I did try one out a few years ago, and I felt that I was recolouring my hair almost as often as I was washing it! But that was some time ago. Perhaps things have changed?

So first a guide to what chemicals they put inside a semi- permanent colour.


Para-toluenediamine sulfate (PTDS) avoid this chemical – people allergic to PPDs could have a reaction to this as well.  It shouldn’t contain Ammonia or Peroxide.

But like everything else , check the label to see what else could be lurking in there!

Again like Permanent colour do a patch test.

While searching I have found a semi-permanent hair colour  called NATURE’S GREY BUSTERS

Which say they are made without any PPD or PTDS, No Ammonia , Peroxides,  parabens, resorcinol, propylene glycol or any other chemicals, this sounds very promising.

At the moment, I can’t find them on Amazon. They used to be listed but not sure when they are due back. I have listed their website if you would like to contact them direct. 


At first I thought this was a product just to put a shine on your hair.

I was about to add this to the styling products. 

I read this article on the difference between a gloss and a hair dye.

This interesting article is by ELLE.COM  though this article doesn’t go into the chemical side of what is in these products. I will do a little digging on that.

HUFFPOST LIFE have an article offering 9 reasons to get a gloss.  

Some articles are saying it is a semi permanent .You can have colour , but it sits on top of the hair. Others it can be a clear finish , taming fly away hair and giving a gloss. 

They seem to last around six weeks. 

So far I am having trouble finding lists of ingredients. This post will be ongoing!

Comment and discuss here