Looking for non toxic hair dye for grey hair? Here are 7 brands who make better hair dye options for covering up those silver strands! Click here to skip to the list.
People want to dye their hair for a myriad of reasons. If you’re in your 30s and beyond, chances are one of those reasons are to cover up your grey hair.
As a mom of two young boys, I have my fair share of gray hair already. Actually I’ve been spotting them for several years at this point but we’re not going to talk about that!
I haven’t dyed my hair in close to 10 years now. But as someone with grey hairs and a penchant for non toxic living, I have been on the hunt for the best non toxic hair dye for grey hair myself.
I’ve done quite a bit of research on the toxicity of conventional hair dyes so we can avoid harmful chemicals in our hair dye.
So if you desire a new hairstyle, to dye your hair because of grey hairs, or simply want to update your current color, hair dye may be the right choice for you.
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The only problem is that most hair dye products contain harsh chemicals.
Some of the harsh chemicals in conventional hair dye can have harmful effects on your health. We have to ask ourselves, is covering up the grey really worth it?
And it’s okay if it is! Because there are many options available for non toxic hair dye for grey hair.
Let’s dive into the consequences of using harsh chemicals on your hair and get to know some non-toxic hair color brands that offer non toxic hair dye for grey hair.
Is hair dye toxic?
Hair dye has been known to be harmful, as it potentially causes cancer, allergic reactions, and even has negative environmental impacts.
With all of these health concerns, should we continue to use toxic products when there are non-toxic options available?
While you may not be able to find 100% organic and non-toxic hair dye, you can find hair dye that focuses on being as natural as possible and made with cleaner ingredients.
Is hair dye organic?
To be labeled organic, a product’s ingredients have to be 95% of agricultural origin. And unfortunately, there is not a single hair dye available that meets that criteria.
So don’t be fooled by the names of hair dyes and brands. We must look deeper and know the risks we’re taking on when we dye our hair. Certified organic hair dye does not exist, however, some dyes do use certified organic ingredients within them. This is not the same as being a certified organic product.
That said, there are better choices than the conventional hair dyes we know from the drugstore shelves. And this article will cover them.
What are the negative health effects of toxic hair dye?
Ingredients in hair dye have been known to cause allergic reactions, breathing and respiratory symptoms, certain kinds of cancers, and even birth defects in infants of pregnant mothers who get their hair dyed.
If you are pregnant or hoping to be soon, avoid getting your hair done during this time of your life.
What ingredients should you avoid in hair dye?
As we’ve touched on, your run of the mill hair dyes are filled with toxic chemicals. Buy what exactly should you look for on the label?
Here is an alphabetized list of ingredients to avoid in hair dye:
- Ammonia: Ammonia isn’t only disruptive to your skin but, if inhaled, it could end up in your bloodstream and make you sick. Salon workers are especially vulnerable to developing symptoms like lung or sinus problems. Ammonia also has a negative environmental impact by harming ocean life and crops. It is used to penetrate the hair follicles and
- Coal Tar/Petroleum-Derived Dyes: Many hair dyes contain dyes derived from petroleum and coal tar. These can cause allergic reactions and are sensitizers (causes reactions over time) even on non sensitive scalps. Plus they are often contaminated with heavy metals.
- Ethanolamine: Ethanolamine is used for reasons similar to ammonia, but it can actually cause more hair damage. There is also the possibility of birth defects and can severely irritate the eyes, burn the skin, and cause shortness of breath. It is used to help color to permeate the hair strand.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is oxidative which means it opens your hair up to additional damage. In addition, using it can cause skin, lung, and eye irritation. However, unless you are particularly sensitive to it, it is generally recognized as safe in hair dye.
- P-Phenylenediamine (PPD):This harsh chemical has been used in hair dye from the 19th century, however, it causes dermatitis that is very damaging to the skin tissue.
- Para-toluenediamine (PTD): PTD is used to help your hair dye last longer, however, it is reacted with beneze (yep, the known carcinogen) which is often left behind as a byproduct exposing you to cancer-causing chemicals. Many people also have allergic reactions to this chemical.
- Parabens: You will see these on the label as Methylparabens and Propylparabens. They are typically used as preservatives. However, parabens are incredibly harmful. They interfere with our hormones, impact fertitlity, and increase the risk of cancer.
- Quaternium-15: This ingredient is a formaldehyde-releaser that has been linked to cancer. It is a restricted ingredient on EWG (environmental working group).
- Resorcinol: This chemical is used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals, however, it is a known skin irritant and is toxic when absorbed through the skin.
Additionally, health problems such as cancer have been linked to ingredients in hair dye, including paraphenylenediamine (PPD), ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, lead, formaldehyde, and benzene.
According to Harvard Health, “Occupational exposure to hair dye, as experienced by hairstylists, has been classified as probably cancer-causing.”
A chemical reaction from traditional hair dyes and synthetic ingredients in hair dye can cause hair loss and you might not even realize it’s from your hair dye.
Luckily there are safe options beyond convention hair color that uses harsh ingredients. Let’s look into some clean hair dyes of brands that disclose their ingredient lists.
7 Non Toxic Hair Dye For Grey Hair Options
All that said, when dying your hair, especially to avoid grey hair, you want to pick non toxic hair dyes!
Luckily there are so many companies making great, non toxic hair dyes that will cover up the greys with no problem!
The number one choice for non toxic hair dye for grey hair is from Hairprint.
They are a small, science-based company in Sausalito, California who in collaboration with Dr. John Warner we’re able to use nature to restore color to grey hair.
Hairprint is made with only 8 ingredients that are all food grade so you can rest assured that your hair dye is non toxic and safe for use.
It uses unique technology from velvet bean to recreate your natural hair color’s pigment.
In addition to being a safe way to color your hair, Hairprint gives back by donating 20% of their profits directly to educating girls in developing countries.
Their formula is also better for the environment as 90% of environmental pollutants from haircare products end up in water streams that impact both aquatic life and the water supply.
The only downside to Hairprint is that it only comes in 3 shades currently and can only restore shades of brunette hair from grey back to the original color.
Hairprint is one of the best natural hair dyes on the market. If you’re looking for non-toxic hair dyes, this is one I would go with. You could even ask your hair stylist to use it.
2. Goldwell Elumen
This dye is oxidant free and comes in 32 shade options to choose from. These include natural colors but also bright and fun colors like blue and purple too. There are 9 shades available on Amazon.
Their unique formula repairs the hair while coloring it.
They offer 100% grey coverage without the use of peroxide or ammonia. This is great alternative if you’ve had an allergic reaction to any of these common additives in hair dye.
There are several prep steps to help prepare your hair for the Goldwell treatment but they are well worth it as it has up to 20% longer durability compared to oxidative permanent color.
Shop Goldwell Elumen on Amazon
3. khadi Natural Hair Color
At Khadi, they focus on hair care and beauty formulas inspired by Ayurveda.
This ancient Indian practice teaches that to achieve health and well-being, one must bring the mind, body, and spirit into balance. All of their natural hair colors are vegan and chemical-free.
You’ll never have to worry about harsh chemicals, like silicone, ammonia and peroxide, when using their products.
Developed according to European standards (which are higher and more stringent than standards in the Unite States), the are also made using Ayurvedic methods that use natural ingredients including plants, herbs, and henna.
Their ingredients include: Indigofera tinctoria leaf powder (Indigo), Lawsonia inermis leaf powder (Henna), Emblica officinalis fruit powder (Amla), Eclipta albaleaf powder (Bhringaraj), Azadirachta indica leafpowder (Neem).
Their ingredients are picked at peak season to ensure maximum quality. If you are covering grey hair, they recommend using their Color Prep primer.
4. Iroiro Colors
Pronounced “ee-ro” “ee-ro,” they offer semi-permanent hair color in fun colors including pastels and neon.
If you’re looking for different shares beyond your natural color, you might want to check them out.
Their formulas are 100% vegan and cruelty free. They are made of natural ingredients and use 100% organic coconut oil, natural yuzu-cranberry fragrance and natural preservative.
They do not use the following in their formulations:
- Propylene Glycol (petro chemical used in anti-freeze & brake fluids),
- Methylisothiazolinone / Methylchloroisothiazolinone (synthetic preservatives)
- PEGs (synthetic chemicals classified as a known human carcinogen),
- Methylparaben (synthetic preservative can act as potential hormone disruptors)
- Petroleum based chemicals
- Synthetic preservatives
Their long lasting hair dye comes in two sizes, is easy-to-apply cream based color, and has extra conditioning for softer hair.
Their dye also comes in eco-friendly pouches. You can expect the color to last 6-12 weeks depending on your wash cycle.
Shop iroiro at Sally’s Beauty Supply
5. Body Art Quality Henna
Henna has been used for hundreds of years to dye hair and is one of the best natural dyes available. However, you need to use optimal quality henna to ensure it is truly non toxic.
There are also wait times in between dying your hair with henna and using other products. It works well for gray coverage and works best if you have dark hair.
Henna is sometimes used in other dyes as one of the natural ways to dye hair. Henna powder and henna dyes are best for natural shades of brown hair (including dark brown) and black hair.
You also want to make sure to do a patch test to make sure you are not allergic to henna before coloring your hair.
Shop Body Art Quality Henna here
I am hesitant to add Herbatint to the list because they use ethanolamine as well PEGs and tetrasodium EDTA (made from formaldehyde). These all have health risks that you should know about before using them.
Their formula does use 8 organic plant extracts to ensure long lasting color. They also do not have parabens, alcohol, or fragrance.
They have 36 colors options. So this wouldn’t by my first choice but they do land at a reasonable price point and if you do need a color not listed, you might consider Herbatint.
I also do respect that they fully disclose their ingredients list. Many brands don’t!
You may or may not be surprised to see Aveda on this list.
What you need to know is that Aveda’s hair due uses 96% plant derived ingredients which is great, however, because they are not organic they may be contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals.
In my opinion, Aveda is a better choice option if you do not have access to a non-toxic hair dye or if you prefer to go into a salon, you’ll likely be able to find an Aveda salon near you.
Another thing to note is that their dyes do contain ammonia. However, their demi-permanent dyes do not! Keep this in mind when selecting a dye for your hair.
While this would not be my top pick, if you need to go to a salon or it is what you have available to you, it’s an okay choice.
Greenwashed Hair Dye Brands – Brands I Do Not Recommend
On many lists you will see companies I do not list here. I have done extensive research on these brands to share what I feel are greenwashed (AKA deceptive marketing is used to make you feel like their products are less toxic than they are.
Tints of Nature: While claiming to use “75% organic ingredients” this means nothing because their dyes are loaded with PEGs (often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane)
Madison Reed: Contains ethanolamine, among other toxic ingredients, which is more toxic than ammonia.
OWAY: Despite the name meaning “the organic way,” a product cannot truly be organic unless it contains 95% certified organic ingredients which their products do not. Their dyes also contain ethanolamine, resorcinol, and p-phenylenediamine (PPD) among other toxins.
Tints of Nature: I can’t recommend this brand because it contains coal-tar hair dyes.
Don’t get swept up in marketing with words like “organic hair colors” or added ingredients like “argan oil” as a mark to purcahse a product.
Tips For Avoiding Toxic Hair Color
When it comes to dying your hair, the best way to avoid toxic chemicals is to do your research and find a product that caters to you and your needs.
The good news is there are options available for hair products that won’t harm your health or cause skin irritation.
Look beyond labels that read “non-toxic,” “natural,” or “organic” and into the ingredients list. Avoid dyes with ammonia, peroxide, PPD (p-phenylenediamine), parabens, and fragrances.
When in doubt, always go for a patch test before you commit!
As a rule of thumb, semi and demi permanent dyes are less likely to contain toxic ingredients.
Also, make sure to follow the instructions on the box – even if you think you know how to do it better!
You can also wear a mask while the chemicals are being mixed and applied to limit how much you breathe in.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your stylist questions about the ingredients in the particular color you’re using.
In Summary: Non Toxic Hair Dye For Grey Hair
I hope this guide helped you find the right non toxic hair dye for your grey hair! When it comes to picking a non-toxic hair dye, there are truly only a handful that meet a stringent criteria.
But it’s your right as a consumer to know what ingredients are being used in products and their potential effects on you. And then it’s up to you to decide if the effects are worth it. Let me know which hair dye you go with in the comments!
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