Know safe alternatives to hair dye!

Hair cosmetics is an evergreen industry and Colouring hairs remain the most desired hair treatments. Alternatively, a popular Hair dye may contain harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and other impurities. Such dyes may cause small to serious allergic reactions in some people. So, a consumer should be aware of these unwanted effects of such dyes.

Currently, hair dyes labeled as “PPD and ammonia free”. Still, a minute presence of them or related products in a dye warrants attention. The consumer should also consider chemicals contamination with impurities and heavy metals. These altered dye may cause physical hair damage and related toxicity.

There are many ways to dye hair using natural or herbal products. Some of these products have excellent dermatological property. Another benefit is that you may get different shades of vibrant hair colors by mixing them.

1. Henna hair dye

 A powdered preparation obtained from dried leaves of plant named “Lawsonia Inermis”. The active ingredient is Lawsone (red-orange) which is responsible for staining the hair fiber. Henna is widely available in Asia, Arab and African countries.

Heena has an advantage for staining permanently your hairs and final color depend on the original color of your hair shaft. It is nearly non-reactive to your body and does not have much side effects. It has strong dermatological properties. Also, Heena is been used for treating dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis in the past.

How to apply: First, try to mix henna with an acidic solution (eg. Lemon juice, etc.) for an overnight. Then apply and leave it for 4-6 hrs and wash it off.

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henna hair dye

Note: Beware of the products labeled as “Black henna, natural henna or White henna”. It stains hairs/skin dark in color within 1-2 hrs. Usually, these preparations contain harmful chemicals like PPD and heavy metals. A pure henna has only one color i.e red-orange. The final hair color depends on the original color of your hairs. Also, It is possible to have different vibrant shades of color by adding other herbal dye. 

Long processing time and difficult pre-lightening of the henna make is difficult to use in saloons. Henna bound strongly with hair fiber and never gets released easily. The hairdresser has to be aggressive to lighten them which subsequently causes more damage to your hairs. Though henna is safe for bleached or damaged hair, getting away with henna is not that easy. Another reason is chemical colors have several shades which go along with fashion and people have more acceptance for them.

2. Indigo

Another plant “Indigofera tinctoria” also used as hair dye. It is widely used for staining jeans and textile. It has natural as well as chemically modified preparation. But, I recommend using only powdered preparation from fermented leaves of the plant. The pigment produced by Indigo is bluish in color. In contrast, it doesn’t have any dermatological properties like henna and Cassia.

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indigo hair dye

Indigo should not be used alone because of the unpleasant color. Although, it produces excellent shades of color if mixed in the right proportion with henna and other products. It is relatively safe but few allergic reactions have been observed.

3. Cassia

It is available as 100% powder which is obtained from the leaves of plant” Cassia Obovata”. Alone it gives light wheatish or golden appearance to hair shaft with a pleasant smell. It has excellent conditioning and dermatological properties. It should also be used with henna/indigo to get different shades of colors.

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cassia hair dye


4. Madder

This can be temporarily used as hair dye but the color will wash away with few washes.

5. Beet juice and blueberry juice

It wouldn’t hair dye uniformly and easily lost after the hair wash. So do not use it regularly.

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hair dye powder

left to right: Cassia powder, Henna powder, and Indigo powder

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effect of white hairs henna and indigo hair dye

 Henna alone and indigo alone extream right and left, in between are the different shades of Henna and indigo mix.

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