How Toxic is Your Natural Hair Dye?

hair dyes in pharmacy
hair dyes in pharmacy

It is a smart idea to avoid pollution and toxins wherever possible in order to keep fit and avoid falling sick and suffering any chronic diseases. Extreme sensitivity from using medications and cosmetic treatments can escalate into swelling that can be life threatening so steering clear from anything that could potentially be poisonous makes sense. Hair dyes are an example where the composition may contain many seriously harmful chemicals that are used in combination with inert and safe pigments.

One in three women and one in ten men regularly transform their hair colour in the United Kingdom every year. (1) They are looking to enjoy their favourite hue out the whole rainbow of shades that are available now order to dye, bleach and fix the colour into their shiny new locks. There is fierce competition in the market between beauty supplies companies to promote their long lasting stains and permanent tints that also easily and completely cover grey hair.

However even boxes with illustrations of fruits and herbs on the front, bought from a health food store, can contain formulas that could be considered carcinogenic.The faster you check if your hair treatment contains ingredients that can be detrimental and potentially dangerous to health, the quicker you can ensure you are informed and can make a choice about whether to go ahead and use these complex products.

In the UK boxes of colour transforming liquids are sold in all major supermarkets, pharmacies and online retailers. Men, women and young people wanting a new look can all decide to opt for purchasing less processed provisions with simple ‘back to basics’ ingredients.

In Europe it is law that ingredients in a product must be on the packaging and many items can be looked up quickly online using a search engine like google. You can search This will tell you if you should be considering a healthier alternative. Hair powders that permanently alter the shade of a persons crowning glory are available from specialist organic suppliers in the UK like Suvarna in a range of natural hues to suit everyone. (2)

Sophia Hussain at Eluxe Magazine discusses several of the most nasty chemicals in hair dye in more detail stating that “The most common and dangerous chemicals are probably PPDs (p-Phenylenediamine), which has been linked to bladder cancer, lung, kidney and nervous system disorders and even severe allergic reactions.”

Hussain’s article gives an excellent low down of 13 natural hair dyes. The only totally natural dyes recommended are Saach Organics (4) and Indus valley Organics (5) which are both available in the UK at reasonable prices.

The National Cancer Institute cites an America Journal of Epidemiology 2008 study that found “hair dye users had increased risks of both follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia / small lymphocytic lymphoma” (2)

Thankfully organic beauty specialist companies can provide results without any negative side effects. The financial cost of these alternative treatments are very similar to conventional shop bought products. The purer the mixture that is applied to the head during the process is the better it is for the environment, as it will eventually be rinsed down the drain and into the mains water system.

Some totally natural semi-permanent hair dye is available pre-mixed. However the formulations for permanent colour to cover grey aren’t always as pre-processed so clients may need to mix the powders into the right consistency themselves before applying. To get the deepest and darkest colour results it may take 2 hours and need hair dryer heat to get the same effect as standard boxes of dye. One advantage with this routine is that the special ingredients will super condition the hair without damaging it in any way.

Another consideration is to get a hairdresser’s advice on the best time gap before swapping to 100% natural as not all the dyes mix well if the hair shaft has recently been chemically treated and if not careful this may cause unexpected colour results. With any liquid that is applied to the body and scalp it is important to do a patch test 48 hours before using on all your locks that are soon to be brightened and refreshed.


(1) Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk, 20191106

National Cancer Institute, Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk

(2) Suvarna Organic Beauty Care, Tricia’s hair Care and Hair Dye Information Portal 20191106

Hair Care Information Portal

(3) Eluxe Magazine, 13 of the Best Natural Hair Dyes, Sophia Hussain 20191106

13 of the best natural hair dyes

(4) Saach Organics 20191106

Saach Organics

(5) Indus Valley Organics 20191106

Indus Valley Hair Colour