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Natural hair dyes contain plant-based ingredients rather than harsher chemicals. The dyes included in this article feature ingredients such as henna, rhubarb root, and indigo powder as alternatives to chemicals.
Coloring the hair is more common than some people may realize. A 2016 cross-sectional study estimates, for example, that 50.9% of the population of Europe have dyed their hair at least once.
Some dyes rely on strong chemicals, while others advertise natural ingredients. However, not all dyes labeled “natural” are chemical-free. While some may not contain peroxide, ammonia, or sulfate, they still include other chemical additives.
In this article, we look at five natural hair dyes on the market and consider their pros and cons.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products and that the information below comes from the dye manufacturers.
EarthDye claim that their hair dyes condition hair and restore its health, as well as coloring it.
According to EarthDye, the dyes:
- are 100% hypoallergenic
- are plant-based and contain zero chemicals
- are easy to use
- work in 10–60 minutes
- work on eyebrows, goatees, and beards
- are safe to use during pregnancy or after chemotherapy
- are vegan and have not been tested on animals
- are Leaping Bunny certified
They also note that one dye packet may contain enough product for 20–30 root touch-ups, depending on the length of the hair.
According to EarthDye, their products can help hair grow faster. As a result, the hair may need more frequent root touch-ups.
A person may also need to purchase specialty shampoo to help keep the color intact.
Also, EarthDye do not provide a color chart, as their dyes can only match or darken a person’s natural color. For example, if a person has red hair, the red dye would enhance the color, or the person may decide to go darker with brown or black dye.
These vary by product, but as an example, the ingredients in the medium oak brown dye include:
- indigo (Indigofera tinctoria)
- shikakai (Acacia concinna)
- henna (Lawsonia inermis)
- brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
- baheda (Terminalia bellirica)
- bhringraj (Eclipta alba)
- amla (Emblica officinalis)
Light Mountain offer a variety of colors in their Natural and Color the Gray! ranges.
According to Light Mountain, their products:
- contain organic ingredients
- come in various shades, including reds, browns, chestnuts, and black
- are Leaping Bunny certified
- are gluten-free
- These products cannot lighten dark hair.
- Covering hair that is more than 10% white, gray, or platinum blonde involves a two-step process.
The company uses only four ingredients, and the number in each color pack depends on the product. These ingredients are:
- senna leaf powder
- amla fruit powder
According to The Henna Guys, their dyes are safe for people with sensitive skin and scalps.
Their dye comes from the leaves of a flowering plant, henna, which contain a red-orange pigment called lawsone.
It is important to note that the color is permanent.
The Henna Guys state that their products:
- come from 100% natural henna
- are raw
- are cruelty-free
- are gluten-free
- are free from chemicals and metallic salts
- comprise 11 henna dyes that can combine to make more than 70 shades
- are safe to use on beards
- are ethically sourced
- come with an application kit, including gloves and a shower cap
- With gray and chemically dyed hair, it may take more than a single application for the henna to color properly.
- The products cannot lighten dark hair.
- Some colors require a two-step process.
- The overall process may be complicated for first-time users.
- Certain colors require 8–10 hours of application time.
- The products are not suitable for use on eyebrows or eyelashes.
The ingredients vary by product. As an example, those in the dark brown dye include:
- indigo powder
- amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
- false daisy (Eclipta alba)
- neem (Azadirachta indica)
These dyes come in solid bricks, or bars. A person melts them to form a paste, which they then apply to their hair and wait for the color to take effect.
Lush state that these dyes are:
- suitable for vegans
- environmentally friendly
- free from animal testing
They note that one of the company’s founders specialized in the study of hair and scalp conditions.
- A person must leave the dye on the hair for 2–4 hours.
- The process may be difficult for first-time users.
- There is a limited selection of colors.
Ingredients vary by product. As an example, the ingredients in the “rouge” bar are:
- red henna
- cocoa butter
- lemon juice
- powdered rosemary
- clove bud oil
Sante’s hair dyes contain ingredients such as organic henna, ground herbs, fruits, and wheat proteins.
According to Sante, their dyes:
- are certified by the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, known as NATRUE
- are vegan
- are available as powders or ready-made creams
- comprise 14 color options
- are suitable for gray hair
These hair dyes work best with ambient heat, such as from a towel around the head or a nearby heater, oven, or fireplace.
The leave-on time is between 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the natural color of a person’s hair and the chosen dye.
Ingredients vary by product. As an example, the ingredients of the strawberry blond dye are:
- Cassia auriculata leaf powder, a form of senna
- rhubarb root powder (Rheum undulatum)
- English walnut shell powder (Juglans regia)
- henna leaf powder
- Coffea arabica seed powder
- indigo leaf powder
Natural hair dyes use plants, herbs, and other natural ingredients in place of synthetic chemicals.
A person should always perform a hair strand test and a skin patch test before applying any hair dye.
Also, it is important to note that United States law does not require hair dyes to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Finally, it is crucial to check a dye’s ingredients list for any allergens before purchasing the product.