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Question from Linda

Hi Debra,

Could you tell me some brands of hair dyes that are less toxic?

Debra’s Answer

Way back in the 1980’s when I first started looking at toxics in products, hair dye was pretty toxic. There were few safe alternatives.

But times have changed and there are a lot of new “natural” hair dyes available now.

Because you asked, I took a look at them.

Big Brand “Natural” Hair Dyes

If you type “natural hair dye” into a search engine you’ll get some results like Clairol “Natural Instincts” which are not natural at all. But it is ammonia-free.

Ammonia used to be the major problem chemical in hair dye, but how you can just type “ammonia-free hair dye” into a search engine and you will find plenty. Here’s a whole list online.

But while most of the major brands—like Clairol—now have ammonia-free perms, they are still made primarily from petrochemical ingredients, including synthetic fragrance.

Good Housekeeping did a whole article on Finding Safe Organic Hair Dye Products Rather than repeat everything they said about the dangers of hair dye, I suggest you read their article.

Natural Hair Dyes That Are Really Natural

But there are some hair dyes that are actually made of natural ingredients, sold online and at most natural food stores. Here are some brands I was able to find easily. I’ve included the manufacturer’s website as well as amazon links because some of the manufacturers are in Europe and amazon often has the best prices.

Organic Ingredients

Organic Color Systems— made with certified organic ingredients
Organic Color Systems at

Natural Ingredients

Logona Herbal Hair Color—100% natural, botanical colorants
Logona at

Naturtint Plant-Based Permanent Hair Color—all natural 
Naturetint at

Palette By Nature—all natural,
(not available

Aubrey Organics Color Me Natural—100% natural,
Color Me Natural at

Herbatint—the original ammonia-free color,
with vegetal extracts Herbaltint


Rainbow HennaRainbow Henna at

Morrocco Method Simply Pure Henna—(not available on

Hair Dye That Restores Your Hair’s Natural Color

To me, the most interesting hair dye is HairPrint. It’s a hair color that restores gray hair to it’s natural color, rather than stripping color and then applying an artificial coal-tar dye. It’s odor-free, hypoallergenic, and you can eat it too! All ingredients are disclosed and explained. Their patented formula takes natural ingredients and creates eumelanin, the pigment that colors all brown and black hair. While you cannot choose your color, you will have a color that your hair has chosen in response to the eumelanin, and each strond will be it’s own natural shade. This treatment also strengthens the hair and adds luster and shine. There is a special formula to be used to prevent hair from turning grey as well. My hair isn’t turning grey (yet), but when I does, it I decide to dye my hair, this is what I would choose.


If you want to use some natural materials that will create nature hues in your hair, you might want to try using plants that you already have in your kitchen. Like coffee, tea, herbs, juices, and the like.

It’s easy to find instructions for using these online.

WELLNESS MAMA: All-Natural Herbal Hair Color Recipes

ANNEMARIE: Ditch the Chemicals—7 Ways to Color Your Hair Naturally

RODALE’S ORGANIC LIFE: 6 Natural Ways to Dye Your Hair Without Chemicals


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