Like moisturizing and mani-pedis, hair dyeing is a standard beauty ritual for many women. Yet, while natural skin-care and non-toxic nail polish brands have flourished, the world of hair color clings to its chemical roots.
The history of content of hair colors dates back to the 70s. In that time new outlets alerted consumers about the dangers of widely-used ingredients like coal tar and benzidine, which are carcinogens. Most manufacturers decided not to use these carcinogens and replaced them with less toxic chemicals.
But even today many hair dyes still contain substitute ingredients which are dangerous, like for instance ammonia and parabens. These two ingredients have been studied a lot and it is a well-known fact that they may cause cancer. The most prevalent is p-phenylenediamine(PPD) which is an allergen and can cause various types of cancer.
However, according to the American Cancer Society there is no enough evidence about hair dye carcinogenic effect on people. One highly-publicized study concluded that hairstylists “probably are exposed to cancer causing substances.” But it didn’t look like they actually developed cancer. Or did the study addresses the risk to customers who come into contact with or inhale the noxious fumes (albeit less regularly than the stylists). But we can’t stop worrying even though there is a lack of evidence.
Also read this: 5 ways you do harm to your hair
So what are the natural choices available? Being a face of natural color, Le Reve hair salon seems to be the best of the traditional brands. Their plant-based dyes are “97% natural.” To say the truth there is no other way to cover grays and sticking than with usage of hair color containing PPD and ammonia.
Natural Instincts an at-home kit by Clairol doesn’t contain ammonia. But it does use PPD and slew of other ingredients on the dirty dozen list.
Henna-based and vegetable hair dyes are a growing market. “But the problem is that they suck—which might not be their fault,” says David & George co-author of No More Dirty Looks, a book and website dedicated to non-toxic beauty. “The real issue is that, you need to use chemistry if you want to get good color. We always demand our products to be foolproof, consistent, stable, and effective. Nature hasn’t—and I suspect won’t—find a way to replicate those factors in a dye.