Organic Hair Color And Natural Hair Dyes

If you color your hair often it’s advisable to choose a hair dye that can produce the effect you want without damaging your hair. Many hair dyes contain ammonia, parabens, petrochemicals, amines and other synthetic chemicals that can harm your hair or scalp. Whether you want to cover gray hair or simply want to experiment with a different hair color, it’s best to choose an organic hair dye. Organic hair colors contain botanical extracts that are safe for your scalp and hair.

Types Of Hair Dye

Organic and natural hair color options can help protect your hair from damage.Hair dyes can be classified as permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary. Permanent hair color provides the most extensive coverage and is recommended for people who have 50% or more gray hair. The hair color needs to be reapplied only when the gray hair grows.

Semi-permanent hair dyes do not penetrate the hair shaft as permanent dyes do, and they fade after 12 to 16 shampoos. Both permanent and semi-permanent hair colors contain ammonia or peroxide. Temporary dyes contain color pigments only and are washed off after each shampoo.

Plant-Based Hair Colors

The roots, leaves and barks of certain plants have long been used as hair dyes. Hair color products that list ingredients derived from vegetable proteins are plant-based. Examples of plant-based natural dyes are extracts from calendula, cinnamon, green tea, honeysuckle and hawthorne. Plant-based hair colors are usually temporary and do not penetrate the hair shaft. They do not need harsh chemicals to apply the colors to the hair.


Because of its importance as a plant-based organic hair color, henna merits special mention. Henna is probably the best known botanical dye and is recognized as the safest natural hair color present in commercial dyes. In fact, it is recognized as safe by the FDA for use as a colorant. Organic henna hair color does not contain harmful ingredients like ammonia or PPD (p-phenylenediamine). Some henna products may contain organic herbs for nourishing and conditioning the hair.

Henna hair color is not permanent and fades in four or six weeks. Because it is devoid of harsh chemicals, re-coloring can be done without adverse side effects. This organic hair coloring is available in red, brown, burgundy and light brown. Sage, coffee and cloves enhance the color of brown henna while indigo paste produces black henna.

You can have henna applied at your hair salon or do it yourself at home. Click here for an assortment of henna hair color options (at great prices).

Chemicals In Natural Hair Dyes

For a more intense and long-lasting color, small amounts of chemical fixatives can be mixed with plant pigments. This type of hair color can no longer be called organic despite the fact that the product may contain plant extracts. Hair dyes that contain synthetic chemicals offer a wider range of colors. They contain ingredients such as PEG-2 Soyamine, Cocamide DEA, and p-phenylenediamine.

Popular Hair Color Brands

With the exception of henna, there is no commercial hair color product that can be labeled truly organic. However, there are a number of hair color brands that contain natural plant-based pigments as well as nourishing herbs and plant extracts to moisturize and protect the hair. Naturtint is a plant-based permanent hair color that is free of harsh ingredients that can damage the hair and leave it dry and brittle. Henna hair color is purely organic and contains extracts from henna as well as other plants. Palette by Nature is 100% plant-based colorant with over 50% organic ingredients. Their plant-based natural hair colors are enhanced by organic herbal extracts from ginseng, calendula, rose hips, honeysuckle and green tea.

Check your local natural health stores for these brands. Both can be purchased online – Naturtint is available at and Palette by Nature can be purchased at the official website (see link in paragraph above).

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