Organic Hair Dye: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

January 22, 2016

Okay so I am 37 and without hair dye I could easily pass for a senior – I’m not talking about a glowing, soon to graduate and embark on life’s journey, high school senior. I’m talking free bus fares, discounted movie tickets and high balls with a side of dirty rocks senior.  Easy livin and I could have it all. Trust me, my hair would be my big ticket in. For the past 18 years I have been dying my hair and recently it has gotten as frequent as every four weeks. I have been okay with dying my hair over the past few years as my one cheat. You know, live healthy, buy organic, clean with vinegar and brush with baking soda..all that jazz BUT my hair? Oh that’s only once a month and this girl needs her hair did so its been my one exception. So with this exception, I set out to find the cleanest hair dye that actually works because guess what, commercial hair dyes are so toxic that some people have used them to commit suicide; cheap, fast and deadly. And those deadly chemicals sit on your scalp for 45 minutes making their way to your bloodstream and making pit stops at all of your organs while you sit and read how J. Law connects to Kevin Bacon through six degrees of separation. Straight up criminal.

Obviously we are not choosing to drink our hair dye so it can’t be too bad right? Well lets start with the scalp. The scalp is one of the most absorbent parts of the body, its like a sponge that sops up whatever you put on it. As hair dye sits on your scalp, chemicals are absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream.  Some of these chemical toxins are peed out but some remain in the body for months, maybe longer. I will also discuss a list of ingredients to avoid in a minute or you can scroll down to the “Ingredients” heading for a quick peek.

How are companies allowed to put harmful toxic chemicals in a box and encourage people to essentially poison themselves? The ugly truth is no one is regulating hair dyes. In 1938 The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act passed which put an unregulated cosmetics industry under federal regulation. There were two exceptions to this act: soap and hair dye. This act has remained pretty much untouched which means no one is running the show and to this day, coal-tar dyes do not require FDA certification.  Neither the FDA nor any other entity is telling these companies they are not allowed to use certain chemicals and no one is checking to see what is on shelves to make sure products meet certain standards. Chemicals and formulations are like the typical American criminal – innocent until proven guilty.  And no one is dishing out the money to prove these chemicals are toxic because in big business who does that benefit? And where is the profit? This self-regulated industry is having an all out free-for-all with us as their lab rats and guess what, we are playing along. There is so little scientific based evidence about the effects of these chemicals in the human body because there is virtually an endless list of variables. A control group and a test group are impossible to isolate and no studies have lasted through entire lifespans. It’s like when the tobacco companies “proved” that smoking didn’t cause cancer because they set up a three month study and at the end of it the subjects did not have lung cancer.  It’s dirty, it’s slimy and it’s at the expense of your health and mine. Even when the FDA tries to step in, this happens:

In 1979 the FDA tried to insist that hair-dye manufactures place the following label on their products: “Warning: Contains an ingredient that can penetrate your skin and has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.” The ingredient referred to is 4-MMPD, 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine, a dye with a structure very similar to PPD that, according to the FDA, showed sufficient scientific evidence of being carcinogenic. Manufactures disagree and threatened to sue the FDA if they pressed for the label. The FDA backed down. A few years later, manufactures removed the carcinogenic compound from their formulas, while maintaining the 4-MMPD was safe.” – The Atlantic Magazine

Toxic hair dyes are happening, the government can’t stop it and consumers are perpetuating it because we keep buying and dying. So lets dig a little deeper.

What makes hair dye work and can you really have an ORGANIC hair dye? It’s all about the active ingredients. Here are two heavy hitters but keep reading because of course there are more offenders. PPD is a coal-tar derivative which is allergenic, mutagenic and highly toxic. For more details about PPD you can read here. For 125 years PPD has been the extent of hair dye technology and beauty manufactures have yet to accept a permanent hair-color formula without PPD or its related compound, p-aminophenol. To permanently change the color of hair, a product must be able to penetrate the cuticle to deposit or remove color in the cortex and these chemicals do this. Bottom line, this means that if your organic hair dye is working it is employing these toxic chemicals.

Companies who sell “organic” hair dyes do use organic ingredients but they are all the bells and whistles. The industry calls these “fairy dust” ingredients – they have no impact on color or outcome. They are used to draw the buyer in and let them believe that the product is safer when in reality these are all inactive ingredients and the product would perform the same with or without them. It’s another dirty greenwashing tactic. Let’s look at an example!

The Aveda line boasts a 99% natural hair dye. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients listed on the box from the salon: m-Aminophenol, p-Aminophenol, 1-Naphthol, Resorcinol,  TOXIC CITY! Read ahead to the “Ingredients” header to see why. Maybe this is just a fluke, lets look at another example.

Simply Organic: Organic Way or Oway lists ingredients on their website like: cotton, dates, wheat and jojoba harvested from their “chemical free” farms. Their “farm to chair” motto is really clever.  Okay so lets look at some of the ingredients listed on the box that I bought: p-phenylelediamine (PPD), p-aminophenol, m-aminophenol, resorcinol, SLS, parfum…maybe it’s just two flukes in a row. Should we look at another one?

Naturcolor: A boxed, do-it-yourself brand you can buy at Whole Foods.  Whole Foods has a strict vetting system so it must be nontoxic. Yeah, except for these active ingredients: ethanolamine, PPD, p-Aminophenol, m-aminophenol.

Maddison Reed: Coal tar, ethanolamine, p-Aminophenol, resorcinol, 1-Naphthol, SLS, parfum, phenols.

Eco Colors: Aminophenol, resorcinol, 1-Naphthol, Phenols.

Organic Color Systems: PEGs, phenol, p-Aminophenol, parfum/fragrance, ethanolamine, coal tar.

Oh and just for the heck of it lets look at the ingredients on a standard big name commercial boxed color.  Clariol’s Colorblend Foam: Shade 8C Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Ammonium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Fragrance, Erythorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate, Resorcinol, Sodium Sulfite, 2-Methylresorcinol (resorcinol), Phenyl Methyl Pyrazolone, EDTA, N,N-Bis(2-Hydroxyethyl)-P-Phenylenediamine (PPD) Sulfate, P-Aminophenol, MAminophenol, 4-Amino-2-Hydroxytoluene

Notice any similarities?

I could go on and on. I actually did go on and on. I contacted about 10 “organic” or “natural” hair color companies and asked for ingredient lists. Not the easiest thing in the world to get my hands on. Several didn’t respond to me. I had some companies refer me back to their website where they listed their “fairy dust” ingredients. One company even told me that I would have to go into a local salon (so I did) and ask to see the box because “every color has a different list.” Mmmmm, good one. Stall tactics.

The one point that I really want to drive home here is when a hair dye is labeled “organic” or claims to be “natural,” don’t be fooled into thinking you are getting a healthy alternative.  I hear so many people say, I know it’s not perfect but at least it is a little better. It’s not really. It’s all the same active ingredients, just boxed and labeled differently. If these organic colors were packaged as a face cream, would you put it on your face? Your face and your scalp are essentially the same piece of skin and to boot, your scalp is one of the most absorbent and sensitive parts of the body.

Where do we go from here? First let me say this is totally an individual decision and everyone has the right to color their hair without being judged. That’s not what this article is about. This is a super hard decision to make for some, myself included, because the consequence has such a visible outcome. I just want women to be aware and informed of the decision they are actually making. So, label reading guys! Don’t you hate it when people say that? Most of the time I read a label and I’m no better off than when I started. So, reading labels AND looking up ingredients. It’s time consuming but it is what it is. I love the book “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients” by Ruth Winter, M.S for ingredient breakdowns, EWG’s Skin Deep Database and the Think Dirty app as quick resources. Here is another thing to keep in mind when reading labels. Now this is true when buying anything from chicken to face products to hair dye. It’s what the company is NOT saying, that’s what buyers really need to know. For example some companies will boast that their product is “ammonia free” or “PPD free.” First of all, ammonia is an archaic ingredient.  It is still used but it’s not a staple ingredient like it used to be. Parallel to buying chicken, when the label says “hormone free” -they are not used in chicken anyway.  It’s an empty greenwashing claim that every company can make. It’s like saying there is no steak in your ice cream…yeah we know! Anyways, what they are using to replace ammonia are ingredients like ethanolamine and triethanolamine which are bad if not worse. And they are using chemicals like PTD (paratoluenediamine) or p-aminophenol as a substitute for PPD which can be just as toxic.

It’s probably true that if these materials (PPD and PTD) were invented today, their use in cosmetics would not be permitted but they remain in use…as no effective replacements have been found.” – Royal Society of Chemistry

I initially set out on this quest to find an organic hair dye with stellar performance. I intended to try out a dozen or so products and report on the front runners but at this point I feel like I am back at square one.  This is really hard because I LOVE getting my hair colored.  I feel confident, professional and put together when I am fresh out of the salon.  Could I survive happily with uncolored hair? Is using these hair dyes a compromise I am willing to make? Do I live in the Twilight Zone because why do I have to choose safe and gray or toxic and brown? I mean I did see this 47 year-old woman the other day who was GORGEOUS and totally gray. I legit went up to her and got her number because she was so stunning and her confidence radiated .  Her look stood for what felt like everything I believed in. We need more woman like her! If more of us chose her path this post would probably be moot but that is a topic for a different day. Okay so before I make my final decision I have a few more avenues to explore. I am not throwing caution to the wind and jumping back in the chair but I’m also not throwing in the towel and embracing my senior side – not yet.

What are some other options? Well there are a couple. Supplements, henna and HairPrint to name a few.

Okay I am game for trying organics and natural alternatives but the more I looked into henna I was seeing things like, leave it on for 4-5 hours or some recommended to leave it on overnight. Many reviewers said the color outcome was unpredictable and it didn’t last. Ruth Winter, author of A Consumers Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says, “They are more difficult to apply, less reliable than manufactured dyes, and less predictable as far as color is concerned.”  The reason for this is henna dyes only coat the hair temporarily they don’t alter the hair like permanent dyes. Now the ingredients look fabulous but lets be honest, (overnight?!) ain’t no one got time fodat.

Or maybe supplements? Some of my readers mentioned diatomaceous earth, Brahmi Amla or another herbal remedy like He Shou Wu. While these may work, I’m personally a fan of less when it comes to supplements.  I am also a fan of instant gratification and I just don’t have the mojo to go down this path. But who knows, I may be singing a different tune if I run out of options! If you have and it worked please leave me a comment, I want to hear your story!

Next up? HairPrint. I am meeting with John Warner here in Massachusetts at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.  He invented the technology known as HairPrint – a non-toxic process that rejuvenates and restores gray hair to its natural color. Stay tuned, I am so excited to share results with you guys! Until then, read and research labels my friends. Listed below is a jump to get you started. Smooches.


This is a short list of toxic ingredients and their effects found in hair dyes. There are more but these are a few of the big guns that I referenced in the products above.

RESORCINOL: Obtained from various resins. Irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. May cause allergic reactions particulary to the skin. May be absorbed into the skin, application to wounds may cause methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder in children. The FDA issued a notice in 1992 that resorcinol has not been shown to be safe and effective. The EU requires a warning label on products containing resorcinol.  Listed as an 8 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Also listed as but not limited to: 1,3-BENZENEDIOL; 1,3BENZENEDIOL; 3-HYDROXYPHENOL; CI DEVELOPER 4; M-DIHYDROXYBENZENE; M-HYDROQUINONE; M-PHENYLENEDIOL; OXIDATION BASE 31; RESORCIN; 1,3-BENZENEDIOL; 1,3-DIHYDROXYBENZENE

AMINOPHENOL: Derived from phenols. Can cause a lack of oxygen in the blood. Solutions on the skin have produced restlessness and convulsions in humans as well as skin irritations. May also cause rashes, sensitization and inhalation may cause asthma. Mutagenic in lab tests. Metabolized similarly to Tylenol and can effect the liver. Listed as a 5/6 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Also listed as but not limited to:m-AMINOPHENOL, 3-AMINO- PHENOL; 3-AMINOPHENOL; 3-HYDROXYANILINE; 3-HYDROXYBENZENAMINE; CI 76545; M-HYDROXYAMINOBENZENE; M-HYDROXYPHENYLAMINE; PHENOL, 3-AMINO-; PHENOL, 3AMINO; 3-AMINO-1-HYDROXYBENZENE; 3-AMINOPHENOL; p-AMINOPHENOL, 4-AMINO- PHENOL; 4-AMINO-1-HYDROXYBENZENE; 4-AMINOPHENOL; 4-HYDROXYANILINE; 4-HYDROXYBENZENAMINE; 4-HYDROXYPHENYLAMINE; CI 76550; P-AMINO- PHENOL; PHENOL, 4-AMINO-; PHENOL, 4AMINO; PHENOL, P-AMINO-

PHENOLS: A disinfectant and anesthetic for the skin. Ingestion of even a small amount may cause nausea, vomiting and circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and green urine. Death from respiratory failure. Fatalities have been reported from ingestion of as little as 1.5 grams. Fatal poisoning can occur through skin absorption. Scores a 7 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Also listed as but not limited to: BENZENOL; CARBOLIC ACID; HYDROXYBENZENE; LIQUID PHENOL; OXYBENZENE; PHENOL,; PHENYL ALCOHOL; ACIDE CARBOLIQUE (FRENCH) ; BENZENOL; CARBOLIC ACID; CARBOLSAURE (GERMAN)

PHENYLENEDIAMINE (PPD): May produce eczema, bronchial asthma, gastritis, skin rash and DEATH. Can cross react with many other chemicals including azo dyes used in temporary color. It has caused cancer in some animal experiments. The FDA tried to ban and require labeling for this ingredient in hair dyes but the industry won out citing the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 exempting hair dye from the FDA’s jurisdiction. Banned from cosmetic use in EU and Canada. Listed as a 7/8 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Also listed as but not limited to: m-PHENYLENEDIAMINE, 1,3-BENZENEDIAMINE; 1,3-DIAMINOBENZENE; 1,3-PHENYLENEDIAMINE; 1,3BENZENEDIAMINE, DIHYDROCHLORIDE; CI 76025; DEVELOPER 11; M-AMINOANILINE; 1,3-BENZENEDIAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE; 1,3-DIAMINOBENZENE DIHYDROCHLORIDE; 1,3-PHENYLENEDIAMINE DIHYDROCHLORIDE; 3-AMINOANILINE DIHYDROCHLORIDE; p-PHENYLENEDIAMINE, 1,4-BENZENEDIAMINE; 1,4-PHENYLENEDIAMINE; 1,4BENZENEDIAMINE; CI 76060; OXIDATION BASE 10; P-AMINOANILINE; P-DIAMINOBENZENE; 1,4-BENZENEDIAMINE (9CI) ; 1,4-DIAMINOBENZENE; 1,4-PHENYLENEDIAMINE; 4-AMINOANILINE

1-NAPHTHOL: Used as an antiseptic. Causes severe eye and skin irritation. Toxic by ingestion and skin absorption. When applied to the skin in hair dyes it is not teratogenic or carcinogenic. Listed as a 7/8 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Also listed as but not limited to: 1-HYDROXYNAPHTHALENE; 1-HYDROXYNAPTHALENE; 1-NAPHTHALENOL; 1-NAPHTHYL ALCOHOL; 1NAPHTHALENOL; ALPHA-NAPHTHOL; CI 76605; OXIDATION BASE 33; 1-HYDROXYNAPHTHALENE; 1-NAPHTHALENOL; ALPHA-HYDROXYNAPHTHALENE

ETHANOLAMINES: Strong bases. Used as a substitute for ammonia. Very large quantities are required for lethal oral doses in mice. Rates a 5/6 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Also listed as but not limited to: 2-AMINO- ETHANOL; 2-AMINOETHANOL; 2-HYDROXYETHYLAMINE; ETHANOL, 2-AMINO-; ETHANOL, 2AMINO; MEA; MONOETHANOLAMINE; 2-AMINOAETHANOL (GERMAN) ; 2-AMINOETANOLO (ITALIAN) ; 2-AMINOETHANOL (OSHA) ; 2-HYDROXYETHYLAMINE

COAL TAR: This ingredient causes cancer in animals. Not recommended for use in any product that sits on the skin for over 20 minutes. Contains many constituents including benzene, xylenes, naphthalene, pyridine, quinoline, phenol and creosol. Rates a 10 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database as a known carcinogen. Also listed as but not limited to: COAL TAR SOLUTION; TAR, COAL; CARBO-CORT; COAL TAR SOLUTION USP; COAL TAR, AEROSOL; CRUDE COAL TAR; ESTAR (SKIN TREATMENT) ; IMPERVOTAR; KC 261; LAVATAR; PICIS CARBONIS

This ingredient information was referenced from “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients” by Ruth Winter, M.S. unless otherwise stated.

Also here is a list of 22 hair dye chemicals banned  by the EU:

6-Methoxy-2,3-Pyridinediamine and its HCl salt
4,5-Diamino-1-Methylpyrazole and its HCl salt
4,5-Diamino-1-((4-Chlorophenyl)Methyl)-1H-Pyrazole Sulfate
4-Methoxytoluene-2,5-Diamine and its HCl salt
5-Amino-4-Fluoro-2-Methylphenol Sulfate
N,N-Dimethyl-2,6-Pyridinediamine and its HCl salt
N-(2-Methoxyethyl)-p-phenylenediamine and its HCl salt
2,4-Diamino-5-methylphenetol and its HCl salt
3,4-Diaminobenzoic acid
2-Aminomethyl-p-aminophenol and its HCl salt
Solvent Red 1 (CI 12150)
Acid Orange 24 (CI 20170)
Acid Red 73 (CI 27290)

To compare, here is a list of hair dye chemicals banned by the US:


54 Love this post!


  1. Reply

    Sue Williams

    This is so depressing. Thanks for spelling everything out so beautifully. I’d LOVE to let myself go all gray – IF I knew I’d have a head full of beautiful gray. It’s all or nothing for me, and since I don’t know…
    Surya liquid henna is nice but it only lasts a few days to a few short weeks to cover grays. I’ve just recently heard of HairPrint so I can’t wait to read how you do with it!

    1. Reply


      Thanks for reading Sue! That’s how I feel too! I wish my hair was either all brown or all white, this in between stage is so hard! Thanks for sharing your experience with henna. Stay tuned for HairPrint!

  2. Reply


    I really enjoyed reading this. As a former hairdresser myself, I completely agree with what you share in regards to toxicity. Being a green beauty advocate now I know how frustrating it can be to actually find a truly clean brand. The only brand that I had come across that slightly had made some effort to be less toxic was Colure and Naturigin, but again not completely free of the nasties.

    I’m super excited to learn about the print process you mentioned, sounds promising.

    I’m glad that I have found another organic mom like yourself and Suzi of gurlfonegreen to learn from and have a supportive community.

    Keep it up!

    1. Reply


      Thanks so much Natalia! I really appreciate your comments! Next time you are near a box of Colure and Naturigin check the box! See if any of these ingredients are listed, I bet they are! But if they are not, I want to be the first to know! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my HairPrint review! It should be up in a month or so!

      1. Natalia

        *just to clarify, I’m a different Natalia (not the one from the original message).

        got an email back from COLURE, here are the ingredients.
        COLURE True Performance Ingredient List:

        Organic Condition Base – made with certified organic, naturally grown and naturally derived ingredients:
        Distilled Water, Certified Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetyl Alcohol (and) Stearyl Alcohol
        (and) PPG-5 Ceteth-20 (and)Dicetyl Phosphate (and) Ceteth-10 Phosphate (and) Behentrimonium
        Methosulfate, Oleic Acid, Oleyl Alcohol, Oleth-5 Phosphate (and) Dioleyl Phosphate,
        PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cetearyl Alcohol,
        Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Organic Bertholetia Exceisa Seed Oil, Organic Theobroma
        Grandiflorum Seed Oil, Organic Caryocar Brasiliense, Organic Lavender oil, Organic mango extract, Organic citrus oil, Acetamide MEA,
        Erythorbic Acid, EDTA.

        Alkaline Agent: Ethanolamine – pH 9.0

        Hair Dyes:
        m-Aminophenol, p-Aminophenol,
        2-Methylresorcinol, 4-Amino-2-HydroxyToluene,
        2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol Sulfate, Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate.

      2. thisorganicgirl

        It’s all in the labels! Thanks for posting this!!!

    2. Reply


      the Vitamin Shoppe has all ingredients listed for Naturigin.
      Here’s a list of ingredients for “brown”, looks like it has PPD and m-Aminophenol ;((

      COLOUR CREAM/FRGKRM/VRIVOIDE: aqua/water, sodium coco-sulfate, ethanolamine, myristyl alcohol, cocamidemipa, cocamide mea, cetearyl alcohol, cocamidopropyl betaine, oleth-20, propylene glycol, tetrasodium edta, sodiumsulfite, p-phenylenediamine, 4-chlororesorcinol, parfum/ fragrance, triticum vulgare bran extract, simmondsia chinensis(jojoba) seed oil, m-aminophenol, ascorbic acid, erythorbic acid, ethoxydiglycol, vitis vinifera seed oil, butyrospermumparkii (shea tree) butter extract, 2-amino-4-hydroxyethylaminoanisole sulfate, aloe barbadensisleaf extract, 2-methylresorcinol, 4-amino-2-hydroxytoluene, toluene-2,5-diamine sulfate, hydrolyzed soyprotein, prunus persica kernel oil, prunus armeniaca kernel oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel extract*,citrus grandis (grape fruit) peel oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil*ACTIVATOR/AKTIVATOR/AKTIVAATTORI: aqua/water, hydrogen peroxide, cetearyl alcohol, paraffinumliquidum (mineral oil), peg-20 hydrogenated lanolin, lanolin alcohol, ceteareth-20,glycerin, phosphoric acid, tetrasodium edta, disodium pyrophosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate,etidronic acid, sodium stannate, oxyquinoline sulfate

  3. Reply


    This must be posted everywhere.
    All women need to be educated on this poisoin that is killing us eventually.

    1. Reply


      Thanks Joyce! I could not agree more. Please feel free to share this link on social! Spread the word!

  4. Reply


    I’m thinking of trying “Hairprint”, what is your result? Thanks.

    1. Reply


      Hi! Thanks for your comment! I am trying HairPrint now and am currently working on a review! Stay tuned and I hope to have all the deets up with in a few weeks!

  5. Reply

    Nicole flammi

    Ok I literally just dyed my hair today for the first time in 15+ years. Ummmm ! Now I’m freaking!!

    1. Reply


      Girl, if you did just roots or an overall color to hide the grays – I may have a solution, stay tuned! If you are doing highlights and it is not touching the scalp that is a different story too. Don’t freak out, awareness is essential to living a healthier lifestyle and that is the hardest part – reading articles like this, following your curiosity and having an open mind is half the battle, you are doing a good job! (ps, love you Nik!)

  6. Reply


    Hey, great blog! I just started following you via our IG connection, and I’m loving what I’m seeing! Looking forward to seeing more posts.

    1. Reply


      Thanks so much Abbey! Sweet comment, I really appreciate the love!

  7. Reply


    This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on beauty health. Thank you for researching and posting. Thank you for also sharing about Hairprint. I am glad they are out there doing something about it!

    1. Reply


      Thanks so much! I am so passionate about this topic and put a lot of time into it and I really appreciate the feedback – so glad it reached you!

  8. Reply


    Hairprint did not work for me. I naturally have dark brown hair with slight reddish highlights. I have the same issues as you… Started going gray at 19… Even had a white hair at five. I know 42 and have white roots with dyed black hair. I had been dying my hair weekly because I have very fast root regrowth until allergic reaction a few weeks ago. I was so excited to try hairprint but after three tries over three weeks all I have is a slight dirty blonde dingy green hue covering my white. It essentially looks like semi permanent dye that did not take. I have now spent $172 and I’m very frustrated as I spent much time and effort putting on this very messy treatment and going back-and-forth the email with the company as they were trying to troubleshoot with me. I did all of their extra recommendations and despite that did not get the results that they are advertising. Instead, my hair was being blamed for being nonporous…i’m not too happy about that because all hairdressers have said my hair sucks up die and is very porous and I don’t want to be blamed for a product frankly that has not worked. I have read other reviews of people stating the same thing. For whoever it has worked for I have no idea how they did it and I certainly wish that was me. I really really wanted this to work but I didn’t. Now I want a full refund and hope the company will do the right thing. I believe the concept is great but requires further research.. Because dishwater dingy color is NOT my natural color. As the author of this blog, I truly want to know if this works for you. And if not, I want to know if you find something that is as natural as possible in the future. I am desperate to find a solution and I’m very frustrated. If I did not have white hair I would ditch the dye in two seconds

    1. Reply


      Thanks so much for your comment. I totally understand your frustration. I am still in the process of trying HairPrint and I am currently preparing to provide my readers with a full review. There are many women who strive to live a nontoxic lifestyle but are stuck in hair dye purgatory – forced to choose between gray/white hair or toxin exposure through chemical hair dyes. I am excited to find a solution. Please stay tuned!

  9. Reply


    Love this article!! I laughed and cried;) So excited to see this blog starting; can’t wait to see more!!

    1. Reply


      You are the sweetest Ali! Thank you!

  10. Reply

    Tami Cockrell

    How were your results? I have been full head dying my hair for last 10 years. Primarily with over the counter brands of hair dye. I had been highlighting it for 20years before that. My question is, do I need to let my gray show before hair print will work? I’m not sure I want to go gray first. I am more than 90% gray at 50.

    1. Reply


      Hi Tami! I am so glad you are making the switch away from toxic chemicals! You do not have to wait to color with Hairprint. You can apply weather you have a 1/4 inch of gray showing or 2 inches or a whole head. Hairprint color will take better to hair that has never been chemically dyed. However you can start right away and it will treat whatever grays you have currently.

  11. Reply


    I think a lot of brands out there are taking advantage of the term natural and organic. I used to have a ton of respect for Aveda pushing towards becoming healthier until they got purchased by Estee Lauder in 2007. They initially where telling people they are going to be operated entirely separate, which it seems not to be entirely true. They went after profits after slowly replacing their ingredients with synthetics that made the products work better. The problem with that is they have become less and less natural and now focus of eco-friendly. I have purchased O Way products online from as the lady who works there explained O Way is not 100% natural…yet. She said as a stylist, the formulas for the colors and products do change every few months, whenever they seem to find a suitable replacement for any artificial ingredients. My personal belief is that any company that will publicly admit they are trying to be better, give them the time of day.

    1. Reply


      Thanks so much for your comment Cheryl and I commend you for taking a deeper dive into brand’s ingredients. I have used and researched both of these brands and they are both employing the same toxic active ingredients that I listed in my article. I wish they were more transparent about what the ingredients ARE instead of what their brand does not use. That’s another tactic that is super deceptive.

  12. Reply

    Aayush Shastri

    This generation has had a serious problem of getting grey hair at an early age and it is just increasing. All of this happens because of our lifestyle, eating habits, stress and chemicals in the products we use. Getting your hair dyed is not healthy for your hair and since I am going through the same problem of having grey hair so early I decided to find a safe and healthy solution. I came across Kama Ayurveda’s organic henna powder and indigo powder and this combination has saved me! It is the organic way to go and dyes your hair black, I have been using these products for several months now and am so happy. Everyone who is having this same problem, I highly recommend to use such products rather than hair dye.

    1. Reply


      Thanks for the recommendation! Glad it is working for you!

  13. Reply

    Minh Banzhaf

    *When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    1. Reply


      I’m so sorry! I will look into it!

  14. Reply


    I tried Hair Print and it did not work for me. I purchased a second kit and still did not work. I am contemplating on trying it a third time, but it is getting costly. They tell you not to use any hair products and even the natural ones that I use are supposed to hinder the results. Did you try it? I want it to work for me.

    1. Reply


      YES! I’ve been using it exclusively for over a year now! I have a ton of tips and before and after pics here on my blog. Search “Hairprint” and they will come up! Let me know if you have questions after that!

  15. Reply


    Hi, I am constantly researching ingredients for everything and it can be seriously excruciating to get some companies to give up their formulas. Elizabeth Arden was one of the worst, and I never did get any ingredients. Anyway, I had a reaction to PPD in a semi-permanent dye a couple of years ago. Thank God mine was minor in comparison to those whom have died or been hospitalized, but it is a lifelong battle now against cross-sensitizations because of the PPD reaction. I am not a sales rep or anything for the following company, I am simply a consumer and like to share with others (I do have a youtube channel Kara Elizabeth where I intend to fully disclose my experience with PPD at some point). I discovered this henna company after researching for a couple of years not wanting to go gray at 43, although I would have if I had not found them. They are and the head woman there is Catherine Cartwright. Let me tell you, she knows her stuff. Mehandi, or Ancient Sunrise, lab tests every batch of their henna for purity because many henna companies abuse the term all natural. They are far from all natural. Not all hennas are alike and Mehandi is the ONLY one I will use. I have been using it for two years now and I love it. Yes, I have to mix it and leave it on for about three and a half hours, but I do things during that wait time so it is hardly an inconvenience. As far as color goes, there is a huge variety and once you have your recipe down, it is a breeze and really consistent. I use two henna colors to create a dark brunette tone with auburn highlights. Simple and beautiful. Please contact them if you have any questions or would like to discuss your color options with one of their very knowledgeable employees. You can join their Facebook page as well for Ancient Sunrise. Hope this helps someone else!! Thanks for reading.

  16. Reply


    I have dyed my hair for ten yeas, at the roots, med brown. I am very health conscious, and thought I would go to an Aveda salon, which as you wrote, make it seem like you are getting a plant based colour.
    First time, I got the itchiest scalp. Second time, my head broke out in crusty oozy welts, then my body got itchy red hives, and totally swollen glands. NOT what you expect. It is horrible how they make you believe it is organic and good for you…it is WORSE. I never had a reaction in my life. They still have PPD. Aveda do not want to know what happens, either. So just letting all you lovelies know….they are TOXIC as well.

    1. Reply


      So sorry that happened to you! Thank you so much for sharing and yes thats called GREENWASHING – when companies say a product is nontoxic or they lead you to believe through tricky labeling that it is safe and its not. Hope you are feeling better!

  17. Reply


    Anyone know anything about the ones listed in this article?

  18. Reply


    I’m blonde but age has given me a dirty blonde sprinkled with gray. My hairdresser highlights my hair with bleach that he says is less harsh. I walk out with what looks like several shades of blonde and the gray that remains is barely visible! So now I wonder, how toxic is “less harsh” bleach? I will ask him to let me see the label! He has always joked “better hair through chemicals”. But maybe not better life!!

    1. Reply


      I totally hear you Sandy and I am all about educating yourself, reading labels and making informed decisions about what you choose to put on your body. Don’t let someone decide for you. No one will have your best interest in mind more than you. Let us know what you find out! xo

  19. Reply

    Lori babb

    If I had a dime for every blogger who thought they had as much knowledge as a professional I would be rich. It is true that there is no permanent hair color available that is 100% organic/ natural. It’s not possible. It’s also true that one company listed is known for green washing. I know for a fact that at least one company listed clearly states they are not completely organic and freely releases their ingredient list.
    What you have not listed is percentage of said ingredients. Not all colors are made the same and trying to group them together or group them with a non “natural ” professional hair color is completely inaccurate. When a professional company claims a higher percentage of organic ingredients and the smallest percentage of toxic ingredients then other professional brands then you should investigate that claim. Not “blog bashing” with watered down claims. Also, some of the ingredients you listed can be derived from different sources. Example: there are two different kinds of MEA. One is derived from coconut. Did you know that? Probably not.
    I’m not suggesting that you not read labels. Absolutely read labels. I would also suggest doing a little more research about industry ingredients you know little about.
    Truth: all permanent hair color will have some chemicals or it won’t work.
    Truth: there are professional products who minimize the amount as much as possible.
    Truth: they aren’t even close to the level of toxicity in “regular ” professional or box color.
    I don’t care if you color your hair or don’t. You do you. Personally, I applaud being the truest form of you. Grey hair and all.
    Ps… darker shades of hair color do have different percentages and/or ingredients then lighter shades so, ya know, not a stall tactic. Does vanilla cupcakes have different ingredients then chocolate cupcakes? Right. Kinda like that.

  20. Reply


    Thanks for this article-I have been using Naturcolor for many years now thinking that at least most of the list looked good compared to other companies but am now VERY disheartened.Wondering if you have discovered anything new since this article was written-any feedback would be greatly appreciated-not ready to go grey just yet,

  21. Reply

    Tonya Lee Wise

    I’m a professional and I agree with Lori Babb; if it ain’t 100%henna, it ain’t all natural. However, percentages of ingredients in a FORMULA varies greatly from the toxicity of a substance in its purest form. Anyone committed to completely “clean” living needs to plant their own garden and live off of it. Haircolor is not a natural product. However, at least one company listed has formulated an amazing innovative color that minimizes the necessary pigments and maximizing active holistically medicinal ingredients that are scientifically proven to be anti allergen, any inflammatory, and anti bacterial.
    In fact, I cross referenced NIH !
    “Green bashing” companies trying to better our industry is just as much a frustration as greenwashing by some companies.

    1. Reply


      Tonya Lee Wise what is the one company you were referring to?

    2. Reply

      Courtney C.

      Tonya, cam you please provide this information to us – what company are you referring to? It would be so helpful to those of us searching for the best possible choice. Thanks so much!

  22. Reply


    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Very informational. As a hairstylist, I’ve always known there are certain chemicals in hair dyes that can affect us and the consumer. However, for a while I did not realize what ingredients and to what extent. I now work for Madison Reed and I’ve been doing a lot of research for ingredients in this color and products line vs others and how they affect us (hence I found you). I wanted to share that Madison Reed does not carry all of the ingredients you mention. For example, Madison Reed does not have coal tar, resorcinol, SLS, parfum ,or phenols. It does have ethanolamine, p-Aminophenol, 1-Naphthol. Ethanolamine is used as a PH Adjuster, p-Aminophenol and 1-Naphthol are used as the actual hair dye. As you mentioned, EU does have a ban and a better filter for toxic ingredients than the US (which is appalling!) and is the reason why Madison Reed chose to create their color in the EU and abide by their standards. Some of the ingredients in hair dye are not only bad for us (the consumer) but the applier (stylist) and the environment (everyone). Scary really. All of the research I’ve done kindly directs me to appreciating Madison Reed and the quality of the color line even more so I thought I’d share as a better alternative to other color lines and for you to take a double look for a second chance 🙂 Per your article, I will also ask about the 3 ingredients that in the formula and what alternatives we could take in order to have even betttter quality.

    1. Reply


      Thanks so much Kay! I really appreciate you comment and consideration. Thank you so much for this! xo

  23. Reply


    So which hair color is best to use. I have been using Aveda.

    1. Reply


      Hi Julie! I don’t really have an answer for that. I’ve been using Hairprint and it has been working for me. You can search my blog for before/afters. All the photos are real and unedited. It’s just limited in what it can do so it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. But my main point for writing this piece was just to make people aware that if hair dye is working then it is employing this finite list of toxic chemicals. I don’t like seeing hair dyes labeled “organic” because their not even close to it. I just want people to be aware of the choice they are making. Enough with the phony labeling and deceptive marketing.

  24. Reply

    Sylvia Colon

    I totally love all your true reviews about how unhealthy organic haircolor is. Also disappointed because i am not ready to let my hair be gray. Also i tried to get in touch with “hairprint” about 3 or 4 times, and left a message, with no response. So that is a little upsetting.

    1. Reply


      Bummer! I would be annoyed too. You could try and contact them through social? Like Facebook or Instagram? They are pretty responsive there!

  25. Reply

    Forever Flawless

    Nice information …

  26. Reply

    Michael Kardacz

    Your hair begins to lose its natural colour which leads to Premature Gray Hair. Premature Gray Hair Herbal Treatment can reduce or prevent the premature onset of gray hairs, improving how your hair looks as well as its overall health.

  27. Reply


    Thanks for a great blog on this intense subject matter. My stylist just used DIVINES color on my hair touting No Ammonia or bleach. I didn’t ask to see the box to check ingredients this time. I looked them up online & they showed paraben, but not the other ingredients you mentioned. I will be checking on the bid of ingredients next month! Thanks for the info!!

    1. Reply


      Yes! Checking the box or emailing the company is sometimes the only way to go! Love your dedication! : )

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