Hairprint: Nontoxic Hair Color Product Review

March 1, 2018

Check out my Hairprint review! Hairprint is a nontoxic color treatment that restores gray hair to its true color. Hairprint has a couple of product options and you pick according to your hair type. This is the one we used. 

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Okay so lets cut to the chase… everyone wants to know if Hairprint works right? Okay well, see for yourselves. Here are before and afters. No photo editing or post-processing. As my husband likes to say: the proof is in the pudding. 

hairprint before and after
before

Can you believe it?! Sometimes it’s hard to see from the pics but the color is beautiful. It’s deep, rich in pigment and shinny.

Okay there is a lot to say about this product so lets get started.

First of all, Hairprint is made up of 8 food-grade nontoxic ingredients and an inert thickener. It works by putting the eumelanin protein back into the cuticle of your hair. 

Conventional hair dyes use one of the following toxic chemicals to dye hair: PPD, PTD and/or aminophenols all which rate between a 5-8 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database (0 being the lowest toxicity and 10 being the highest). There are a lot of brands these days boasting organic or natural dyes but the down and dirty is if your hair dye is working, it is employing one of these harmful chemicals. Check out my post “Organic Hair Dyes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” for more info on what this means.

Hairprint is the first NEW technology that has been developed in over 100 years that is successful in permanently coloring hair. This product is going to change the world and I am not being sensational.  It is a nontoxic scientific breakthrough empowering women and men with a choice. I wish I could say I am bigger than the color of my roots but it 100% has a direct impact on my day to day psyche. With my hair dyed I feel confident, focused, beautiful and equal. When my hair is overdue I am distracted and paranoid others are judging my grays. It has a direct correlation to my self-confidence, how I feel and function – and I know I am not the only one.  No longer do women have to make the unfair choice of either exposing themselves to toxins or going gray – an expectation and practice that has been institutionalized in our society that gray = less than.

I’m not saying the desire to look beautiful is the issue. The issue is that historically the only way to get there, in the world of hair, is through the use of chemicals that compromise health. That is where society, pop culture, big business, hair dye companies and formulators have set the standard and expectation. The problem arises when people who choose not to dye their hair get treated differently by society than their counterparts who do dye. 

It’s interesting to note that the practice of bodily adornment and hairstyles is not just a modern-day practice. These are universals that cross all times and all cultures along with government, language and fire-making. It is a human, innate, deep-rooted desire to make one’s appearance beautiful. And over the past 100 years, this desire has been met with chemical toxins. We do not need to compromise our health any longer and when we step away from this practice we create a shift. A new standard. One by one we scaffold a new paradigm for ourselves, society, our sons and daughters and future generations.

Some people will say hair dye does not bother them. They experience no itching, burning or chemical irritations of any kind. Whether they realize it or not, every time a woman (or man) dyes their hair, they are rolling the dice.  When chemicals are applied to the scalp they make their way into the bloodstream within seconds. The immune system continues to fight off these toxins again…and again….and again as we keep our standing four week salon appointment. 

When these toxins are applied on the scalp, some of them will be excreted and some stored in fat cells, and for 6-7% of woman the immune system will finally give in and break down leaving them not only permanently sensitive to hair dyes but with many other chemical sensitivities to lotions, perfumes, detergents, etc. Just because you are not experiencing a reaction now or you “feel fine,” just know that next time could be the time your body gives up. Here is an interesting article from The Atlantic that includes one person’s account plus more about the history of hair dye.

It’s not fair that society makes woman, and men, choose. I believe in shifting expectations and change making. This is why I dove *hair-first* into Hairprint to see what they are all about.

Hairprint is a groundbreaking technology brought to market just one year ago.  It was developed by a team of scientists including Laura Muollo, Amie Stewart and John Warner working out of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Wilmington, MA.  I got an opportunity to meet with the scientists this past January and not only talk shop but they also treated my hair with Hairprint for the first time.

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Hairprint in action – January 2016
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Laura Muollo and Amie Stewart in the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry’s testing salon.
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Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry – Wilmington, MA

Okay so Hairprint has some major strengths as well as some limitations. So let’s break it down.

Strengths:

The ingredients. Eight nontoxic food-grade ingredients and a synthetic thickener (which rates a 1 on EWG). You could LITERALLY EAT THIS PRODUCT (and the scientists have by the way)! These are the ingredients:

  • Baking Soda: what we use at home for baking and cleaning.
  • Mucuna pruriens: an extract made from velvet beans.
  • Sodium Carbonate: made from salt and limestone.
  • Ferrous and manganese are both vitamin supplements.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: is made from oxygen and water and naturally occurs in the hair follicle.
  • Carbomer: a inert thickener used in shampoos and pharmaceuticals.
  • Diatomaceous earth: is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock made from ancient deposits of hard-shelled algae.

Just a note about the hydrogen peroxide here. Most salon formulas use hydrogen peroxide at 12-15% to open up the cuticle. Over the counter hydrogen peroxide is a 3% solution. Hairprint uses it at 1% and not for the purpose of opening up the hair cuticle, which is damaging, but to oxidize the mucuna pruriens extract. By the time the color is applied to your hair the hydrogen peroxide is virtually gone.

No toxic chemical exposure.

It works

There is NO SMELL! Literally, it smells like nothing.

It repairs hair and makes it stronger.  Conventional hair dyes rip open the hair cuticle and strip the inside structure of your hair forcing it to accept whatever color you and your hairdresser have selected. This ultimately leaves hair with “no bones” – brittle, weak and vulnerable. Hair gets dryer, more hollow and you will experience breakage over time from exposure to this process.

Hairprint’s success is contingent on keeping the structure of the hair intact.  John Warner describes this structure as a parking lot where the eumelanin protein is deposited or “parked.” Hairprint opens up the cuticle using….get this, baking soda and pH. And it works best on “virgin” hair that has never been conventionally dyed and still has this internal structure in place.

So this protein is deposited and it makes hair shinier, stronger and thicker. Picture a long thin deflated balloon but as the protein is put back into the hair/balloon it will “fill up” again. Conventional products give hair shine by coating it with silicone. Although it may appear shinny it is just that, an appearance, an illusion and unhealthy for your hair.

Restores hair to it’s true color. You know when you dye your hair and it looks great in the salon and then you step outside and you look like your hairs on fire? That does not happen.  There are no red undertones or washing out to a brassy dull variation of the original color which is a dead giveaway for died hair.

Hairprint works with your natural chemistry and will color your hair to its true color as of today. Pretty much whatever color your eyebrows are is a good indicator of how Hairprint will work for you.

Gray coverage. Great for people with dark hair who are trying hide gray roots.

Blonds! Hairprint is releasing a hair color for blonds in a couple of months!!! 

A nontoxic option for pregnant woman and nursing mothers. No more compromises ladies!

You can do your eyebrows with it.

It’s gluten-free and vegan.

Excellent for most hair types. Really works great with corse, think hair.

Great for both women AND men.

Hairprint gives back. They believe that if you want to make a girl beautiful, give her an education. They give 20% of their profits to The NoVo Foundation, a nonprofit which allocates these funds to support this goal.

They are looking to bring it to salons across the US.  Stylists will need to be taught how to apply because it is very different than conventional dyes so this will take some time but it is happening! If you are a salon or if you know of a salon that would be a good fit for Hairprint please leave a message in the comments!

Okay now let’s talk limitations:

It’s messy. And it stains. It will stain your hands, your skin, your towels and any porous surface like unsealed granite or stone tile (similar to conventional hair dye). What worked for me? Wear the supplied gloves, no clothes or old clothes (I wrapped in a towel), cover the floor with a painters tarp and do it in the bathroom where you can wipe down walls and floors easily. I’m not going to lie – your bathroom will look like a crime scene. (I haven’t tried this but if you stain your wall or tile people have reported success using bleach or OxiClean to remove the stain).

It’s time intensive. I have gotten Hairprint applied three times now.  Once by the scientists at Warner Babcock, once in my own bathroom with my sister and once professionally at the Hairprint salon in California.  Each time it took no less than two hours.

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Hairprint Salon, Sausalito, CA

It can be a trial and error process. There are some barriers that may go unseen and will prevent the color from penetrating. This will yield less than desirable results. This can be things like hard water or well water, soap scum, silicone or henna residue or super dry skin/scalp. The good news here is that the science works, you just have to figure out how to identify and break down these barriers to get you there.

Here is the results from the first time I tried Hairprint with the scientists:

These photos have not been altered. I would quantify the coverage here at around 80%. During my most recent experience at the Hairprint salon, we increased my prewash time from 5 minutes to 20 minutes and used two boxes instead of one and got close to 100% coverage.

There is no choice of what color your hair comes out.  You don’t get to pull out the color swatch book and pick the latest “it” trend or your favorite chestnut brown. You get what your body dictates.  Pretty much your eyebrow color.

It can over-darken roots and ends. If this happens it will fade a bit looking its best week 2 and week 3. In the salon, the stylist said in this event she would use the prewash again immediately after to try and tone down the color.

This is not a product for red heads or strawberry blondes.  At this time it is not possible to create the unique pheomelanin pigment that creates red hair while creating eumelanin. And the company is not currently pursuing this. 

For most users, you have to apply it yourself. This may not be a negative for some but for people like me, I ain’t got time fo dat! But I will make time because it’s my only choice – stay tuned!

RELATED:  Stark Product Review

It’s not cheap. If you happen to live in the bay area, you are lucky enough to have the option of going to the salon and getting it professionally applied.  The results will be better for sure but it will run you 150.00-200.00 and about 2 hours of your time.

If you do live local or want an appointment at the Hairprint salon, you can email [email protected]  Pippa is THE WOMAN when it comes to Hairprint. Plus she is gorgeous, funny and she will take good care of you, worth every penny.

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Me and Pippa – LOVE her!

If you are ordering online, a box costs 39.00 and if you sign up for their subscription service you get a 10% discount. Free shipping for orders over 99.00. Some people will be fine with one box and others will need two. My best results came from using two boxes. You can order here.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is this is an absolute life changing product for some people and for others…not so much. It’s also great for anyone with a PDD or PTD allergy. The best way to explain it is its like the difference between fast food and a home-cooked meal.  One is quick, dirty and driven by instant gratification, the other takes time, love, work and is reward driven.

After using Hairprint for a few times many people report better coverage with more use. And also people report weaning from two boxes to one after a few consecutive months as well as faster application times with practice. I will keep you posted on my experience and what is working for me.

The good news is that the company is still playing with the formula and trying to streamline application with the goal being a single application process.

Okay let’s sign off with a final pic or two of Hairprint’s success. I’ve had several conversations with the scientists about how the chemistry works and I still have no idea. Honestly, it is mind boggling to me. All I can say is I freaking love science and scientists who are dedicated to green chemistry.

I just want to end this review with a big heart felt thank you to the scientists who worked so hard, and continue to work hard on this formula. And also to those who have invested and believed in the importance of nontoxic hair dye enough to support these efforts. Thank you for caring about chemical exposure and for the greater good of humanity.  From the bottom of my heart to the top of my head, thank you.

I will be posting updates as I keep up with my color at home – make sure to check back! And please share this article/review with others so people who are trying to avoid toxic chemical exposure can know there is an option out there.

RELATED:  Going Gray: Gray Hair at 40 (8 Months And Counting)

Also, if you plan on applying yourself read this first for application tips! And shop Hairprint here

9/2017 UPDATE: I’ve used Hairprint exclusively for 14 months. You can check out all of my before and after pics, application tips, pros and cons here:

5/2017 UPDATE: I decided to stop dying my hair! I love using Hairprint and the decision to stop dying my hair is not a product related one. Come see how it’s going!

Read more about my favorite shampoo and the skincare line that totally balanced my combo skin!

Xo, lisa

 

By Lisa

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

67 Comments

  1. Reply

    Meilin

    So grateful for this thorough explanation and your kind patience with all your followers. I have been Wanting to try hair print for a couple of years but have mid back length pretty dry hair with blond ends that remain dying it 15 years ago; the Main non-dyed body of hair has reddish and also gold highlights just from outdoor living but my natural roots are now pretty dark with gray strands. Like the person above who was intent to avoid too dark color I hope to keep the auburn and gold tone. would this occur with the light brown ? Have you heard more about the blond shade and coverage ? I read something about using lemon juice to add highlights after hair print.
    will the lighter shade over power the darker shades if applied at a later date ? I did read about the brassy danger if using too light a shade for the natural color of the hair. I am grateful for your generosity of spirit and this love filled blog????

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Hi! I wish I had more insight for you! I really only have experience with dark brown hair and using the dark color. I did meet John Warner in person – the scientist who developed Hairprint. And he told me he uses the light brown. Check out this video of him and you can see the color the light brown seems to give.

  2. Reply

    Karen

    Just tried Hairprint for the first time and I’m happy with the results. Lots of resistant grays that didn’t fully cover so I think I’ll increase the pre wash step next time. My hair has been dyed for years so I had my salon apply it to help me not touch the already dyed hair. The hairprint blended perfectly with the rest of my hair. It’s hard to find info from people who’ve tried it so I wanted to post my results for others to read. Thank you for your blog because it helped me decide to try the Hairprint!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Oh AWESOME! Yes increasing the prewash time will help with those stubborn grays – keep us posted!

  3. Reply

    Melissa

    I have dyed hair & want to try Hairprint on my roots only. Is there a “roots only” package that has just enough to dye the roots only? If not, and I have to order the full bottles, can I only use enough for my roots and save the rest for next month? Would the leftovers still be usable? I am afraid that I will spend the money on a full bottle & only use a quarter of it & the rest end up in the trash…

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Hi Melissa! Thanks for your comment! There is no “roots only” package at this time. You would have to buy a full box to do your roots. I use almost two full boxes to color my roots only every four weeks. I think if you only got one box it would work well for a roots only treatment with not too much waste. Make sure to check out my application tips before applying – search “Hairprint Application Tips” on my website! Let me know how it goes!

      1. Melissa

        I tried Hairprint about a month ago & it worked pretty well on my hair. It covered 95% of my grey, & that’s a lot. I did have to use two whole boxes just for my roots as I wanted to make sure I was covered. My next application I’ll use two as well because I used the Shea Butter on my dyed hair last time, but want all my hair to be dark. I am due for a touch up but have to wait till it arrives next week. I am hoping my hair gets healthier now that I am not chemically dying anymore. I’ll update if I notice anything. Thank you for your info!

      2. thisorganicgirl

        Fantastic! So glad to hear and so happy it is working for you!

  4. Reply

    Pamela

    HELLO!
    Otherwise Can I purchase this in Oslo Norway?
    Thanks & Kind Regards

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      I believe they do ship internationally! Out of California, USA so you will probably have to pay shipping charges from there.

  5. Reply

    Pam

    Do you know if salons in the Boston area will do this? I noticed that it was created in Wilmington, MA… any chance they know of a local salon? I live only 20 minutes from Wilmington, and would love to find someone to help me with this. I’m not brave enough to try it myself at home. The only salon on the east coast I can find is in Burlington, VT, and that’s quite a ride!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Hi Pam! Last time I talked to Hairprint they were hoping to get into salons but were not there yet. I don’t know any salon that applies it outside of the Hairprint Salon in Sausalito. And one reader said there was another salon in the Santa Monica area too. Does the Burlington salon carry Hairprint as an option? That’s awesome! I did get it applied in Wilmington by the scientists who created it and (I mean this in the nicest way possible) they are scientists, not experts in application. So it didn’t come out as good as it did at the Hairprint salon in Sausalito. I know what you mean though. This is my biggest sticking point. I don’t want to do it myself either and I don’t have 3 hours to spare! Keep us posted if you find anything!

  6. Reply

    Cindy

    Thanks for a wonderful article on this product! I have been looking into this product over the past few months due to a nasty chemical reaction to hair color…after many years with no problem! This is my question…how do you transition gracefully back to being a brunette after you have been a coloring your hair to a golden blonde shade (in order to cover grays) for the past 10 years?
    I currently have about an inch of outgrowth of my natural brunette color which is also almost 80% gray as well! If I use hairprint only on my roots it will look funny since the rest of my hair is a golden blonde. How do I even try this? Thanks for any direction!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Oh gosh! I would try consulting with Hairprint about how to transition. Sounds like the “light” color may work better for you but let them talk you through the options! I only have my experience to share and my hair is so dark so it is totally different! Thanks so much for reading!

  7. Reply

    Kara

    Hi! You saved me! I was hesitant to use Hairprint because of my already-treated (colored) hair. But I read through your review and used it today and voila! Awesome. I chose to do my entire head instead of using butter on my ends. My roots turned out slightly lighter than my color-treated hair but it’s not really noticeable (wish I could post pictures!). I’m going to ask my hairdresser if she will learn to use it on me — was a lot of time and work. But amazing results!!!! If she won’t, I will definitely use it on myself again. Fabulous product. No more chemicals for me! Thank you for your review!!!!!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      AWESOME GIRL! So glad you had a positive experience! Thanks for reporting back!

  8. Reply

    Lisa

    Your article is the most informative I’ve found online. Thanks so much! I, too, am allergic to PPD. I have really long hair that was a brown to blonde bayalage, that has since faded and become brassy. My roots are dark brown with greys through it and at the temples. Do you know if I used the brown Hair Print on my whole head, including the color treated hair, if it would color the hair brown or does it only color greys? I am afraid to just do the roots bc the rest of the hair is not looking good anymore. Hoping you can help. Thanks for being there for all of us allergic girls and those that don’t want these horrible chemicals in our bodies! 🙂

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Hi Lisa! Sorry to hear about your PPD allergy. Yes this will cover more than your roots. You may need two boxes to do that. The first time I applied I went an inch or two over my color treated hair and it was fine. No obvious delineation. Let us know how it goes!

  9. Reply

    Emma

    Hello everyone…

    It’s been a long year of transitioning for me, and sadly… I’m throwing in the towel.

    Transitioning was hard, especially when coating the ends, which I quickly stopped doing as it kept interfering with overall coverage. Knowing my colored ends would darken… I went ‘all in.’ My colored ends turned black. I was able to lighten them using shampoo & vitamin c crystals.

    At first I was excited, it was definitely bringing color into the hair. As I continued the learning curve, I thought things would turn around for me, when I got the application down. The first kits applied were light brown – and they were working well. Then around 4 months in, things began to change. The light brown stopped covering in the way it had in the beginning, so I started using the medium brown. This was much better at coloring the grays, however now, even the hairprint coated hair is darkening. With each application, it became darker & darker. I troubleshot in every direction, to no avail. I contacted hairprint who advised that only the color treated hair color would compound, however I was experiencing all over darkening. They keep telling me that hair gets darker as you age, but I’ve never been this dark, ever. I even went 6 months without coloring prior to using, and my natural color was not this dark.

    I wouldn’t mind it being darker so much, if the temples and hairline would cover. It will eventually cover, however, your hairline and temple area will always need a second application, maybe even a third. Now that’s a lot of work, not to mention – expensive. Is the cost worth no toxins? – Absolutely! Is the time? – Definitely! – – – It’s just not what I’d hoped for.

    I’ve had one year of transition time, and the color just isn’t working for me. If you are a dark brown to black, this is the way to go. Just know you will have to reapply to the new growth to get the gray at the temples. Everyone is different, with different textured hair, some of you may not have this same experience.

    On the up side – my hair feels nice, and thick, with a good healthy curl – without the frizz, which I love. I just can’t take the quadruple-colored hair anymore. Grey temples & hairline, lighter roots, medium-dark in the middle, with black ends. I’ve air dried my hair, with very minimal use of heating tools, well conditioned (not too much) natural organic shampoos’s – I’ve done everything right for one year, and just cannot get it to work for me. I’d say this is a wonderful product for anyone with dark hair… you’re only real dilemma will be with root coverage in some areas, like the temple, if you are going grey. The time involved is worth it, if the color is achieved. It’s just no happening for me. Good luck everyone.

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      “Quadruple colored hair” – Haha! I mean, not funny but I hear what you are saying. After 14 months of using Hairprint exclusively I also felt like my hair was multi colored – and I did got to the salon to get a once over with “organic dye” to even it all out again. It’s so hard to self apply and keep color consistent. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

      1. FM

        Hi, I will be trying Hairprint tonight. My stylist will be applying. It. I am over 50% gray… perhaps even 75%. I am a male with black hair. I have been colouring for roughly 15 years. originally with the full blown salon colour and then later with products that had lower levels of PPD because I was starting to get a lot of itching. The reactions got worse and then tried PPD, but they did contain PTD and I had my worse reactions ever with swelling, pussing etc….

        I have been instructed to use 2 boxes on my first treatment. Your advice is to just hit the roots? But from everything I have read if the treated hairs are hit they will just go darker… so darker being black?

        I have used the Chelating Shampoo for 2 days and for the last few weeks have only used a natural ingredient shampoo.

        Any suggestions or advice. I have a lot of apprehensions.

        Thanks,

      2. thisorganicgirl

        Hey! Thanks so much for your thoughts, concerns and comment! I can feel your apprehension because that is exactly how I felt too. I aimed for my virgin roots but inevitably got my color treated hair. I didn’t notice a delineation or a darkening on the part that was previously treated. The real game changer is doing a strong pretreatment. The first time I applied it totally failed and I did everything the same the second time with close to 100% coverage because I used the pretreatment for 20 minutes which totally cleared anything that was blocking the cuticle. And it worked great. I would say aim for the roots but if you get a little on your color treated hair it will be okay! Like I said, I didn’t notice a super darkening effect. Let us know how it goes! Oh and you can search my website for “Hairprint application tips” – a post on what works for me!

  10. Reply

    Peggy

    PLEASE READ BEFORE TRYING HAIRPRINT. You may have had a good experience with Hairprint, but I did not. I must say that I am VERY disappointed in Hairprint. I purchased a hair color and shampoo. I opened the box to remove the shampoo and NEVER opened the hair color items. I changed my mind after reading some reviews and returned the unopened hair color. After weeks and weeks of waiting… I received this reply via email….
    Hairprint cancelled your return for the following reason:
    Item not returnable: used or worn or tags not attached

    A message just for you:

    Hello Peggy, One Hairprint True Color Restorer kit in Brown was received at the Hairprint Returns Authorization Department. The Hairprint True Color Restorer kits tamper seal had been cut open. Per policy all items returned must be sealed/unopened and in sellable condition. This item has been unsealed and opened and is not eligible for refund. Please see the refund policy.
    We hope to see you again soon shopping at Hairprint!

    NOPE! I WONT BE PURCHASING ANYTHING FROM YOUR COMPANY. I have never experienced this before. I think their return policy is ridiculous and not in alignment with their marketing.

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