Skip to main content

BlissMark may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Hair dye doesn’t have to be dangerous – these natural brands that get the job done

Woman using hair dye
Few things offer a mental reset as quickly and effectively as changing your hair. Whether it’s a daring cut or a bold color, hair can reflect our ever-changing personalities and preferences. However, if you are a salon or DIY dye box enthusiast, you may be overexposing your hair to too many harsh chemicals.

However, you shouldn’t have to choose between potentially damaging chemicals and being your fabulous, colorful self. You can compromise by incorporating natural hair dyes into your style change-ups.

First and foremost, there is no such thing as a truly all-natural or chemical-free hair dye. Every option on the market requires some sort of chemical reaction to change the hues of your do. Using the word “natural” on hair products is not yet regulated by the FDA, so it’s up to you to do your research and determine what chemicals you’re prepared to use on your scalp.

One key rule, however, is to search for dyes that are free of ammonia and p-phenylenediamine (PPD). These are the most irritating ingredients found in many traditional hair dyes. They can cause irritation, soreness, or even blistering. Further, these harsh ingredients can also strip away the scalp’s healthy lipids and oils, damaging the protective outer layer of the hair fiber and weakening the hair shaft.

Since there is little conclusive evidence, doctors continue to research and debate the long-term, potentially carcinogenic effects of repeat exposure to certain hair dye chemicals, including titanium dioxide. While there isn’t a consensus yet, choosing a less abrasive option will significantly limit your risk.

Want to get to the root of the issue? We’re breaking down the best harsh chemical-free hair dye options so that you can have fun with your hair while embracing cleaner beauty options.

DpHue Color Boosting Gloss + Deep Conditioning TreatmentIf you are looking to deepen your natural hue, this semi-permanent hair dye is for you. With eleven color options, this formula provides instant color, conditioning, and glossiness. The color change is subtle, so don’t opt for this product if you want a dramatic change. However, it’s a great choice if you are looking to give your current color a little more definition and boldness. The formula is ammonia-free, with no parabens, phthalates, or sulfates.

Naturtint Permanent Hair Color

We highly recommend this treatment for covering gray roots. With twenty-eight color options, you have a plethora of options, allowing you to pick the hue that blends the most naturally with your existing hair color. The ingredients in this permanent hair color are packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E, and other replenishing ingredients that feed and nourish the hair. Many of these minerals also come from natural seeds and plant oils. Of course, this formula has no ammonia, heavy metals, silicone, parabens, or gluten.

Marilia Castelli/Unsplash
Scwarzkopf Simply Color Permanent Hair Color

If you tend to have a sensitive scalp, give this natural color option a go. It’s made with botanical oat milk, soy protein, and gentle argan oil to soothe your finicky scalp. Available in twelve shades, it offers gray coverage as well as vibrant tinting. Plus, it’s free of ammonia, silicone, and PPD.

Maria Nila Colour Refresh

If your hair is looking a little dull and lackluster, it might be time to amp up your color. With a non-permanent pigment, this product acts as a hair mask to refresh and replenish color. If you want a more dramatic change, this treatment can also give you a total transformation with its unique and exciting hues. Have fun with it– the dye will wash out in five to ten shampoo sessions, so the long-term consequences are minimal. You can feel good knowing it’s free of the harsher chemicals, and the added argan oil will leave your new do looking extra shiny.

Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent 

This hair dye is made from 80 percent naturally-derived ingredients, including aloe vera and coconut oil. It’s available in a whopping thirty-seven shades, so you can definitely find the right color to liven up your look. As with most ammonia-free options, this works best to liven your existing shade because it is not very potent. Leave the dramatic bleaching to a professional.

Madison Reed Permanent Hair Color Kit

If you are a salon regular, the ads for Madison Reed color kits may have piqued your interest. The company will customize a formula for you, allow you to consult with a stylist for color matching, and send a full DIY kit right to your doorstep. It’s certainly a step above your basic drugstore dye-box experience. What’s more, Madison Reed uses top-notch ingredients and a formula full of argan oil, keratin, and ginger root extract. The system is PPD-free but it does utilize Para Toluene Diamine (PTD) as a coloring agent. While this is less harsh than PPD, it can still be slightly irritating to sensitive skin. The good news is it’s free of ammonia, parabens, phthalates, resorcinol, and titanium dioxide, among other harmful ingredients.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring. 

Editors' Recommendations

Lauren Barth
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
Ammonia dyes can harm your hair – here’s how to choose dyes without it
ammonia free hair dye color painting salon

If you have ever experimented with hair color, then you’re familiar with the off-putting smell of the powerful chemicals that often accompany the process. One of the most recognizable chemicals in DIY dyes is ammonia. With what can be described as intense aroma, this compound can fill a home with its presence. Ammonia and its signature smell can be found in household cleaners, refrigeration and air conditioning gases, fertilizers, waste treatment, and plastics. Though, the concentration is much more diluted and safe for human application in hair color.

So why is such a strong chemical necessary on something as delicate as hair? The answer lies in the two different types of hair dye, permanent and semi-permanent (also known as demi-permanent). Permanent hair color must do two things: open the hair cuticle and deposit color. Certain chemicals can open the hair strands to allow the color to pass through the cuticle, and ammonia is one that does this job very well. So well, companies find it hard to replace ammonia. After the cuticle is opened and the color is deposited (or lifted, in the case of bleaching), the hair is rinsed and the cuticle is closed. Unfortunately, it can leave hair mildly damaged.

Read more
All things beauty: product guide
A woman putting on face cream.

We all love new beauty products. We fill our time researching them, opening countless article tabs, checking reviews, and then anticipate their arrival after we purchase until they finally end up at our doorstep. At which point we pry the boxes open, excited to use them. We want the best products. But we also look for affordable pricing, durability, and aesthetically pleasing designs. From groomed eyebrows and flawless, glowing skin to tamed, straightened beards, and wearing backless, sheer outfits, we want things that work. Below are five great beauty products that will aid in our everyday tasks, make them run smoother, and help us look and feel great in the process.

So, whether you’re looking for a product that will offer groomed eyebrows, flawless skin, a seamlessly styled beard, strong nails, or nipple covers, these will go above and beyond your expectations. Throw away your dull, old tweezers. You will be able to pluck those hard-to-reach hairs your current tweezers aren’t getting. Are you interested in trying a micro derma roller? The two-pack provides flawless, glowing skin and value compared to countless dollars spent for micro-needling sessions. Style your beard and keep your hair tamed in a matter of minutes. Provide salon-style nails without the price tag and wear that outfit. Find everything you want out of beauty in one place without going over budget.

Read more
Why you need to use sunscreen in the winter, too
A woman applying lotion to her face outside in the winter.

While summer still feels like it's ages away, you still need to think about protecting your skin from the sun. Even though the days are shorter, you shouldn't be slacking on the SPF.

According to the Skin Cancer Society,  "snow reflects up to 80% of the sun’s UV light" making it even more dangerous than the sunlight you are exposed to in the summer. So if you plan on participating in any winter sports, you need to be even more careful.

Read more