Reducing your toxic exposure isn’t easy and the safety of hair color isn’t the first question that will likely come up. You may have already upgraded to organic, natural foods and swapped out your harmful, household cleaners. Then you clean out your beauty cabinet. Then it comes time to make that appointment to color your hair and you wonder, “is hair dye safe?”

Is Hair Dye Safe?

We wish the answer to this question was different, but you knew in your gut that hair dye isn’t safe. That’s why you asked! If you are using permanent hair color, there just isn’t a totally toxin-free option.

Of all the beauty products, hair dye comes with the most health and safety risks. Your scalp is very absorbent and the chemicals you put on your head get absorbed into your blood stream where they can go throughout the body, causing harm. Trust us, we know how much this hurts to hear. We all want to be crunchy but not all of us want to look crunchy.

There are 100’s of chemicals used in hair colors that have been linked to conditions like hormone disruption, cancer, asthma and autoimmune disease. There have been studies that link dying your hair to breast cancer, bladder cancer and liver disease. (1)(2)(3) Your risks get higher the more often you color and stylists are at an even greater risk. The problem with testing the safety of hair color is that there are so many different formulas and the risks are compounded with other factors. Nobody knows how harmful these chemicals truly are to our health.

Is the Risk of Hair Dye Worth It?

There might be safer, hair color alternatives but coloring your hair isn’t a process that’s totally risk-free. The process of coloring your hair can’t be gentle and effective. It requires chemicals to get the job done. According to Poison Control, permanent colors have a chemical that penetrates the hair shaft so color can get in and then additional ingredients that create chemical reactions that create color molecules inside the hair shaft. (4) These hair dye chemicals come with risks.

So far it looks like those risks are being ignored. A 2008 survey done by Clairol found that 3 out of 4 women color their hair and that 88 percent of women felt their hair had an effect on their confidence. (5) Since then the hair color market has been growing and not slowing down. Some of us have been coloring our hair so long that we forgot what color it is.

So, what can you do to reduce the risk of hair dye? There are safer options and what we like to consider shades of crunchiness. Just because you aren’t willing to totally give up your hair color doesn’t mean there aren’t safer hair color alternatives. We all have to start somewhere and choosing to be healthier means taking steps in the right direction. Below are our suggestions starting with the safest hair color options and then moving to the less crunchy options.

Shades of Crunchiness: What are the Safer Hair Color Alternatives?

  1. Let your hair go natural
  2. Use natural hair dye alternatives
  3. Hairprint restores your natural hair color
  4. Ask for hair color without PPD
  5. Foil the toxins

Let Your Hair Go Natural

The safest and easiest option is to go natural. We joke about looking crunchy, but everyone has beautiful hair. The natural hair you were given is one that some women are dying for. Look at the color swatches your stylist has– your color is there. Going grey? Embrace it! There is a whole movement of women who are going grey. Letting your hair color go natural is by far the easiest and healthiest option. If you are having health problems or you are trying to detox – skip the hair color. Hair dye isn’t worth the risk and added toxins!

Use Natural Hair Dye Alternatives

Did you ever put lemon juice on your hair and sit in the sun to get natural highlights? There are natural hair dye alternatives that don’t require a box. Lemon and chamomile are great for lightening your hair. Coffee, tea, sage, rosemary and henna can darken your hair. Beet juice and carrot juice can add red undertones to your hair if it’s light. These natural, hair dye alternatives can take longer to apply and don’t last as long but they come without the health risks. Unless you are allergic to lemons or beets. Always avoid your food allergies.

Hairprint Restores Your Natural Hair Color

Are you not ready to embrace the grey and just want your original hair color back? There is a product that comes highly recommended called Hairprint. It’s not a hair color but it gets rid of your grey. It’s a protein treatment that restores your natural hair color. No toxins, just proteins. Some say it’s safe enough to eat but we’ll pass.

Ask for a Hair Color without PPD

Not ready to give up your visits to the salon? Talk to your stylist and ask them is their hair dye safe? Request a color that doesn’t have PPD, one of the most common hair color ingredients that is linked to cancer. It’s also safer to go lighter rather than darker. The darker color options have higher levels of PPD and the chemical resorcinol, which is a known endocrine disruptor.

Foil the Toxins

Remember even the safer hair dyes have chemicals in them if they are permanent. No matter how many organic oils and exotic sounding plants they throw in your hair dye, there are still some risky chemicals. To minimize how many of those chemicals are absorbed into your blood stream, get foils instead of an allover color. By reducing the amount of chemicals that touch your scalp you reduce the amount that makes it to your blood stream.

Know the Risks and Reduce Your Toxin Exposure with Safer Hair Color Alternatives

Now you know the answer to, “is hair dye safe?” It might not be the answer we were looking for but by understanding the risks of coloring your hair you can take steps to choose safer hair color alternatives. You get to make the choice on what shade of crunchy you choose as you build a healthy life. No matter which shade you choose, don’t think of it as giving up something. It’s a lifestyle upgrade that will make you more beautiful inside and out. The only thing you will be giving up is extra toxins.

Resources – Is Hair Dye Safe?

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11251984
  2. https://gut.bmj.com/content/59/4/508
  3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170309120440.htm
  4. https://www.poison.org/articles/2016-sep/hair-dye
  5. https://emerita.com/news-march2012/