Deciding Between Organic and Classic Hair Dyes

Why turn to organic hair dye rather than more conventional colors? Almost all women dye their hair at some point in their lives. Whether it’s to highlight its natural color, cover the grays or to give yourself a whole new look, using a hair dye has become the norm. Many women, on the other hand, also ask themselves the question of the long-term effects of dyes on their hair: do dyes damage them, do they promote falls, how many do they make per year at most?

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What are the drawbacks of classic hair coloring?

Their main fear is to expose their hair fibers to aggressive chemicals that could damage them. We’ve all seen usage warnings on classic hair coloring boxes; even if they are there to encourage safety and best practices, this is still enough to give rise to a little hesitation in mind. Chemicals in conventional hair stains can have a negative impact on your hair fiber. Here are the main substances that can be a problem:

PPD (parapphenylenediamine) is a chemical used in all permanent hair dyes. It is known as a possible carcinogen in high doses (too light in a coloration fortunately) and can in rare cases cause allergic reactions such as redness and swelling of the transient scalp.
Ammonia is one of the most well-known chemicals in ordinary hair dyes, which most of us can identify by their smell. The ammonia forces the cuticles to open quickly so that the color can be absorbed throughout the hair. If you have ever had watery eyes or red eyes when coloring your hair, this is the consequence of ammonia whose smell is quite strong.
Resorcinol is commonly used as a coloring agent in traditional dyes and also commonly found in topical acne treatments.

The solution: organic hair dyes

That’s why many people turn to organic hair dyes. With fewer chemicals and more natural ingredients, it gives them peace of mind (and perhaps even healthier hair). But what about organic hair dyes in an objective way compared to conventional colors? We have asked experts for their advice. Continue scrolling through the list to see what two coloring experts have to say about organic hair dye.

According to Stephanie Brown, colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York, there is a real difference between conventional hair dyes and organic hair colorings. “There are fewer chemicals and generally no ammonia in organic hair dyes.” Ammonia is the ingredient that conventional dye formulas use to penetrate the cuticle of the hair and deposit the color. It can potentially cause serious damage to hair and weaken it, which is why people with sensitive strands might think that an organic hair dye is a healthier and more suitable option for the nature of their hair.”

How do organic hair dyes work?


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To develop hair dyes without the ingredients listed above, the researchers studied natural alternatives that could produce the same effects with a clean formula.
Three minerals in particular contribute to permanent colors in organic hair dyes. Illite, a crystalline clay mineral that penetrates the hair and allows micro-pigment molecules to saturate colored hair; kaolin, a clay mineral, protects against discoloration; and montmorillonite, another clay mineral, improves scalp and hair health. Organic hair dyes also infuse ingredients such as sunflower seed wax and sweet almond oil into dyes to nourish hair during treatment.


To dye hair, an organic hair dye uses direct mineral pigments, or “tone boosters”: red, orange, purple and gold to soften or accentuate a tone. The whole thing is to choose the coloring that would suit you best.

Do organic hair dyes last as long as traditional hair dyes?

This is the most popular issue in the debate about organic hair dyes and traditional hair dyes. Most women assume that a natural dye would only be semi-permanent, but some brands claim that organic colouring can be almost as permanent as traditional dyes. How? Because of the illite and kaolin clay, which gently open the cuticles of the hair to allow mineral-colored pigments to penetrate the hair shaft as deep as ammonia and dyes.

On the other hand, many women realized that the classic colors ended up tarnishing their hair and that at some point they could no longer hold the color. I think we can all remember a time when a dye literally seemed to fry our hair. In some extreme cases, it was even necessary to cut your hair because it became far too damaged. This kind of problem does not occur with organic hair dyes, especially mineral ones, because kaolin clay protects the cuticle of the hair, unlike ammonia which damages the cuticle.

Warning: an organic hair dye is not always 100% natural

Brown cautions, however, that not all organic hair dyeing ranges are completely natural. “They are not free of chemicals,” she says. Although chemicals are present, they “depend on botanical ingredients and natural ingredients.” Henna is the only truly 100% natural dye for hair, but this has major drawbacks. For Brown, henna-based dyes are actually quite the hair because they contain metallic salts. In other words, natural doesn’t always mean healthy. There may be other additives or ingredients that may harm hair.


So what’s the best thing to do? We all want to choose the healthiest option, not only for our hair, but also for our body. After all, hair dyeing can come into direct contact with our skin, and we must exercise caution. For Brown, conventional hair dye is acceptable unless his clients have damaged or weakened hair. “According to my professional opinion, organic hair dyeing is less still less aggressive for your hair. If my customers are sensitive, I use this product,” she says.

Roya Adjory is the founder of the Eco Salon de Nori, located in Los Angeles. This is L.A.’s first certified eco-friendly hair salon, and it operates without any toxic chemicals (even paint and wall insulation are environmentally friendly). For hair color, she uses Natulique, a USDA certified organic hair care brand. For Adjory, this is the only real organic coloring option. She calls it “the sweetest composition available in the world.” This range of organic hair dye is able to deposit pigments via natural ingredients such as hydrolyzed wheat proteins. Each shade of dye is made up of more than 98% of natural ingredients.

Natulique is designed for salon use only, so you’ll need to find a professional supplier. However, if you are considering using an organic hair color that is not guaranteed by a professional, the results will vary depending on Brown. “The colors tend to be duller,” she says. On top of that, some may only last for the time of a semi-permanent dye.

Your hairdresser is your best recommended for an organic hair dye

Essentially, there is neither good nor bad. An organic hair dye contains fewer corrosive chemicals, which makes it less dangerous if used for prolonged time, but may be less vivid and less durable (depending on the type you use). Whether you choose to use a conventional or organic dye, Adjory and Brown recommend using a professional for all your coloring needs. They will know what works best for your hair and what doesn’t, so you don’t have to spend more time and money to fix a bad dye job