Everything You Need to Know About Organic and Natural Hair Colour Formulas October 5, 2019 10:03

Looking for organic hair colour? Sorry, we have some bad news!

The last few years have seen a bigger-than-ever push for natural and organic beauty products. Many consumers are under the impression that components found in "organic" or "natural" hair products make them inherently safer. Unfortunately it's not that simple, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

In fact, not only is organic hair colour not necessarily safer than synthetic hair dye, organic hair dye simply doesn't exist.

The Good Housekeeping Institute breaks down why: "Other than henna, any commercially available hair dye — store-bought for home use or found in salons — uses chemical actives for them to work," says Birnur Aral, Ph.D., Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Health, Beauty and Environmental Sciences Lab. "By and large, these chemicals are synthesised substances."

Even when the packaging claims to be all-natural, organic or chemical-free — which is literally impossible because everything, including organic things, are made of chemicals — that could basically be an outright lie.

This is because the FDA can't do anything about the use of these terms regarding cosmetics. The FDA regulates cosmetics via the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labelling Act, neither of which define the term "organic."

In other words, if you see hair colour that isn't henna and it claims to be organic or natural, it's "most likely still employing synthetic ingredients for it to work," Dr. Aral says.

The good news: Hair dye doesn't have to be organic or natural in order to be safe, and there are other ways to be both health- and eco-conscious when it comes to colouring your hair. Here are the most important things to know:

You can't avoid chemicals, but you can avoid unnecessary harsh ones.

As previously mentioned, everything is made of chemicals. Water, for example, is a chemical compound. So get it out of your mind that chemicals aren't safe just because they're chemicals.

If you still prefer natural ingredients you may want to look to a trusted brand like Essensity, which promises a mostly natural hair-colour formula.

Essensity offers outstanding colour performance, committed to sustainability
The range is completely ammonia-free and an oil-colour with Phytolipid Technology which delivers real colour results, natural intensity and pure softness while using natural ingredients where possible.
The colour range replaces synthetic ingredients where possible with renewable naturally derived ingredients.

Ninety percent of the formula is comprised of ingredients derived from nature, such as the humectants, conditioners, viscosity builders, solvents and antioxidants. The formula is chockfull of naturally sourced ingredients, that help protect the hair and infuse it with amazing shine.

Keep in mind that even a brand so committed to natural formulas must rely on some synthetic ingredients in order for the hair colour used in its salons to work.

"The remaining ingredients are of synthetic content which are the colorants, dyes and preservatives. It is unavoidable to include synthetic ingredients in professional hair colour because all of the colorants and dyes used in permanent and demi-permanent hair colour are synthetic. These are the ingredients that create hair colour via the oxidation process."

Choose a cruelty-free brand.

Although you may not be able to color your hair with a natural or organic formula, you can make conscious choices when it comes to the treatment of animals and the use of animal-derived ingredients.

Ultimately, the dream of organic hair dye is just that — a dream. But that doesn't mean you can't use your head when deciding what kind of hair colour to put on top of it.