5 Natural Dyes That Are Safe For The Planet And Your Hair

Traditional hair dyes often contain harsh chemicals which can irritate the scalp and harm the environment when washed down the drain. If you're searching for something greener, here are five natural hair dyes you can try this summer.


May 18 2019, Updated 6:32 a.m. ET

When having your hair dyed at a salon, you may feel that you have little control over what brand of dye your stylist will use. This is unfortunate, since traditional hair dyes are often full of harsh chemicals that can irritate your scalp and harm hair. Even more troubling is the fact that these dyes can be harmful when washed down the drain. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), washing personal cosmetics products, like hair dye, down the drain can leech contaminants into water supplies and contribute to pollution. 

Luckily, there are other ways to get the lovely hair color you want while keeping the environment safe, whether you color your hair at home or at a salon. If you're choosing a new hair stylist, don't be afraid to call the salon and ask what products they use, and whether they're safe for the planet. While not every place uses brands that are environmentally conscious, society is absolutely moving in the direction for this to become the norm. And if you choose to color your hair at home, you have plenty of options at your disposal. Check out five of them, highlighted below.

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1. Aveda Natural Hair Color

Aveda is one of the best-known natural cosmetics companies in the world, yet few people know about their natural hair dyes. Available in all sorts of colors, from natural to fantasy hues, Aveda's natural hair dyes aren't technically 100 percent natural. But at 96 percent naturally derived, they are pretty close. Ingredients for Aveda's dyes vary depending on color, but some ingredients include green tea, rose hip extract, and ylang ylang oil. 

2. Light Mountain Natural Hair Color

Light Mountain is a brand that uses henn, -a natural dye made from the Lawsonia inermis plant, also known as the heni tree, to create all-natural hair dyes. These dyes range in color from red to black, and are USDA certified organic. Henna, most famously used to create henna tattoos, has also been used for centuries to color hair, as explained by Light Mountain's website. Although the effects of henna are more subtle than the effects of traditional hair dye, multiple treatments can still give a vibrant coloring effect. 

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3. Original & Mineral Hair Color

Original & Mineral is a company whose name says it all. Their natural hair colors, which range from simple tone boosters to interesting violet shades, are made without many of the harsh ingredients of traditional hair dyes, including ammonia and resoricnol. Because it is ammonia-free, the dye formula is much gentler on skin, which is good news for your scalp. Original & Mineral refers to their dye's formula as Clean Color Technology, or CCT. It's a title they have a right to claim, as they were one of the first brands to ever create hair dyes free from harsh chemicals.

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4. Oway Hair Color

This Italian brand has fans all over the world, and is available in select salons around the U.S. and online. Although this hair color isn't 100 percent natural, all 95 shades are ammonia-free and use minimal chemicals. Unlike natural hair dyes which use henna as their base ingredient, Oway Hair Colors use plant butters, made from plants grown on Oway's Italian plantations. Their ingredients are also vegan and fair trade, so you can buy Oway products knowing that no animals suffered to create them, and that farmers and other Oway associates are paid fairly for their work.

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5. Naturigin Hair Color

According to Naturigin's website, their natural hair dyes "contain between three to six times less PPD than any current competitor in the market". This is good news for the environment, as PPD is a harsh ingredient that can irritate skin and cause allergic reactions, making it less than ideal to wash down drains. Naturigin's natural hair color is available in 19 shades, from bright red to light blonde. All of their products are cruelty-free and although the dyes themselves are not organic, many of the ingredients used in the dyes are. 


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