The 5 Myths of Natural Hair Dye - And How to Tell if Your Herbal Hair Colour really IS Natural or Not
We’re all about informed decision making in the purchasing process, so in this article, we’ll explore how you can tell the difference between real ‘natural hair colour’ and hair colour that just pretends to be.
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There are many thousands of monthly searches for terms like ‘natural hair dye’ fuelled by concerns over allergies, hair and scalp health as well as the environment.
Why Are Some Hair Dyes Claiming to be ‘Natural’ When They’re Not?
According to Mintel, a market research company, 35% of British home hair colourant shoppers are interested in natural/organic products. With the UK hair home hair colour market likely to reach £500 million by 2030, that’s a huge slice of a very lucrative pie for brands to consider.
It stands to reason as the leading herbal hair colour brand in the UK that we’d be thrilled by this right?
Well, we are, we're delighted so many people are seeking healthier and more eco-friendly hair colour. But the challenge with that kind of money is it starts to attract more unscrupulous claims of “natural” without any truth behind them.
In turn, consumers lose trust and start to question all brands about their ethical standards. Those of us who are truly natural get lost in hype.
‘Greenwashing’, like putting flowers or leaves on packaging or “natural” in product descriptions, to suggest the product is eco-friendly, is rife. And there’s very little legislation to prevent it.
75% of UK home hair colour purchases are made in major stores and supermarkets like Superdrug, Boots, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Sainsburys.
Myth One: You Can Buy All-Natural Hair Dye in British Supermarkets
But how many brands sold by any major British stores are actually all natural? The answer is none. Zero. Nada. All of the hair dye brands on the store shelves contain some artificial chemicals and most of them contain PPD.
And the trouble is that people buying from these stores think they are buying a natural product. We ran our own survey with a nationally representative panel and found that up to 31% of people who had purchased hair dye from major British stores thought their product was natural.
Sadly, even most British health food stores do not sell truly natural hair dye.
The only place to buy truly natural hair dye in Britain is online. Our It's Pure Hair Colours are sold online here, Superdrug and Amazon.
We find it shocking in this day and age that brands are allowed to mislead consumers so thoroughly, but the truth is you can’t trust products that claim to be natural or organic (or even herbal) without some key signs.
Myth Two: It’s Illegal to Label a Product as Natural or Organic if it Isn’t
Beauty products only need 1% of natural ingredients to call themselves natural, and not much more for organic.
The only way to be sure they’re telling the truth is to look for some kind of certification.
We are (voluntarily) certified by the Soil Association which means that every ingredient that can be grown organically (without harmful pesticides and herbicides), must be organic.
The remaining ingredients are also subject to the strictest rules – no GMO, no harsh preservatives, no artificial fragrance, no other harmful chemicals.
“I hope you never change the ingredients as I don’t want to use chemical dyes and it looks really natural. Thanks!” Lisa S, It’s Pure Customer
This is the most obvious myth but it’s also the hardest to ignore. Green colours on the packaging, pictures of leaves and flowers, statements like ‘inspired by nature’, ‘free from ammonia’ make it feel like the product is entirely wholesome.
Myth Three: If it Looks Natural it Is…
But even if your product comes in recycled packaging, or is vegan, it doesn’t make it natural.
It IS better for the planet to choose those options but if your focus is hair dye just ‘made with’ natural ingredients, that isn’t enough.
The only way to tell for sure is to know your ingredients.
This comes from the idea that hair ‘needs’ certain ingredients to ‘take’ colour on and it isn’t true.
Myth Four: ALL hair dyes are ‘unnatural’
There’s nothing wrong with using ‘chemicals’ in beauty. ALL ingredients could be classed as chemical in one way or another.
The problem is mainstream hair colours use chemicals that change the hair shaft to work and are damaging:
P-Phenylenediamine (PPD) – Arguably the worst of all, PPD is used to darken the hair. It also colours your printer ink and is highly allergenic, to the point it is banned in many countries. You can develop severe contact dermatitis reactions to PPD.
You will usually find it in darker colours – it is in no way ‘natural’ and is very harmful for your health and the environment indeed.
Instead, look for indigo, which comes from a plant and is a natural way to darken the hair.
Ammonia – This gives mainstream colours that eye-watering ‘smell’. It’s used to alter the outer shaft of the hair to allow the colour molecules to penetrate the hair.
It’s also a serious allergen, causes premature ageing and is why many colours advertise as ‘ammonia free’.
Instead, choose a natural, herbal colour that works by staining the hair’s pigment, like Henna, which comes from the leaves of the Henna plant.
Other ingredients to look out for include:
Tetrasodium EDTA - a preservative and penetration enhancer designed to stabilise the colour and help it ‘stick’, this ingredient is made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde—a known carcinogen and sodium cyanide (which is made from the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide).
Use plant-based colours that stain the hair, as opposed to those that force in colour molecules.
Resorcinol - According to the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics, Resorcinol works alongside hydrogen peroxide to bond the colour to the hair. In high levels it’s been found to disrupt the central nervous system and interrupt healthy thyroid production.
It’s not necessary to use resorcinol to bind colour to the hair, if you use a colour that works with the hair’s keratin structure naturally – which Henna does.
Ethanolamine: Often listed as:
Ethanolamine has a well-researched risk of allergic reactions and respiratory toxicity. As such most natural advocates would never want to see it in hair colours.
If a hair dye claims to be able to dye your brown or black hair blonde, it isn’t natural. Full stop.
Myth Five: Natural Hair Dye Can Lighten Your Hair
You simply cannot make your hair lighter without using bleach (hydrogen peroxide). There are no ingredients in nature that can take the colour out of your hair.
Cassia, an Ayurvedic herb that we use in several It’s Pure dyes can enhance and colour blonde hair blonde, but it cannot lighten your hair.
It’s Pure Natural Hair Dye
We offer a range of certified organic, 100% natural, herbal hair colours. To give you an example, our ingredients look like this:
Full ingredients (this is for our natural brown colour)
Cassia auriculata (cassia) powder*, indigofera tinctoria (indigo) powder*, lawsonia inermis (henna) powder*, cassia auriculata (cassia) powder*, emblica officinalis (amla) powder *Certified organic (100% of product)
As you can see, there is no PPD, no Ammonia and no awful preservatives. Our ingredients are sourced ethically and we blend them in our UK factory with 100% renewable energy.
We can’t lighten your hair, but we can offer you 9 beautiful colours that will give you your natural colour or darker. And nutritious ingredients that will boost your volume and shine!
To learn more about our certified organic hair dye, click here >
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