Organic Hair Dye Is a Myth—But You Can Still Find Clean Hair Color

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Brands will slap the words “natural” and “organic” on just about anything these days, and big strides have been made in the beauty space toward creating cleaner, non-toxic products. But there’s one area that’s still ripe for green innovation: hair dye. Does organic and natural hair dye even exist? We asked Rob Peetoom, advanced stylist Michael Bowman, and New York City master colorist at IGK salon Stephanie Brown to separate fact from fiction.

It’s sad but true: fully organic professional hair color does not exist. “You can have naturally-derived ingredients, but for it to work you still need a chemical process to happen,” says Bowman.

Brown says the only one hundred percent natural hair color is vegetable dye and certain brands of henna. “Hair dye must contain chemicals in order to work properly,” she adds. Just be aware that neither vegetable dye nor henna provide adequate gray coverage and can take hours longer to process. She also warns that henna can dry out hair over time.

If you’re looking for long-lasting results and vibrant color, you’re going to need a few non-organic chemical compounds. “Some direct dyes are more naturally-based but they will only last five to seven shampoos and only enhance your natural color. These natural dyes will only deposit, not lift hair color and are used for a glossing or toning affect,” Bowman adds.

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