With the rise of clean and conscious skincare, another question arises. What about hair care? The shampoos, conditioners, and sprays that we use sometimes contain toxic ingredients that are detrimental to our health. The decision to go all natural when it comes to the hair will not only benefit your scalp, but overall health as well.
Hair dyes have been around as early as 5000 B.C., when the Egyptians first started using vegetable dyes. Since then, artificial dyes have been created in the laboratory, with the first one being in 1856. With ingredients like lead acetate, paraphenylenediamine, and propylene glycol, there’s a new epidemic in the modern world: hair dye poisoning. Paraphenylenediamine is a coal-tar derivative that is highly toxic, allergenic, and mutagenic. Propylene glycol is a neuro- and nephrotoxin that can cause central nervous system depression and kidney problems. Most conventional hair dyes contain ammonia, which can cause potential hair damage.
With this conscious decision to go cleaner, herbal hair dyes are becoming more popular. Organic herb dyes are made with organic herbs which are grown without pesticides and contain less chemicals. Herbs such as Hibiscus rosa-sinesis and nardostachys jatamansi for blackening of the hair can be used. However, the only 100% all natural hair dye is henna. Organic hair dye is usually ammonia-free, better for people with sensitive skin/scalps, safer for prolonged use, but the final color might not be as vibrant as your synthetic dyes. Some top-rated organic hair dyes on the market can be found here.
Regarding the question of whether organic herbal hair dyes really work, there has been a study which suggests using the herbs H. rosa-sinensis, N. jatamansi, and S. lappa in conjunction with henna acted more synergistically. It also showed that N. jatamansi could provide maximum darkening on the hair. All the herbs used were found to be effective against dandruff.
A big reason someone might use hair dye is to cover up graying of hair. This usually happens naturally as we get older, because hair color is produced by melanin and it decreases in the hair as we age. Herbs such as He Shou Wu and Nettle Leaf can potentially reverse these processes and bring back the color of your hair. He Shou Wu is a plant found in China that helps replenish the melanin lost with age. Nettle Leaf contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help protect the scalp and restore the natural color of hair.
In addition to herbal hair dyes, there are some common household kitchen items that could also work. Carrot juice, beet juice, lemon juice, and chamomile tea are some other alternatives. These methods might not last as long but you could prolong the coloring effects by limiting use of hot styling tools and using a water filter in your shower.
Natural hair dye is no doubt safer than conventional hair dye and can save your hair from potential future damage. If you are concerned with the potential toxicities and side effects from synthetic dyes, then natural hair dyes might be the right fit for you.