Blackcurrant Hair Dye Is Safer for Humans and the Environment

Raise your hand if you’ve ever dyed your hair… You’re not alone! One third of women and 10 percent of men over age 40 have used some type of hair coloring product in their lives. Unfortunately, the substances that turn our locks into bright and beautiful works of art can also carry some significant risks to our health and the environment. The National Cancer Institute says that there are over 5000 chemicals lurking inside hair dyes, some of which have proven to be carcinogenic in animal tests. Is there any other way?

Safer alternatives to hair dyes are not something new – there is a variety of products out there that have a better track record with safety for humans, as well as for animals, who often undergo horrendous treatment in animal-testing facilities. Not only that, but all the dye that is washed out of our hair and down the drain ends up in our delicate environment – and we know that nature and harsh chemicals are a bad mixture.

One product some dye enthusiasts have opted to use is henna. This powerful, plant-derived product is used to dye clothes, skin and hair – and it is a safer bet for people who do not want to come into contact with the toxic substances in conventional dyes. For those who would like something more vibrant than henna’s shades of brown and black, scientists have recently discovered the power of another all-natural substance for creating lovely hair hues: the blackcurrant.

The skins of these deep purple berries are usually discarded by manufacturers, but researchers from the University of Leeds were curious if these skins could be put to good beauty use. From the skins, they extracted a set of pigments called anthocyanins, which are responsible for pinkish to violet colors in several flowers, fruits and veggies. After dying samples of bleached hair with the paste they created, the team discovered they could produce blues, violets and reds by slightly tweaking the formation. Amazingly, after 12 washings with shampoo, there was no noticeable dulling of the color.

The findings are pretty revolutionary for the beauty market. The team hopes that blackcurrant dyes will appear in more hair coloring products and replace the harsh chemical compounds that could compromise our health. Keep your eyes open for this safer and more eco-friendly alternative the next time you decide your hair is ready for a colorful upgrade.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

43 comments

Lesa D
Lesa Dabout a month ago

thank you Katie...

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Olivia M
Olivia Mabout a month ago

thank you

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Sophie L
Past Member 1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith2 months ago

thanks.

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Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

no mention of what permanents with ammonia does to your body/scalp ????? worse than hair color

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Ruth S
Ruth S2 months ago

Thanks.

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Angela G
Angela G2 months ago

interesting

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith2 months ago

omg cool! where do I get that!!!!!!! I dye my hair all the time to hide the damn greys1!

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Chad A
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

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Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Noted.

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