To Dye or Not to Dye in a Salon?

The first time I dyed my hair I used a dye product I bought at the health food store that was made of roots and seeds.

My sister helped me, and we followed all the directions exactly. When I stepped out of the shower after washing out the dye, I could tell in one glance at my sister that the result was a disaster! My hair was as orange as a carrot. Thank goodness my daughter wasn’t yet a “tween,” or she wouldn’t have gone out with me in public (although as a teenager she might have been proud!)

I tried one more natural plant dye brand to use at home, and while the results were nice, they were inconsistent, and it wasn’t long before I began to research dyes used in salons, for convenience and better results. I quickly discovered that as of yet, there are no salon hair dye brands that are 100 percent plant-derived. I didn’t want to put toxic, petroleum-based ingredients in my hair and on my scalp because petroleum products can be a risk to your health and are non-renewable for the environment.

In my research to find an acceptable alternative for a hair dye that could be provided within the ease of a salon, I discovered that Aveda salon dye products seem to be the best solution available today. Ninety-nine percent of Aveda’s demi-permanent dye is plant-derived, and the permanent dyes are 97 percent plant-based. The results are nice—the hair color is surprisingly natural looking, and the dyes aren’t nearly as drying to the hair because they don’t contain harsh petrochemical solvents. Aveda Concept Salons.

Salon brands of hair dye are almost all 100 percent synthetic and petroleum-based. The dyes are usually the controversial oxidative dyes. Aveda uses oxidative dyes like the rest of the industry (albeit in a small percentage), because so far there are no plant formulas that can provide consistent, long-lasting dyes. Oxidative dyes make up the 1 to 3 percent synthetic ingredients of the Aveda formulations. For an overview of the cancer risks, and controversy associated with synthetic permanent dyes for dark hair, click here.

Oxidative dyes have no pre-existing colors until they are combined and joined with oxidizing ingredients. Most dyes use a synthetic to do this, but Aveda did research into essential oils and plant extracts, and have found and patented a process to oxidize the dye using green tea extract. Not only is the end process less petroleum-based, but the result is more natural looking. The common base formulas for dyes are petrochemical solvents, and in this process Aveda has substituted protective and lubricating plant oils in the formula so that it is significantly less drying to the hair than the solvents normally used.

Permanent hair colors are the harshest for hair, and pose the most potential health risk. For more on this, here is a glossary offering the choices and safety of the different hair dyes—permanent, demi-permanent, and semi-permanent.

By Annie B. Bond


Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

I like henna and organic dyes...thanks for this info!!

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

If you are looking for a job and have gray hair I say dye it.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago
thanks Annie

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Paula P.
Paula P.7 years ago

The Shielo Color Protect line may cost a little more than other, but it is well worth the money. It leaves my hair silky and the color shines and I get asked quite a bit if I have highlighted my hair ... and that's after I had it done weeks ago! You should try it!

Li M.
Li M7 years ago

I heard Henna can make lighter hair Blue or Green, Especially if it has indigo in it.My cousin highllighted her hair after using henna and the henna hair turned a blue green.

Meaghan B.
Meaghan B.7 years ago

what about mixes of henna, cassia and indigo? they're all plant-derived and if you order them in pure forms (only found on internet in my experience...on you get really rich and beautiful color!

Diane Wayne
Past Member 7 years ago

Thank you!

Li M.
Li M7 years ago

I had heard organic color systems did not cover gray well. I also heard the nonammonia colors are actually derived from ammonia and are leave toxic residues on the skin.