Be Safer and Smarter When Dyeing You’re Latest Do

Do you color your hair but worry about the impact hair dye could have on the environment as well as your own health and safety? I wish the information provided were more reassuring, but the truth is– we don’t know much about hair dye. It’s likely that when you dye your hair, a small amount is absorbed into your system. According to a 2001 study, women who regularly color their hair with permanent hair dyes are at a greater risk for bladder cancer. However, in 2004 the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that a recent study showed no increased risk of cancer among women who started using hair-coloring products in 1980 or later.

With the information so inconclusive, it makes sense to take precautions that will protect the environment as well as yourself:

Check the safety of the ingredients in your hair coloring against the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database, where you can also find alternative, safer products.  

Buy hair-color products that meet the higher safety standards imposed by the European Union. Look for products made by cosmetic manufacturers who have pledged to follow these standards and replace all possible hazardous materials. Henna offers another safe option – if you want to tinge your locks auburn or red.

Don’t start coloring hair until you really have to! Highlight rather than dye your entire head.

Try color sticks (available at beauty-supply stores like Ulta and Sephora) to touch up gray spots at your temples or hairline to reduce the number of times in a year you dye your hair.

Plant-based Hair Dyes include:

Advanced Cosmetic Technologies


Advanced Cosmetic Technologies

* Naturtint.

What if you're a guy?

Avoid any hair color products that contain lead, a neurotoxin, which is often found in men's hair dyes. 

Know that the chemicals in darker hair dyes seem to be linked to more health problems than lighter colors. If you’re going for a new you, lighten up.

And the safest alternative of all? Go grey!

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8 Responses to Be Safer and Smarter When Dyeing You’re Latest Do

  1. Lisa September 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    I’m 22 so no grey yet. But I did used to dye my hair because I like to have lighter blond hair but I quit. I do still peroxide it. I miss my light blond hair but I know it’s a lot better for me.
    I know I will dye it (with the planet based dyes) when I start to go green.

  2. Diane MacEachern September 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    I color my hair naturally a few times a year; I extend the color by using the color sticks. It’s a pretty good system.

  3. Karissa September 30, 2009 at 5:10 am #

    I promise I am not here to steal traffic, but I have to warn you about ACT Naturals, the Advanced Cosmetic Technology from above.
    I tried that, and it has been nothing short of a nightmare. I used Light Natural Brown, and my hair turned so black it was BLUE.
    It also stained the grout in my shower, that I had to scrub it out with a bleach product, and a wash cloth for at least an hour. TWICE! every time I would wash my hair for the next 3 days it did this. i finally resorted to having my bf wash my hair in teh kitchen sink, and then drowning my hair in vinegar until the color eased up.
    It is impossible to get all the dye out of my hair, but the bigger issue at the time, was obviously my hair color, and then second my hair felt GROSS. It was sticky, and when I would touch it, my hands would be gray, this was when my hair was DRY!
    You can read my full post here: , and this doesn’t count all the people that have privately emailed me to tell me they used it and had a nightmare of a problem too.
    I don’t want anyone else to have to go through it!

  4. Beth September 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    I love Hair Mŭd ™ from Green Hare! It is made with only organic and natural ingredients like certified organic henna, black walnut shells, flowers, red zinger tea, and many other roots, nuts, barks and berries. Here’s the link –

  5. Diane MacEachern September 30, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience on ACT Naturals; does anyone else have anything to say about ACT? Meanwhile, I completely missed the Green Hare products Beth recommends. I’m going to try those and update the post as necessary. Thanks again, everyone.

  6. Faye @ October 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi Diane!
    Long time no chat!
    I just happened to have received a sample of ACT to try out! Been trying to find time to do that this week… but definitely by this weekend 🙂
    Will post my review this weekend on my blog!
    Also, I do welcome you and all of your readers over to enter an awesome giveaway from The Body Shop! One lucky reader will win a $138 prize pack of their new Nutriganics organic skin care line!
    Chat soon, Diane 🙂
    Faye @

  7. Kathy October 15, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    I have not been to impressed with Act Naturals but will be trying again soon. If I have a different experience, I will post it here. Anyways, I very much appreciate this article and love to see the heightened level of awareness!

  8. Diane MacEachern October 19, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Please do share your results and experience!

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