Dr Jess: This is my New Years resolution work in process as I’ve been researching the last of the really toxic chemicals in my life – PPD (see more below).
Hair dye is a difficult topic, particularly as a busy woman! We all want to look our best, there are a great range of organic and chemical free makeup options, but it has always been a lot harder to find hair dye with no chemicals. Having previously tried henna (orange disaster) I am really excited to have found the improvement in herbal dyes that have let me go chemical free.
The TOXIC Chemicals in your hair dye could be making you sick…
Many conventional hair dyes (and many claimed natural hair dyes) contain toxic chemicals… over 5000 chemicals are allowed into hair dye with little research on safety. Of particular concern at present, is one of the most commonly used – PPD.
Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) is a toxic chemical which opens the hair follicles to allow dye to be retained. PPD is a known allergen (can commonly cause allergic reactions) leading to: skin rashes, itching, swelling of the face, headaches and even anaphylaxis which can be fatal (1). However it is also classed as a likely carcinogen (2) and can be damaging to the kidneys. If ingested it can be fatal and is now a worrying method of suicide, particularly in India (3).
Also worrying, PPD likely causes issues when applied regularly to the skin. Animal studies show that applying PPD to the skin for 30 days, even in low concentrations, altered kidney, liver and heart function, and lead to chronic inflammation (disease and damage) in the heart and liver (4).
So what are the alternatives?
For a long time, a truly natural choice for hair colour was henna, a herb which creates a red/orange dye, which while useful for some of us is not the best hair colour for everyone. However there are now many more options.
If you are dark haired, like Dr Jess, the natural herbal formulations are well worth considering. She has been using It’s Pure Organic Hair Colour made from just a combination of plant dyes – herbs including: Indigo tinctoria (a herb Dr Jess uses in practice regularly for skin conditions!), Henna (Lawsonia inermis), Cassia auriculata and Embelica officinalis (amla). Herbs are all it contains! And all are organic certified. While more difficult than a normal dye – you have to mix it into a paste with water and leave it on for 1.5-4 hours (Dr Jess leaves it on for 3), it can produce brilliant effects and lasts for 4-6 weeks.
This natural option comes in a range of shades, from light brown to black or shades of red, and is a great choice. Dr Jess finds it helps to use a pre-colour treatment like Logona and then use colour preserving shampoo and conditioner (like Intelligent Nutrients or Lavera) after colouring.
If the above doesn’t work for you, or you want to have it done by a professional, then there are other options. L’Oreal Botanea is a new range based on the above herbs, that is entirely natural and you can have it done in certain salons to produce a range of colours and effects including highlights, tints or streaks.
What about lightening your hair?
Hydrogen peroxide, a common ingredient in light or blonde dyes, is banned in Japan and Canada, and can cause irritation and have toxic effects on the nervous system, digestive system and respiratory system (5). It is a possible carcinogen.
But there are natural alternatives, one of the best is Madison Reed, a natural PPD and chemical free hair dye that can lighten your hair a full shade easily, and with repeated applications, achieve a bleached blonde look, all without damage or chemicals.
If you dye your hair regularly, it is worth considering these natural options! Dr Jess will not be going back to chemical dyes.
After first home application of It’s Pure Dark Brown