In the professional beauty industry, the term “organic hair color” refers to hair color made with organic botanicals and less chemicals. Organic, in this sense, is the same definition we use for our organic food standards:
Botanicals grown without the use of pesticides.
When most people refer to “organic hair color” they’re referring to professional organic hair color brands formulated with least amount of synthetic chemicals and the maximum amount of organic botanical ingredients.
While beauty professionals know the chemistry of hair color and how it works, many consumers do not. We hope this article sheds a little more light on the term “organic hair color” and how it came to be.
No. At this time, professional “organic hair color” must contain a certain percentage of synthetic ingredients to work consistently and effectively. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a color line that uses the maximum amount of organic ingredients and the least amount of chemicals.
Note: The only 100% natural hair color is certain brands of henna. However, using henna on the hair isn’t always suitable for grey coverage and metallic salts can cause the hair to feel dry and damaged over time. Also, if henna users ever try to lighten their locks, it can pose serious risks to health of the hair.
Recall, no professional organic hair color brand is 100% natural. Any organic hair color product will contain a certain amount of chemicals necessary to perform. When searching for an organic hair color company what you need to ask about is percentages.
Specifically, what is their percentage of:
Once you’ve determined the percentages of these components, you’ll be able to better decide which brand is the most “organic.”
The best brands have removed ammonia from their formulas. Why? As a gaseous substance, it’s been proven to cause respiratory issues, breathing challenges and allergies. Plus, most clients will agree: not having to smell ammonia is a much more pleasant experience.
To be clear: ammonia is a chemical organic compound. Not an organic botanical ingredient.
In chemistry terms, an organic compound means one thing: its molecules contain carbon. That’s it. It doesn’t speak to the safety or natural aspects of the ingredient. So, the next time someone says “ammonia is organic, it comes from the Earth” know this:
Ammonia is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the world. Ammonia found in hair color is not extracted from the soil or our bodies, it’s produced in a lab and has zero natural components.
Not all ammonia-free hair color brands are created equal.
Simply choosing an ammonia-free hair color doesn’t ensure your clients hair will be healthier or that they won’t have an adverse reaction. While most ammonia-free hair colors won’t have the fume-like aroma of ammoniated hair color, they can still do more damage than necessary to the hair.
Most brands use Ethanolamine (MEA) to replace ammonia, but they don’t consider the percentages of this ingredient. Both Ethanolamine and ammonia’s role in hair color is to raise the pH of the hair so the color molecules can penetrate.
When you use too much of either ingredient, the pH of the hair is drastically altered and the cuticle will have difficulty re-closing – even with a good conditioner. When the cuticle is unable to close, shine does not reflect off the scales because they’re disheveled and open, instead of tightly packed down.
Also, hair color will fade faster because of the cuticle’s inability to close and lock in molecules.
You’ll want to choose an ammonia-free hair color line that uses their pH adjuster in minimal amounts. You’ll also want to choose a brand that ensures all Ethanolamine (MEA) is removed from the hair.
For example, Oway’s Hsystem is an award-winning ammonia-free, professional “organic hair color” line with service products that ensure all product is removed, while keeping the working pH of the color much lower than your typical ammonia-free hair color brand.