How Toxic Is Your Hair Dye? (Best & Worst Hair Color Brands)

Are you thinking about dyeing your hair a different color? Are you unsure of what hair dye brand is the safest to use? We’ve put together a guide on how toxic hair dyes can be and some of the best and worst brands you can use. 

Here’s what you should know about toxic hair dyes and some of the best and worst brands. Many popular hair dyes contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to both clients and their hair colorists. 

Some of the top hair dyes contain chemicals such as ammonia, resorcinol, titanium dioxide, and phthalates. Some of the best hair dye brands include Madison Reed, Natulique, and Saach Organics. Lastly, some of the worst hair dye brands you can find in beauty supply stores at Color Jamz. N’Rage, and Bigen.

Toxic Ingredients Found in Your Hair Dye

Below are nine toxic ingredients that you’ll find in your hair dye. 

1. Paraphenylenediamine

The ingredient paraphenylenediamine helps give hair its pigment and allows the new hair color to show. If you’re overexposed to this chemical, a carcinogenic, it could lead to respiratory problems and heart issues. 

2. Ammonia

This is one of the most toxic ingredients in hair dye and gives hair dye that awful, strong chemical smell. Ammonia is found in hair dyes because it lets the hair color reach the hair cuticle. Using hair dye with ammonia included can become toxic when used over time.

When ammonia is used over time, it will dry out your hair and could give throat irritations along with respiratory problems from exposure. 

3. Quaternium-15

If your hair dye contains Quaternium-15, you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. This toxic ingredient is known as a preservative that’s used in many hair care products and is considered an allergen. Quaternium-15 also releases formaldehyde, which may create contact dermatitis in some clients who are sensitive. 

4. Para-toluenediamine

According to scientists, a large amount of para-toluenediamine enters your skin through the hair dyeing process. This particular ingredient is not only toxic to the client getting their hair dyed but to the hair colorist, too. 

5. Resorcinol

If you see this toxic ingredient in your hair dye, you’ll want to stay clear of it. Resorcinol will not only damage your scalp, but it will also create harmful health effects. This hazardous chemical is known to cause abdominal pain if inhaled and will cause skin irritation and redness if it gets directly onto the skin.

In addition to these reactions, this chemical is known to disrupt your hormones and can cause thyroid issues and problems to your central nervous system.

6. Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is a mineral that’s used as a pigment in coloring dyes; although not as harmful as other ingredients, it still should be avoided when possible. This ingredient is used in many sunscreens, but if inhaled, it can become a possible carcinogen.

7. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This toxic chemical in hair dyes helps clean your hair, but they’re also found in cleaning products, which should give you an idea of how toxic they are if absorbed into the skin. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate will strip your hair of essential oils and will damage your hair when continuously exposed. 

8. Alkylphenol Ethoxylates

Similar to the chemical above, Alkylphenol Ethoxylates work to clean your hair, stripping it of the oils at the same time. These chemicals are also known as hormone disruptors, which can affect certain functions of your body.

However, many professional hair salons now also offer safer options. When scheduling your hair appointment, check with your hair colorist to go over the ingredients to make sure you’re not allergic. 

9. Phthalates

You’ll find phthalates in many hair care products and other cosmetics, including hair dyes. These ingredients help make plastic more flexible, but you shouldn’t put it into your body. These known endocrine disruptors can cause disruption to your regular hormones.

Since hair dyes are absorbed into your bloodstream, you should avoid these ingredients if possible. 

Best Hair Dye Brands

Five of the best hair dye brands include Saach Organics, Natulique, Madison Reed, Khadi, and Tints of Nature. 

1. Saach Organics

Saach Organics uses semi-permanent hair dye and uses only organically-grown plants from India. In this hair dye brand, you’ll find ingredients such as primrose, green tea, and tea tree. Saach Organics hair dye doesn’t contain any fragrances, artificial colors, ammonia, sulfates, or parabens.

In addition, Saach Organics is also PETA-certified. 

2. Natulique

Natulique hair dye brand was founded in Denmark and uses organic ingredients such as jojoba oil, apricot seed oil, and sunflower seed extract. Natulique also does not contain ammonia or parabens. One of the immediate things you’ll notice is that the smell isn’t as strong as most traditional hair dyes, so ask your hair salon if they carry this brand. 

3. Madison Reed

Madison Reed is one of the most popular clean hair dye brands. Madison Reed hair dye is made in Italy and doesn’t contain ammonia, parabens, or any of the toxic chemicals we listed earlier in our blog. Madison Reed hair dye adds keratin ginseng root extract to enhance the benefits of your hair.

Don’t worry; you don’t need to visit a professional hair salon to take advantage of this hair dye; you can use it in the comfort of your own home. You can visit their website to find the best shade that suits you and have a kit mailed to your front door.

4. Khadi Hair Dye

Khadi is a well-known hair dye brand that is known to enhance your health and beauty. Khadi natural hair dye is vegan and all-natural. With the Khadi hair dye brand, you won’t find any toxic ingredients such as ammonia and peroxide.

This hair dye brand only uses ingredients from plants and herbs and gently dyes your hair, making it an excellent brand for people with sensitive scalps.

5. Tints of Nature

Tints of Nature has been making products for over twenty years and creates eco-friendly hair care products. Based out of the UK, their hair dye brands have also reached overseas in places like the United States. Tints of Nature hair dyes have won awards and use around seventy-five percent organic ingredients.

This alone lets you know that you’ll receive high-quality results when dyeing your hair. With Tints of Nature hair dye, you can choose from twenty shades and choose from permanent or semi-permanent colors. 

Worst Hair Dye Brands

Three of the worst hair dye brands are Bigen, Color Jamz, and N’Rage. 

1. Bigen 

You may or may not have heard of Bigen hair dye, but it’s given itself quite the reputation, but not for good reasons. While many people use Bigen hair dye for its affordable prices, it’s one of the worst hair dye brands on the market.

Many customers have reported that Bigen hair dye has led to severe hair damage and hair loss. It also includes toxic chemicals such as ammonia that can affect your overall health. Bigen hair dye is also known to give horrible hair color results.

2. Color Jamz

If you’ve ever visited Sally Beauty Supply shops, you’ve most likely already heard of Color Jamz hair dye. Color Jamz hair dye has colorful shades but falls short in terms of performance. Many customers have reported receiving dull colors and fading colors from only after a few washes.

Color Jamz poor performance and hair damage make it one of the worst hair dye brands for permanent hair colors.

3. N’Rage

N’Rage has vibrant shades; however, if you ask any of its customers, it’s been less than ideal. N’Rage has given its customers poor color results and has been known to fade after a few washes. It also has been known to leave stains on your skin and clothes, making it known to contain toxic chemicals.

While N’Rage does have a more comprehensive selection of shades to choose from, its poor performance and toxic chemicals make it another terrible hair dye brand. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about dyeing your hair a new color, you will want to check the ingredients list. Many popular hair dye brands today contain harmful chemicals that are both damaging to your hair and health.

When dyeing your hair, consult your hair colorist to check the ingredients list. Use some of the cleaner hair dye brands, including Madison Reed, Saach Organics, and Natulique, and avoid bad brands such as Color Jamz, Bigen, & N’Rage. 

With our assistance, we hope you can quickly identify which hair dye brands are safe to use and which ones you should avoid at all costs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the most harmful chemical found in hair dye?

The most harmful chemical found in hair dye is Paraphenylenediamine, and it’s used in darker color shades.

2. What is the safest hair color brand?

One of the safest and cleanest hair color brands is Madison Reed, which contains ingredients without toxic chemicals.

3. Which hair dye brands are bad for your hair?

Some of the worst hair dye brands are Bigen, Color Jamz, and N’Rage.



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