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Beginner's Guide To Safe Hair Dyes

Why use at-home hair dyes?

You may consider going to a salon to get your hair colored. While it is a good thing to get your hair done at the hands of specialists who are trained for that purpose, consider this- is it safe and hygienic to go to a salon regularly?

Beyond having the best products and experts to run the salon there are several points to consider before deciding to visit hair salons on a regular basis.

  • Personal hygiene of the staff
  • Maintenance of everyday equipment like scissors and hair brush which are likely to be used on multiple visitors
  • Salon furniture and floor hygiene
  • Most importantly the salon products may contain substances like paraben, PPD that could sensitise your system and cause allergic reactions.
  • Not to mention the high cost that regular salon visits could incur.

Hence at-home hair dyes are a safe, economical, and hygienic alternative. You can choose the product of your choice and use it at your convenience in the comfort of your home. 

Even if you are a regular salon visitor, you are better of bringing your own hair dye and asking the salon to use it.

In this article we also cover some simple hacks that will help you get the maximum coverage for grey hair.


What are natural hair dyes?

Natural hair dyes are hair colouring products that do not contain ingredients like ammonia, paraben, PPD, silicones, and resorcinol. Many hair colour brand may have words like “natural” on their cover, but still contain the aforementioned ingredients. 

A good way to ensure that you are choosing a natural hair dye product is to look for the following names in the list of ingredients:

  • PPD
  • Paraben
  • Ammonia
  • Resorcinol
  • PPDA
  • Phenylene diamine
  • Paraphenylenediamine
  • 4-aminoaniline
  • 1,4-diaminobenzene
  • 1,4-benzenediamine

Do hair dye products differ for men and women?

From the point of view of ingredients used, the hair products for men and women are the same.

One of the biggest reasons for separating male and female hair dye products is the quantity.

Although not universally true, men tend to have shorter hair than most women. Hence they tend to have their hair cut more often, leading to regrowth of grey hair. 

Yet, due to shorter hair length, they use less amount of dye than women with longer hair. Therefore, hair dye products for men contain lesser quantity than for women.

Other than that, if you are a woman with short hair or a man with long hair you could use either product and expect to get the same results.


Which hair dye is the best?

Ideally the best hair dye product would have the following characteristics:

  1. Provides the correct hair color of your choice
  2. Lasts for at least 30 hair washes
  3. Provides optimal grey area coverage
  4. Does not contain damaging ingredients
  5. Does not sensitise the system to allergies

Most of this information is usually available on the product covers. As a precaution it is advisable to read the product details thoroughly before purchasing.

Go through the list of ingredients and avoid products that have been made using ingredients mentioned above

Check out Atbro's safe, long-lasting, ammonia free hair dye

How to choose the correct hair colour for your hair?

Unless you are intentionally going for an outlandish look, it is important to spend some time to understand which hair color would suit you best. It is a small time invested that would pay off repeatedly in the long run.

We will do a separate piece on this shortly. For the time being, consider the following points before deciding your hair color:

  1. Select your skin tone. Choosing a hair color that does not match your skin tone, can add up to an unnatural look.
  2. Choose the shade of hair color based on your skin tone.
  3. Consider your eye color
  4. Decide beforehand if you want to maintain a natural look or go for a drastic makeover.
  5. Do not decide on a permanent hair colour on a whim! You may not be able to change it immediately if your regret the decision.
  6. Do a strand test before coloring your hair completely
  7. Try wearing a wig of the same color to get a preview.
  8. Try highlights
  9. Remember your eyebrows! Perhaps the next noticeable place of hair colour are your brows. Do not forget them.

Simple tricks to maximize grey hair coverage

Easily one of the biggest challenges of using at-home hair dye products is coverage. Ensuring that you have all the grey areas covered can be a challenge. Especially in places like the back of the head, which is difficult to access and see.

Here are some simple hacks to overcome these challenges:

  1. Light: Ensure that you are in a well-lit room. Hair color can look different in natural and artificial light; so ensure that you have access to both in your room
  2. Do a test run: This is important especially if you are using the brush technique. Ensure that you are taking the correct amount of hair dye to avoid dripping.
  3. Parting your hair: Ensuring that you have covered all the grey areas would involve parting your hair carefully into sections. Use a rattail comb to get the most precise partition and for the hair dye to reach the grey roots.
  4. Using banana clips: If you have very long hair, banana clips are an easy way to keep the hair sections that are you are not working on away.
  5. Hand mirror: Useful to keep track of your progress in places like the nape of your neck and back of your head.

Should you use a special hair dye for your beard?

Yes. For the simple reason that facial skin is more sensitive than the scalp toward the same ingredients. We will cover beard hair dye in a separate article.

What are the different chemicals used in common hair dye products?

Ingredients that are commonly found in hair dye products and their functions are discussed below:

  1. Ammonia: Ammonia is alkaline in nature and increases the pH of the hair colorant that makes the hair swell; allowing for more dye to be absorbed into it. Long-term usage of hair dye that contains ammonia could lead to loss of the structural integrity of the hair shaft.
  2. Paraben: Paraben is used as a preservative to prevent microbial growth. However studies have shown that it does more harm than good. Paraben is the primary reason why some people are allergic to hair dyes. It is also known to cause reproductive toxicity.
  3. PPD (paraphenylenediamine): PPD is usually found in hair colour of darker shades. It is used by hair color companies to make the dye long-lasting on the hair. PPD is another chemical that can cause severe allergic reactions.
  4. Resorcinol: Resorcinol is a chemical that reacts with the developer and attaches the dye permanently to the hair. Hair color companies use resorcinol because it is efficient in this function, and is cheap. However, resorcinol causes skin and eye irritation and has been prohibited by the European Union for use in hair dyes.

Some of them like PPD and paraben are banned for usage in hair dyes as per the guidelines put forth by the European Union (EU).

It is advisable to avoid hair dye products that contain these ingredients to stay safe.

Why is ammonia in hair dye bad for the hair?

As discussed above, ammonia is used in hair dyes to make the hair swell and allow more dye to be absorbed into it. Long-term usage of hair dye that contains ammonia could lead to loss of the structural integrity of the hair shaft.


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