For years, changing your hair color has meant chemical damage from peroxide and ammonia. Whether in the salon or using a box dye, hair color has been far from natural- not to mention the shelves being dominated by brands whose cruelty free statements are questionable.
Sure, you could stick with the plastic bottles, gloves and packets in your favorite box dye, but there’s no better time than the present to make the eco-friendly switch to something better. Whether you’re looking for natural or vibrant colors, there are plenty of options for vegan, cruelty free and natural dyes.
For the Bold Color Lovers
Manic Panic is the time old classic, but has held up since 1977 for a reason. Cruelty free is a core value of this company- their slogan is “Tested on Celebrities Not Animals”- and they donate a minimum of 15 percent of their profits every year to a variety of charities.
The commonly used ingredient Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) will not be found in their list of vegan ingredients, guaranteeing you a harsh chemical-free color. Which color? All of them! You can choose from every color of the rainbow and then some, including UV glowing shades.
Newer to the market is singer Hayley Williams’ hair dye brand Good Dye Young, which she co-founded with her stylist Brian O’Connor. Their social media presence alone shows their trustworthiness- GDY has a host of diverse employees creating a community through self-expression.
Vegan and cruelty-free, these dyes exclude ingredients like formaldehyde in favor of sunflower extract and bergamot essential oil. Even their lightening kit has ingredients like coconut oil and soy protein to make the bleaching process kinder for your hair.
They stand out in sustainability by offering a biodegradable tool kit to replace your typical plastic brush and bowl. In terms of packaging, while not plastic free, they offer a breakdown of how to properly recycle each piece of the bottle, and no paper is wasted as instructions are printed on the inside of the box.
Though known more for their makeup, Lime Crime also has a wide range of full coverage dyes and tints. They’re certified by both PETA and leaping bunny, so you can trust in their ingredients to make the vegan and cruelty free cut.
Unicorn Hair is made with vegetable based glycerin, offering a natural ingredient plus. They also offer their Bleach Party kit with added ingredients like aloe vera, rather than nasty chemicals like resorcinol. While you can mix these dyes to make your perfect shade, they also state in their FAQ that they take new color suggestions!
This Oregon based brand offers 34 beautiful shades ranging from pastels to “velvets,” all completely vegan and cruelty free. They provide transparency about their ingredients, too, stating that their colors are made with synthetic fluorphlogopite rather than natural mica powders because of “the child labor issues found in the natual mica supply chain.”
Ethicality smells like cherry blossom and citrus at Lunar Tides. If you’re looking to blend colors, they offer dye packs with three shades, or just two in their split dye pack. The bottles are just 4 oz. though, so be ready to invest in a few.
For the All Naturals
Oregon is home to another sustainable hair dye- Henna Color Lab uses organically grown henna to formulate their powder dyes. With less than 10 ingredients per bag, you can get a range of naturals and some brights.
Henna contains a pigment called lawsone, which leaves a red-orange hue, so other hair dyes are formulated with additional pigments. Using henna powder for hair and skin is no new practice, and it’s gorgeous result is proof of why it continues today.
This etsy based brand also offers henna powder dyes, along with other all natural powders to achieve a range of colors. Their henna is imported from India, where they’re processed in an FDA approved facility.
While you can’t lighten your hair with henna or other natural powders, you can mix to create your shade. To apply, all you need to do is mix henna with hot water until it makes a paste, and let it sit in your hair- there’s no time limit, but it peaks after about an hour. This dye will not only give a great color, but is also nourishing for your hair.
Herbatint is the first of its kind as a certified B-corp hair color brand. Their plant based dyes use natural ingredients like juglans regia from walnuts to give fullness to their color while taking care of your hair. Being an Italian based brand, Herbatint takes part in European sustainability projects, including ones which work to create greener packaging and offset CO2 emissions created by using the internet.
Colorful or natural, you shouldn’t have to compromise vegan and cruelty values for healthy dyed hair. All natural ingredients and sustainability commitments from brands like these make the choice easy and have endless options for keeping up with your color or trying something new.