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Do 'natural' and 'hair color' ever go together?

January 31st, 2008

Ms. Brantley says one product that is generating interest is the EcoColors line, which is dubbed “the smart choice for chemically aware people.” EcoColors is a permanent hair color that uses many natural ingredients such as lecithin, vitamin E, vitamin C, nettles, rosemary, flower essence and grapefruit seed extract. However, the company’s website notes that while their hair color has been created with “non-toxic in mind, it is not a totally botanical hair color.”

EcoColors agrees with Ms. Brantley on the subject of chemical catalysts, stating “that for any hair color to be permanent, oxidative dyes must be present. You have to have a method of getting the oxidative dye pigments into the hair shaft.”

The Paul Mitchell hair care line uses less ammonia than other hair color brands. It also has added more conditioners to their hair color products which is healthier for the hair, according to Donna Farina, a 30-year veteran in the hairdressing business.

Aveda hair color products also uses oxidative dyes, but to a much lesser degree than other companies, according to the environmentally conscious website, Care2.com. The site points out that oxidative dyes have no pre-existing colors until they are combined and joined with oxidizing ingredients. Aveda has come up with a process to oxidize dye using green tea extract. Aveda also uses plant oils in its dyes instead of the petrochemical solvents used by other companies. Although Aveda products are not quite 100-percent plant-derived, its hair color products may be a consumer’s best bet, if you want to avoid using petro-based products and avoid cancer risks.

So do aging customers care if their hair coloring product is good for their bodies and for the environment? Most hairdressers concur that their clients’ first concern is to cover the gray, followed by health concerns and last, the environment.

Ms. Farina, who works at En Vogue Salon in Beverly, Mass., says, “I haven’t seen a difference in clients asking for environmentally friendly products, except maybe when they are pregnant. No one is making a big deal about it.” However, the salon where she works, uses the Paul Mitchell line of hair products.

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