What are the Side Effects of Hair Color?


What are the Side Effects of Hair Color?

  • 06 July 2020
  • Hair Experts @ AHS
  • 4 min. read

Who doesn’t want gorgeous hair in pretty shades of auburn, ochre and mahogany? However, the harmful side effects of hair color may deter you from dying your hair.

While there is no doubt that there are certain harmful side effects of hair dye, there are plenty of safe hair dyes and natural hair dyes available in the market that may be used to color your hair.

Further, with a little bit of effort, you can also make natural hair colors at home so that you can spare yourself the problems of dryness, hair damage and hair fall.

Is Coloring your Hair Bad for your Health?

While coloring hair with branded hair colors is not harmful, some hair colors may contain particular chemicals that may be bad for your health.

Research has shown that cheap hair colors contain substances such as aromatic amines and phenols. These substances contain hydrogen peroxide that may harm your health.

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that is a combination of water and hydrogen. It acts as a bleaching agent by breaking down the melanin pigment of hair and coloring the hair.

Other harmful chemicals include lead, mercury and PPD (paraphenylenediamine). These chemicals can lead to a series of allergic reactions including rashes, hair fall, skin diseases and respiratory complications.

  • Rashes and skin diseases: The chemicals in the hair dyes may seep into the skin and lead to rashes. Further, these may lead to a range of allergic reactions, such as dermatitis of eyes, ears, scalp and face.
  • Respiratory problems: The toxic fumes emitted by the chemicals may lead to respiratory issues. Those who are already suffering from respiratory diseases may encounter more complications than normal people. These complications include wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing and tightening of the chest.

Can Dying your Hair Make you Sick?

For hair dyes to make you sick, you need to apply them repeatedly over a long period of time. It may not make you sick right away. However, repeated use may lead to health-related complications. Sickness may be mild or serious, depending on the frequency of use and your tolerance level towards an allergic reaction.

  • You can get skin rashes all over your scalp and sometimes even body.
  • It may damage your hair beyond repair; it can even make it dry and frizzy.
  • It may make you breathless if you have respiratory issues, such as asthma.

Can you get Cancer from Dying your Hair?

As incredulous as it might sound, some ingredients used in hair dyes may increase the chances of you getting cancer. However, it must be remembered that cancer is a random mutation of the healthy cell and there are no conclusive studies to predict with certainty that use of hair dye is bound to develop cancer in humans.

According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), workplace exposure as a hairdresser or barber is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” based on the data regarding bladder cancer. But IARC considers personal hair dye use to be “not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans,” based on a lack of evidence from studies in people.

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is formed from parts of several different US government agencies. The NTP has not classified exposure to hair dyes as to its potential to cause cancer. However, it has classified some chemicals that are or were used in hair dyes as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.”

Which Hair Color Has No Side Effects?

Only those hair colors that are totally natural have no side effects. All hair colors are known to contain to a certain extent chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, PPD, ammonia, lead and mercury. Certain natural hair coloring ingredients are, however, totally safe and natural. Here’s a list:

Henna leaves

Henna leaves (Lawsonia inermis) belong to an evergreen shrub found in North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. This is a medicinal plant that has a number of benefits.

It can be externally used in wounds, burns and fungal infection. It is also useful in fever, burning sensation, skin and liver diseases.

However, for hair coloring purposes, henna leaves are particularly beneficial. Take a bunch of dried henna leaves. Soak them in warm water and see the color of the water change.

If you want, you can add a little bit of water from boiled tea leaves to give your hair strands a better hue.

Tea leaves and Coffee beans

Both have active coloring ingredients. Both coffee and tea are great for coloring hair strands and give even coverage. All you need to do is boil coffee granules and tea leaves in water. The resultant colored water can be used to wash your hair. Repeated use may give you noticeable results.


Certain flowers like calendula and marigold, herbs like rosemary, nettle and sage, vegetable juices of beetroot and carrot juices have coloring properties, minus the harmful effects.

For the flowers, seep them in warm water for 30 minutes. Then filter the water and spray on hair liberally. Allow the hair to dry in the sun. Repeated use will give you even coverage of all the grey areas. The essential oils in the flowers also have a host of benefits for your hair and scalp.

For herbs, follow a similar method of simmering or boiling the herbs for 30 minutes or so in water and apply on hair. Dry the hair in the sun. Repeated use will give you the best results. You can also combine herbs with tea leaves or coffee for a richer and darker color.

Carrot and beetroot juices have active coloring ingredients in them. While carrot juice gives you a reddish-orange tinge, beetroot juice gives you a deep red tinge.

Is there Hair Color Without Chemicals?

Many companies now produce natural hair colors that are totally organic and safe. They contain minimal chemicals along with a host of natural ingredients.

Several contain natural coloring ingredients such as extracts from coffee beans and tea leaves, hair-growth or boosting agents like serums, essential oils and natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil and lavender oil.

Some even contain lemon extracts and walnut shells, both of which have natural coloring ingredients. Read the label instructions carefully to determine whether the hair color you are using, indeed contains natural ingredients or not.

How can I Color My Hair Naturally?

Hair colors from the market contain chemicals to a certain extent. Chuck the chemical-laden hair colors for natural hair dyes. These natural hair dyes without side effects give you a rich, deep tinge and also make your hair naturally soft and supple. Dry and damaged hair also seems to benefit from these safe hair dyes.

Use carrot and beetroot juices with olive oil and coconut oil and apply liberally on hair. Wrap your hair in a plastic wrap and then wash your hair with apple cider vinegar. Henna leaves can also be used along with coffee granules or tea leaves to give your hair a rich and deep mahogany tinge.

Lemon juices are best for achieving blonde, sun-kissed highlights. Take half of a lemon and squeeze it over the individual hair strands. Lemon juice strips the natural pigment of your hair slowly, giving you sun-kissed golden highlights. They are also good for maintaining the natural highlights if you have blonde hair.


This article took a look at the tricky question of coloring your hair. While there are plenty of good hair coloring agents that are organic in nature and have minimum side effects, we at Advanced Hair Studio emphasize and recommend the use of a safe hair dye or a natural hair dye to color your hair.

Natural hair colors have no side effects and give you a natural tinge while gently moisturizing your hair. The side effects of hair color may be serious if left unchecked. From skin rashes to respiratory complications, the list is lengthy. Hair colors can also make your hair feel dry, frizzy and lifeless.

Thankfully at Advanced Hair Studio, we have devised a hair care program that takes care of all harmful side effects caused by such a hair dying regime. Our Advanced Hair and Scalp Fitness Programme is the world’s first hair fitness routine that checks initial hair loss and damage and helps in significant hair regrowth. Our AHS Complete is a unique combination treatment that promotes both hair regrowth and helps you recover from the concerns of hair fall.

We also proudly offer the Carl Howell Hair Care Products Range, which includes shampoos, conditioners and a wide range of hair styling products to our esteemed patrons.

For those who are already experiencing high levels of hair loss, we recommend either our Strand-by-Strand Cosmetic or Strand-by-Strand Ultimate, both of which have proven to be highly effective for hair restoration. So if you are dealing with the harmful side effects of hair dye on your scalp or something similar, then pay a visit to our hair loss clinics to get your hair checked and get a customized solution for your hair that will give you long-lasting results.

Article by Hair Experts @ AHS

Originally hailing from the length and breath of the country our team of hair experts bring together their strength that lies in consulting for hair and skin/scalp concerns that are faced by a lot of people. This core team involves field experts having passion in the field of aesthetics and creating as well as finding the right answers and clearing doubts about all things "Hair". Combining the interest in the field of aesthetics and general well-being, the team moves forward applying the knowhow gained in the field of trichology as well as hair transplantation contributing successfully in being part of our Team India operations and contributing to the needs of our patrons.

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