Allergy to paraphenylenediamine or p-phenylenediamine — better known as PPD — in permanent hair dye can be severe. In worst cases, it causes swelling around the face and neck, with difficulty breathing. Angry red rashes around the hair line, ears and eyes caused by PPD can also be serious and unpleasant.
What alternatives to PPD are there?
With a few interesting exceptions (see bottom), most options fall into one of three main categories.
1. Natural plant-based colors
The safest options are natural botanical colors, which use henna, cassia, beetroot, coffee, indigo and other plant extracts to impart color. These are unlikely to trigger allergies in their pure forms, although a few contain added essential oils which some people may react to.
100% natural ‘dyes’ such as these can’t change you from dark to light or vice versa, but they can help to conceal partial grey hair quite well, and add a deeper red or brown tone to your hair. The results may only last a few washes, but they do not damage hair, as they do not penetrate the hair shaft.
The following are all free from PPD, as well as ammonia, peroxide and synthetic colours, additives or preservatives. Powders should be mixed with water before application.
It’s Pure Organics (UK)
Straightforward and pure powders containing only henna, cassia, amla, indigo and neem.
Light Mountain Natural Hair Colors (US)
Very attractive looking kits, with only the purest of powders — indigo, henna and senna.
100% natural brand from Germany. Some are powders, but most are cream blends containing henna, jojoba, walnut, rhubarb, beetroot, with added algin, wheat protein and essential oils.
Lush Henna Hair Dyes (US) / Lush Colour (UK)
These are solid henna blocks, also containing coffee, Irish moss and indigo, blended into cocoa butter, and with added essential oils.
Rainbow Research Henna Powders (US)
Another pure powder brand, featuring various hennas (neutral, red, black), plus flowers of marigold and camomile.
Sante Herbal Hair Color (US) / Sante Herbal Hair Colour (UK)
Powders and creams. The powders contain henna, indigo, curcuma, beet, ratania and other extracts, with wheat protein and alginates. The creams additionally contain water, alcohol, glycerin and a few other ingredients — including essential oils.
Surya Brasil Powder (Worldwide)
Henna, indigo, amla, arnica, acai, Brazil nut and other ingredients originating from Brazil and India.
2. Semi permanent / semi natural dyes
An ‘intermediate’ option. Despite brand names or product descriptions which often suggest the opposite, these kits typically use artificial coloring agents — with perhaps a few natural ingredients. They are usually a bit more effective than 100% natural options — especially in darkening or highlighting dark hair, and covering greys — but the synthetic dyes in them can trigger allergies in a few women.
The following are free from PPD, peroxide and ammonia, but contain some petrochemical derivatives / artificial preservatives.
CoSaMo (US / Canada)
Solely synthetic colorants. Also contain a silicone and artificial fragrance.
Naturtint Reflex (UK)
Liquid formula of artificial coloring agents. NB Naturtint also produce a permanent line which contains PPD. Ensure you choose from the Reflex range.
Surya Henna Cream (Worldwide)
Primarily artificial colors with small proportions of henna and botanical extracts derived from walnut, carrot, camomile, guarana and others. Free from artificial fragrance.
Tints of Nature Semi-Permanent (UK) / Tints of Nature (USA) / Tints of Nature (Aus)
Blend of artificial colors and a few natural botanicals. NB Tints of Nature also produce a permanent line which contains PPD. Ensure you choose from the Semi-Permanent range of henna creams.
3. Permanent hair dye
In place of PPD, a few products contain similar chemicals called PTD / PTDS or TD / TDS to impart permanent color, but these aren’t always as effective as PPD, and perhaps a third or so of people who react to PPD also react — sometimes severely — to these alternatives. Any product declaring itself both ‘PPD free’ and ‘permanent’ will probably contain PTD or TD. Proceed with particular caution if you have confirmed PPD allergy.
The ingredients may appear as para-toluenediamine, p-toluenediamine, toluene-2,5-diamine sulphate and similar variations.
These contain PTD / TDS instead of PPD:
Madison Reed Permanent Hair Color (US)
NaturVital ColourSafe (US) / NaturVital ColourSafe (UK)
Is there anything else out there?
Here are some other unique options offering more permanent solutions through natural means:
Hairprint (US / International)
Entirely natural and innovative product — the Color Restorer (right) — billing itself as ‘the only product in the world that restores grey hair to its true color’. It is not a dye. It uses peroxide to oxidise plant and mineral ingredients to recreate the lost natural and original pigment in your hair shafts, in the pattern (or ‘hair print’) that is unique to each of us. It is free of PPD, PTD, ammonia, artificial colours, synthetic preservatives (such as parabens), sulphates, gluten and silicones, and is vegan. The manufacturers say that they have not been notified of any confirmed allergic reaction to their product. Suitable for black and brown untreated hair.
Palette by Nature (US)
Two creams, applied one after the other to the hair, to which heat must then be applied. There are very long lists of ingredients in each of the products — which means those with allergies may have a lot to check — but completely natural, free of any oxidising agents, and uses only botanical and mineral-based colorants, that work using a patented method.
A final reminder
- Always perform a patch test at least two days before dyeing your hair, even with a more natural option, even if it’s a product you have safely used before (see also comment from Joolz, below).
- Carefully follow instructions, and always double check ingredients, as these occasionally change.
- No hair dye can be guaranteed 100% safe, but remember that extreme reactions are very rare.
- If you have reacted to hair dyes before, consult a dermatologist for patch testing and a formal diagnosis.
- Strictly avoid PPD / PTD if you have ever had a black henna temporary tattoo, as this can sensitise you.
- Don’t expect miracle results with the more natural options, and understand carefully the limitations that some of them have in dyeing your hair with respect to certain shades, colors and coverage. Some will require experimentation, and you may find you need to try a few products before finding the ideal one for you.
- If you’re looking for nickel tested / nickel allergy safe hair dye or color, try my article here.
Do you know whether the Scott Cornwall hair colour products are safe? Some new ones were recently launched. Thanks.
I’ve heard of them – and I think they’re launching next month, possibly in Boots. I’ll try to find out for you.
Just heard back from them, Sal – sorry for the delay. The entire Scott Cornwall Colour Restore Range is free from PPD and is also free from methylisothiazolinone. They seem to use phenoxyethanol as preservative instead. They are semi-permanent, but use artificial dyes only.
Phenoxyethanol is a known irritant so be careful using products with it as well. I wish hair dye manufacturers could find more natural preservatives.
I think you could say that about so many ingredients especially preservatives. ‘More natural’ preservatives tend to be weaker preservatives, so it’s always going to be a compromise. Most people tolerate phenoxyethanol.
Do these cover grey/white hair???
I heard of a shampoo that color your hair, it called Mokeru hair dye. Can you let me know what do you think about the ingredients? Thanks a lot:
Ingredients:Coconut oil,Juglans Regia(Walnut Leaf Extract),Cytisus scoparius Extract,Krameria Triandra root Extract,Water,Glycerine,Propylene Glycol,AMP Acrylates/ Allyl Methacrtlate Copolymer,PEG 400 Hydrogenated Castor oil,Triethanolamine,Cetearyl Alcohol,Polydimethylsiloxane,Acrylates c10-30 alkyl acrylate arosspolymer,ammonium polyacralate,Polyvinylpyrrolidne,Bismuth Citrate,CI77499,Ethylhexyglycern.
I can tell you that there doesn’t appear to be PPD in it. I don’t know how the colouring action works in that formulation. What would you like to know?
Hi and thanks for your response! I just wonder if there’s any ingredients that are likely to cause an allergic reaction because they are similar to PPD…
And maybe someone here will know what make the color permanent, if so…
No, no ingredients similar to PPD. The CI ingredient is a colour, I think an iron oxide, and perhaps the bismuth salt imparts some colour too. I also can’t see any detergent there so are you sure it’s a shampoo? It doesn’t look like one to me.
Well yeah that’s what it’s says at least…
I’m a little uncertain about this product. It may well work, but I can’t help wondering whether it will stain clothing / bedding. It seems to be iron oxide based colour – which is what is used in mascara and make-up.
For sure the coloring action comes from bismuth citrate. This kind of product has been developed as an alternative to those progressive dyes based on lead acetate which were banned by FDA due potential cancering effects. Progressive dyes are supposed to cover gray after daily successive use by at least one month. I have heard that works well in many cases without allergy problems. But also I have heard that in many cases doesn’t work. Look that depend on each specific case.
I just had a negative reaction to Mokeru. It contains PPD. It’s cheap but my meds for my skin irritations are much more expensive. But then, I think I may have bought the fake ones. So there!
Sorry to hear this Lilian. Do you (or you Hernando) have an updated ingredients list so we can correct the list given above?
I’ve also tried mokeru shampoo only for allergy test on a small spot, and the reaction was terrible. I’m sure it contains PPD even though it’s not in the ingredients list. Be careful
This does sound very odd and concerning. Has anyone spoken to the manufacturers? It would be good to give them a right to reply on this. There could be various potential explanations, including a contamination issue with an ingredient.
Hi – what about Herbatint? I have it but cannot find a complete list of ingredients? would appreciate any info – thank you!
The Vegetal Herbatint is PPD-free, but the permanent gel is not. If you search for ‘herbatint’ on this page you’ll see there have been some comments previously.
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May I suggest that you extend the time you recommend for the patch test? I have an allergy to PPD and the hairdresser said her products were gentle and did a patch test on a Tues and said to wait 2 days. Thank goodness I didn’t have an appt on the Thurs and waited until the following week. On the Sunday, 5 days later, the patch test flared up with a very bad reaction. I dread to think the mess I would have been in if I had only waited 2 days.
I became allergic after a ‘black henna’ tattoo. That took several days to swell too.
Thanks for your helpful page.
Goodness – thanks for that. Most authorities advise 48 hours at least, and some 72, but I’ll add a note, yes.
It probably depends on the individual, maybe 48 hours is ok for most people, but I think waiting a few extra day is worth it.
Henna tattoos are deceiving as some of them also have PPD and other harsh chemicals. We tend to believe it is just henna, but it is not.
Yep, thanks Priscila, I’ve just written about henna tattoos, incidentally: https://www.allergy-insight.com/black-henna-tattoos/
Hi Alex, been reading the article as im allergic to PPD . What do you think of Hairprints is it worth a try? ( it does sound too good to be true!)
I think it is an original concept that clearly works for some women but not for others. I would certainly consider it if you feel you meet the advice and recommendations on the Hairprint site. Take a look here: https://myhairprint.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/200211837-Will-Hairprint-Color-Restorer-Work-for-Me-
But sadly there are no guarantees in life! Good luck!
I’ve been using Hairprint for 12 months. It is brilliant! Covers my 100% white hair. I just keep doing the roots. Only downside is that it’s a messy process when applying. I get someone else to apply it while sitting outside. It makes a mess! Works for brunettes only, so if you are blonde, give it a miss.
Hi Alex I’m also one who sadly became allergic to PPD after a black henna tattoo gone wrong at the age of 4 (little did I understand) and then dyed my hair brown at 14 and had a severe reaction. I have tried Daniel Field before but never put near scalp as I dont trust it enough. Whats your opinion on them?
Hi Jem. Sorry to hear that. Daniel Field contain PTD / PTDS instead of PPD, so could still be a problem for many with PPD allergy. If you’ve used it without any reaction it might be OK for you, but I would perhaps consider consulting a dermatologist before doing so again. Other options in this article are far likely to be safer for you, but results are unlikely to be as good. I’ll add them to the list – thanks for reminding me of them. Alex.
Hello . I enjoyed reading this forum . In addition to PPD allergy , I am also allergic to propylyn glycol, which is in most developers . Anybody can recommend something that is free if those ? Thanks
Here is what I’ve managed to find out:
Hairprint is propylene glycol-free (they say so on their website).
The Herbatint Vegetal line look to be propylene glycol-free (but the Herbatint PERMANENT line contains both PPD and propylene glycol).
Surya is propylene glycol-free (they say so on their website)
Daniel Field *appears* to be propylene glycol-free, but their website is very user-unfriendly. They contain PTDS, though, which people with PPD-allergy may still react to.
The Naturtint Reflex CONTAINS propylene glycol (in the colorant)
Naturvital ColourSafe contains propylene glycol (but seemingly only in the shampoo, having checked a few examples). They contain PTDS, though, like the Daniel Field.
All the henna-type options in category 1 above should almost certainly be completely safe and propylene glycol-free.
If you are sure you can tolerate the PPD-alternative ingredients (PTD / TDS etc), then Naturvital ColourSafe could be an option (just don’t use the shampoo – and double check your chosen shade, as I didn’t check all).
If you are not sure you can tolerate PTD / TDS, then I’d look to brands like Surya or the more natural ones mentioned early on in the article.
As always, double check ingredients and patch test before going ahead – and good luck.
Hello! .. so, this PPD allergy has been the first thing to officially install a sense of fear into me 🙁 I colored my hair, through my hairdresser, every 6 months, the last time I got my hair dyed, I went really dark brownish black, 30mins into getting the colour I got really dizzy and light headed, told my hairdresser I didn’t feel good and needed water, she asked if I needed something to eat maybe and by then, as she explained to me, my face went grey, my eyes were black and I was convulsing. I woke up covered in sweat and slowly started feeling better, we finished my hair and I went home. One week later, all of a sudden I developed a lot of severe food allergies. I’m now allergic to an unknown amount of legumes, nuts, tree nuts, almonds, most tress, grasses… the list is ongoing 🙁 never had food allergies before, only a simple animal hair allergy that was totally manageable without meds, I’m wondering if the hair dye caused all this? And, due to the “plant” allergies, is there a hair dye that doesn’t have PPD and isn’t plant based? … at a loss with all this 🙁 can’t do anything safely anymore, including eating … was hoping to get more tattoos but now I’m afraid, will never travel again due to food complications, pollen/inhalant allergies… so hard to get answers, can only keep researching for myself ..
Sorry to hear this. Randi, that’s a troubling story. It’s very difficult to advise. Ultimately, I feel you must see an allergy specialist – the food allergies are an additional burden that need to be evaluated properly. I would guess it’s possible that there is a link. By the sounds of it, you have hay fever (tree / grass) so you may have had these previously, but not obviously, and the PPD reaction magnified them by heightening the sensitivity of your immune system. I’m speculating. I’m not a medical expert.
If you definitely can’t tolerate things like henna (which features in most of the 100% botanical products in category 1 above), I could perhaps look at Category 2. (Category 3 contains PPD alternatives, which I think could be too risky for you to experiment with, at least without an expert’s opinion.). Category 2 tend to use artificial colours (rather than from nature) and avoid oxidative processes where PPD / TDS are needed. Herbatint Vegetal, for example, has artificial colours, no PPD / peroxide / ammonia, but does contain a few botanicals (aloe, wheat, jojoba) as well as fragrance, which can irritate some.
Hairprint, mentioned as an alternative to the main 3 options, could be suitable, but it depends on your particular circumstances. It does use food-grade botanical ingredients, but some unusual ones, teamed with minerals, and it does use peroxide too.
Regarding tattoos, yes you must be careful. I recently covered this on another site I edit, with respect to another allergen (MI). I didn’t check for your allergens, but you may find it of interest: http://mi-free.com/tattoo-creams-and-balms/
Hope some of this helps. Let me know how you get on. As always, do a patch test if you do go ahead with something, but I really would consult an expert in the very first instance, as yours sounds a complex case.
Thank you so much Alex for your time and your input, it means a lot to me to be able to reach out to others in order to gain further knowledge, your response is very greatly appreciated!
I had recent allergy patch testing & was found sensitive to PPD. I have had red itchy eyelids for years & couldn’t find the reason. I was given a list of products I could use (extremely limited from dermatologist)I have 50% grey and my haircolor is medium brown. My hairdresser tried Elumen by Goldwell which was the only color listed! I didn’t have a reaction, but it didn’t cover all my grey and after 2-3 days looked like it needed to be colored again. There are so many products listed on the web, can you PLEASE help sort out a good choice! I refuse to go grey! Thank you!
Hi Ellen. Thanks for letting me know about Elumen as I’d not come across it before, but could be considered another ‘alternative’ to the three main options out there.
It’s impossible to ‘sort out a good choice’ because all dyes and colors work to a degree – but different women experience different degrees of success with them. It’s very personal; very ‘trial and error’.
Have you considered Hairprint, mentioned in the article above? You would need to ‘grow out’ the dyed hair you currently have before using, I imagine, but it could be one option to try, as it is unique and some women have great success with it (others less so — but that’s always the way).
I take it you’ve tried the henna / henna-based options which are totally natural? No joy?
All the best, Alex
Hi Alex, my hairdresser thought henna color wouldn’t work for me. Are you familiar with any of these permenant hair colors, PPD free. Trying to narrow down my choices.
Calura by Oligo
Kevin Murphy- Color me
Wella- Koleston Perfect Innosense
I’m not familiar with any, sorry, Ellen – but please bear in mind that I’m a man, and have no hair to dye even if I wanted to! My interest is in ingredients and their safety / reactivity. It’s difficult for me to recommend on effectiveness. That advice must come from hair professionals and trichologists.
I’ve looked at Calura by Oligo but I can’t find much information about it on their site, and not their ingredients either. I’ve emailed them though.
Kevin Murphy Color Me’s website is very frustrating and user-unfriendly – I can’t finding anything useful at all.
Wella Koleston Perfect Innosense – this seems to contain a patented dye molecule called ME+ which is related to PPD / TDS, but seems to be less likely to trigger allergies. I would still be very wary of this as it’s in the same family of chemicals – it’s full name is in fact ME-PPD. The one study I have found on this found that 2/3rds of women who were allergic to PPD / TDS could tolerate ME-PPD. But that still leaves one-third who couldn’t. I will add this to the article – thanks for bringing it to my attention.
All the best, Alex
I tried the Wella product and still had an allergic reaction to it. Still looking for something. Does Demi permanent have same PPD/TDS?
I don’t know sorry, and I’d hate to generalise anyway. I can’t find examples online, but it seems as if demi is the same as semi but with peroxide, so if that’s right, it may be safer, but I’d hate to call it ‘safe’ without seeing a specific product with ingredients. If you can point me towards a product which lists its ingredients, I can take a look at them if it helps.
I had done a patch test with my normal hair dye Loreal preference last month became very very dizzy short of breath I have not colored since last january but I heard Ion at sally beauty is ppd free I do not know if it contains ptd or toulene you can check it out it is suppose to be the safer one I am considering purchasing a few wigs twc the wig company and paula young have some pretty ones
(Editor’s note: we have not checked the brand recommended in this comment.)
I am allergic to PPD and have used at home dyes such as Surya cream. A hairdresser introduced me to Wella Koleston ME+ and it has changed my life. I have been going to the hairdressers now monthly for over a year with little to no reaction.
Do you have the ingredient list. I am having difficulty finding it. What color is your hair? Do you have gray and if so is the coverage good? I am interested in hearing more
Hi again Ellen,
I’ve now had a response from Calura by Oligo with regard to their ingredients. It’s not fully clear to me, but it is ammonia free and PPD free, and it seems to use TDS (mentioned in the article).
FYI my understanding is that Ellumen uses magnetic technology rather than oxidative dyes, however, Ive read that you can end up with patches where the color does not adhere. Desperately hoping for a non oxidative solution to permanent hair color. Probably wont happen though.. sadly!
Thanks Chris. Useful to know. Must look into it.
I have hair dye allergy, also allergic to henna. I have used Ellumen once successfully with no reactions. I did only use it with foils so that there was limited contact with my skin, but for now at least I can manage my scattering of grey hair.
Good that it’s worked for you. Hairprint (mentioned in article) might be another worth looking at.
As a hairdresser I will let you know that Ellumen and any goldwell color can only be purchased by a professional and is not sold to the public. Same goes for Kevin Murphy color. These are both color lines I use regularly. If you are purchasing these without a license then they are most likely what we call black market products, which basically means that they may be tampered with or super old.
That’s very interesting, Kala. Thanks for your input.
Thanks for a good article.
I am naturally blonde (somewhere in between dark blonde/strawberry blonde). I have bleached my hair before, and also colored it lighter (both at salons and at home), but last year decided to go black and had an allergic reaction. Not a super bad one, but my skin got dry, red and inflamed for a few months, until I decided to shave my head 😉
I have now tried coloring my hair (that had grown out in the meantime) platinum blonde two times, but it seems like I’m now allergic for good. I work as a model, and it is important for me to keep beautiful hair – but now my roots are coming out, and it’s not looking great. It seems there is a lot of products for women with brown or black hair – but not really any for women with blonde? I want to avoid PPD and TDS. I’ve researched a lot, but I don’t seem to find any – am I overlooking something? Semi-permanent or reflexes could be an option!
First I would recommend you go for patch testing to a/ determine whether you really are allergic and b/ find out what you’re allergic to. It may not be PPD (although it is certainly highly possible).
One possible product might be Scott Cornwall Platinum – http://www.boots.com/scott-cornwall-colour-restore-iced-platinum-hair-toner-100ml-10140314 – which is PPD-free. But remember that alternative products contain alternative ingredients (such as preservatives -in this case phenoxyethanol) which can trigger allergies. This is why that diagnosis is so important as a starting point – otherwise, it’s trial and error and guesswork, to some degree.
Best wishes, Alex.
Definitely check out twc the wig company on line I have purchased a couple wigs from them about a year ago I am having trouble with hair dyes too I am a lead singer/musician so I realize appearances in the entertainment business are important these wigs are beautiful anyone I ran into did not even know it was a wig
I’ve dyed my hair black for as long as I can remember. About 3 years ago, after I got it dyed, my scalp started itching and I had knots in the back of my head. I went to the doctor and was told I had an allergic reaction to the hair dye. I hoped that was not the case and dyed my hair black again a few months later. Again, I had the reaction. After some research online I realized I was all of a sudden allergic to PPD. I’ve been coloring my hair blond since then but really getting tired of it. And my natural hair color is a disaster 🙂
Anything you can recommend would be great!
I always recommend getting a proper diagnosis to be certain what the allergy is in the first instance. It may be PPD; it may be something else.
As for recommendations, well, I don’t offer personal recommendations as I’ve never tried hair dyes, and what works for one person, does not work for another. The PPD-free options are all given in the article. Once you know what you definitely react to, you can try alternatives. Black is difficult to achieve without PPD, unfortunately. Hannah Natural – mentioned in the article – have a black henna dye. So do Naturtint Reflex, and I’m sure others.
Good luck, A.
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Unfortunately I too am allergic to PPD. I’ve previously used dyes including henna’s to achieve a jet black look and one day suddenly the allergy occurred. After many attempts at locating PPD free dyes, I’ve since found the herbatint vegetal semi permanent colour which I’ve been using for ever since as it was always readily available at our Wellness and Herbal stores. This however has been discontinued (black) Are there any alternatives. I am in South Africa and some online stores in UK do have the delivery option for SA.
Have you tried the Naturtint Reflex Black, mentioned in the article near the Herbatint Vegetal?
Unfortunately none of the online stores delivers to South Africa
I’m still in search of a PPD free black hair dye
I’ve just asked Twitter followers and the SA Allergy association directly, to see whether they have any suggestions. You could also try contacting the allergy / eczema societies in South Africa, perhaps, as they may keep ‘safe’ product lists?
Juanita – are you OK with henna? This one should be safe for you: https://www.organicchoice.co.za/colouring/639-100-herbal-hair-colours-powder-logona.html#/shade-henna_black
Thanks so much for the recommendation of the Naturtint Reflex Black. I purchased this product online and a colleague collected this whilst in the UK and returned it to me here in South Africa. I am absolutely thrilled with the results. The product is easy to use, no mess, no fuss, and my hair looks and feels great even after using only half of the mixture.
I did the allergy test 48 hours prior just to ensure that I would not have any allergic reaction and can happily state that this is even better than the one I previously used
Thanks for your help
Delighted to hear it, Juanita!
I,too, am allergic to PPD along with many other things. I suffered through the contact dermatitis rashes for the sake of coloring my hair. Saw an advertisement for Madison Reed hair dye and it’s PPD free, so I tried it and am in love! Their website is easy and fun to use. Very affordable, too! I hope this helps. I wish I had found it sooner. It wasn’t listed in my “product book” my allergist gave me. I’m just happy I can have brown hair again!
Thanks for sharing, Kathy. Madison Reed I believe are Category 3 – they use TDS in their permanent hair colour options, so it won’t be suitable for everyone with PPD allergy.
I am very pleased that you found a product that works for you. I live in the UK, but not sure about you, can you tell me how you accessed an allergist?? I don’t know where to find one, thank you,
I went to Madison Reed for a skin patch test and unfortunately had an allergic reaction. Bummer! I am over 70% grey and can’t find a hair dye to cover my greys.
The only options I know are the ones I’ve given in the article, but there are so many comments here that perhaps there are other suggestions. Is it just PPD and other permanent dye ingredients you need to avoid? Surya may have some products which could work?
What is the name of the hair color dye please can you tell me and from where can i buy it ?
just wanted to add a comment about Henna. I am allergic to hair dye and so have spent ages looking at the alternatives. I found a Henna website that I liked and read every single bit of info on the web site, inclu all the comments.
I did a patch test and went onto putting a very small amount on my hair, not on my scalp; I wrapped it in foil, just to be sure. I was extremely surprised to have an allergic reaction. It was Henna with Indigo to make a brown colour; the company thought it was probably the indigo. So, moral of the story, just because it is natural (like nuts, grass, pollen etc), we can still have a reaction.
Oh absolutely – natural compounds are far likelier to trigger an allergy than a synthetic one, which are often ‘designed’ to be safer. There are no guarantees. I would still recommend patch testing though, if you did want to be sure. A lot of the henna products are indigo-free. Some use things like beetroot, cassia, coffee etc.
Thank you Alex, I didn’t know that about natural compounds – that is certainly not what the websites for henna are saying. Almost guarantee its allergy free. Thank you for this website, its helpful to share information. I haven’t yet found an indigo free Henna that will dye my hair brown, but will continue to look. Also I don’t actually know what caused my allergy, it could have been the henna.
The Sante Colour Creams look to be indigo-free. They’ve got cocoa / mahogany brown options.
Rainbow Research do a brown chestnut that seems to be just two types of henna, but that’s in the States.
I had a PPD-type reaction to Palette by Nature. Don’t know exactly what’s in it, but I was so disappointed.
Unfortunately, no dye or color can be ‘allergy free’ for everyone. The ingredients are on their site (there are a lot of them). It may be worth investigating, in case it’s something that appears in non-dye products?
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I heard japan, Korea & Spain made PPD free Genuine Black hair dye. is it true. If anyone know about, Pls. tell me brand name or other details
What do you mean by ‘genuine’?
Hello i am allergy hair color parafenilendiamina what’s hair color i need
Hi Leonita. Espanol? Italiano? I speak both if you want specific help. All the products linked to in this article are PPD free, though I’m unsure about availability in countries speaking those languages.
Hi what would you suggest, I tried Hairprint no itchy and redness or swallow skin good for my skin but not covered 100% gray. I’m using black on my gray hair. Any suggestions?
Hairprint can be great, but doesn’t work perfectly for everyone. Have you tried Naturtint Reflex Black? Really, it’s difficult for me to advise individually. I’m afraid ‘trial and error’ is something many women have to accept, although a trichologist may be able to advise in more detail.
I tried Kevin Murphy’s Colour Me range yesterday. Just a small patch test on my arm and reacted pretty severely like I have in the past. I have the PPD allergy from a ‘black henna’ tattoo when I was 16 (31 now and getting more and more allergic it seems). Just a reminder to ALWAYS DO A TEST! It may say PPD free but it’s got something else in it that makes it dangerous for PPD allergy sufferers.
Sorry to hear this, Beth – but thank goodness you did the patch test. Is there anywhere I can see the full ingredients of the product you used, might you know? i’ve looked at the Kevin Murphy website but it is not the most user friendly and can’t see any sign of ingredients listings … Reason I ask is that yes, it may contain something which cross-reacts with PPD, but it may also be an entirely different ingredient to which you are sensitive, and others with PPD allergy might not be.
Sadly enough, I had an awful reaction to Kevin Murphy, too! Itchy scalp, eyelids and hair line itchy, racing heart, tingling throat — the list goes on.
“Confusion occasionally arises as natural hair dye formulas often contain a number of similarly named compounds. Both PPD and Toluene-2,5 Diamine Sulfate belong to the same family of ingredients: phenylenediamines. Since these related ingredients belong to the same chemical family, it is mandated by the European Cosmetics Directive to list the official warning text ‘contains phenylenediamines’ on retail packaging. Natural hair color products that do not contain PPD may still list phenylenediamines in their ingredients; however, they will not contain ‘p-phenylenediamine.”
Kevin Murphy has Toluene-2,5 Diamine Sulfate:(
I have a severe PPD allergy and also react to the products that are said to be PPD-free. The information in this article regarding other chemicals in hair dye that can cause reactions is spot-on and important to note–thank you for that. People with these types of allergies and even hair stylists need to understand that PPD-free does not necessarily mean non-allergenic. When I had my first reaction I went to a dermatologist for allergy testing and he gave me a list of chemicals that are similar to PPD, so I was already aware that I could still react despite no PPD. I had severe allergies to lots of things when I was a kid, so I’m guessing that has made me sensitive to PPD. I “outgrew” many of my allergies thanks to many years of allergy shots, but a PPD allergy was not one that I was tested or treated for when I was young. Hair stylists must also be educated about the potential effects of non-PPD products for the safety of their clients. I had two patch tests applied last night with PPD-free products and I have reacted to one of them already this morning. The other so far has not reacted, but it will require further patch tests than just one spot to make sure before I even consider coloring my whole head. I’m reluctant to try henna. My hair stylist is doing a lot of research into products for me, but I am losing hope that I will ever find anything that is even semi-permanent but does not cause me to react.
Sorry you’ve had such difficulties. Other than henna options and Hairprint (mentioned in the article, but not appropriate for all), there is also Palette by Nature, but their ingredients lists are long. There is the ‘PPD-lite’ ‘allergy-gentle’ molecule ME+, but as you clearly have several sensitivities, perhaps or perhaps not related to PPD, I would be wary of trying it. But if you want to read more about it, I covered it here: https://www.allergy-insight.com/ppd-allergy-and-the-gentle-molecule/
Hi Alex, I have a photo of the packaging – do you have an email I can send it to?
Hi Beth, sure – contact me through email Alex icon on my website: http://www.alexgazzola.co.uk
hi, I wanted to know PHYTOCOLOR SENSITIVE colour products. It claims to have no PPD, but i was wondering if it contains any alternitives to PPD such as TD, TDS.
Yes, they have TDS, according to this: https://cdn1.costatic.com/documents/composition/phytocolor-sensitive-coloration-permanente.pdf
I don’t know of any permanent hair color products which are PPD free and don’t contain TD/TDS, other than the new ones with ME+. See this article for more on that: https://www.allergy-insight.com/ppd-allergy-and-the-gentle-molecule/
Hi Alex and thank you for your work in this field of allergans. I’m also allergic to ppd and after trying a non-ppd permanent hair color and awful reaction, I guess the color had TD/TDS in it (it was a Philip Martin’s color). Henna is ok for my skin but not for my grey’s… sadly. I wonder what should I try next. Since I live in Israel and all of the options mentioned above will require special order from overseas, I really want to try and make a good decision. can I kindly ask what would you suggest? My main goal is grey hair coverage, long lasting is of course a bonus.
I’m not familiar with Philip Martin, but if it’s permanent and PPD-free then yes it is likely to contain TD / TDS – although I’ve looked at the Italian website and is says ‘allergen’ free for the activator, which makes me wonder what the ingredients are. I can’t find them, so can’t comment.
Your situation is difficult and it is equally difficult to advise. You could try Hairprint, mentioned in the article, but see the Will Hairprint Work for Me section on their site.
If henna doesn’t work for you, then you need to consider the options given in Section 2 in the article – semi-permanent.
If you want to try another permanent option, there’s a new ‘allergy gentle’ molecule in some Clairol dyes – more information here: https://www.allergy-insight.com/ppd-allergy-and-the-gentle-molecule/ – but again, there are no guarantees and there is a small possibility of a reaction here too.
Make sure you do a patch test with anything new. Information here: https://www.allergy-insight.com/hair-dye-tests/
Let us know how you get on, Osnat!
Good luck, Alex
Thank you so much for your answer, I hope I’ll have good progress to update!
Sorry, I forgot to ask,
What do you think about Goldwell Elumen color? I saw in some places it supposed to be ppd free?
this is the product:
Haven’t come across this brand, but it’s a category 2 product – no oxidisers (no PPD / TDS) and using artificial colouring agents.
Hi Alex, Thanks! In simple words, what does it mean..? no risk?
Nothing is no risk, Osnat, I’m afraid!