How To Color Your Hair Without Harming The Environment

Is your hair environmentally friendly? It's an organic compound and is biodegradable (taking anywhere from 12 to 24 months to break down). Provided proper waste management procedures are followed, the hair removed from your head at the salon won't pose an environmental threat. But what about if you color your hair? If you want to be kind to nature, does this mean you have to stick with your hair's natural color?

How Chemical Dye Works

When hair color is changed with permanent dye, the dye is absorbed into the hair shaft's cuticle, where it binds with the internal cortex, changing the color of each individual hair. This change of pigmentation requires strong chemicals (primarily ammonia) to penetrate the hair's shaft, which is why hair dye is not generally environmentally friendly—unless you do some homework.

How These Chemicals Can Harm the Environment

Ammonia isn't the only potentially harmful chemical used in hair dye. Benzenes, lead, and a compound called p-Phenylenediamine can also be found. These chemicals are flushed down the drain in large amounts when your hair is colored, and in reduced amounts over the following weeks as your hair slowly loses small amounts of color. Such chemicals can't be effectively neutralized by wastewater treatment (which is the fate of any water or chemicals flushed down the drain) and can harm aquatic life. Fortunately, there are alternatives that are kinder to the environment.

Organic Substitution

Ask your salon if they stock eco-friendly hair colors. These will be dyes that are free of ammonia and p-Phenylenediamine and can be permanent or semi-permanent. With their organic substitution of the harsh chemicals found in commercial hair dye, natural hair dye may not last as long as its synthetic counterpart, but this depends on the color used, as well as your individual hair. You may also wish to talk to your stylist about techniques that require less dye. For example, you could use highlights to blend your gray hair with your natural color, instead of entirely covering it up. 

Kind to Animals

You should also ensure that the dye used on your hair is vegan. This means that it must not be tested on animals, making it cruelty-free. Also, it should not contain animal products. Some types of dye use vitamin A and squalene, which are derived from shark liver oil. 

It's actually not that difficult to be sure that your hair color is kind to the environment. In fact, all you have to do is ask a few questions and then make the right choice.

For more information, contact a hair coloring service in your area such as Custom Hair Lounge.