During my college years, dying hair was quite popular with girls. Even though none of us needed it at that time, we did it just for the sake of color. Now, 25 years later, I try to put off dying my hair for as long as possible even though now I do need it. The reason I am cautious about coloring my hair is that I know what hair dyes are made of and simply don’t want to risk my health. However, there are safe solutions. Stay with me to find out if Tints of Nature hair color is one of them. We will look not only into Tints of Nature hair dye but also into Tints of Nature henna cream.
The Tints of Nature website markets its permanent hair color as “containing 95% naturally derived ingredients,” and as being “free from ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, cocamide DEA and propylene glycol.” Does that mean that it is safe or at least safer than other permanent hair colors? The key to gauging the safety of a hair color, or any beauty or personal care product, is to look at the ingredients. After doing this for years, I encourage you to ignore marketing claims and advertisement and jump right to the list of ingredients.
Tints of Nature hair color ingredients
Let us look at Tints of Nature hair dye ingredients using those listed on the Tints of Nature website for 3N Natural Dark Brown Permanent Hair Dye, accessed on April 13, 2020.
PEG-2 Soyamine, Aqua,*Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, **PEG-4 Rapeseedamide, **Propanediol, Oleic Acid, Ethanolamine, †Parfum **Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, p-Phenylenediamine, 4-Chlororesorcinol, Sodium Sulfite, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Hydrosulfite, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, *Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, *Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, 2-Amino-4-Hydroxyethylaminoanisole Sulfate, N- Phenyl-p-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, m-Aminophenol, 4- Amino-hydroxytoluene, Tocopherol (source).
What do you think about the ingredients? Have you had a chance to look at the ingredients of a permanent hair color before?
The long chemical words are hair dyes. In other words, they are color additives that do the job of coloring. Therefore, every permanent hair color must contain them. Otherwise, it will not be able to cover gray hair or dramatically change your natural hair color.
Tints of Nature hair color dyeing agents
To begin, there are six hair dyes in the Tints of Nature hair dye formulation:
N- Phenyl-p-Phenylenediamine Sulfate
Further, these dyes do not come from plants or minerals. According to the FDA, they are called “coal-tar dyes,” because originally coloring materials were by-products of the coal industry. Now, as the FDA states, they come from petroleum.
Hence, we cannot consider the Tints of Nature permanent hair color dyeing ingredients naturally derived – unless we count petroleum as natural, of course. As a matter of fact, there is no legal definition of the phrase “naturally derived.” Thus, it is simply a marketing term.
Hair dyes and allergic reactions
To continue, the FDA warns consumers that “some coal-tar hair dyes can cause allergic reactions or sensitization that may result in skin irritation and hair loss. People can develop sensitivities with repeated exposure.” (source)
To clarify, sensitization means developing an allergic reaction to a product over time and with repeated use. For example, if you are fine after using a Tints of Nature hair color today, this does not mean you will never have an allergic reaction to it. In fact, if you use a sensitizer, you are more likely to have an allergic reaction each time you use the product. That’s why the FDA advises that people who dye their hair perform a patch test before every application.
A patch test is when you test a small patch of hair to see if there are any adverse reactions. It’s important to do this each time you use a hair dye, even if you have used the hair dye before. Be sure to do so, just in case you have become sensitized through the prior applications.
Sensitizers in the Tints of Nature hair dye
Do any of the six hair dyes in the Tints of Nature hair color cause sensitization?
For starters, the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has tested and classified 110 hair dyes into extreme, strong, and moderate sensitizers.
This is how the SCCS has classified the six hair coloring chemicals in the Tints of Nature permanent hair color.
How does this make you feel? Are the Tints of Nature’s claims about “95% naturally derived ingredients” and being “free from ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, cocamide DEA and propylene glycol” as equally appealing to you?
Small amounts of hair dyes matter
You may think that Tints of Nature used hair coloring chemicals in tiny amounts, and so they are nothing to worry about.
However, the amount of dye used in the SCCS patch tests was very small, too. For example, p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) was tested at 0.06%. Another extreme sensitizer in the Tints of Nature hair color, N-Phenyl-p-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, was tested at 0.02%.
Consequently, small amounts do matter. Even if all the hair dyes that the product contains amounted to less than 1%, there would still be a risk of sensitization, allergic reaction, and hair loss.
Hence, in my Permanent Hair Color Rating List e-book, I rate hair color brands based on the risk of sensitization and other health risks. So, if you want to know my opinions as to how Tints of Nature hair dye compares to other permanent hair colors, check it out.
What “ammonia free” really means
Is the fact that Tints of Nature hair color is free of ammonia a great thing?
Naturally, you have noticed many hair color companies boast that their hair colors are free of ammonia. Because ammonia has a strong odor, we tend to think that a hair color without the odor is good for us, or at least better than the one with ammonia. However, it is not that simple.
Substitute for ammonia in the Tints of Nature hair dye
When a manufacturer claims that their product is “free” of something, I always encourage my blog readers and clients to investigate what they use instead.
In essence, all permanent hair colors work the same way. That is to say, they open the outer layer of the hair so that hair dyes can penetrate the hair. And the chemicals that do this job are ammonia or its substitute, ethanolamine.
So, if ammonia is not in the hair color list of ingredients, ethanolamine must be there instead. Unfortunately, ethanolamine is not any better. In fact, studies have shown that it is more harmful. You can learn about how it is more harmful in my ammonia-free hair color brands post.
Tints of Nature henna cream
Now that we have discussed the ingredients of the Tints of Nature hair color, let us look at the ingredients of its henna cream to see how similar they are to those of the Tints of Nature hair dye.
I accessed the ingredients on April 13, 2020.
Aqua,**Propanediol, **Cetyl Alcohol, **Stearyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Oleth-10, Basic Brown 16, **Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Alcohol Denat., Stearalkonium Chloride, Triethanolamine, Cetrimonium Chloride, †Parfum, Polyquaternium-10, Basic Blue 99, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Limonene, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Leaf Extract, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, *Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, *Calendula Officinalis (Marigold) Flower Extract, *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, *Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Sodium Benzoate, *Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Basic Red 76, Acid Violet 43, Basic Yellow 57, Basic Red 51, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Sorbic Acid (source).
As you can see, despite being called “henna cream,” it consists of more than just henna. It is not a simple henna/indigo/cassia powder that you mix with water. To clarify, I consider those powders truly natural hair color products and the safest option available to us.
Instead, Tints of Nature henna cream is a semi-permanent hair color that contains not only henna but also a lot of chemical ingredients. Just as the Tints of Nature permanent hair color, the Tints of Nature henna cream has chemical hair dyes.
Hair dyes in the henna cream
Like the Tints of Nature hair color, the henna cream has six hair dyeing agents as well: basic brown 16, basic blue 99, acid violet 43, basic red 76, basic yellow 57, and basic red 51.
The good news is that, unlike in the Tints of Nature hair dye, three of them are non-sensitizers: basic red 76, basic yellow 57, and basic red 51.
There is one moderate sensitizer, which is basic brown 16. And as for basic blue 99 and acid violet 43, they have not been classified by the SCCS. In the case of basic blue 99, the SCCS could not estimate its safety because manufacturers submitted highly variable batches.
You should also know about reports of positive allergic reaction to semi-permanent hair dyes. For example, the Contact Dermatitis medical journal reported the case of a 56-year old woman who developed generalized wheals, nausea, dyspnea, and impaired consciousness 10 min after she washed off a semi-permanent hair dye. Luckily, she knew to go to the ER immediately.1
Conclusion about Tints of Nature hair color and henna cream
To sum up, in this post you have learned about the importance of reading ingredients, not just marketing claims. You have also learned that despite appealing marketing claims, Tints of Nature hair dye is not safe, in my opinion. It can cause sensitization because it includes extreme, strong, and moderate sensitizers as defined by the European Union SCCS.
As for the Tints of Nature henna cream, it promises 80% coverage, which is not bad. If you are ok with it, go for it, as it is safer than a permanent hair color. It contains neither ammonia nor ethanolamine. Nor does it have extreme or strong sensitizers. However, remember that being a semi-permanent hair color, it can also cause an allergic reaction. In other words, it is not completely safe, but may serve as a transition step from a permanent hair color to a safer hair color.
In addition, the hair dyes in the Tints of Nature henna cream vary depending on the shade. If you are looking for a safer shade, I can assist you in finding the best. Book a consultation with me, and I will help you choose the safest shade out of the shades you show to me. You can also check out its Amazon reviews here.
You can also find natural hair color products and many other safe products in my shop.
1 Washio, K., Ijuin, K., Fukunaga, A., Nagai, H., & Nishigori, C. (2017). Contact anaphylaxis caused by Basic Blue 99 in hair dye. Contact Dermatitis, 77(2), 122-123.