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What is in Aveda Hair Color Ingredients?

Aveda Hair Color Ingredients

Today we are going to learn about Aveda Hair Color Pure Tones, one of the two permanent hair colors sold by Aveda.  When I research products and evaluate them for safety, I look at the ingredients and compare them with the ingredients of other major players in the industry.  I am so glad that I was emailed the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients so I can tell you what is in them.

I have been researching the ingredients of permanent hair colors for years now and publish my findings in the Permanent Hair Color Rating List e-book updated annually so you can choose a safer hair color.

What is in Aveda Hair Color Ingredients?

These are the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients, specifically the Aveda Hair Color Pure Tones ingredients.  They were emailed to me on December 19, 2018.

Water\Aqua\Eau [] Cocamide MEA [] Glyceryl Stearate [] Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate [] Cetearyl Alcohol [] Ammonium Hydroxide [] Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2 [] Resorcinol [] Glycerin [] Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax\Candelilla Cera\Cire De Candelilla [] Steareth-21 [] Aminomethyl Propanol [] Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract [] Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil [] Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil [] Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil [] Erythorbic Acid [] Fragrance (Parfum) [] Geraniol [] Linalool []Citronellol [] Lauramidopropyl Betaine [] Polysorbate 20 [] Sorbitan Stearate [] Oleic Acid [] Sodium Sulfite []Sodium Hydroxide [] Tetrasodium EDTA [] 4-Amino-2-Hydroxytoluene [] m-Aminophenol [] p-Aminophenol []2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol Hydrochloride

How do they look to you?  I know they are not easy to understand.  It took me years to know what I am looking at.

Hair Colorants (Dyes) are the Main Aveda Hair Color Ingredients


When you look at the permanent hair color ingredients, I recommend you focus your attention on the long words that look like chemicals.  In this case, these words are Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate, Resorcinol, 4-Amino-2-Hydroxytoluene,  m-Aminophenol, p-Aminophenol, and 2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol Hydrochloride. They are highlighted in red in the picture.

Aveda Hair Color Ingredients Aveda Hair Color Natural Hair Color Ingredients


These long words are hair dyes or colorants.  Every permanent hair color formulation has hair dyes that do the coloring job and also other ingredients, including an alkaline agent that opens the hair cuticle, water, emulsifiers, fragrance, plant extracts, and oils. The list of Aveda Hair Color Ingredients is no exception.

organic hair color

Want to make your choice easy?  Please check out the Permanent Hair Color
Rating List!

Some hair color brands market their permanent coloring products as “natural” or even “organic”.  That does not change the fact that those hair colors have to contain hair dyes.

The hair dyes are the components that can cause allergic reactions and are also associated with an increased risk of cancer.

So, if a so-called “natural” or “organic” permanent hair color uses botanical oils and extracts, to my way of thinking, it is not very important.  In other words, if you get an allergic reaction, it would not be important to you if there was jojoba oil listed as one of the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients.

Additionally, it is not clear how much natural oils and herbal extracts are helpful in permanent hair colors.  We know that hair colors damage hair, by design.  All permanent hair colors have an alkaline agent (ammonia or ethanolamine) that allows the color to penetrate it.  I am not aware of any research that shows how much healing a tiny amount of oil or extract can do, especially in the presence of these harsh alkaline chemicals.

Extreme Sensitizers in the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients

So in this post, let’s focus on hair colorants in the Aveda Hair Color Pure Tones and their allergic properties.  Fortunately, the European Union Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has assessed 110 hair dyes and classified them into extreme, strong and moderate sensitizers.  A sensitizer is a chemical that may cause an allergic reaction in a person, even after the person has already used a product in the past without any problems.

(If you are interested in learning more about this topic, each year, I evaluate permanent hair colors based in part on the SCCS reports, and publish my opinions in my Permanent Hair Color Rating List e-book, which is designed to help you choose a safer hair color based on your own needs.)

Unfortunately, the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients include an extreme sensitizer, as defined by the SCCS.  It is called toluene-2,5-diamine sulfate (TDS), which is a common substitute for p-phenylenediamine (PPD), another extreme sensitizer.

While they are both extreme sensitizers, PPD is more likely to cause an allergic reaction than TDS (source).

Also, there was a patch test study conducted on 26 people who were allergic to PPD, which is luckily not on the list of Aveda Hair Color Ingredients.  57.1% of them were not allergic to TDS.  Moreover, in most patch testing conducted in Europe over the years, PPD caused on average twice as many cases of an allergic reaction (source).

Thus, the use of TDS is some improvement in the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients over the use of PPD.

The Other Hair Dyes in the Aveda Hair Color Pure Tones


Most of the other hair dyes in the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients (with the exception of 2,4-diaminophenoxyethanol hydrochloride) are strong sensitizers as classified by the SCCS.

2,4-diaminophenoxyethanol hydrochloride has been classified as a moderate sensitizer.

organic hair color

Want to make your choice easy?  Please check out the Permanent Hair Color
Rating List!

Tiny Amounts of Hair Dyes Do Matter


Sometimes a hair dye company tells us that they only use 2% of PPD or TDS, implying that we should not worry about such a small percentage.  I have two concerns about that.

One is that when SCCS evaluated hair dyes for sensitization, they used very small amounts.  For example, they found that PPD is an extreme sensitizer when it was tested in the concentration of 0.06% and found TDS, which is among the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients, to be an extreme sensitizer in the concentration of 0.31%.  So as you can see, tiny amounts do matter.

By the way, the SCCS limits its use to 2% when mixed with hydrogen peroxide.

The second concern I have is that we consumers do not know the concentration amounts of these chemicals.  At this point in time, I am still struggling to get a full list of ingredients from some hair dye companies.  As I have mentioned above, I got the Aveda Hair Color Ingredients by email, but, for example, Kevin Murphy and All-Nutrients refused to provide them to me.  I was able to include Kevin Murphy in my rating list because I got them from a box.  By law, they must list them on the packaging.  But you won’t find them online anywhere, even if you directly ask them to send them to you.

Conclusion about Aveda Hair Color Ingredients


It is some improvement that Aveda uses TDS instead of PPD in the Aveda Hair Color Pure Tones.  However, there is a lot of room for improvement.  I encourage Aveda to consider eliminating all extreme sensitizers from their hair coloring products.  And disclose the amounts of hair dyes as a percentage of all Aveda Hair Color Ingredients.  You can do it!

If you are curious to learn more about other permanent hair colors, please read the following posts listed below.  You can also use the SCCS reports to evaluate the safety of a permanent hair color you are planning to use.   And please do a patch test every time, because they are sensitizers!

If you are short on time or research is not your thing, check out my Permanent Hair Color Rating List e-book.  Thank you for being part of the hair color safety movement.  We will get there, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

15 thoughts on “What is in Aveda Hair Color Ingredients?”

  1. Ive been using Hairprint for a 2 years now, but it’s so messy and not very happy with the results. I’ve been reading your reviews of the various hair color products ingredients, etc… So sad, there seems to be no other close recommendations next to Hairprint. Or do you have a recommendation next to Hairprint? Which one?

  2. Hello,
    I just wanted to thank you for the info on Aveda hair color!!!! Its a big deal for me. i really am at odds about where to go next. please tell me is there any hair color out there that does cause cancer?

  3. You mentioned Kevin Murphy color, but didn’t say much about it. I have been looking forever for SAFE COLOR FOR MYSELF AND MY CLIENTS!!HELP is Kevin Murphy 👍🏻Or👎🏻

  4. It’s been awhile nce I had a severe reaction to hair dye and now I have again. Revlon medium brown that I use on roots only for grey hair kicked my butt last week and kicked some of my hair to the curb. It bears testament to the info you provided about sensitivities suddenly flairing up again. It’s a humbling experience to lose one’s hair. I am off hair dye. Beware these chemical reactions are not worth it at all.

  5. Really thanks for sharing this useful post. I Have got very good information about hair color ingredients. Keep sharing !!

  6. I have gotten sores on my scalp for the last 10 yrs. I seem to be sensitive to lots of things. My face also breaks out and is quite sensitive. I no more get sores healed and get more. I’m a hairdresser and have colored my hair for a long time. Any advice?

    1. Deb, I’m sorry to tell you but you have to stop coloring your hair at very least with permanent hair colors. Have you considered semi-permanent options, henna hybrids or henna? ~Irina

  7. Hello,

    My mom had a color reaction back in 2017 using Just For Men Mustache and Beard color, hasn’t color since then everytime she color it reacted worse mosquito like bumps dryness nothing else..

    I’ve bought henna indigo combination but it really did not turn mom hair strand brown only orangy brown. Not great.

    I’ve been searching since then can’t find a PPD Free Hair Dye… It’s either the Toluene Diamine Sulfate which I am not sure how safe it is.

    Please help me! It’s frustrating for mom to keep her hair gray it’s now at least 50% gray hair…

    Most natural organic hair dye either have too many ingredients or contain Toluene Diamine Sulfate frustrated. Or if you know any other natural ways to color gray hair would be great. I’ve tried black walnut didn’t work, tried activate charcoal, coffee and conditioner almost everything on the websites.

    Thanks Again.

      1. Hi Irina,
        I’ve looked at the list but what am confused that most of them have Toluene Diamine Sulfate! Is it better safer then PPD? Tint of Nature has PPD for instance.

        Eco Colors is it any safer?

        My mom has smell sensitivity too. So trying to limit to alcohol, perfume, PPD and Toluene Diamine Sulfate…

          1. Hello Irina,

            I’ve looked at the eBook hair dye you have recommended.

            There’s lots of options but am confused that so many have so many ingredients Toluene Diamine Sulfate, etc.. I’ve tried the henna it’s work sometimes not so much other times hard to tell the indigo and henna mix.

            Tint of Nature has PPD.

            My mom suddenly had a reaction when she colored her hair, no more coloring
            She hasn’t done the patch test because they want to put everything that is on the panel plus scared it might cause rash etc

            Been to allergist Dr Bernstein.

            Doctor wasn’t much help or told us any hair dye.

            If we use hair dye with Toluene Diamine Sulfate I don’t know if it’s safe to use.

            Thanks Again.

          2. Salman, the hair dyes listed on the sales pages are rated, not deemed safe or the safest. And yes, you are right that hair dyes with TDS are not safe. In fact, there are no safe permanent hair dyes. The safest choice is henna, which is not challenging for people with a lot of grey hair. ~Irina

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