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  5. Why Is It Better To Use Ammonia Free Hair Dye?

Do you experience irritation, itching, and dryness on your scalp just after you dye your hair? This probably is due to ammonia [1] present in your hair dyes.

Ammonia in hair dyes can severely impact your scalp and hair health. So, before you decide to go for it, look for ammonia-free hair dyes to prevent any damage to your hair early on.

In this article, we tell you how ammonia-free hair dyes can make your hair color process hassle-free and safe.

What Does ‘Ammonia Free’ In Hair Dye Mean?

As the name suggests, ammonia-free hair dyes do not have ammonia but contain alternative ingredients to impart color to your hair. Besides coloring agents, ammonia-free dyes mostly include emollient oils to prevent the loss of protein and moisture from the cuticles when you color your hair.

Is It Better To Use Ammonia Free Hair Dye?

Ammonia present in hair dyes acts as an agent to make your hair follicle swell so that it absorbs the color pigment of the dye well. This, in turn, leads to the damage of your hair follicles. Also, the small molecules of ammonia in hair dyes evaporate quickly which creates a strong pungent smell while increasing your hair porosity.

“As per Ayurveda, the ammonia present in hair colors can cause aggravation in Vata and Pitta doshas. This can result in various scalp and hair related problems, especially in people with Vata and Pitta dominant Prakritis,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

In ammonia-free hair dyes, alkaline agents which have larger molecules are utilized. As the larger molecules of alkaline compounds have lesser capabilities to penetrate the hair follicles, it causes less swelling and damage to your follicles. Also, the evaporation rate of larger molecules is slower, which prevents the increase in hair porosity. Thus, ammonia-free hair dyes have much gentler action on your scalp and hair when compared to ammonia-based colors.

Do All Hair Dyes Have Ammonia?

No. Unlike past times, we have many formulations for hair colors that are ammonia-free today. Monoethanolamine (MEA), Cocamide MEA, and Aminomethyl propanol MEA are the most commonly used alternatives for ammonia in hair dyes.

“Ayurvedic herbs such as henna, amla, and neeli which have been traditionally used as hair dyes for ages, can impart promising coloring action to your hair. These can be your best and natural choices for ammonia-free hair dyes while keeping your doshas in balance,” says Dr. Zeel.

Since ancient times, India has been described as the country with the largest dye-production in the world. Natural dyes such as Indigo from India have ruled the world market from as early as 500 B.C.

Ammonia Free Ayurvedic Hair Dye Benefits

1. No Side Effects

By switching to ammonia-free herbal hair dyes, you can avoid side effects such as scalp irritation, pungent odor, cuticle damage, imbalance in natural melanin production, etc. usually caused by chemical-based hair dyes otherwise.

2. Deep Nourishment

Herbal dyes enrich your follicle and hair with all the essential nutrients and phytonutrients that are required for healthy, thick, and lustrous hair growth.

3. Resolution Of Existing Hair Problems

Ayurvedic colouring herbs have natural antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and superior conditioning properties which help you control a variety of ailments such as split ends, hair fall, dandruff, other scalp infections, etc. The herbs can bring your vitiated doshas to balance too.

4. Eco-Friendly

Plant-based hair dyes are 100% biodegradable and do not cause any harm to the environment.

Ammonia Free Ayurvedic Hair Coloring Herbs

1. Madayantika (Henna)

Henna reduces aggravated Pitta and Kapha doshas. It contains an organic compound called ‘Lawson’, which tends to bond with your hair protein. The longer you let henna stay on your hair, the stronger and deeper shade of color it gives to your hair. The colours can range from red to orange, chestnut brown, and burgundy. Also, henna helps to soothe the itching sensation on your scalp.

How To Use

A. Prepare a thick paste by adding the required amount of tea or coffee decoction to 100-300 gms of henna powder as per your hair length.

B. Add a spoon of fresh lemon juice to the henna paste. You can also add egg white or yogurt to it for deep conditioning.

C. Put the paste in an iron container and let it soak overnight.

D. The next morning, apply the paste to your hair thoroughly and leave it for at least 2 hours depending on your preferred color intensity.

E. Later, wash your hair thoroughly with repeated rinses using normal water.

F. Have a hair wash again with an Ayurvedic shampoo and conditioner the next day.

natural henna hair color dyes

2. Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)

Amla helps in balancing all the three doshas. Besides promoting new hair growth, amla dyes can prevent various scalp and hair infections caused by pathogens. Also, it helps in resolving issues such as dandruff, premature greying, hair loss, etc. besides improving your follicle health.

How To Use

A. Take an iron pan and put about 100 gms of seedless and dried amla in it.

B. Put the pan on low flame and roast amla until they turn black.

C. Add a glass of water to the pan and let the amla boil for about 10 minutes on high flame.

D. Turn off the stove and keep the pan untouched overnight.

E. Next morning, grind the softened amla pieces into a fine paste.

F. Now, apply this paste to your hair thoroughly and wash it off with normal water after 2 hours.

G. You can repeat this process on alternate days to see visible results after your fifth or sixth application.

3. Neelini (Indigo)

Indigo herb balances your aggravated Vata and Kapha doshas. It contains a glycoside compound (glucose+indoxyl), which is responsible for its blue coloring action. The highly nutritional indigo powder is made from partially fermented and sun-dried leaves of the herb.

How To Use

A. Prepare a fine paste by adding an adequate amount of warm water into 100-300 gms of indigo powder as per your hair length.

B. Apply the paste properly across your hair using gloves.

C. Leave your hair with the dye for at least 45min to 2 hours depending on your preferred color intensity.

D. Wash your hair thoroughly with normal water and shampoo the next day.

Vedix Tip: You can mix henna and indigo powder in equal parts and use it if you want to dye your hair black.

What Are The Side Effects Of Ammonia In Hair Color?

1. Repeated usage of ammonia-based dyes results in brittle, dry, and frizzy hair as they damage your hair cuticles letting the moisture evaporate from your hair.

2. Ammonia destroys tyrosine[2], an amino acid that is responsible for the production of melanin pigment in your follicle. This compromises the ability of your hair to hold any color and leads to premature greying eventually.

3. Ammonium hydroxide[3], a potential skin irritant is formed when water comes in contact with ammonia in your hair dye. This may result in a burning sensation in your eyes, nose, and scalp when you wash your hair.

4. There might be instances where ammonia gets into your bloodstream through your follicle, when applied over your scalp. Also, the ammonia vapors you get exposed to in salons during color treatments may cause infections in your throat, lungs, eyes, and sinuses.

5. Ammonia is a harsh corrosive, which is potentially harmful to the environment. When you wash your hair, the chemicals discharged from your hair dyes often end up in your local waterways and soil[4]. This in turn results in adulteration of crops and danger for aquatic life.

How Often Can You Use Ammonia Free Hair Dye?

In general, it is recommended to have a gap of 4-6 weeks between each hair color treatment to avoid any risk of damage caused by chemical dyes to your hair.

“However, you can use herbal hair dyes more frequently depending on your hair color needs as they do not have side effects,” says Dr. Zeel.

How Long Does Ammonia Free Hair Color Last?

Hair dyes that contain plant-based ingredients or alkaline medium such as ethanolamine[5] can last up to 5 weeks on average.

What Are The Differences Between Ammonia And Ammonia Free Hair Color?

Ammonia Based Hair Color

Ammonia Free Hair Color

  • It causes more swelling and damage to your follicles.
  • The pigment absorption is more deeper.
  • The color is more vibrant and lasts longer.
  • Lesser residue build up.
  • Leaves harsh odour.
  • It causes lesser swelling in your follicles.
  • The pigment absorption is superficial.
  • The color can be less vibrant and does not last as long as with ammonia based dyes.
  • More residue tends to build due to the use of larger molecule alkaline compounds.
  • No strong odour is produced.

The Last Word

Ammonia-free hair dyes can be your go-to solution to color your hair. While many brands are coming in the market with ammonia-free hair dye formulations, Ayurveda offers natural hair coloring herbs which you can opt for gentle and nourishing action on your scalp and hair. These herbs are safe to use and don't have any side effects.

At Vedix, we customize your Ayurvedic hair care regimen with products that contain your dosha-specific herbal ingredients to resolve your unique hair problems.

Know Your Dosha Now