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Ammonia Free Hair Dyes Benefits, Best Brands, and Using It While Pregnant


Why hair dyes without ammonia?

Ammonia and peroxide containing hair dyes have a reputation of leaving hair dry and damaged. These chemicals open up the hair shaft and cuticle thereby allowing the dye molecules to work on the hair shaft.

Hair professionals who use ammonia end up irreparably damaging their clients’ hair. These chemicals can harm delicate scalps. Moreover, prolonged exposure to ammonia can lead to serious health problems to the clients and the health professionals. As a result of its potential harms along with the growing consumer preference for ammonia-free or organic products, people are going for hair colors without ammonia.

Ammonia free hair dyes benefits, best brands and use during pregnancy
Why ammonia free hair dyes? 

No ammonia-containing hair colors are simply products that offer an alternative to the ammonia component in dyes. Some of the chemicals that substitute ammonia include MEA (monoethanolamine/ethanolamine). Similar to ammonia, this chemical opens the hair shaft slightly to allow the pigment to enter the hair follicle. MEA is less effective compared to ammonia. As a result, higher concentrations of the chemicals are used.

Hair dyes without ammonia are likely to contain chemicals similar to ammonia. It may contain peroxide, p-phenylenediamine, or resorcinol which are equally as harmful as ammonia. Therefore, you have to recognize using “ammonia-free hair color,” does not necessarily translate to safer approach to hair coloring.

There are some pros and cons to the use of ammonia and peroxide free hair color. They include:


  • Ammonia free hair color is best to use if it’s your first time to dye your hair. The product will cover your first gray and will add luster to your natural hair color. Most ammonia free hair dyes fade gradually with every wash.
  • Ammonia free hair dyes lack the distinctive smell characteristic of the chemical.
  • Latest advancements in ammonia-free technology have resulted in products that provide an up to 100% coverage and last longer. For instance, the Garnier Oila brand.


  • Some hair professionals are not excited about the ammonia free products in the market; arguing that the dyes do not produce 100% coverage. However, with the continuous advancements in ammonia-free technology, there are brands in the market that offer a premium, and more lasting technology.

Best brands 

Presently, there are numerous brands in the market advertising based on the claim that they are ammonia-free. However, as we have seen so far, being ammonia-free does not necessarily translate to being hair-friendly. Still, there are some great products out there. One of the best ammonia free hair colors includes the Loreal ‘no ammonia’ hair color. This brand is available in a wide array of shades, and makes the hair smoother, more glossy, and lasts longer. According to the vice president for marketing in L’Oreal U.S, the L’Oreal hair color without ammonia has finally put an end to hair damage resulting from coloring.

Aside from L’Oreal and Garnier’s Oila,  there are other notable ammonia free hair brands. They include; Clairol Natural Instincts demi-permanent formula. This brand is ammonia-free and contains natural oils such as ammonia and coconut oil. When using Clairol, it is advisable to stick to lighter shades of the color that you prefer and to stick to neutral shades so as to get the best results.

The BBLUNT Salon Secret High Shine Crème is another ammonia-free product in the market. The brand is preferable for the DIY fans and promises to leave the hair smooth and shiny. On the other hand, the product is not advisable if you have dry hair, and tends to fade within eight weeks. Another favorite product in the market is the Matrix, wonder black “Ammonia free” hair dye. This brand gives hair 100% coverage to grey hair. However, the brand has limited shades in the market and only lasts for about 6 weeks.

Other products to look out for include Revlon Colour Silk, Naturtint Perm hair color, Godrej Expert Rich crème, and Schwartzkopf.

According to Eluxe magazine, the best permanent hair color with no ammonia include; O&M (Original and Mineral). This brand is a favorite with professionals and celebrities, and was one of the first in the market to offer, ammonia, peroxide and resorcinol free permanent hair dye. Other brands include Natulique Organic Colours, K pour Karité Natural Hair Colour, and NATURIGIN Permanent Hair Colour.

Is it ideal while pregnant

As much as we love to dye our hair, there are other chemicals to be concerned about. The most dangerous of these chemicals is PPDs (p-Phenylenediamine), which can lead to lung, bladder, or kidney cancer. Other harmful chemicals aside from ammonia include Per-sulfates, resorcinol, hydrogen peroxide, lead acetate, and 4-ABP. Hair dyes containing these compounds have banned in Japan and Europe. That being said, it is probably advisable to avoid dyeing your hair during pregnancy.

Doctors recommend dyeing your hair after your first trimester. However, with the advent of ammonia-free technology, it is okay to dye your hair during pregnancy using ammonia-free products. Just make sure to consult with your physician, or talk to your stylist concerning good ammonia-free brands for you.

Points to consider

If you are going for a drastic transformation for your hair, it is advisable to go slow and opt for applying one shade at a time depending on your hair.

In a study carried out in 2001 by the International Journal of Cancer, researchers observed that women who have engaged in the practice of permanent hair dyeing faced a higher risk of cancer. A similar study in 1994 noted that women who exposed their hairs to dark hair dyes for more than 20 years had a higher risk of developing cancers such as multiple myeloma and bladder cancer.

Therefore, if you are worried about the safety of applying hair dyes while pregnant, you can opt for natural strategies, such as using henna. There are brands, such as the Morocco Method brand that combine natural ingredients such as chamomile, calendula, Indigo, and henna, to give you an extensive array of shades. There is also the Black Walnut powder that can be used to get darker hair color.