ammonia free hair dye
Hair Products

Ammonia-Free Hair Dye (The Definitive List)

5 Favorite Ammonia-Free Hair Dye Brands

Have you ever wondered how color dye permanently changes the color of your tresses? After all, our hair doesn’t change color in any other circumstances – spilling paint on it, or using hair chalk, has no permanent effect. The fact is, permanent hair dyes require a catalyst that alkalizes your hair in order to ‘let the color in,’ so to speak.

This catalyst is often ammonia, an ingredient that acts as a corrosive on your hair, making it more susceptible to color dyes of your choosing. But is this process wise? (Learn about our pick for the best purple hair dye.)

Many people are, understandably, doubtful of ammonia’s safety when it comes to slathering it on their heads, and washing it off down their sinks. That is why using oils for your hair and a chemical-free shampoo have become so popular. Still, for others, the smell of ammonia is enough to turn them off.

So, are there ammonia-free hair dyes that we can use as a less noxious and nauseous alternative? The answer is yes! Here are our five favorite ammonia-free hair dye brands.

Organic Way (Oway)

Find your color: Organic Way Available Colors

Organic Way is one of the first professional-grade hair cosmetic brands whose products are both fair trade and organically sourced. Their Hcolor line boasts ammonia-free hair dyes laden with natural ingredients to help lock in color, without locking out moisture. Oway’s ingredients are sourced from biodynamic farms in Bologna, Italy – giving you the confidence to lather your hair in their organic, and safe, products. Oway’s Hcolor has been voted best ammonia-free hair dye in both 2015 and 2016 – so there is plenty of proof that Hcolor is your go-to for 100% ammonia-free color.

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Check out this handy video on how to use Oway’s Hcolor products.


Shea Moisture

Find Your Color: Shea Moisture Available Colors

Shea Moisture is a family-run, completely natural, and organic, fair trade beauty brand. Their color range promises to be paraben, sulfate, and ammonia-free, so there’s no damage to your hair or the earth.

We love Shea Moisture’s ethical standards, and accessibility for all (their dyes work on all types of hair, regardless of race). As their brand name suggests, their hair dyes’ base ingredient is shea butter, a natural moisturizer – promising to soothe your hair whilst coloring it.

Other ingredients include extracts from Acai berries, pomegranate, and wild yam. Their ingredients are carefully curated according to age-old family healing secrets hailing from Sierra Leone. If you’re looking to feel both safe, and confident in your ammonia-free hair dye, then look no further than Shea Moisture’s hair color system!

Clairol’s Natural Instinct

Find Your Color: Clairol Natural Instincts Available Colors

Want to use an ammonia-free hair dye from a tried and true brand? Clairol is a common go-to for over-the-counter hair dye products, and luckily for those of us wanting to avoid ammonia, they provide a non-permanent, 100% ammonia-free color range called ‘Natural Instinct.’

Natural Instinct forgoes using a catalyst to open up hair to dye altogether, so you can be confident that it uses no ammonia or any other corrosive chemical ingredient. Instead, Clairol’s Natural Instinct is a gentle, impermanent dye, using keratin to further protect hair from the damage usually done by permanent coloring.

This is a great dye for those of you looking for a temporary color boost, rather than a long-term color change. Natural Instinct promises its color lasts 28 washes, and it comes in a range of blondes, brunettes, and reds.

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ammonia free hair dye

Schwarzkopf Simply Color Permanent Hair Color

Find Your Color: Schwarzkopf Simply Color Permanent Hair Color

The formula of Schwarzkopf’s Simply Color products includes argan oil (perfect for hydration), oat milk, and soy protein. Natural products promise to rebuild the natural hair structure from within; protecting your hair from permanent damage, whilst opening it up to permanent color.

Schwarzkopf products are often used by salon professionals, proving that their ammonia-free hair dyes are guaranteed to result in high-quality shades and shines. Simply Color is mild and gentle, laden with Vitamins E, and A, and uses a botanical base, ensuring its safety for those of you with sensitive hair, and skin.


Find Your Color: Herbatint Available Hair Colors

Herbatint is a hair coloring brand founded by an herbalist who believed coloring products should repair, not damage. It uses enriching ingredients in its dyes to ensure long-term skin and hair health. One of the more affordable permanent color options on this list, Herbatint is completely ammonia-free yet fully effective.

The dyes are specially formulated with natural, herbal ingredients; including rosemary, cinchona, and walnut husk. This is a great product for those of you looking to permanently alter your hair color, but don’t want to go without a soft, glossy finish, and vibrant results. If you’re looking for more reasons to choose Herbatint, they are also 100% cruelty-free, vegan, and as a company they dedicate themselves to carbon offsetting and environmental protection.

Those are our favorite off-the-shelf ammonia-free hair dyes! But we didn’t want to wrap things up without giving a quick shout-out to one of our favorite, ammonia-free, natural dye alternatives: henna!

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Have You Heard of Henna For Your Hair?

Henna is a gentle, natural plant-based dye that can be used on both the skin and hair. It results in a reddish-brown color that is perfect for those of you with lighter hair looking to go darker (or looking to rock the redhead look).

If you’re wanting to go au naturale with your hair dye, it doesn’t get more down-to-earth than henna. Simply get your hands on some henna powder to get dyeing! Here’s a great how-to on coloring your hair using henna.

Browse Henna Products for Hair!

Whether you’re looking to save your hair from damage, or your lungs from noxious fumes, using an ammonia-free hair dye is a great alternative for those of you looking to color your hair without slathering on harsh chemicals.

The great thing about sourcing ammonia-free hair products is that they often come from brands that are eco and socially conscious – ensuring not only an ammonia-free product, but cruelty-free, and environmentally sound practices.

Whether you’re looking to go green, or blonde, make sure your hair dye is free of ammonia – for both your own health and that of the oceans that deal with the runoff! Making the switch to naturally sourced dyes is no big deal, and the results are often of higher quality because hair loves to be treated gently, and naturally.

You can also check out our full list of shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products.

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  1. Julie B says:

    Stacey “lies” in meadows. A hen “lays” in meadows. Normally not a huge gaffe…but if it’s on your advertising banner, it matters.

  2. Judith Gosbee says:

    Stacey needs to work on her grammar. Stacey should use “lies” and not “lays” unless she’s being very naughty. You need a proofreader.

  3. […] (See our four favorite sulfate-free shampoos.) […]

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