Color Your Hair Without Coloring the Bunny Print E-mail
Written by Suzann Kale   

Unlike cosmetics and skin care products, non-animal tested hair color is not yet a huge business. But it's a business. And cruelty-free hair dyes are out there.

What's Available

Of course there's henna, which has been around for centuries. I'll woman sitting by bright windowget into that a little later, because I want to start with some of the newer products first.

I tried Naturtint, from Spain's Phergal Labs, and liked it so much I used it again when it was time to re-color. Hazelnut Blond - a dark blond with golden-red tones - is very natural looking. Naturtint's color range is extensive, and it's widely available at Whole Foods and other health oriented outlets.

If you only have a little bit of gray, you can use the Naturtint Reflex Semi Permanent Rinse. Mahogany and Copper Blonde are especially nice colors.

Hair color artist Robert Craig has developed his own line of non-animal tested permanent hair dyes. The colors look gorgeous and I can't wait to try one of them. They come in mousse form, and will cover gray. For those of us who need instant gratification, Robert Craig hair color can be used over other chemical treatments, so there's no waiting for a perm or past coloring agent to fade or grow out.

Be sure, after using any of these dyes, to shampoo ever-so-gently with the mildest shampoo you can find. I'm using Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo and Conditioner now. I found that the Jason Shampoos keep the color intact longer - but the Aveda Shampoo leaves my hair more silky. I alternate between the two.

Speaking of Aveda, if you'd prefer to get your hair professionally colored, Aveda salons offer a wide range of colors and coloring products of that are both vegan and non-animal tested.

Vegan hair colors are also available at De Lorenzo in Australia. Called Nova Permanent Haircolor, many colors are currently on eBay, but it must be professionally applied.

Logona Color Cream Hair Color is made without animal testing. They also make a henna. It's available at BeWellStayWell and Spirit of Nature.

Vegan, non-henna, and non-animal tested: tints of nature. I just found it and have not yet tested it or talked to anyone who has used it. If you're familiar with it, please let me know. Press the "Contact Us" button on the main menu. Thanks! It comes in lots of colors, and is made by Herb UK Ltd.

woman's blue ey with henna hair
Spirit of Nature also has Sante Coloring Mousse, which washes out with the first shampoo.

Another choice is Herbavita. It's semi-permanent, rather than permanent, but some women say it lasts almost as long as permanent color. They have it at Goodness Direct. Herbatint is from the same company, but is better at covering gray.

Hedgerow Herbals makes pretty colors that have a henna base.

Jerome Russell has a wide range of color choices, from natural-looking to all-out glittery. Some of their colors need to be applied professionally in a salon. If you can't find a salon that carries Jerome Russell, why not order it yourself and hand-carry it to a willing professional?

Daniel Field Water Colours has gorgeous-looking colors, which he describes as "organic and mineral." They're available at Honesty Cosmetics and at his own UK site, Daniel Field. I've written to him asking for a list of ingredients, because it's unclear if he uses a henna blend, or if he's discovered something entirely new. I'll add that information to this article when I hear back.

Fun Colors

There is no lack of cruelty-free hair color for those of you who want to go pink, green, purple, and blue. Some well-known companies, with respected products, are ManicPanic, Punky Color, Directions by La Riche, Special Effects, Crazy Color, and Colour Shots.

Honestly, if I were younger I'd dye my hair pink. A friend recently dyed her hair purple, and it looked adorable. And if you are more conservative, you can still use these funky colors in subtle ways - like putting in one little stripe; or coloring the back underhairs purple while keeping the rest of your hair blond or light brown.

Pre-packaged Henna

Surya Henna Colouring Cream is from Phergal Labs, which alsowoman with pink wig and scissors makes Naturtint, so I trust it. They claim to cover 100% gray. And for you young things who aren't worried about gray yet, they also say you can use their powder or cream color on chemically treated hair. The formula is Ayurvedic, meaning it follows a certain Indian tradition.

Surya comes in brown, golden brown, and burgundy. For gray hair, use the cream version of burgundy, chocolate, or light brown. It's available at HerbsGardenHealth.

Henna to Mix At Home

Pure henna, or henna combined only with plant-based additives, is a wonderful, safe, and well-tested way to color your hair. As those of you who use henna know, the main drawback is that it's time consuming and a tad messy.

I've used Rainbow and Light Mountain with good results. Easy to find at health food stores, you can also order them online at

Need to Know

One caution I learned in my research for this article, though: be careful not to buy henna with added metallic salt (which is often labeled as compound henna dye), or black henna containing Para-Phenylenediamine, also known as PPD. Both are health hazards.

Another thing I learned. Contrary to what many think, you can cover gray with henna. The key is to go with the brown colors, perhaps henna pre-mixed with ground walnut or other natural ingredients. And do a strand test to see how long to leave it in. It may be a long time. When I used henna I left it on for almost 2 hours.

I'll have more on henna in an upcoming article.

Strand and Allergy Tests

blue wigMy main recommendation - and I can't stress this enough - is that you absolutely must do a strand test and an allergy test before using any hair color. I know it's inconvenient, and I've skipped many a test myself, but no more. Here's why:

1) A strand test is the only way to know if you will be getting the color you want. Pictures on boxes are only approximations.

2) Even natural products can cause sensitivities, itching, or reactions. The allergy test will keep you from dumping something on your head that you wish you hadn't.

3) You want your hair to come out with not only a great color, but great texture, body, and shine. A pre-color test is the only way to tell how the dye will affect your overall look.

4) These products are not as well known as commercial hair dyes. Color accuracy and ingredients vary widely.

In the meantime, please write to me and let me know what your experiences are with these and other products. If you're a company I've left out, let me know so I can include you.

You are a Trailblazer

We are on the forefront of "green" hair coloring. You and I. The more we use products that don't hurt creatures, the more we blaze a trail for others to follow. What is this trail? It's living a life of beauty and compassion. Hair color tests on animals are particularly nasty. We must support alternatives with our dollars and our lifestyles.

Mar.10, 2007

See also:

Henna - Yes You Can Cover Gray! at My Makeup Mirror

Simply Whispers allergy safe jewelry

Resource Linkswhite rabbit

Be Well Stay Well


Natural At-Home Haircolor at My Makeup Mirror

Herbs Gardens Health

Spirit of Nature

Goodness Direct

Hedgerow Herbals *

Jerome Russell

Honesty Cosmetics

Special Effects

By the Planet

Directions by Lariche

Robert Craig Hair Color

*I've written to Hedgerow Herbals to find out what happened to their hair color products, and if we might expect them to re-stock. I'll keep you posted.

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