Dear Color Crew is a recurring blog post where we answer hair-related questions–no matter how hairy they may be–from readers like you. Got a question? Email our team of professional colorists at ColorCrew@Madison-Reed.com.
Dear Color Crew,
I have read a lot recently about the safety of hair color, which makes me worried. I really want to keep coloring my hair, but how do I know if what I am using is safe? What ingredients should I look out for?
We love this question because it truly gets to the heart of why we do what we do here at Madison Reed. Here’s the thing―we totally understand your concerns. We believe that coloring your hair should make you not only look gorgeous, but feel amazing. Which means you shouldn’t have to worry about what’s in your hair color. This is why all of our products, including our Radiant Cream Color, are 100% free of ammonia, PPD, resorcinol, parabens, phthalates, gluten, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), and titanium dioxide.
We hold ourselves to the highest standard when it comes to the ingredients in our products. Our color is crafted in Italy, which means that it meets the strict safety standards put forth by the European Union (EU), which bans over 1300 chemicals not proven to be safe.
Remember, a skin sensitivity test should always be done 48 hours before you color, even if you have used coloring products before.
I’m sure you’ve heard of certain ingredient offenders in hair color. Here are the ingredients we will never use, and why...
Ammonia has a strong odor often associated with hair color, and exposure to ammonia fumes can irritate skin, eyes, throat, and lungs, causing watery eyes, itchy scalps, coughing, or burning.
We never use ammonia in any of our formulas. Instead, we use ethanolamine, an ingredient that helps give predictable, permanent results, while being more pleasant and comfortable to use.
PPD is short for para-phenylenediamine, a hair dye traditionally used to create darker shades of hair color. It is known to be an allergen and skin sensitizer. Contact with the skin can cause dermatitis and other serious reactions. Although many manufacturers have determined that PPD reactions occur infrequently enough to continue using PPD in their products, we have decided to find a safer alternative to PPD.
We never use PPD in our hair color or in any of our formulas. One key ingredient used to replace PPD is PTD, a Para Toluene Diamine (PTD) ingredient called Toluene 2,5-Diamine Sulfate (TDS). Color with PTD creates the same rich, dark shades our clients love, with a lower likelihood of allergic reactions that one would expect from the use of PPD. Our semi-permanent Color Reviving Gloss does not contain PPD or PTD.
Although it’s used in most permanent hair colors due to its efficacy in coloring hair, we never use resorcinol in our formulas as it is classified as a hazardous chemical and can be toxic to the immune system. In fact, resorcinol has been formally classified as an irritant by the European Union, and has been prohibited in cosmetic products in several countries. Resorcinol is a skin irritant, and is frequently one of the ingredients that users are allergic to in hair dye.
We never use resorcinol in our ingredients. Instead, we use 2-methylresorcinol as a replacement, which has a different molecular structure and is gentler during the hair color process.
Widely used in beauty products as a cosmetic preservative to promote longer shelf life, parabens have long been the subject of controversy. The concern is that parabens may disrupt the endocrine system, interfering with hormone production. In addition, parabens can produce skin irritation and severe allergic reactions.
While the long-term impact of parabens remains inconclusive, we have decided to never use parabens in any or our formulas.
Banned in the EU, phthalates are often used as solvents and plasticizers in shampoo and styling products. Several studies have found that phthalates might have some effects on hormones as possible endocrine disruptors. Although cosmetic products are permitted to contain a certain amount of phthalates, they are used so prevalently that there is a potential cumulative effect.
We never use ingredients that contain phthalates.
Gluten is sometimes found in ingredients used to preserve the structure of the hair’s cortex. However, for those that are sensitive to it, gluten can trigger an allergic reaction—especially in shampoos or any products that may be accidentally ingested. So we decided to err on the side of caution, and have removed it from all of our formulas.
We never use ingredients that contain gluten. Instead, we use keratin, a natural protein found in both hair and skin, to preserve and strengthen the cortex of your hair.
SLS or SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE
SLS is a sulfate or surfactant, meaning it lowers the surface tension between ingredients and creates the lather often associated with shampoo and other hair products. However, SLS is also known to strip the protein from hair, depleting moisture and causing frizz and split ends. Products containing SLS also pull the color from hair more quickly. In severe instances, it can also irritate the scalp, causing redness, dryness and itching.
For this reason, we never use sodium lauryl sulfate in our products, opting instead to use sodium laureth sulfate, a gentler alternative. In addition to being less irritating, it helps ensure a full, even application of color, and total removal of color from the scalp and hair while rinsing.
Some evidence shows that in high concentrations pigment-grade (powdered) and ultrafine titanium dioxide dust may be linked to cancer, allergies, immunotoxicity and organ system toxicity, among other problems.
We never use titanium dioxide in any of our formulas.
We love animals. Nothing we make is ever tested on them. Everything we make is Leaping Bunny certified, the international stamp of approval that recognizes no animal testing is used or commissioned in any phase of product development by our company, its labs, or ingredient suppliers.
Here at Madison Reed, we love that you are as concerned about gorgeous hair color as you are with the ingredients in that hair color. We feel the exact same way. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Color Crew!