Hair Colors
To Avoid!

If you've been using hair colors then always check the pack -- just like you would for food -- to see what ingredients they contain!

Not all places have banned these chemical ingedients yet but enough evidence is available for is to know that many dyes commonly used in hair colors can be a serious threat to health. Watch out in particular to any cheap and imported products that you have no proof of provenence or do not see comp[lete ingrediemt disclosure on the packaging. Back in 2006 the European Commission banned no less than 22 hair dye substances to increase consumer safety

The Brussels directive of 20 July 2006 stated: (quote):

"In order to ensure safety of hair dye products for consumers the European Commission has banned 22 hair dye substances (see list in annex) today. Today’s ban concerns 22 hair dye substances for which industry has not submitted any safety files at all. The Scientific Committee advising theCommission had recommended the ban of these substances following the conclusions of a scientific study that the long term use of certain hair dyes bears a potential risk of bladder cancer. Today’s ban is a first step in an overall strategy, agreed with Member States and stakeholders in April 2003, to establish a positive list of hair dye substances which are considered safe for human health. The ban will enter into force on 1 December 2006. In addition, the cosmetics industry submitted 115 safety files on hair dye substances for evaluation by the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) ..."

The European Commission Vice-President at that time, Günter Verheugen, who was responsible for enterprise and industry policy, stated that:

"Substances for which there is no proof that they are safe will disappear from the market. Our high safety standards do not only protect EU consumers, they also give legal certainty toEuropean cosmetics industry.”

In a blanket effirt to eradicate the most hazardous substances from chemical hair color and dye products the Commission’s strategy has been to ban all permanent and non-permanent hair dyes for which industry has not submitted suffcioent evidence of safety and any substances that have been reported negatively upon by the ScientificCommittee on Consumer Products (SCCP).

In a public consultation with the hair dye colors manufacturers, the Commission asked that they provide safety files for any ingedients they employed. These files need to provide adequate scientificaly acceptable proof that any chemical substance used in their hair colors -- "does not pose a health risk for consumers".

In response to this requirement, the cosmetics industry submitted, by the end of 2005, files on one hundred and fofteen hair dye substances for evaluation by the EU’s SCCP.

The ban enacted on 20th July, 2006, concerned 22 hair dye substances for which industry did not submit any safety files at all. This ban has also been notified under the TBT(Technical Barriers to Trade) procedure to the WTO. Since no comments were received following this notification, it can be assumed that the ban will not significantly impact the competitiveness of the hair dye manufacturers.

The safety of the 115 hair colors ingredients for which files were submitted are being assessed by the SCCP and their recommendations will provide the basis on which the Commission takes further decisions relating to their regulation.

Hair Colors Market Place

By the mid 2000's the Hair colorant products market in the EU was estimated to be worth € 2.6 billion, representing about 8% of the value the entire cosmetics industry in Europe.

Permanent hair dyes make up arounf thrree quarters of the coloring product market in Europe. With three fifths of women coloring their hair, and as many as 1-in-10 men. Most users of hair colors repeat the dying process very 6 to 8 weeks on average.

In 12 June 2001 the SCCP stated the conclusion that -- "that the potential risks of the use of certain, permanent hair dyes are of concern".

Further concerns were confirmed by the SCCP in 17 December 2002, when it was stated that -- "there is epidemiological evidence to indicate that the regular and long term use of hair dyes by women may beassociated with the development of bladder cancer. It recommended an overall safety assessment strategy for hair dyes including the requirements for testing hair dye cosmetic ingredients for their potential genotoxicity or mutagenicity".

In the light of these opinions expressed by the SCCP, the European Commission together with Member States and stakeholders agreed on an overall strategy to regulate hair dyes within Directive 76/768/EEC. The central strstegy in this approach was to require the manufacturers to provide evidence that their hair colors products ingredients were safe in files to be assessed by the SCCP.

As with all government actions this seems to be both a longwinded, and in some measure questionable approach, given that the onus to provide complete and accurate data rests with the very manufacturers wish to use the substances in their hair colors formulae.

Our recommendation would be to utilize only completely natural products, as long as these do not pose any problems for you. the best colors for achieveing high quality results and additionally improve your hair quality and strength would be natural henna and natural indigo. One example of a reliable all-natural hair product supplier that also provides copious references and information about natural hair products is: Renaissance Henna.

These are the substances used in hair colors that were banned:

Chemical name

6-Methoxy-2,3-Pyridinediamine and its HCl salt


4,5-Diamino-1-Methylpyrazole and its HCl salt
4,5-Diamino-1-((4-Chlorophenyl)Methyl)-1H-Pyrazole Sulfate
4-Methoxytoluene-2,5-Diamine and its HCl salt
5-Amino-4-Fluoro-2-Methylphenol Sulfate

N,N-Dimethyl-2,6-Pyridinediamine and its HCl salt
N-(2-Methoxyethyl)-p-phenylenediamine and its HCl salt
2,4-Diamino-5-methylphenetol and its HCl salt

3,4-Diaminobenzoic acid
2-Aminomethyl-p-aminophenol and its HCl salt
Solvent Red 1 (CI 12150)
Acid Orange 24 (CI 20170)
Acid Red 73 (CI 27290)

Link to Hair Dye Strategy:

Link to Notes of Guidance for the Testing of Cosmetic Ingredients and their Safety Evaluation:

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