Best Ammonia Free Hair Dyes, Benefits and Side Effects

Are you looking for insight on ammonia free hair color and dyes? Learn more about its role, side effects or dangers, and best hair colors without it and much more.

What are they?

Hair colors and dyes without, non or ammonia free, refer to types, which do not contain ammonia. As you might know, it is very important and plays various roles in dyes.

However, since is one of the harsh chemicals with some side effects, most of the leading manufacturers are turning to brands free of it.  Other than the effects which it might have, prolonged exposure could have some health consequences.

Is Ammonia in hair dyes- What does it do?

Ammonia, when added to a hair color or dye helps raise the pH, neutralize peroxide and other pigments as well as help open cuticle layer to ensure the dye you are using can reach or penetrate your hair cortex.

In addition, it helps in color development, and it activates peroxide (acts as a catalyst when permanent hair dyes meet peroxide). It is particularly important for people who have grey hair since it tends to resist color.

You will find hiding the grey root hairs using a dye particularly very difficult. This is where the use of it becomes very important as you strive to ensure your hair is perfectly dyed.

Although it is a fact that that the cuticle is expanded enough to allow the color to reach the cortex by ammonia, it has many side effects, which have seen to the surge in the number of companies making ammonia-free hair dyes and colors. So what are some of its side effects?

Side effects and dangers

We have seen it is very important in ensuring your hair cuticle is opened up for the color to reach the cortex. However, it is not without some side effects or dangers. So, what are some of these side effects of ammonia in hair dyes?

  • Moisture and Protein Loss – As it makes the cuticle to swell so as cortex can be reached, moisture and protein loss from your strands occurs and this will damage your hair.
  • Raise pH – It raises the pH to extend it is not easy to return it normally by any physical means once you are through with your coloring. This will make the cuticle to remain open and more moisture and proteins will continue being lost.
  • You Need A lot of Pigment Content – Finally, since it dye will keep the cuticle open, you need to go for a dye with high pigment amounts since some will be lost as you rinse it off. Furthermore, the excessive pigment neutralization (by peroxide ammonia) means higher pigment amounts required.

These are potential side effects and they might affect some people while they do not affect others. They might not necessarily affect everyone. You can still use a brand containing it and everything turns out just fine with no hair damages.

Other than the above side effects, it is generally a very harsh chemical. Furthermore, some people find its strong odor a bit pungent hence will prefer ammonia-free hair dyes.

How do ammonia free hair colors and dye work – benefits

In case you seriously suffer from the side effects from brands with ammonia, you need to go for those without it. As the name suggests, they do not contain it. Instead, other alkaline formulas are used to help swell the cuticle and perform the other roles that it plays.

For instance, most of these brands have Monoethanolamine (MEA), which has lesser of the above side effects. It is formed from the reaction between ammonia and ethylene oxide. However, MEA molecules are about 3.5 times bigger than the size and they might not work as effectively.

However, if you want a genuine brand, you need to consider going for organic hair dyes and those from natural ingredients only.  This is the surefire way of ensuring you do not expose your scalp or hair to harsh chemicals that may affect or even burn your scalp.

Best Brands without ammonia

We have seen what hair colors without ammonia often use to substitute with. It is time to mention some of the best in the market that do not contain it at all. We reviewed a number of products before coming up with the list below, which has top brands you can go for.

  • INOA  by L’Oreal Professionnel
  • 100% ammonia free Organic Color Systems
  • Garnier Olia
  • Natural Instincts – Clairol
  • Ammonia-Free Gray Coverage Hair Color – L’Oreal (Non-Permanent)
  • Chi Ionic Permanent Shine
  • SheaMoisture Moisture-Rich,  Color System
  • Revlon Root Erase by ColorSilk – Permanent Color

These are some of the best options you can go for. The above list of best non-ammonia hair dyes is not all-inclusive. You need to ensure you have done your own independent research on each of the above products, seen reviews it has received, ratings and comments.

However, if you want a truly a brand that does not have ammonia, and not the MEA based, you need to go for Organic Color Systems. It will ensure no damage to the cuticle, superior looks, no staining of discomfort of your scalp, etc.

Should I continue using those with ammonia

You are definitely scared having learned some of the side effects. You are wondering whether you should continue using formulas based on it or not.

According to Jennifer J. a celebrity colorist Juan Salon in Beverly Hills, some of the ammonia-free hair colors still contains harmful ingredients such as a peroxide to activate the color when they are mixed together. She says, “ammonia-free hair color is usually better for your hair than color with ammonia in it but it really depends on how much ammonia content the specific color line has in it.”

Using low ammonia based permanent hair color or semi-permanent vegetable-based hair color is still a good bet for people who find them to be working much better.

Besides, you can analyze the effects yourself since as we mentioned, not everyone will be affected greatly.