If you are looking for a completely natural alternative, there are some newer plant-based products on the market. One company called Palette by Nature, based out of Minneapolis, Minn., offers permanent dyes for home use that its founder and CEO Alex Vainshelboim says are “completely PPD, PTD , ammonia, peroxide and paraben free,” and cites endorsements by the Mayo Clinic as well as Whole Foods Markets. Organic Salon Systems, based out of Palm Harbor, Fla., has a semi-permanent line for professional use called No Limits which works by staining the hair—not opening the cuticle as the chemical based dyes do. Chief marketing director, Troy Raszka, says the product can cover gray if your hair is in good shape and if you’re not using shampoos or conditioners with sulfates which will strip the dye.
There’s also henna, or lawsonia inermis leaf, which has been used by women in India and the Middle East for centuries. Today you can buy commercial or compound henna mixed with other substances or dyes. The purest form is Body Art Quality Henna (or BAQ), a term coined by Catherine Cartwright -Jones of Mehandi.com, a henna educational and sales website. Cartwright-Jones says most sales are direct to the public although a small number of professionals buy her line. For color-resistant gray hair, she recommends leaving the henna on for a minimum of three hours or overnight. If done correctly, henna users need only to touch up the roots on a regular basis. (An added benefit: henna eliminates dandruff.)
Then again, you can opt out of the color process world altogether and embrace the gray as actress Jamie Lee Curtis and songwriter- musician Emmy Lou Harris do. Ann Kreamer, author of Going Gray (Little, Brown and Company), found that when she posted a photo of herself on the dating website Match.com with her undyed gray hair, more men in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago approached her for a date than when she used a picture of herself with dyed, brunette tresses. So, whatever you do—go gray or dye your hair—embrace your choice and yourself! To Your Health!
FDA Hair color directives:
A look at the history and all you want to know about henna see: