How to tell if your herbal hair colour really IS natural or not

It’s Pure shine a light on the realities of whether your hair colour really is natural or not. Read on to find out exactly what to look out for.

The trend towards natural beauty products

Over the past few years, many people have switched their beauty regimes to natural. This includes everything from lipstick to moisturiser, and especially hair dye. Thousands of monthly searches for terms like ‘natural hair dye’ are fuelled by concerns over allergies, hair and scalp health, as well as the environment.

It’s great that so many people are seeking healthier and more eco-friendly hair colour. However, it can be difficult to understand what is truly “natural” and what is simply “greenwashing”.

The reality of store-bought hair dyes

75% of UK home hair colour purchases are made in major stores and supermarkets. But how many brands sold by major British stores are all natural?

The answer is none.

All the hair dye brands on the store shelves contain some artificial chemicals and most of them contain paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a known irritant and allergen.

It’s Pure hair dye ran a survey with a nationally representative panel and found that up to 31% of people who had purchased hair dye from major British stores thought their product was natural. Sadly, even most British health food stores do not sell truly natural hair dye. The only place to buy truly natural hair dye in Britain is online.

It’s Pure hair colours are sold online at Natural Collection.

Certification: The key to truly natural products

The only way to be sure a product is truly natural or organic is to look for some kind of certification. It’s Pure is certified by the Soil Association, which means that every ingredient that can be grown organically (without harmful pesticides and herbicides), must be organic.

Some It's Pure ingredients shot from above.

The remaining ingredients are also subject to the strictest rules: no GMO, no harsh preservatives, no artificial fragrance, and no other harmful chemicals.

The illusion of natural products

It may look natural using green colours on the packaging, pictures of leaves and flowers, and statements like ‘inspired by nature’ or ‘free from ammonia’. These elements make the product feel entirely wholesome. However, even if your product comes in recycled packaging or is vegan, it doesn’t make it natural.

It is better for the planet to choose those options, but if your focus is hair dye ‘made with’ natural ingredients, that isn’t enough. The only way to tell for sure is to know your ingredients.

Myths about natural hair dyes

There is a myth that all hair dyes are unnatural, stemming from the idea that hair ‘needs’ certain ingredients to ‘take’ colour. This isn’t true. There’s nothing wrong with using ‘chemicals’ in beauty, as all ingredients could be classed as chemicals in one way or another.

The It’s Pure range

multiple boxes of it's pure hair dyes on a table

The It’s Pure range includes an organic clarifying pre-colour treatment made of organic minerals and essential oils. This treatment helps remove residue, silicones, and build-up from your hair. If used before dyeing, it helps the henna naturally bond with the hair much more strongly, giving a more vibrant, richer colour.

Harmful chemicals in mainstream hair colours

Mainstream hair colours use chemicals that change the hair shaft and can be damaging. These include:


PPD is used to darken the hair. In some cases, you can develop contact dermatitis reactions to PPD. Alternatively look for indigo, which comes from a plant and is a natural way to darken the hair.


This gives mainstream colours that eye-watering smell. It’s used to alter the outer shaft of the hair to allow the colour molecules to penetrate the hair. Instead, choose a natural, herbal colour that works by staining the hair’s pigment, like Henna which comes from the leaves of the Henna plant.

Other harmful ingredients to avoid include Tetrasodium EDTA, Resorcinol and Ethanolamine.

The truth about lightening hair naturally

If a hair dye claims to be able to dye your brown or black hair blonde, it isn’t natural. You simply cannot make your hair lighter without using bleach (hydrogen peroxide). There are no ingredients in nature that can take the colour out of your hair.

Cassia, an Ayurvedic herb used in several It’s Pure dyes, can enhance and colour blonde hair blonde, but it cannot lighten your hair.

It’s Pure: A truly natural choice

It’s Pure offers a range of certified organic, 100% natural, herbal hair colours. The ingredients are sourced ethically and are blended in the UK. They can’t lighten your hair, but there are 9 beautiful colours that will give you your natural colour or darker. Plus, the nutritious ingredients will boost your volume and shine!