Finding a hair dye for sensitive scalp sufferers is a tricky task – but an important one. Forty-four per cent of people suffer from sensitive scalp, so it’s essential to understand why it happens and what you can do to help. First, let’s look at what causes sensitivity.
Can I dye my hair if I have a sensitive scalp?
The good news is that hair dye for sensitive scalp sufferers exists. You may have to take a few more precautions than other blessed itch-free ladies and gentlemen, but it will be worth it.
If you want to dye your hair, one of the first things you should do is test your skin. You should do this 48 hours before colouring to ensure you do not react to the chemicals within the dye.
This is applicable to everyone, but it’s an even bigger concern for those with sensitive skin or certain allergies. Thankfully, if you do feel like changing up your look, there is an alternative hair dye for sensitive scalp problems.
What ingredients can harm the scalp?
Sensitive scalps are caused by chemical reactions on the skin. These reactions cause itching, burning and inflamed areas of the skin or scalp. They are often caused by chemicals in commercial hair dyes, including:
As these additives are commercially widespread, it’s best to use hair dye that is suitable for sensitive scalp sufferers. You should always test any hair dye before application.
How to test hair dye
Before applying any hair dye, you should perform a patch test. This is a simple process and should be done up to 48 hours before application – this gives enough time for any potential reactions to show. You should test by:
- Mixing and applying a small amount of the dye that you plan to use
- Applying the mix to an area of skin on the arm or leg
- Leaving the dye for the duration that you would leave it in your hair
- Rinsing with clean water
- Seeing if any reactions occur. If you get redness, itching or burning, do not apply the dye to your hair.
If, however, there is no reaction to the patch test, then you should be safe to apply the dye.
How to protect sensitive scalps
If you have a sensitive scalp and want to dye your hair, you have a few options. The first is to scour the ingredients of commercial dyes to try and avoid chemicals that cause reactions.
The second choice is to use a primer to protect the scalp before applying the colour. This is tricky, and the primer must remain in the hair, potentially affecting the dyeing process.
The problem with these workarounds is that they actually don’t fix anything – they just mask the issue. The best hair dye for sensitive scalp sufferers shouldn’t contain those harmful chemicals in the first place.
I’m allergic to hair dye – what can I use?
First things first. What is it about hair dye that makes us scratch our heads? It’s the same reason that some shampoos can be irritants if we’re not listening to our bodies. It’s caused by allergens, found in common high street hair dye chemicals.
The main allergen in salon and supermarket hair dye products is called paraphenylenediamine, otherwise known as PPD. This is a common ingredient that’s also found in tattoo and even printer ink, but it can cause contact dermatitis – a reaction with redness and flakiness of the scalp.
How do I know if I’m having a reaction to chemical hair dyes?
You might notice a reaction to PPD a few hours after application on the head – whether you’re in a salon or trying a home dye kit. It may not always be on your scalp; for example, you may notice symptoms similar to eczema (flaky skin) on your eyelids, or on the rims of your ears.
Is it normal for your scalp to itch after dyeing hair?
If you have sensitive skin, it is normal for your body to react this way. Contact dermatitis (itching caused by irritants) is known as ‘type 4 hypersensitivity’, though in some people, hives, wheezing or sneezing may occur.
However, in some cases, there may be more serious reactions – even anaphylactic shock. This is why it’s so important to perform a skin test 48 hours in advance.
If you do have skin that tends to react, there is a hair colour for sensitive scalp sufferers. You should choose a natural option that uses organic ingredients instead of high street chemicals.
Henna hair dye for sensitive skin
Henna is a natural alternative hair colour without PPD – though you should always check the label to make sure the product has not been blended with PPD.
Hair dye made from henna uses natural ingredients to colour the hair, drawing plant extracts from the Amazon Rainforest to refresh the hair from root to tip and nourish the scalp.
It’s available in several shades, all of which can be mixed to achieve your desired colour. Mix your own with powder or choose a premixed cream for the perfect result.
Benefits of henna hair dye for sensitive skin
Henna hair powders and shampoos offer a hypoallergenic hair dye alternative that also naturally cares for your scalp. So, how exactly does this work?
With its natural antifungal properties, henna can protect your scalp against common conditions such as dandruff or psoriasis. These skin problems are caused by an overproduction of a natural skin yeast called Malassezia. This feeds off our natural oils, but when there is too much, the skin reacts and produces skin flakes.
Henna attacks this fungus and keeps your skin naturally balanced, maintaining a flake free, non-itchy scalp. Henna is the perfect hair dye for dry scalp issues, too.
Other benefits of no chemical hair dye
In addition to a healthy, balanced scalp, you’ll also notice the effects on your final finished colour. Each application of henna is completely unique to your natural shade, so you’ll achieve a more real-looking result with a vibrant shine.
There is also evidence to suggest that henna is a great hair dye alternative for those with thinner hair. This is because the natural ingredients strengthen the hair follicle, leading to stronger strands and reduced hair loss.
Henna is often a more cost-effective alternative to high street chemical hair dyes, and may have less of an impact on the environment. High street brands often contain ammonia which, when washed down the sink, can potentially pollute waterways and cause harm to animals in their natural habitats.
Choosing henna is a fantastic natural beauty alternative that protects wildlife and keeps you healthy.
Which henna hair product is right for me?
For a totally organic hair dye for sensitive scalp, you can try powders, creams and bottled dyes. Keep it simple with a hair cream, which offers a drip-free solution without the need for excess water.
If you want total control over your final shade, you can try a Surya Henna Powder instead. This is a more involved process than a premixed cream, but allows you to control how much powder and how much you mix with water for the desired effect.
The fun doesn’t stop at colouring, either. You can make sure your colour lasts for months with our Colour Fixation Shampoo, making it as vibrant as it was when you first coloured your hair. Follow up with the conditioner or pamper your hair with weekly hair mask colour restoration treatments.
Keep your hair allergy free with henna
Whatever your preference, be kind to yourself and to the environment with henna hair dye. For best results, make sure you:
- Perform a skin test behind your ear or on your inner elbow, 48 hours in advance
- Leave the henna on for longer time periods for darker shades
- Maintain sun safety with hair masks and sun hats.
Sensitive skin doesn’t mean you can’t experiment! You’ll find shampoos, conditioners, hair dye powders and mascara in our henna hair dye range.