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The Healthier (Sort Of) Way To Color Your Hair At Home

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    While we love the transformative power of hair dye, we have to admit that we're a little freaked out by the chemicals used in many of our fave hair colors. We know they have all been certified absolutely safe for long-term use, but there's a small part of us that's worried those bi-monthly dye jobs have been slowly pickling our brains.

    We know that's extremely unlikely, but it is true that there are those people who aren't able to use traditional hair dye: Pregnant women and those with allergies and sensitivities to the chemicals. Fortunately, there are some alternative options out there for those looking for moderately healthier hair color options.

    According to Laura Luciani, director of education & technical marketing manager for Davines, there is no such thing as a totally chemical-free hair dye. "Even the most natural dyes are always a balance between chemical and natural substances," she says. That said, there are plenty of less-harsh chemical options out there, specifically those derived from natural ingredients like plant pigments and henna.

    There are a few things to keep in mind if you do decide to go the natural route: "Natural hair dyes cannot cover white hair and cannot lighten the natural color of the hair, because natural color dyes are big, colorful molecules," says Luciani. "To cover white or to lighten, you have to open the cuticles of the hair, allow small colorless molecules to penetrate, and develop the color inside the hair shaft, and you need an alkaline pH and a developer."

    Since natural dyes can only deposit color on the external layer of the hair, that means they can only create a slight modification to the natural color of your hair. That also means they won't last as long, as they aren't absorbed into the hair shaft and merely sit on the surface of the hair. The upside to that: They won't be as damaging, as they don't penetrate the hair, so your strands will be in (relatively) good shape after you use them.

    Click through to discover a few natural hair dyes that will help you in your quest to cut down on chemicals.

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