Many popular hair dyes use the chemical ammonia. This ingredient is commonly used because it allows the dye to go deep into the hair cuticle and add that permanent, rich hue (via Shaggin Salon). But the downside of ammonia is that it causes several side effects. Stephanie Brown, hair colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC, tells Byrdie that ammonia is the ingredient which deposits color deep inside the hair, but it could potentially put your hair at risk for damage. In fact, some people have developed skin irritation and respiratory problems after being exposed to ammonia — signs to stop using that product (via Mane Addicts).
To avoid hair dyes with ammonia, many people have turned to organic hair dye instead. It contains organic botanicals, which are pesticide-free ingredients that come from plants (per WebMD). Organic hair dye also contains no ammonia and uses less harsh chemicals such as MEA, which is derived from coconut oil. However, as Mane Addicts explains, these products do still contain some synthetic pH adjusters in order to effectively color your hair. A 100% organic permanent hair dye without any chemicals doesn’t exist on the market.