Looking for least damaging hair dyes? Here are the top 6!

Hair dying nowadays is a common practice not only in the US but in every corner of the world because girls like to stay groomed and updated with the fashion trends of the time. It is like a bitter pill that you must swallow for the sake of looking good.

It so happens that our hair and skin are the most prominent parts of our body but in the race of following the latest trends, we often forget how much damage we are causing to them and that they require all that extra care to replenish them to their natural stature. So, try getting hold of the least damaging hair dye, this way you will be able to carry trendy looks without causing that extra hair damage.

Kudos to you if you have already found your perfect hair color brand, now pat yourselves on the back and turn over that box of dye and read the ingredients; it seems like you must always be on the lookout for some extremely damaging ingredients found in a lot of drugstore dyes. Well, here you need to understand something, the least damaging hair dye is the one that does not contain ammonia in it. Even though the popularity of ammonia-based hair dyes is still on the rise, ammonia-free hair colors are also gradually gaining popularity.

Therefore, to help you find those ammonia-free hair dyes, we have compiled a list of some top hair color brands that you can find easily available in the market.

Olia Oil Permanent hair color – Garnier

Garnier is an internationally well-known brand and is also considered a trusted one for hair colors. Its Olia permanent hair color range contains oil and other ingredients to protect your hair from getting dry and damaged. This is the reason why you will still feel the glow on your hair after its usage. It is introduced as an ammonia-free hair color range that contains peroxides for excellent color application.

60% of this color is made from oil-based ingredients. For instance, oils of meadowfoam, sunflower, passionflower, camellia, etc. All these oils work together to keep your scalp moisturized and hair strands strong.


  • The oily formula helps in color application.
  • Covers stubborn grey hair perfectly
  • Gives a 2 shade lighter tone from your natural hair color


  • Comes in 31 shades – all free of ammonia
  • Lasts up to 4 – 6 weeks without any root touchup
  • Leaves a subtle shine to your hair


  • The bottle is not well designed, the round shape makes it hard to hold with the gloves on.

Tip: Follow the instructions written on the box carefully and avoid exposing hair to sun rays while hair dying as it may cause damage to your hair and change the color you want.

Shea Moisture Color Crème

The Shea moisture color crème consists of a non-drip formula to paint your hair. All of its products are used for extremely dry hair that needs to get deep nourishment treatment. This ammonia-free hair color is best for ethnic hair and shows substantial results on them. The key ingredients that comprise this product are hemp seed and mongongo oil.


  • Mongongo oil helps in revitalizing and hydrating hair
  • The hemp seed oil promotes hair growth and strengthens them.
  • A protein mask made of baobab protein and apple cider vinegar works on hair thickness.


  • The special ingredients in it reverse the damage of the dying
  • It improves the health of your hair
  • It comes with a treatments mask
  • Leaves a silky-smooth texture after washing.
  • Best for covering grey hair


  • Comes in dark shades mostly
  • Small shade range

Tip: Follow the instructions and take a strand test 48 hours before the final application. Also, apply the protein mask after the dye application to get the best results.

Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color

Just like Garnier, Clairol is another popular hair color brand in the industry. Don’t be tricked by the natural world in its name, the product does not consist of 100% natural ingredients. Since it is a semi-permanent hair color, it must have chemical ingredients to keep the color intact for a longer time. These chemicals further help in giving you the desired shades of color. However, the good thing about this brand is, it doesn’t use ammonia in its formula.


  • The formula contains aloe vera which helps in repairing dead skin cells of the scalp.
  • Contains coconut oil to improve the hair texture and induce hair thickness.
  • Contains vitamin E oil to hydrate hair strands


  • It promotes hair growth.
  • Color fades away naturally
  • No root touch-ups required
  • Covers grey hair
  • Color stays up-till 28 washes.
  • A vast range of shades


  • Doesn’t cover stubborn grey hair

Tip: if you are someone who changes hair color frequently, this ammonia-free product will help you follow all the latest trends without causing damage to your hair.

Keune So Pure Hair Color

From a Dutch family brand, Keune has turned into an internationally known brand. Its products are not as competitive as other hair color brands but their quality is undeniably good. It’s So Pure color range is different from the rest of its hair colors as it consists of pure ingredients like essential oils, argan oil, sandalwood, and jasmine to restore dry and brittle hair conditions.


  • Argan oil in its formula provides extra conditioning to the hair.
  • Improve hair structure and feels mild on scalp
  • Offers 100% color coverage


  • Ammonia free
  • Parabens free
  • Shows long-lasting results
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Free of PPD (Paraphenylenediamine)


  • Difficulties may arise to achieve perfect color composition proportions if you’re doing your hair all by yourself

Tip: It comes with a vast range of 39 colors so select carefully and take a look at all of them before making a final decision.

Herbatint Permanent Hair Color Gel

Just like the name says, the Herbatint brand has marketed itself as a herbal hair color solution. Their hair colors are inclined more towards the natural side. It is a permanent hair color, free of heavy chemicals and ammonia, which means you can switch to different hair shades more often. Its ingredients are all-natural and plant-based, including Rhubarb, Cinchona, and walnut.


  • It is a gel-based color
  • Comes in 30 different shades
  • The plant-based protein strengthens the hair structure during application.


  • Provides complete coverage of grey hair
  • Best product for sensitive scalp
  • Triggers hair growth with the help of cinchona
  • Gives a prominent and vibrant hair color.
  • keeps hair smooth and silky after application.


  • Slightly more expensive than the other off-the-shelf, hair colors.

Tip: Although, it’s a herbal product you must take a strand test 48 hours before applying it all over your hair. Also, use the entire product if you have long hair while for short hair it can be used twice.

Loreal Inoa Hair Color

Loreal is known internationally for its health and beauty care products. Similarly, it has a huge brand name in the hair color industry as well. The loreal Inoa hair color line is ammonia-free which gives 100% full coverage to grey hair. However, be mindful of the fact that the product is ammonia-free and not chemical-free. The other chemicals in its formula are there to make sure that you get your desired color. Further, the oils that are used in its formula help penetrate the hair strand deeply to give you fully coated hair up to 6 weeks.


  • Comes in 113 shades.
  • Gives up to 3 shades lighter and 3 shades darker color from your natural hair color.
  • It comes premixed – ready to use
  • It has a creamy texture.


  • Pocket friendly
  • Organic
  • Cruelty- free
  • Environment friendly


  • Dangerous for pregnant women

Tip: Don’t forget to perform a skin allergy test as some people may be allergic to this product. If you get confused in picking up a perfect shade for yourself then consult with a hair specialist.

What is Ammonia free hair color?

Ammonia-free hair colors are those colors that don’t contain ammonia in their formula. It is avoided because ammonia is a harsh chemical and destroys hair strength, therefore you should buy an ammonia-free hair color if you wish to keep your hair strength well.

However, the word ammonia-free doesn’t mean that the product is organic. They still carry some other harsh chemicals but without the presence of ammonia, the other chemical’s impact becomes less damaging.

Ammonia is such a powerful chemical that it doesn’t only destroy your hair strength but its harsh fumes irritate your eyes and damage your lungs. Therefore, it is recommended to go for ammonia-free hair colors as it is the safest option after organic hair colors.

Is it safe to use ammonia-free hair colors?

Let’s be honest here, ammonia-free hair color is not the best option. However, it is less damaging than other hair colors being sold in the market. Besides, if you want to play safe then nothing is better than natural henna (chemical-free) and other organic hair dyes as they are undoubtedly the safest options.

To get a permanent hair dye, you have to use chemicals containing hair colors but the least you can do is make sure that they are ammonia-free. Even though it is not the safest option, it is better than ammonia-containing products.

It is said that you have to take a risk, if you want to achieve something, the same goes with hair straightening and blow-drying. You must accept the damage to look good. The least you can do is to minimize the damage as much as possible.

What distinguishes ammonia-free hair colors from those containing ammonia?

Ammonia is a chemical compound that is used to penetrate color deep into the hair strand. Thereby, it weakens the hair to give you the perfect results.

Ammonia-free hair color is not entirely different from ammonia-containing ones as it has other chemicals present in it to help the color get absorbed into the hair strand.

There are many brands out there that label their products as ammonia-free but in reality, they substitute ammonia with another strong chemical named ethanolamine which is equally harmful as ammonia. Thus, it is important to read the ingredients list before buying any hair color.

Pros of using ammonia-free hair dye:

  • Causes less damage to hair
  • Makes hair strong
  • Gives long-lasting color
  • Free of ammonia fumes
  • Causes no allergic reactions
  • No harmful side effects

Cons of using ammonia-free hair dye:

  • Contains other harmful chemical substances
  • Are not organic
  • May contain ethanolamine

How to use ammonia-free hair color?

As now you are aware of the fact that ammonia-free colors contain other chemicals, you need to be cautious while applying it like you would with other ammonia-containing hair colors.

Always try it first on a small portion of your hair before applying, so you will know if you are allergic to some of its ingredients or not. While doing a strand test, always take hair from the backside of your head and apply it as per the instructions written on the box.

The Strand test is quite helpful as it will let you know whether you should apply it all over your hair or not. A patch test is not only for hair dyes but also for other beauty products before the final application.

Never forget to wear the gloves that come along with the box to protect your hands.

To avoid color transfer to other parts of your body, always apply Vaseline to the hairline, along the forehead, and behind your neck.

Lastly, do not use the same hair dye that you will use for your hair to apply to your lashes and eyebrows as it can be very strong for that hair. Try to find a separate product particularly designed for that purpose.

Conclusively, these are the best ammonia-free hair dyes of 2021. You can select any of them according to your needs. For instance, if you want to color your grey hair, Herbatint is the best ammonia-free solution for that. While coloring stubborn grey hair, Loreal is the top pick.

If you switch to new hair colors more frequently then you should go for Clairol’s instinct hair color as it contains fewer damaging properties.

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