Hair Dye v Henna & Indigo

Hair Dye Safety v Natural Henna

Natural hair dye safety is something you must assess for yourself before deciding if you want to try dying your hair naturally with henna and indigo hair dye which we sell right here ! Henna and indigo are made from crushed plant leaves and have been used for centuries to colour hair red, brown and even black.  However, there are no scientific reports which validate them as safe to use.

You might want to start by assessing how safe are the alternative chemical hair dyes we use every day ?

The Europa Press Release issued in 2006 confirmed that the European Commission has banned the use of 22 substances in hair dyes: Strangely, paraphenylene diamene known as  “PPD” , the leading allergy trigger, isn’t on the list. That’s the ingredient that is causing the most severe allergic reactions. Please do not  buy anything marketed as”BLACK HENNA” because there is no such thing as black henna and it probably contains PPD – always check the names of the ingredients  listed on the packet and if there are no names, don’t buy it, don’t use it, don’t trust it.

PPD Hair Dye Allergy & Dangers

Black Henna Dangers


Henna Hair Dye Safety

If you are considering using henna and indigo herbal hair colours please do read through all of the information on this page,  and take time to peruse the information in the links on the left of this page. And if you currently use hair dye, please visit the PPD Hair Dye Dangers link above. It may save your life.

There is only one potential risk that we are aware of with pure henna :

Do not use henna hair dye if you have G6PD enzyme deficiency : G6PD Dangers


Henna, Hair Dye Safety, & Pregnancy

Are henna and indigo safe to use?

Let’s start with  “how do you define safe ?” . If you’re looking for scientific research, you won’t find anything that really helps to answer this question. The SCCNFP Report 2004 : ) does not specifically declare henna and indigo as not safe to use, but on the other hand, states that current research is unable to declare henna and indigo as safe to use. But the 2005 Report on Henna, which you’ll find on our page: is henna safe? states henna is potentially cancer causing.

We consider henna and indigo to be safer to use than conventional synthetic chemical hair dyes which are linked, increasingly, with hair dye allergy reactions, often resulting in life threatening hazard. Do you know anyone who has suffered a life threatening allergic reaction to henna and indigo or anyone who has died as a result of using henna or indigo ? We all know the answer. However, we cannot guarantee safety. Safety is an issue for each individual to determine. It is possible to be allergic to grass – hay fever is evidence of this. In the same way, it must be possible to be allergic to any herbal product. Therefore always patch test. We encourage each individual to research and analyse the difference between chemical hair dyes and plant based hair dyes before making a decision on whether to try plant based hair dye.


We did ask the Royal Botanic Gardens what they thought about the use of henna and indigo hair dye many years ago, and here’s a copy of the response which they kindly sent to us :

“Dear Sabrina

Frances has asked me to respond to you on the possible toxicity of Indigofera arrecta Hochst. ex A. Rich., I. suffructicosa Miller and I. tinctoria L. and Lawsonia inermis L. (henna).

Please see the Botanical Dermatology Database entry for these species:

for Indigofera species ( scroll down the page to “I”) and
for Lawsonia inermis

Some very sensitive people may experience a dermatological reaction which could have been due to adulterants in the preparation. Considering that these substances have been applied to the skin since ancient times, they should be regarded as generally safe. However, as you say on your website, people should always do a patch test before using the product for the first time or after a significant health event eg. pregnancy, serious illness, which may change how the body reacts to substances.

I have not found any evidence of problems to do with accidental ingestion of either plant.

Best wishes

Jill Turner
Centre for Economic Botany
Royal Botanic Gardens
Richmond S
urrey TW9 3AE, UK

Tel: +44 (0)208 332 5388
Fax: +44 (0)208 332 3717
Email (for CEB): “.


We also asked a leading expert on indigo what they thought about the use of indigo as a hair dye and the reply we got was this ( the expert asked not to be named ) :

“Dear Sabrina
Thank you for your enquiry – I am sorry to be so slow in replying. I do not have as much to do with natural dyes now as I used to. But I do not see any problem with using Indigofera leaves for dyeing hair. Indeed, indigo dye has been thought to confer benefits to skin health (see books by Jenny Balfour-Paul). There could be some problems if chemical reductants are used like sodium dithionite (I have no idea what that would do to hair!) but just the crushed leaves seems quite harmless……..
Sorry I cannot be any more help.
With regards and good luck with this venture.”


More about Henna and Indigo Hair Dye Safety:-

Can Henna Cause Cancer?

Know Your Indigo 

Above all, do your research and know yourself what you are comfortable with !