The 6 Best Ammonia-Free Hair Dyes to Try in 2021
Enjoy fresh, vibrant color.
Home coloring treatments have become increasingly popular — and it's easy to see why. Since many of us have been stuck at home for nearly a year now, some have chosen to recolor our grown-out roots and revive faded hair all on our own.
For years, ammonia has been incorporated into dyes to provide alkalinity and raise the pH level of the hair. The chemical agent lightens the hair's natural pigment so it can be recolored, it also swells the hair cuticles so dye can penetrate deep inside the hair shaft. But although ammonia is extremely effective, it often gives off harsh fumes and repeated use can damage the cuticle, resulting in frizzy, dry, and brittle hair.
Ammonia-free hair colors use less volatile ingredients to provide alkalinity and achieve vibrant color results. The gentle formulas are great for sensitive scalps and fragile hair that has previously been colored.
"Ammonia-free dyes are growing in demand and brands are following consumer interests," says Jane Adler, Creative Director at Jos. H. Lowenstein & Sons, and Head Stylist at Hally. "However, just because a formula doesn't have ammonia, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily better for your hair; you have to look at all the other ingredients in the formula collectively as some dyes are much more nourishing and conditioning than others."
Below, we have listed six ammonia-free dyes that provide both moisture and amazing color results.
BRITE Naturally Henna Hair Dye
This 100% plant-based dye is completely mix-free, no need to pour, stir, or dilute. Simply apply the dye directly from the tube onto your hair. Suitable for all hair types and textures, the hydrating formula is infused with henna to promote healthy hair while enhancing color.
To shop: $12; target.com
Clairol Natural Instincts Demi-Permanent
Get healthy looking color and a boost of shine with this demi-permanent dye made from 80% natural ingredients. The no-drip formula lasts up to 28 washes and is designed to feel more like a conditioner, with moisture-rich ingredients like vitamin E, vitamin C, and coconut oil.
To shop: $7; walmart.com
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Dark & Lovely Fade Resist Rich Conditioning Permanent Hair Dye
This innovative formula is especially designed to help protect relaxed and natural hair. Made with an exclusive Moisture Seal technology, it provides double the conditioning power — combining argan oil and vitamin E to help prevent breakage and deliver fade-resistant, shimmering color.
To shop: $7; walmart.com
This semi-permanent hair color works as a dye and a deep conditioner. If your hair is lacking shine, vitality or has started to fade, this color-boosting formula will deepen your current shade by staining the outside of your hair with pigment to add richness, depth, and shine.
To shop: $35; neimanmarcus.com
Hally Color Cloud
If you're looking for a quick, mess-free color application, this new foam dye will do the trick. The demi-permanent solution delivers great color while nourishing the hair with natural extracts of chamomile, lavender, ginseng, and aloe vera.
To shop: $25; hallyhair.com
L'Oréal Inoa Ammonia Free Permanent Hair Color
Achieve vibrant color and six-weeks of intense hydration with this permanent, fragrance-free dye, made up of 60% oil. Available in 116 shades, you'll be spoiled for choice by the selection of colors. The Oil Delivery Technology used in this formula makes it gentle on the hair and allows the color molecules to drive deeper into each hair strand, producing a long-lasting result.
To shop: $13; walmart.com