Organic Hair Coloring & Metallic Dyes

Permanent hair coloring
Q: I have been using {brand names removed} permanent hair coloring for some time. I have seen so-called "Organic" hair coloring at the health food store. While it is more expensive (naturally, ha-ha), I have been considering trying it. Do I have to grow out the "metallic" hair dye first? What would happen if I used the herbal color over the metallic?
A: First of all, the majority of the haircolors available on the market (particularly those of the makers you listed) are not metallic dyes. They are actually classified as permanent oxidation dyes and are made from coal tar derivatives. Metallic dyes are those products that use metallic salts to gradually change the color of the hair with daily application.
Most organic hair coloring is made from vegetable dyes and are usually only temporary. The only permanent vegetable dyes are based on henna. Be sure to read the ingredients of the "organic" hair dyes you are considering to make sure of the ingredients they are based from. Many "vegetable dye" hair colors use some oxidation color ingredients to give the permanent color effects.
As to compatibility, the only troubles I know of with mixing oxididation colors with vegetable dyes regards henna and specifically trying to use other haircolors over henna-colored hair. Henna coats the hair in most cases, and can prevent the penetration of other color products into the hair shaft when trying to apply another color over henna. It can also impair the penetration of relaxant and straightening processes as well.
You should be safe in using the organic product over your current color provided you are aware of all the ingredients and have read the directions and indication warnings thoroughly. As always, be sure to perform a patch test for sensitivity at least 48 hours before using the product on the entire head.
Make sure to note whether or not the color product is "deposit only" as this will not give any lift to the current color and can affect the color results you receive.
Photo: ThamKC/Shutterstock
See also:
How to color hair
Vegetable hair dye
How to color your hair with henna
What is metallic hair dye and what are examples of some brands?