Could You Be Allergic To Hair Color?


This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking them.

Did you know that you could be allergic to hair color? It may sound crazy, but some people get sick every single time they try to color. The culprit? Resorcinol and other chemicals like PPD and ammonia.

Resorcinol is an inexpensive coloring agent that’s found in 3 out of 4 hair color products. If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction from a coloring session, resorcinol was most likely the problem. Easily absorbed into the skin, corrosive, and often referred to as the paraben of haircare, resorcinol has been deemed by the World Health Organization as an endocrine disruptor. It can cause hormone imbalances, mess with your body’s functions, and cause fertility complications. Pregnant women should steer clear. If that isn’t alarming enough, resorcinol is not regulated and cosmetic companies can use it at will. You’ll often find it in anti-acne skincare and whitening creams, too.

There’s more damning evidence on Environmental Working Group’s website, where resorcinol ranks high as an overall hazardous ingredient. The consumer watchdog site, which maintains a database of ingredients based on their safety, pegs it as a carcinogen and a chemical that can irritate skin, eyes, and lungs.

Resorcinol Free Hair Color

Resorcinol allergies are a hot topic right now. While I’ve never experienced this personally, I am concerned about the effects of chemicals on my body, which is why I switched to Madison Reed. (See my review of Madison Reed Hair Color with before and after pics.)  This is the only product I’ve found that actually covers gray as well as traditional dye!

Here are some other non-toxic options, I’ve heard good things about from friends: 


Light Mountain

Color Me Naturally



Hair Colors Palette

While not everyone is chemical-sensitive, I don’t think it can hurt to be cautious and limit exposure. Health & Beauty can co-exist; we just have to find the right products!


Have you ever tried allergen-free hair care? Share your experience (good or bad).

38 thoughts on “Could You Be Allergic To Hair Color?

  1. Marti Tabora

    This is something that I’ve never heard of. I don’t color my hair, but I have plenty of friends who do and they are complaining of allergies all the time. I am going to let them know.

  2. Jacqueline

    Once again, your little sister pointed out something that was life-changing. I am soooo smart 😉 I love my virgin hair and will NEVER dye it!!

  3. rochkirstin

    I have only tried hair dye one time. But that one time I got a hair coloring solution that doesn’t have ammonia. I don’t like the suffer the consequences that are feared about.

  4. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I have been coloring my hair for years and I had no idea that people could be allergic to it.

  5. Courtney

    Very interesting!!! I never really thought about it before but being allergic to hair color makes sense…. I bet people are allergic and they don’t even realize it :-/

  6. Liz Mays

    I’ve never heard of that allergy, but this is so good to know, just in case. I wouldn’t know what to do if I couldn’t cover the gray, lol

  7. Kungphoo

    I guess people can be allergic to anything.. this goes to your scalp so i can see it.. Thanks for those alternatives, i will show my wife, since she has allergies and maybe this is one of them.

  8. XmasDolly

    Well, that’s a new one on me, and I took cosmetology at school, and I’ve been dying my hair in one way or the other since I was 16, and I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past that now! Nope don’t think I’m allergic! 🙂

  9. Nancy (@spiffykerms)

    I never really thought about being allergic to hair colour – but it most definitely makes sense. I personally would never dye my hair with henna as I hear it’s a tough one to get out. But I think I’ve used naturcolour in my hair before! I’m due for another dye-job.

  10. Rosey

    Perms are the thing that get to me. I used to get a migraine all day long after I got one. I wonder if I was allergic to something in it. Good food for thought.

  11. Dawn @ Pin-n-Tell

    I’ve never thought of allergen-free hair care! I should probably look into it, although I’ve never had a bad experience, my skin is sensitive and I’m allergic to many things!

Comments are closed.