The 4 Best Ammonia-Free Hair Dyes

If you color-treat your own hair, there are more ammonia-free hair coloring options than ever, and many of them also tout nourishing natural ingredients. Whether you’re searching for a permanent hair dye or something that will wash out in a month, the best ammonia-free hair dyes offer a gentler alternative for your hair and scalp than traditional at-home dyes.

As cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson told Allure, “Ammonia [...] severely damages the hair and weakens the strands.” That said, more sensitive scalps will want to look for hair dyes that are both ammonia-free and without paraphenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is a chemical substance that is commonly found in even the more natural permanent hair dyes, because it’s incredibly effective at creating long-lasting, natural-looking color — but it can cause everything from mild skin irritation to dermatitis and even hives in some people. Both the Clairol Natural Instincts and Light Mountain Natural hair dye picks below are notably free from PPD.

No matter what your hair or skin type, choosing hair dyes infused with nourishing ingredients is a smart move. That's why almost all of the picks below are formulated with an added conditioning agents like coconut oil, flower oils, or keratin.

And, if you're looking for a hair dye that's also cruelty-free, paraben- and sulfate-free, or vegan, there's an option for you below as well. What's more, all of the at-home coloring kits below feature at least six different shades, with one pick featuring 34 hues. The best part: All of the coloring options below are $20 or less and highly rated on Amazon.

1. The Best Overall Ammonia-Free Permanent Hair Color

Naturtint Permanent Hair Color is formulated without ammonia, silicones, parabens, mineral oils, formaldehyde, artificial fragrances, gluten, and sodium lauryl sulfate. It also promises to be vegan-friendly, and Amazon shoppers give it a 4.2-star rating after more than 900 reviews. This plant-based, permanent hair dye uses organic plant and seed oils to naturally nourish and condition hair, and it guarantees long-lasting results. It’s ideal for all-over hair color, and it comes in 30 different shades.

What fans are saying: “I love this product and the price on Amazon is better than at the stores. I love the fact that it has a lot less chemicals than other hair coloring products out there. It doesn't feel harsh on my hair at all and looks natural. It leaves my hair feeling shiny and soft and without chemical smell.”

2. The Best Drugstore Ammonia-Free Hair Dye

Garnier Olia Ammonia-Free Hair Color is formulated with a 60 percent oil blend — with natural oils from sunflower, meadowfoam, passion flower, and camellia oleifera seed. It promises to deliver gorgeous color, and even guarantees to leave your hair looking healthier and shinier after use. There's no harsh smell, either, and it's available in 34 shades.

What fans are saying: “Love that this product does not dry out my hair like so many ammonia-free brands. This shade has a lot of highlights and variations in color when applied, so it doesn't look fake (or like some sort of stove polish) when applied. Several people told me that they just assumed this was my natural hair color and wouldn't have known that I had to color my hair.”

3. The Best Ammonia-Free Semi-Permanent Hair Color

The new-and-improved Clairol Natural Instincts is formulated without parabens, ammonia, or PPD. It also uses 80 percent natural ingredients, including conditioning aloe vera and coconut oil. This dermatologist-tested pick is available in 37 shades, and it promises to last for 28 washes. This dye comes in eco-friendly, recyclable packaging to boot, and Amazon shoppers give it a 4.1-star rating.

What fans are saying: “I did a search for the best semi-permanent hair color on the market, and this product came up hands down as number one. My hair felt like it was in better condition than when I started. Love this product!”

4. An Ammonia-Free Hair Dye That’s Also Cruelty-Free

This all-natural, U.S.-made hair dye is formulated with henna, and it’s free of ammonia, PPD, and peroxide. A product of Lotus Brands, Light Mountain Natural Hair Color & Conditioner is made with fair trade-certified botanicals, and it’s Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free as well. Amazon shoppers love this pick, giving it a 4.5-star rating with nearly 500 reviews weighing in.

This option is great for all-over hair color, and it comes in 16 shades including auburn, spicy cinnamon, dark brown, light red, and mahogany. The only downside is you’ll need to leave this dye on for a few hours to achieve maximum results.

What fans are saying: “This is the first time I’ve ever dyed my hair and I don’t regret it at all!! Not only did it make my hair a beautiful, rich red with golden highlights, (I used chamomile tea instead of just water) but it also conditioned my hair and made it look healthier than it ever has! I now have more volume and thicker hair, and it looks so natural. Everyone keeps complimenting it not knowing it’s dye! I’m a natural dirty blonde and left it on my hair for four hours.”

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