Is Your Hair Coloring Safe?

Before beginning school at Penn State University, I had no intentions of ever dying my hair. The longer I was at school, the more I realized how light other girls hair were and that I was sick of always having the darkest hair out of all my friends. So, I did what any person who was sick of their hair color would do – dye it. Sure enough, Thanksgiving break rolled around, and I am now sitting here with blonder hair. Although I now have already dyed my hair, I wonder how safe is dying your hair?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julian Mackler/ Shutterstock (4745440bd) Gigi Hadid Costume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating China: Through the Looking Glass, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, America - 04 May 2015

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Julian Mackler/ Shutterstock (4745440bd)
Gigi Hadid
Costume Institute Gala Benefit celebrating China: Through the Looking Glass, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, America – 04 May 2015


People have been dying their hair for hundreds of years; however, how safe can it really be? The Null Hypothesis would be nothing happens when you dye your hair, it is fine to do; while the Alternative Hypothesis would be something does happen when you dye your hair, and it could be harmful. This is something I definitely want to discover, because it could change my views on continuing to dye my hair in the future. In order to determine how safe hair dye is, it is important to know what is in it. According to How Stuff Works, hair dyes have two main ingredients – hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. According to Style Caster, the only possible effects these two ingredients could have on you is to cause you to have dermatitis, swelling, and itching. However, these symptoms are so rare that they’d probably only happen if you dye your hair multiple times in one day every time you dye your hair – which all in all, is a lot of dying that is unreasonable for almost everybody.  Although the ingredients seem to be safe for people to use, a number of people have grown great concern with the possible correlation with dying hair and cancer. Could dying your hair cause cancer? According to The American Cancer Foundation, there have been many studies in order to determine if there is any correlation between cancer and hair dye. One study, exposed animals to a substance to see if any health problems occurred.  While another study, explained that it looked at the rate of cancer in a group of people and to see who was exposed to hair dye and who wasn’t. Although these studies seem to be helpful, there is actually not enough evidence to determine if hair dye does indeed cause cancer, or in fact are harmful at all. So, the Null Hypothesis would stand; however, there are still studies going on to determine if hair dye is harmful.

How To Dye

Although it has been determined that hair dye is not harmful, are there ways that are better to dye your hair? The most common way one dyes their hair is using foil. Accordingthe-hair-color-that-lasts-6-months-1024x679 to Clairol Professional, a hair salon, foiling allows the chemicals in the dye to seep into the hair giving it the change in color. A newer, more natural looking hair dying process, is balayage. This process is by ‘painting’ the hair in order to give it a more natural look. Unlike the foil, the balayage dyes differently and allows some pieces of your hair to be darker or lighter than other part, rather than the whole piece being the same color. So what method of dying is better? According to Modern Salon, is easier on your hair since you are not foiling it up and suffocating it while it takes in the dye. The balayage is much lighter and more free than the foil. Just like Modern Salon, Vogue Australia, agrees to use balayage in the debate between balayage and foil. Even though these top two fashion sites agree with using balayage, there is no health effects on either of them, so ultimately it is up to the person who is getting their hair dyed.



unknownAll in all, the evidence concludes that hair dying is safe and there has been no link to any health effects. The Null Hypothesis stood, but there are still studies going on the determine if hair dye could possibly cause any health effects. The two different ways to dye your hair can determine how it makes your hair look, but ultimately it won’t effect anything about you or your health. In conclusion, hair dying is definitely safe and is definitely something I would recommend doing if you are tired of your normal hair!


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Is Hair Dye Harmful to Your Health?

Gigi Hadid

10 thoughts on “Is Your Hair Coloring Safe?

  1. Matthew Porr

    I think that research in this field would benefit from a longitudinal study with two groups,one of which consisting of people that often dye their hair and the other with people that do not dye their hair at all. This would help see if their is a significant health difference between the 2 groups. You mentioned the possibility of hair dye causing cancer, so by doing a longitudinal study, you can see if their is a delayed result such as the tobacco studies. It takes 20 years for the cancer to affect the smokers, so maybe the hair dye works in the same manner. Because of the lack of evidence, you have accepted the null hypothesis, but i feel as if this may be premature. More/better research must be done to make a conclusion.

  2. Claudia Lynn Hatch

    I thought you had a well organized, interesting blog. However, I felt this topic was not one that could backed with sufficient evidence. I think you could have done more research into whether or not it really is dangerous to get your hair colored. I did like how to clearly stated the null and alternative hypothesis, and related your blog to some of the concepts Andrew covered in class. I am someone who likes to color their hair, so I enjoyed reading your blog. Personally I don’t think it can do much damage to your body, other than you hair, but I am definitely more interested after reading your blog. I did like that you used pictures to help get your point across, and that you added tips to bettering the way you dye your hair. I just would have liked it to be a more focused blog and I think you could have done more research into your topic. Here is another article about whether or not dying your hair is truly a risk.

  3. Kaitlyn A Kaminski

    Hi Gulianna,

    I found your article to be filled with information, but you didn’t really talk about the health consequences that can come along with dyeing your hair. I know that the smell from all of the chemicals can be overwhelming for some/burn people’s eyes and the chemicals could also be linked to brain cancer…this is unconfirmed, but just like nail polish- chemicals can catch up to you eventually. I personally went from a brunette to blonde and regret everything- My hair has never been lighter even after dyeing it back to brown, the blonde still seeps through. I get a glaze every 6 weeks, and I know it is not good for me and is drying out my hair. Overall nice job with the blog, but check this out this source explains how brain tumors can be caused from hair dye.

  4. Olivia Anne Browne

    Great post, super relatable to me. I have been dying my hair for years now and never really even had the thought about its health effects. It is relieving to see there is no major evidence of any severely damaging health effects. There is always controversy regarding certain treatments and whats natural vs what is harmful. Only time will tell with what is actually harmful to our bodies. As the technology changes, and their are other substitutes that are more natural, I think all hair procedures will become safer and safer as time goes on. I mean honestly saying who ever thought altering the way you were born with the use of chemicals was safe? Great job in this post, really enjoyed reading it.
    Check out this article that says there is a link to cancer in respects to dying your hair.

  5. Danielle Megan Sobel

    This post changed my opinion of coloring hair. I always thought it was very damaging and bad to color your hair, especially if you’ve done it once before. I have personally never bleached my hair, but I once used a box dye to make my hair darker (very poor decision). This coloring, although from an “hair healthy” brand, still had warnings about damaging factors, but at that point in my life it was a risk I was willing to take. This was a very long time ago and my hair is back to its normal color, but I have always considered dying it to a different color. This is the coloring product I used, and I enjoyed it for a while, but I got a deep wash and condition once it began to fade which undid the process and took my hair back to its original state.×750.jpg

  6. Mackenzie French

    I just recently died my hair for the first time so I was interested in reading your blog post! Good to know that there are no health effects by dying your hair, but from having a mom who works at a hair salon, I have understood the effects are damaging to your hair. If you dye it too much then obviously your hair is going to be less natural, and in not as good condition. Heres an article that explains the cons of dying your hair related to the condition of it.

  7. Natalie Elizabeth Burns

    I really enjoyed your post! Very well researched and I like how you never forgot about your conclusion on the null. When reading this, I thought about how dying hair could be dangerous for different types of women. Specifically, pregnant women. I found an article that says there are no obvious signs of harm but to take precautions. I found this interesting because I thought immediately you shouldn’t at all because it would be too harmful. I guess this shows how lousy my intuition is.

  8. Mairead Donnard

    This was such an informative blog! I have always gone back and forth about whether or not I wanted to dye my hair being that I know a lot of chemicals are used to achieve a nice look. It was nice to read that there is no real harm in dyeing your hair. I found your comparison between traditional foil dyeing and balayage to be particularly interesting. I would think that balayage would be more harmful to hair since it is being more directly applied to hair. With this being said, not all hair treatments are completely safe. For example keratin, a frizz-combating treatment contains formaldehyde, a carcinogen, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned to be a potential hazard to the health of those who choose to undergo this hair treatment. Here is an article that talks more in-depth about the dangers of getting a keratin treatment:

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