According to DyeCat, the chemicals in hair colorants contain severe allergens, sensitizers and suspected carcinogens.
Although companies are aware of the negative reputation of chemical hair dyes among some consumers, finding a natural alternative has presented a challenge in the industry.
Challenge to find natural alternative
A team of researchers from Leeds University, led by Dr Richard Blackburn, has been working with DyeCat, developing formulas to remove p-phenylenediamine (PPD) and p-toloenediamine (PTD) and replace them with purely botanical ingredients.
Blackburn, who is both senior lecturer at University of Leeds and company president of DyeCat, has been working with a team of specialists to develop a fully oxidated hair dye system, which will achieve the same results as those currently on the market.
He claimed the progress has been very promising. They have already created semi-permanent natural botanical hair dyes which he said last up to 12 wash and dry cycles.
The formulas have been developed, but DyeCat still needs to convince retailers to sell their formulas on the high street. Blackburn exclusively told CosmeticsDesign that DyeCat are currently in negotiations with two cosmetics companies in US and UK to produce botanic extracts for hair care.
Blackburn said that the prospect of making hair dyes from natural compounds was very attractive to many cosmetics brands. He added that although his research teams are close to finalizing the formula for a permanent hair dye using botanic ingredients, the catalyst for this product still needs to be tested and this will take some time.
Research supported by the Technology Strategy Board
Research into this area of natural formulation was given a recent boost by the allocation of funds by the Technology Strategy Board into extracting natural compounds from seaweed to be used in hair dye and hair care.
According to Blackburn, DyeCat had already been investigating the possibilities of using dyes from seaweed before being approached by the Technology Strategy Board.
This funding allowed a project to develop which linked researchers such as Blackburn and his company DyeCat with retailers like the Body Shop.
The project of using seaweed extracts for hair care and hair colorant products will begin for DyeCat on the 1st October. Blackburn hopes to follow this with further projects with cosmetics and hair care retailers.