French cosmetics trade association defends hair dye safety

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Concentration

Febea, France’s cosmetics trade association, has defended the safety of hair dyes that was called into question by the consumer magazine ‘60 Millions de Consommateurs’.

The consumer organisation tested 18 hair dyes, both mahogany and blond, for efficacy as well as investigating their ingredients.

According to the study, published in the April issue of 60 Millions de Consommateurs, only one of the 18 tested was ‘acceptable’ as regards its toxicological profile, and the study strongly advised against using six of the products.

60 Millions de Consommateurs based their toxicological analysis on the presence of a number of hair dye ingredients for example toluene-2,5-diamine, which it says have strong sensibilisation or mutagenic potential.

‘Unnecessarily alarms’

However, Febea argues that the study unnecessarily alarms consumers over the dangers of hair dyes.

It highlights that hair dye ingredients are subject to European regulation which sets strict limits for maximum concentrations.

One of the ingredients cited by 60 Millions de Consommateurs, toluene-2,5-diamine cannot be used in concentrations above 4 per cent, Febea explained.

“This means that this ingredient is not deemed to pose a health risk if used in concentrations under 4 per cent,”​ director of scientific and regulatory affaires Anne Dux told

Nowhere in the study, did 60 Millions de Consommateurs show that these limits were exceeded, the association explained.

Febea also noted the extensive work that has been ongoing over the last few years by the SCCS to systemically review all hair dye ingredients and set new maximum concentration limits.

However, new limits have not yet been set for all ingredients and 60 Millions de Consommateurs has highlighted paraphenylenediamine (PPD) as one such ingredient that appeared in all of the chestnut hair dyes and some of the blond products.

“While there is no final rule on PPD, the SCCS has published a preliminary maximum concentration of 2 per cent, in comparison to the previous 6 per cent,”​ explained Dux, adding that as it is PPD that colours the hair to decrease its concentration further would significantly decrease the efficacy of the dye.

Reducing the concentration of ingredients such as PPD, reduces the risk of allergies in the population, Febea explained; although, the risk of an individual developing an allergy can never be eliminated.

In addition to systematically reviewing all hair dye ingredients, European regulation on labelling has recently been updated in an attempt to draw the consumer’s attention to the potential allergy risk posed by hair dyes, Dux added.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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