Gluten is a protein that is found in many food products, but did you know that it’s also listed as an ingredient in both hair color and hair care products? What exactly is the role of gluten, and is it essential to your haircare routine? In this article, we are going to discuss whether you should switch to gluten-free hair color and which ones to choose!
Gluten-free hair color is a good choice for people with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance because they are generally safer. It may be necessary for some people to avoid gluten even when used topically as it can cause a reaction when reaching the bloodstream.
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What Is Gluten?
Gluten is the protein that can be found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It is often added to food products, in particular starchy foods such as bread and pasta, to act as a binder.
This is what often gives bread that light, airy texture that many of us are familiar with. Now, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding gluten and its place in our diet.
While some will say that it can be inflammatory and detrimental to our health, there is very little research to back this up.
In fact, many studies have found that gluten does have a place in our diet. Whole grains, for instance, can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.
The issue with gluten is that some people cannot tolerate it. Those people will either have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
While both of these conditions can present similar symptoms, the latter can be very serious. In people with celiac disease, every time they consume gluten, even in very small amounts, the body sees this as a toxin.
Naturally, the body will want to eradicate it. When the body triggers this immune response, it is unknowingly damaging itself.
This then leads to widespread inflammation, causing several different symptoms.
Someone who has celiac disease or gluten intolerance will have to avoid any foods or products containing gluten.
This can be a difficult thing to do seeing as gluten, wheat, barley, and rye are present in so many products today.
Someone who is avoiding gluten will have to check the list of ingredients on every product before use or consumption.
This will become a habit that helps to protect them from any damaging health issues.
Why Is It Used In Hair Products?
You may notice that gluten is a common ingredient in some hair products, ranging from shampoo, hair masks, and even hair dyes.
Gluten is a protein that has abilities to strengthen the hair and improve elasticity, which makes it a good addition to any shampoo product.
Hair dye contains many ingredients. Some work as preservatives that stop the product from expiring. Other ingredients such as gluten are often added to preserve the structure of the hair, which helps to retain the color. However, it’s not essential that hair colors contain gluten.
In fact, there are many gluten-free colors available today that are just as effective as gluten-containing colors. More likely than not, you would not notice the difference.
Gluten can be replaced by a protein such as keratin, which is naturally found in our hair. This has the same strengthening qualities as gluten and it also preserves the structure.
The bonus part is it’s far less likely to cause a skin reaction in many individuals.
Who Should Choose A Gluten-Free Hair Color?
Someone who has celiac disease or gluten intolerance should opt for gluten-free colors.
While there is limited research to suggest that gluten can be absorbed through the skin, some individuals have reported a reaction.
Therefore, it is usually best to avoid it if you are worried about any possible reaction.
Gluten can be disguised in many different hair products. These are just a few of the common ingredients to avoid:
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Wheat germ oil
- Oat extract (oats often have to be avoided in those with celiac disease)
- Malt extract
- Secale cereal
- Triticum Vulgare
- Vitamin E can often be derived from wheat
Top 7 Gluten-Free Hair Colors To Try
As it can be difficult to know which hair colors are gluten-free, it’s best to check the packaging for any label that states it is gluten-free.
Most products that are gluten-free will clearly state this on the packaging. When buying online, read the description to confirm if it is in fact 100% gluten-free.
Here are a few hair coloring brands and colors that we recommend for you to try. As always, you should perform a patch test 48 hours before using any hair color.
Herbatint is a brand that focuses on the use of more natural ingredients rather than the use of harsh chemicals.
While the product is not 100% natural, it is designed to be less harsh on the hair and scalp, which makes it a suitable choice for sensitive skin.
It does not contain ammonia, which is a common ingredient that can cause a reaction in some people. And it is made with naturally gluten-free ingredients so those with celiac disease or extreme gluten sensitivity can use this product safely.
As it’s referred to as a ‘tint’ many of the colors give a natural finish, which might be appealing for those looking for natural colors only.
Color X-Change is known for vivid, dramatic color changes. All of their hair colors are gluten-free, ammonia and peroxide free, and vegan-friendly.
There are also no sulfates so these dyes are less likely to irritate a sensitive scalp. If you are searching for an affordable way to achieve bright, bold hair then this just might be the solution.
EcoColors are gluten-free, paraben-free, and focus on the use of more natural ingredients.
The gentler formula makes them the ideal choice for anyone with a sensitive scalp or extremely dry or damaged hair.
It’s worth noting that if you are looking for a dramatic color change, it will not be achieved through EcoColors.
These colors are better suited for those looking for a more natural, subtle look.
Revlon is a popular brand with its own hair color range, some of which are gluten-free. The total color range has a few different natural colors to choose from ranging from dark brown to burgundy.
They are also silicone-free and ammonia-free, so they may be gentler on the scalp compared with many similar dyes on the market.
While there are not too many bold and bright colors available, this color range is definitely best suited to more natural looks.
If 100 percent natural is what you are looking for, then henna is the single best option.
Light Mountain is a popular brand that has a selection of natural, gluten-free colors and other hair products.
There are no chemicals involved – just pure henna. Make sure not to mix henna with oil but use something like lemon juice instead.
This is the best option if you have sensitivities to conventional hair dye and need a gentler approach. In fact, Henna works particularly well for dreadlocks or braids.
While henna will not give you bright results compared to hair dye, it is very long-lasting.
Unlike typical hair dye, there is no need to dye the lengths of your hair every 6 – 8 weeks to maintain the color. The color will be more noticeable when outside in the sun.
Even those with very dark hair may be able to achieve a dark cherry red with henna.
One thing to note is that henna is permanent and very difficult to remove from the hair. Consider this before application.
Also, make sure that you use conditioner after a henna treatment. This will ensure that your hair stays moisturized and soft.
Splat is a brand that is known for its bright, bold colors. They are gluten-free, ammonia-free, and paraben-free.
As this is a semi-permanent dye, you can expect results to last for 4 -6 weeks. This makes it a great option for those who aren’t looking to commit to any color or someone who likes to switch up their hair color often.
Hair dye can be very drying on the hair, but these colors contain Baobab seed oil to moisturize and protect the hair. You may notice less dryness when using these dyes compared to others.
Keracolor is a unique conditioning product that deposits hair color to the hair strands. Their hair color selection is gluten-free and paraben-free.
Many people have reported that it leaves their hair feeling very soft and manageable. It can act as a way to refresh faded hair color or change your natural color to your desired shade.
There are 18 colors to choose from ranging from bright, bold colors to more natural shades.
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Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.