Of potential interest to the chemistry nerds out there, that chemical is an ammonia derivative. How can a company say the hair colour they sell is ammonia-free when it contains an ammonia derivative? Let's not get into that marketing point right now. Anyway, monoethanolamine is not just being used an ammonia replacement in hair colour. No, it is also used in dry cleaning fluid. Seriously, I'm not making that up. It doesn't smell as strong as ammonia does though, so it must be better right? That's literally how it was sold to me years ago. I had a rep stick a freshly mixed bowl of colour right up to their nose and take a breath deep. Then they tried to shove the bowl in my face. No thank you, please.
Look, you decide. In the spirit of balance and fairness, some hairdressers and clients will swear their ammonia-free colours are better, last longer, and that is wonderful. If a client and their hairdresser are happy great. To each their own with this topic too. However, it is important to publish this article so that each client can decide for themselves which is going to best for their needs. After all, a well informed client is always going to be better positioned to have healthy, happy hair. What do I think? If you really want to colour your hair, stick with the devil you know. While ammonia does have a strong odour, it has been road-tested for decades. Also, if it is good enough for Aveda Hair Colour, that took over a decade to develop and is up to 96% natural, then it should absolutely be good enough for you too.
While researching information for this post, I stumbled across a great article that gets the facts right. It's from a wonderful woman named Cath in South Africa. She's doing really great things.