Hair Color Allergies | PPD Free and All Natural Hair Colors, Can They Cause Allergic Reactions too?

Having an allergy to hair color is not something to take chances on. If you know anyone with an allergy to hair color, you already know exactly what I am talking about. Here's a little background on my experience with hair color allergies:
I graduated beauty school and was working in a salon when I first encountered someone with a hair color allergy. That person is my mom.
My mom had been coloring her hair for way longer than I've been on this earth for. She never had an allergy in the past and no one in our family has an allergy to hair color. I colored her hair one night, as I had been doing for years... She went to work the next day and was in a meeting. She noticed the then CEO looking at her in a weird way. By the end of the meeting the CEO went up to my mom and asked if she was OK. She describes the way she looked after that meeting as "the elephant man". Her face was swollen, her ears had sores and blisters. That night she rushed herself to the emergency room. The Dr. said she had what appeared to be cauliflower ear, which is common among professional boxers (literally from being punched in the head so much).

Was it a new detergent? A new shampoo? Did she eat something different? No, no and no.

The Dr. had no clue, my mom had no clue and I certainly had no clue.

The standard 4-6 weeks went by and it was time to color my mom's hair again...
The allergic reaction came back, stronger than the last time. itchy scalp, sores, swollen face...

After extensive research my mom realized it was the PPD in hair color that was causing this extreme reaction. Turns out, a hair color allergy can be a fatal allergy (Yes, fatal). We tried everything, from cutting the formula with Sweet and Low, coating the scalp with milk. We tried off the scalp applications, everything! When nothing seemed to work, we searched high and low for PPD free hair color and we spent a ton of money on all natural hair colors... still my mom would wake up with sores and an itchy scalp. Even though her allergic reaction to all natural hair color has never been as bad as her allergic reaction to hair color with PPD- there is still a reaction and to me that is just NOT OK.

We now have a new process we've been doing for over the past 8 years. No color (not even all natural or PPD free) no glosses, no toners or glazes. Over the past 8 years I've developed a process on how to "color" her hair or more literally, camouflage her grays without actually coloring her hair at all. There is no more worry about late night emergency room visits, cauliflower ear, sores, lumps or burns.

I posted this picture of my mom's before and after on Monday night and the response was incredible. The amount of people that didn't know a hair color allergy exists... People who have family members that just developed a hair color allergy and didn't know where to turn to...

100% Hair Color FREE!

So my hope for this post is to let everyone know, an allergy to hair color is real and really not something to take chances on. And I hope this post helps someone out there with their hair color allergy. If you have an allergy to hair color or know someone who does and live in the Hudson Valley, NY- do yourself a favor and book an appointment with me, (you can email me directly at: StylistErikawithaK@gmail.com.) Your health and well being is of the utmost importance and I take this matter very seriously. There are many colorists and stylists out there that are amazing at what they do but are not well informed or educated on hair color allergies. So please do your research before selecting a colorist or stylist to "color" your hair. Don't put your life in the hands of someone that simply doesn't know the severity of an allergic reaction to hair color.

Again, this allergy is something that can develop. So if you find one day you have lumps, bumps and sores after coloring your hair and think "I don't have an allergy to hair color." Please don't rule it out. Allergies, such as this one, can develop over time or over night.


There are many pictures of allergic reactions to hair coloring on the internet, feel free to look up them up so you can be aware of the signs to look for. For more information on hair color allergies:



Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is a chemical substance that is widely used as a permanent hair dye. It may also been found in textile or fur dyes, dark coloured cosmetics, temporary tattoos, photographic developer and lithography plates, photocopying and printing inks, black rubber, oils, greases and gasoline.


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