Hair Care, Health

Gluten-Free Hair Color

6 Comments 27 October 2011

Gluten-Free Hair Color

Not long after my diagnosis, I realized that topical forms of gluten were also affecting my skin and health. And when I went to the salon, the gluten-rich shampoos and conditioners would leave my scalp itchy, and broken out in a rash. For years I remember washing my hair as soon as I got home from the salon, but I always assumed some residual color was still on my scalp, I never suspected gluten.

So for years I decided to avoid salons all together. I colored my own hair, by simply calling the help number or any hair color box you can pretty quickly find out whether all of it’s contents are gluten-free. And most hair color boxes are, though a few do contain gluten in the conditioner. I even took the scissors to my own head, trimming and cutting my own locks. Fortunately I had always favored stylists who perform edgy, almost messy cuts, and I had been paying attention.

But coloring your hair at home is always risky. Some months I was super blond, some I had long roots, and sometimes my hair was slightly reddish. So after years of avoiding the salon, I decided to go in for a round of professional color. I selected an Aveda salon, as at least their products are “more natural” than others. And I was sure I had seen gluten-free product lists for Aveda online.

Here’s how things went:

  • For Shame Aveda: Before my appt. I contacted Aveda for an updated gluten-free product list. I had seen similar lists on forums years ago, so figured that by now, like most major hair care lines they would have phased gluten out of most products, and have an updated list handy. Instead, they informed me that no such list exists and that ingredients are listed on the product packages. Sadly, Aveda is also still one of those companies that does not even list product ingredients online, pretty unusual for a “natural” brand.
  • Guard is Up: Remember how your mom used to embarrass you at times while trying to protect you, well as much as I hate to walk into a salon and tell them: I’d rather have some root than have any color touch my scalp, I need to see what shampoos and conditioners you have and check the labels for gluten, and I’ll have to preapprove any styling products that you’d like to use one me–I simply had to, for my own health.
  • I Spy Gluten: Fortunately my appointment was late in the evening, so the salon had pretty much cleared out. This meant that I was free to roam. So while waiting for my appointment to begin, I quickly checked the shampoos and conditioners and found that only the Scalp Benefits pair would do, as it was the ONLY Aveda conditioner I found that did not contain gluten ingredients. Then while my color processed, again I set about checking product labels. I did find that their Brilliance shine spray was gluten-free, and only one of the many hair sprays I checked was gluten-free. So all in all, it seemed like while many companies are phasing gluten out in response to consumer demand, Aveda is moving backwards. I also spied several ingredients that I am not a big fan of, but that’s a whole other post.
  • My Final Results: In the end, I was very happy with my color, and the stylist had been so understanding of all of my specific product restrictions.  I don’t think that my scalp broke out in an actual rash, but it did itch quite a bit, so once I got home I washed my hair with yummy, naturally scented Desert Essence Organics products and all was good and right with my hair.

- who has written 103 posts on Gluten Free Fox.

Kristen Campbell and her "wonder dog" Waylon are both severely intolerant to gluten. Celiac? Perhaps. But they've never had the endoscopy to tell (human or dog--does that exist?). Fortunately, they found each other! When Kristen isn't busy at work, she loves mixing up natural, gluten-free beauty products under her self titled line, spending time with her favorite "wonder dog" and catching up with friends.

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6 Comments so far

  1. Yvonne says:

    I have been coloring my hair for years using products from the health food store. I tried once one from the drug store and the itch and hair loss was horrible.

  2. ACurtis says:

    I have begun to wash my own hair before I go to my local hair salon. My hair dresser has no issues with this. I not only avoid their shampoos/conditioners and any gluten they might contain (because I use my own), but I also save the money I would be charged for having my hair washed. It’s a win-win situation. As for coloring my hair, I’ve given up on that. Not only is it expensive, but I don’t need the harmful chemicals and toxins in my body. I’ve learned to love my hair color and the occasional white/gray hair that has begun to show itself. I’ve learned to age gracefully.

  3. Shelly Harrington says:

    I have so many questions in regards to celiac. What shampoo and conditioners are safe to use. What soaps are safe to use and what laundry soap and dryer sh? I have been using regular stuff. I have just recently gone completely gluten free with intake and since I have I am notice huge changes with my hair structure, acne, etc… Please help. Thank you.

  4. Wella hair color from Sally Beauty Supply if free of wheat protein. I always was sick after I colored my hair, but finally realized why. Most hair color, as well as other beauty products, contains wheat protein. I finally found a hair color that is free of wheat protein – WELLA.

  5. I’ve had the same disappointment with Aveda. They were some of my favorite products BC (before Celiac). I still go to my Aveda salon for color, which doesn’t seem to bother me at all. I’m not a fan of the Scalp Benefits (too drying) and am thankfully still using the Brilliance hair spray.

    I’m STILL trying to find good quality, natural gf shampoo and conditioner that is moisturizing vs drying. Haven’t tried Desert Essence yet so will give that a try based on your post. I would love it if Aveda would step it up and give us a few more GF options. Hopefully someday.

    Congratulations on your wedding. Sounds fabulous!

  6. Kate says:

    Yay! Thanks for posting this. I just purged some yummy smelling shea butter fekkai shampoo because of the wheat proteins in it:(.

    Q. Did you happen to find out from Aveda if their hair color was wheat/gluten free in addition to the products you listed? I’m sure you did but just double-checking. I’m looking for salon & at home hair color without wheat in it.

    Also thank you Janice for your Dec 2011 post about Wella wheat free hair color! I finally found an awesome dark blonde color to cover my grays & highlight over (Revlon Colorsilk #61) & was SOOOOOOO bummed to read the box & see Wheat Amino Acids on it.

    Since we absorb so much through our scalps, follicles & shafts it’s so important to have wheat-free hair products!

    Thanks guys,
    :) Kate

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