If you’re rocking gray hair, you know how difficult it is to dye. White and gray locks are among the hardest hair colors to work with when you want to change up your color because they can be stubborn and sometimes don’t want to hold color.
Many men and women in their golden years have to sacrifice their hair health to use super-strong dyes with ammonia just to color their gray hair.
But you don’t have to compromise your overall hair health just to switch from gray to colored hair.
Tons of dyes cover gray locks and aren’t formulated with damaging ingredients like ammonia.
In this post, we’ll be looking at the best ammonia-free hair color to cover gray strands.
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Why Do Most Hair Dyes Contain Ammonia?
Ammonia is a powerful chemical that lifts your cuticles to allow the dye to penetrate deep into your hair cortex.
When dye enters this layer of your hair, it stays much longer.
Basically, ammonia ensures that your hair drinks up all the dye instead of just coloring the outer layers of hair.
It’s a very aggressive agent, which is why it’s most often seen in permanent hair dyes that promise to last a long time on your locks.
It works wonders for making sure that your color lasts, but it has its downside too.
Because ammonia roughs up the cuticle during the dyeing process, it’s the main culprit of dryness, brittleness, and frizz after you color your hair.
It’s harsh and damaging to the hair, and can even irritate your scalp if you have sensitive skin.
Ammonia also tends to leave your hair with an unpleasant, chemical-like smell a few days or weeks after your hair coloring session, which can be a blow to your confidence.
Advantages Of Using Ammonia-Free Hair Color
Dyes that don’t contain ammonia are just as effective as those that do.
Just a few years back, “ammonia-free” was synonymous with semi-permanent hair dye.
But today, there are tons of gentle, ammonia-free formulations that last a long time in your hair.
Instead of forcing your cuticle open to allow pigments to penetrate the cortex, ammonia-free dyes color on the outer layer of hair instead, keeping your hair structure intact.
Some dye brands also use nourishing oils with penetrative qualities (like coconut oil) to help the dye enter the hair shaft.
Ammonia-free dyes are very gentle on the scalp and hair, so if you have issues with sensitive skin, you may want to opt for it instead of a harsh permanent dye.
They also leave your hair with minimal damage, so you never have to worry about dryness and fragility leading to breakage.
Another small perk of going ammonia-free is that these dyes don’t have that strong, chemical-like smell.
Instead, they usually have a pleasant fragrance to help you relax and feel pampered during your coloring sesh.
In a nutshell, you preserve the integrity of your hair and don’t deal that much damage to it when you use an ammonia-free dye.
They may not last as long as permanent dyes with harsh chemicals, but it’s worth it if it means you can maintain your hair’s health and shine.
Best Ammonia-Free Hair Color To Cover Gray Strands
Thinking about switching over to ammonia-free hair dye?
Here are some of the best ones that offer amazing gray coverage:
Schwarzkopf Simply Color Permanent Hair Color
Get rich, vibrant color even on your tricky gray hairs with this ammonia-free dye by Schwarzkopf.
Instead of harsh, dehydrating chemicals, it’s made with nourishing ingredients like oat milk, soy proteins, and luxurious argan oil to moisturize your hair and strengthen it too.
The formula doesn’t contain potentially damaging ingredients like silicones and alcohol, so you don’t have to worry about drying out your hair.
It was also tested by dermatologists to ensure that it’s gentle enough to be used on sensitive scalps.
- Provides vibrant color and 100% gray coverage
- Oat milk, soy proteins, and argan oil moisturize and strengthen your locks
- Doesn’t contain silicones and alcohol that can dry out your hair
- Dermatologist-tested to ensure it’s gentle on the scalp
- The color can be darker than advertised on the box
L’Oreal Professionnel Inoa Hair Color
Hydrate your hair while enjoying rich, bright colors that last long.
This permanent hair dye by L’Oreal incorporates a unique Oil Delivery System that uses 60% hydrating oils to help the dye penetrate your locks without being too harsh on your cuticles.
The oils in this formula condition your hair as you color it.
It gives it a glossy shine, making your hair look fresh and healthy after your coloring session.
- The color is long-lasting and doesn’t wash out for months
- Has a unique oil delivery system to help dye penetrate your locks
- Nourishing oils hydrate and add shine to the hair
- Odorless, so you won’t get distracted by strong smells
- Might be too rich if you already have oily hair, to begin with
Herb Speedy PPD Free Hair Dye
This Korean hair dye by Herb Speedy is perfect if you’re looking to try a hair coloring system with naturally derived ingredients.
Because the ingredients aren’t harsh, it’s excellent for those with sensitive scalps that easily get irritated.
It produces a brilliant and rich color in your hair that lasts up to 25 washes, so you don’t have to worry about premature fading.
On top of that, it’s made with a sun protection agent to keep UV rays from damaging and discoloring your hair.
- Made with natural ingredients to be gentle on your delicate scalp
- Produces a brilliant hair color that lasts up to 25 washes
- Formulated with a sunscreen agent to protect your hair from sun damage
- The smell is quite strong and chemical-like
Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Color
If you live for shiny, glowy hair, you’ll love this semi-permanent color by Clairol.
It’s made with coconut oil and aloe vera leaf juice to moisturize your hair and smoothen out your cuticles.
These powerhouse ingredients also work to add shine and gloss to your locks.
The formula contains 80% natural ingredients, making it super gentle on your skin.
It even has a thick, creamy, non-drip formula that makes it easier to spread across your hair strands without making a mess.
- Made with coconut oil and aloe vera to moisturize your hair
- Leaves your hair shiny and luminous
- Formulated with natural ingredients to be gentle to your skin
- Has a creamy non-drip formula for easier spreadability
- Starts to fade in just several weeks
Manic Panic Hair Color
Gunning for a bold and colorful look?
Manic Panic is the brand for you.
Their ammonia-free hair colors are made with an ultra-conditioning base that helps soften and smoothen out your locks as you color them.
It also has a unique protein complex to boost your hair bonds’ strength.
Manic Panic has a wide range of bold, eye-popping colors, from cute pastels to deep, sultry tones.
There’s no such thing as too loud or vibrant with these ammonia-free options.
- Has an ultra-conditioning base to keep your hair soft
- Made with a protein complex to strengthen your hair
- Comes in a wide range of bold, captivating colors
- It’s a direct dye, so you don’t need to combine it with other substances
- The texture is too thick, making it tricky to apply
Naturcolor Permanent Herbal-Based Haircolor Gel
Get the finest quality of color and damage-free hair all at once with this gel-based permanent dye by Naturcolor.
It’s crafted with naturally derived Italian pigments that give you rich, raw color.
Your hair color will always turn up looking natural and fade beautifully.
This gel’s formula doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like parabens and resorcinol, so you’re in the clear if you hate dehydrated hair.
Because the formula is so gentle, you can layer it in separate coloring sessions without damaging your hair.
- Crafted with high-quality, naturally derived Italian pigments for a rich color
- Your shade will look natural, never too intense and fake-looking
- Doesn’t have harsh chemicals like parabens and resorcinol
- Can be layered on the hair without damaging your locks
- Might take a longer developing time than other dyes
dpHUE Gloss Semi-Permanent Hair Color & Conditioner
Dealing with lackluster hair?
Fight back with this shine-boosting coloring conditioner by dpHUE.
Treating your hair with this doesn’t just change up its shade – it adds immense gloss and luminosity to your locks too.
It also keeps it silky smooth to the touch.
What’s so fun about this conditioner is that you can mix multiple shades together until you get the color you really want, making it super customizable.
- Adds insane shine and gloss back to dull, dry hair
- Conditions your hair to keep it silky smooth
- You can mix multiple shades to get your desired color
- Doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens, peroxide, and other toxic chemicals
- It’s difficult to deposit the color evenly, making it look patchy
Lime Crime Unicorn Hair Tint
This incredibly fun hair tint by Lime Crime is made with conditioning ingredients that leave your hair super soft and silky to the touch as you color your hair.
The range offers a handful of captivating pastel shades that are perfect for those into cosplay or simply want to stick out like a sore thumb in a crowd.
Since it’s ammonia-free, it doesn’t have that icky chemical smell.
Instead, it leaves your locks smelling super sweet and delicious.
- The tint has conditioning properties to leave your hair silky and soft
- Comes in many vibrant pastel shades
- Fades beautifully in a couple of weeks
- Leaves your hair with a sweet confectionery scent
- Can permanently stain fabrics, so wear protective gear when using this
SheaMoisture Nourishing Hair Color Kit
This convenient color kit by SheaMoisture comes with everything you need to color your hair, from the crème dye to the developer, and even latex gloves and a nourishing hair masque for after your treatment.
Flaxseed and soy proteins, on the other hand, work to repair and fortify your strands.
- Comes complete with a dye, developer, gloves, and hair masque
- Shea butter and other oils provide deep moisture
- Flaxseed and proteins fortify your hair
- The no-drip formula minimizes messiness in your bathroom
- Applies on the hair darker than the color on the box
Revlon Total Color Permanent Hair Color
This permanent hair dye by Revlon is infused with lush, nourishing hemp seed oil to hydrate and moisturize your hair as you change up its color.
By the end of your session, you’ll have soft and smooth hair.
The formula can cover 100% of gray hairs, so you don’t have to worry about patchiness in areas of your hair that have lost color.
- Has hemp seed oil to nourish and moisturize your locks
- Provides 100% gray hair coverage for an even color
- Formulated without parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, and more
- You’ll need to recolor your hair every three or so weeks
Garnier Olia Ammonia Free Hair Color
Love floral fragrances?
Try out this ammonia-free hair color by Garnier.
It’s made with 60% botanical oils extracted from flowers, including sunflower, passionflower, and camellia oils.
These hydrators work to make your hair silky soft, while the dye covers 100% of gray hairs to give you a rich, solid, vibrant color from root to tip.
The oils also give your scalp the optimal level of comfort without irritation and harshness.
- Botanical oils hydrate the hair and make it silky soft
- Covers 100% of gray hair for a rich, solid, vibrant color
- Provides the optimal level of comfort for sensitive scalps
- Leaves your locks three times shinier than untreated hair
- May fade quicker on your grays than other sections of hair
Indus Valley 100% Botanical Organic Hair Dye
This dermatologist-recommended Indus Valley dye is packed with unique herbs and botanicals that boost hydration, vitality, and strength in your hair.
Its blend of botanicals also addresses troubling hair issues, such as dandruff, premature graying, and frequent hair fall.
It’s a terrific product not just for coloring and conditioning your hair, but also for improving its overall health.
- Infused with eight herbs and botanicals for hydration and strength
- Improves hair issues like dandruff and hair fall
- Gives your hair an intense, bold color
- Recommended by dermatologists for those with delicate skin
- Has an earthy, grass-like scent that may not be for everyone
It’s natural to feel disheartened when your gray hair is too stubborn to take color.
But never believe that you have to turn to ammonia dyes to get the color you want.
If you’ve been looking for the best ammonia-free hair color to cover gray hair, I hope this post has come in handy.
With the ammonia-free dyes listed above, you can color your gray locks while protecting your hair from damage.
They’re better for your hair and will allow it to stay luscious and healthy as you switch it up.