I will fully admit - the last thing I switched over to clean was my hair color. I thought there was NO way it could be as good as the cool blonde that my previous colorist had been perfecting. I had opened AILLEA in 2015 and more than a year later, I was committed to switching my hair color as well. So I started researching colorists that specialize in organic coloring. Without a doubt, the best in Denver was Alyssa Housh.
I nervously booked my appointment and when it was all done, I was stunned. I didn't know it was possible, but I loved the color MORE than the conventional I had been using. I was totally sold and a convert.
Whether you want to cover grays or change your whole style, the risk we face is potential hair damage and always long term health impacts.
“Co-founded by hairdresser Stephen Landreth, who was forced to give up hairdressing when he developed a severe allergy to conventional hair colour, soon realized there were not many alternatives available. The solution? He made it himself.”
Who is Alyssa?
Alyssa is a National trainer for Organic Colour Systems. She has a salon here in Denver and has just opened her second salon in Kansas City, MO. Due to our shared love of all things natural, Alyssa has become a great friend of mine & is my amazing hair color/stylist! We got a chance to catch up with Alyssa and get the inside scoop on this healthier hair dye option.
What is your background/experience in the salon/ salon industry?
“I have been a hairdresser since 2002. I became an independent stylist in 2006. I finished my Bachelor's of Environmental Studies in 2011, moved to Denver from Kansas City in 2014 and started The Organic Salon Denver in 2016. It has been steadily growing since and I absolutely love being a business owner, as well as, an experienced hairdresser.”
(some examples of Alyssas work)
How does OCS differ from traditional permanent chemical dyes? What are the perks of natural hair dye?
“First, let me clarify that there are very few truly natural permanent hair color options. In fact, our cleanest haircolor offering isn't Organic Colour Systems. It is a product called HairPrint.
However, this product is extremely limited to grey coverage for people with black, brown and light brown hair. Although it is limited, it is a truly natural solution for grey coverage/blending.
Also, natural doesn't always mean safer. As I like to say, "Uranium is natural but I certainly don't recommend slathering that all over your head.”
Having said all of that, Organic Colour Systems differs from traditional hair color in many ways - from the ingredients to the ethos of the company. For instance, it is a certified B Corp. They focus on using post consumer plastics in their packaging, as well as, making their packing recyclable to reduce waste, they ship their products using corn starch based packing materials. It is independently owned and all their formulation, production and packaging happens in their headquarters in the South of England. They open their doors to tours of the facility for any of their customers. Organic Colour Systems also sources 75% of the ingredients for their products from local sources. Those are just a few examples of how the business is run totally differently than other traditional color companies.
Organic Colour Systems boasts their color is 95% natural and 60% of their ingredients are certified organic. To me, having these certified organic ingredients is key because anyone can call something organic or natural. Using a 3rd party verification system assures those claims are true.
Dyes themselves are one of the toxic ingredients in haircolor, but obviously a pretty key ingredient! Organic Colour Systems uses PPD and PTD (just like traditional permanent hair color), but Organic Colour Systems uses the lowest possible dye load to reduce exposure to clients and colorists. This is important because many people are allergic to PPD and PTD and can have very severe reactions from itching and irritation to death. Sounds dramatic, but it has happened. The dye load in Organic Colour Systems is so low that many clients with PPD/PTD sensitivity don't react to Organic Colour Systems. And for those who cannot tolerate PPD/PTD at all, they offer 12 semi-permanent colors that are completely free of both.
Organic Colour Systems also does not use resorcinol (a carcinogen green dye used heavily in other hair colors), GMO ingredients, parabens, gluten and ammonia. It is not perfect or completely nontoxic, but it is a much better beauty option.”
What chemicals are bad or what chemicals do you typically avoid? What are the impacts of those chemicals?
“The main ones with haircolor are:
Ammonia - allergen and neurotoxin. It also tends to persist in the environment and/or bioaccumulate,
Resorcinol - endocrine disruptor/carcinogen,
Parabens - endocrine disruptor that are thought to cause fertility issues & cancer.”
Is there any prep or special after-care involved in making the switch from chemical hair dye to OCS?
“As mentioned, Organic Colour Systems is still a chemical dye. HairPrint is not. But, there is nothing special clients need to do to make the switch to Organic Colour Systems. We assess the hair to test for protein and moisture deficiency before each color service. This guides us as to which pretreatment is needed to prep the hair for the color. Because Organic Colour Systems operates at a lower pH than traditional color, it is important to make sure the hair is as healthy as possible BEFORE we color so the hair is able to accept and hold on to the color better. With traditional color, the treatments are always done after to, essentially mitigate the damage done during the color service. But with Organic Colour Systems, we focus on getting the hair healthy first.
HairPrint does require a one week detox of the hair prior to each service. This is as simple as only cleansing with their Chelating shampoo and not using any other products. We have found this week detox really helps get the best coverage possible.”
Why should women avoid dying their hair during pregnancy and if they should avoid even with Organic Colour Systems?
“I have always summoned my inner politician for all pregnancy and hair color questions. Here is the deal, I am not a doctor. Just as you can find some doctors that say a glass of wine is fine and others that say no alcohol at all - the same is true with hair color. People choose their OB based on their values. So, I always encourage clients to take the ingredient list of their hair color to their doctor to see what they recommend.
The fact is, any product you apply on your skin has a good chance (depending on the size of the molecule) of entering your bloodstream and getting passed along to your baby. That is the concern.”
Do you know what natural hair dye brands other than Organic Colour Systems exist and why did you choose to go with Organic Colour Systems?
“Yes, O-Way and O&M are the other more natural options. Honestly, they were not around when I switched to organic color. But, they use high levels of MEA (ammonia replacement) and resorcinol. Organic Colour Systems is the original natural hair color brand and they are constantly looking for ways to improve their formulation.”
Is Organic Colour Systems only for neutrals or are there vibrant colors that can be achieved with Organic Colour Systems?
“Organic Colour Systems is a full permanent, demi-permanent and semi-permanent color line. That means we can achieve any look you desire. From natural sunkissed balayage to vibrant fashion colors. There are no limits with Organic Colour Systems- No Limits is the name of their semi-perm line, pretty fitting!”
How do I find someone in my area that uses Organic Colour Systems?
"Unfortunately their website does not have a salon finder, but if you email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (844)620-3492 and provide them with your zip code, they will be able to provide you salons/colorists in your area."
Thank you thank you Alyssa for sharing all of this amazing information with us!!!