colour questions

At Clover, one of our aims is to ensure that we can give the safest and most gentle colour processes possible. Great for the client and hairdresser alike.

About to be a new mom? Allergies? Concerned about the strong chemical nature of colour? Whatever your reason might be, we have put much research into being able to finally give some ‘naturally inspired’ options for those a little wary about colour.

We have a handful of colour lines at Clover and are keeping on the lookout for the best new products that come onto the market as this wise choice becomes all the more fashionable.


There are ammonia allergies, simple sensitivities and one of the most common hair colour allergies: PPDs (p phenylenediamine). There are a few permanent lines that have stepped up and kicked the ugly chemicals out of the recipe, but upon researching (and much help and motivation from a lovely new client in need) I was amazed at how common PPDs are, even in some vegetable dyes.

If you want to go pure, 100% vegetable based semi-permanent colours are one option. The ingredient list is clean and clear (and yes, we found companies that actually disclose their ingredients!)

Issues – Your colour options are suddenly very limited. There will be no lightening of your colour (deposit only) and have a maximum 13 colours to choose from. Grey coverage is possible depending on the texture of your hair. The more coarse it is, the more likely it is to be resistant though this doesn’t make it impossible by any means. The processing time for these particular colours are about 15-20 minutes longer.

Benefits – Little or no cuticle damage, no fumes, shine and pretty colours!

*These colours are offered on a ‘consultation/special order’ basis so that you’re able to see your options and have a complimentary chat about your hair while we work out what the best choice is for your needs.


PPD-free options

Depending on the severity of your allergy there are ammonia-free, organic vegetable based permanents with very low PPD’s (0.6% as opposed to the ‘standard’ 3%+) or high end permanents with no PPD.

Issues – Not too many. The second colour mentioned is not as ‘chemical-free’ and opens the cuticle, changing the integrity of the hair as with common permanent dyes. This isn’t so much of an issue as a common result from the ‘chemical process’ that colouring is. The ammonia-free, organic vegetable-based colour uses silk proteins to replace the corrosive ammonia. It is said that it gives the colour less strength as a colour remover and lightener, though personally, I find that it does a fine job.

Benefits – Grey coverage, longer lasting colour, shine and hopefully your allergy remains unaffected!

More information on the products themselves are noted below.

* If you have other allergies, we can work together to find a colour that will help you avoid it.

We’re certainly willing to try! But the best advice I can give with experience in dealing with many PPD allergic clients: see a dermatolgist for a proper allergy test so that your hairdresser can be sure that no allergins are contained in the products they are about to use.

*NEW* PPD-free permanent – We’ve been lucky enough to find a PPD-free alternative that lasts. Now, “Is it for everyone?” you ask?
This I cannot promise, as I am no doctor and would never do something so irresponsible. I will tell you that even with some of our most severe cases the strongest reaction has been mild irritation. The trick with PPD-free products is that they’re usually not.
They have another list of “replacement chemicals” that mimic the action of PPD and often, most likely, cause the same reaction.
Things like aminophenols, diaminoanisole etc., etc… are listed throughout many PPD-free brands, so buyer beware.
That said, many of my PPD allergic clients are pretty happy with this new discovery. Bonus! Ammonia-free also.


new mom

You lucky ladies have never been out of options. The fear of fumes and chemical absorption through the skin are common, and now avoidable.

~Highlights are one way to go, which allows your hair to be coloured without the cream ever touching your scalp. This removes entirely the possibility of skin absorption.

~Like the idea of highlights but hate the stink that goes along with them? Ammonia-free bleaches have NO odour, letting you and I both breathe easy during your colour service.

~Yes to highlights, no to bleach? We are working with 2 ammonia-free lines that have a huge range of colours to choose from with the faint scent of liquorice candy instead of yuck.

~”But I don’t want highlights at all!” Well then, choose from 100% vegetable dye (limited colour choices) or organic ingredient based permanents with no ammonia and lesser chemical ingredients than any other permanent.

Still worried? Call. We’ll talk.


all natural options

There are options for you, depending on what you want for your hair and what your main concern is. The more natural the colour, the more limited your choices become. Some clients are looking for a 100% natural alternative. This exists, but along with it comes a situation in which you may not be able to get exactly what you want. The colours are beautiful, but you have to want one of them as there is no mixing between shades. This makes my creativity sad, but happy that we can offer this service. A few companies have made great strides with what they leave out of the recipe, and the difference is amazing. Below is a list of better options for your health and hair.



~Ammonia-free permanent and demi-permanent colours = no strong scent, a fantastic palette of colours, shine and your hair left in better condition.

~Ammonia-free/organic ingredient based permanent = silk proteins add to great shine and longevity of colour, less fading and an increased health of the hair over time. Huge palette of colours, pleasant odour, grey coverage and less chemicals than any well functioning permanent around.

~PPD-free permanent*new*= What most have been waiting for. Faint scent, oil based, ammonia-free, PPD-free, great colour range, grey coverage and leaves your hair… well, like hair.

~100% Vegetable based = the most natural option, well, 100% natural. Great colours and shine while keeping the integrity of your hair intact. No lifting or highlighting with this one. This will colour grey depending on the texture of your hair.
We offer complimentary consultations, which is always the best way to address your issues or concerns.


There you have it! If there are questions still out there, we’d be happy to answer them!

– jen vanderleij

owner + colour technician