Hair Dye Continued: The Truth About Manic Panic

September 21st, 2009 - filed under: The Fashion » Beauty and Cosmetics

Last week I wrote an article that explained my love affair with hair dye. We covered natural dyes, box dyes, salon jobs, and vegan hair dye. Finally, I wrote a bit about my current colorant of choice: Manic Panic.

I use Manic Panic because its a ‘non-toxic, non-noxious, vegan vegetable-based semi-permanent product’ . . . but what does that actually mean? I wrote to the company for more information, but alas, they were silent.

So I took matters into my own hands (as I tend to do) and began an investigation. An inquiry into each and every ingredient in my hair dye: what is it?, what does it do?, and is it going to hurt me? Here I present my result, in black and white:


Manic Panic ‘Classic Cream Formula’ hair dye
Ingredients: Synthetic beeswax, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth20, Humulus lupulus extract, Anthemis nobilis extract, Acetic Acid, Methylparaben, Propylene glycol

May Also Contain: Orange 4 (CI 15510), Red 33 (CI 17200), Blue 1 (CI 42090), Yellow 10 (CI 47005), Green 5 (CI 61570)

Synthetic Beeswax

  • blend of fatty esters, fatty acids, fatty alcohols, and hydrocarbons, with properties similar to natural beeswax.
  • Acts as a thickener and emulsifier.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 1 (out of 10)

Cetearyl Alcohol

  • Another wax, not really an ‘alcohol’ in the traditional sense.
  • Vegetable derived fatty alcohols, like coconut alcohol.
  • Acts as an emulsifier, emollient, thickening agent, and moisturizer. Also a ‘carrying agent’ for various ingredients.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 0 (out of 10)

Ceteareth20

  • Helps ingredients to dissolve within a solvent that they wouldn’t otherwise dissolve in.
  • Not advised for use on ‘damaged skin’.
  • May contain traces of 1, 4-dioxane, a nasty no-no, but this is removable with proper purification.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 5 (out of 10)

Humulus lupulus extract

  • This is hops extract (yeah, the beer stuff)
  • Acts as a strengthener and conditioner in hair products.
  • A very understudied additive, with virtually no data.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 0 (out of 10)

Anthemis nobilis extract

  • This is chamomile extract (yes, the tea stuff!)
  • Used for conditioning properties as well as fragrance.
  • May increase skin absorption of other ingredients.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 1 (out of 10)

Acetic Acid

  • Essentially this is vinegar, in a concentrated form.
  • Classed as ‘Generally Recognized As Safe’ (GRAS) by the FDA.
  • Acts to stabilize the pH.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 2 (out of 10)

Methylparaben

  • Eek! This one is no good.
  • Implicated in a slew of health concerns, including allergies, immunotoxicity, organ toxicity, and skin/lung/eye irritation.
  • May have an estrogenic affect.
  • Added as a preservative.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 8 (out of 10)

Propylene Glycol

  • Considered safe in concentrations up to 50%.
  • However, it’s implicated in a slew of health concerns, including carcinogenic properties, allergies, immunotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin/lung/eye irritation, and bioaccumulation.
  • Added to absorb water and maintain moisture.
  • Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Page
  • Skin Deep Rating: 7 (out of 10)

May Also Contain . . .

Orange 4 (CI 15510)

Red 33 (CI 17200)

Blue 1 (CI 42090)

Yellow 10 (CI 47005)

Green 5 (CI 61570)


And that’s that, the ingredients profile. If you want see how they all work together, here is the Skin Deep Database page for a sample color. I chose my most recent inspiration, Infrared. As a whole the product receives a Safety Rating of 5.


Whew! That was a lot of work. I sorta wish the company had just written back to me, but oh well. Now you have the information, plain and simple. And you can make your own, informed, choice.

[ sources: (1) (2) (3) ]
sign-off