Tuesday, February 1, 2011

HerbaTint Hair Color

I tried this "herbal" hair color product a few months ago. I was not impressed with the results I got. I actually gave it a couple of attempts, adjusting the shade I had originally chosen (first Brown, then Light Chestnut) attempting to achieve a medium brown color. What I ended up with was a blotchy mess! And both times, the color was also much darker than what I expected, almost black at the back of my head,where my natural  hair color is darker.  It took weeks to lighten up and I ended up snipping off a considerable amount of hair at the time to get rid of the unexpected/unsatisfactory results.

At the time of my first HerbaTint application, I hadn't used any color products on my hair for several months. Not exactly "virgin" hair but at the same time, not with a lot of build-up from other products that could have impacted the results I got from this product.

My hair was also very dry and brittle after using Herbatint. I personally know of another woman who swears by this product, I don't really know why though. Her hair is a mess: frizzy and a very unflattering blotchy mix of colors, at the best of times.

I bought HerbaTint at a health food store and for that reason, believed at the time that it was safer and less toxic that the mainstream hair color choices like: Clairol, L'Oreal etc. I should have done my homework it seems. Based on the ingredient list here, and some toxicity reports I've read online since I used it, it's questionable if this is any better, in terms of a safer alternative to hair coloring.

I don't really know if there is such a thing as a natural hair color product (for me, it's been to attain a medium brown color) unless you stick with homemade mixtures such as: sage rinse (tried it, didn't do much), walnut shells, various herbal teas and rinses etc...or henna (can be a bit tricky to achieve consistent color results and quite messy).

So for now, I'm giving my hair a rest from any type of coloring. Instead, I'm focusing on getting my hair into good condition and plan to go for a significant "trim" in the near future.

Shiny, healthy, attractive hair can and does come in many colors, even when it's mixed with some grey or white. I colored my hair for many years with the mainstream commercial hair color products. I don't want to continue to use these products for many reasons now. But if a more natural and eco-friendly alternative does present itself (if you know of any, please share) I'm still up for giving it a try.

Overall rating for this product: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5.


  1. Come to Connecticut and I will have my dear and wonderful friend Jeff do whatever you want to your hair. He is a stylist who loves when women feel good about themselves. He has the heart and soul commercial packets lack.

  2. I'm giving my hair a "rest" in terms of hair color products for now Sandy, but I sure need a major "snip". You are lucky you've found a good hair stylist, they are gold! I had a wonderful lady who did my hair back in Sask. I wish she'd move out here!

  3. I stopped dyeing my gray hair a few years ago because of the combination of unhealthy ingredients (funny how we knew they were bad, but we tried it anyway!) and the fact that every ten days I had an awful line of salt and pepper peeking out of my scalp. I'm now hoping that a healthy head of well-conditioned silver hair, coupled with a good trim, won't still be a liability at a job interview -- or on a dating site. I may just be dreaming -- but even in a society that reveres the young, a woman's still allowed to do that!

  4. I hear you Sparks (about trying/using these products in spite of the dangers). I am also taking a break from all coloring, for the forseeable future. My hair is actually still mostly brown, the streaks of white are mainly in the front and those I've had since I was very young. I agree, we should be allowed to chose and to look good on our own terms. Thanks for stopping by. G

  5. it is true ..because My friends hair is actually still mostly brown, the streaks of white are mainly in the front and those I've had since I was very young. I agree, we should be allowed to chose and to look good on our own terms..

  6. The picture of the Herbatint box has to be, at least, 8 years old as the packaging changed in 2003. Pictured is the 2N, DARK BROWN, so if you were looking for a Light Chestnut effect it would have been much too dark. The patchy result you mention is purely down to application.It can be done by oneself but will always look better if applied by someone else.
    The dryness and brittle feel of your hair is exactly what you would hope to feel after using Herbatint. This is absolute proof that, unlike all the ammonia-based tints, Herbatint does not contain silicone to merely coat the hair. Working at a much lower ph than ammonia colours you can close the hair back down after colouring by using, either the conditioner contained in the sachet inside the pack, or another low ph finishing conditioner. Once this is used the hair will be restored to its natural condition and will look incredibly shiny and feel very smooth to the touch. By closing the hair down after treatment you will also prolong the colour shade, i.e. very little, if any fade.
    Herbatint claims, and absolutely IS, the most gentle, least toxic and cost effective hair colourant available. A recent independent toxicity study undertaken in France verifies ALL these claims. For more information on this scientific report please visit www.herbatint.co.uk.
    For future reference, Geraldine, whatever hair product you choose to use please read the information provided, call the FREEPHONE Helpline for additional advice and use the product as instructed by the manufacturer. Don't be a bad workman blaming his tools, educate yourself first.
    Kind regards,
    Philip R Allen
    UK Technical Director for Herbatint

    1. Herbatint is a great product. It's mostly for depositing color though and it even says so on the box. Each to his own. A shop owner in Hollywood ONLY uses Herbatint -for years- and shes old and has a lot of gorgeous hair.
      I've never had it "fry" my hair or dry it out.
      The stuff I CAN'T use and gave me hairloss is the fumey smelly products at the drugstores. (Loreal Revlon Clairol etc) They color nice and silky but hairloss is terrible.
      Here's the brief on SAFE BOX COLORING: For higher lift blondes reds etc use Naturtint - If you mainly just want to deposit color (And 1-2 levels lift of your darker hairs) use HERBATINT.

    2. Phillip, Thank you for your educated response. I was going to go into something similar. The Ladies also need to take into consideration the underlying pigment they are working on. You will never get the shade on the box if your hair is not blonde to begin with. You have to understand that if you are already a light brown and you are putting a medium brown color on your hair, you will simply be adding that level of brown to your own level of brown, which always results in a darker level. Also remember that any "box" color is formulated with Direct Dyes, or stronger color molecules than professional color. Even in natural products, there will be considerably more color molecules in order to achieve a vibrant, total color. This means that the color will appear much darker than expected in order to anticipate fading. But the most important factor is application. If you are not consistant and getting the product on quickly and covering all of the hair completely, you will end up with a blotchy result. Try combing the product through with a wide tooth comb in sections after application to ensure total coverage. If all else fails, Find a home based stylist who can apply the product for you and offer you some good aftercare.

    3. I was using Naturtint for a while but decided to try Herbatint the last time I colored. I found it lasts longer than Naturtint which would fade rather quickly. The Herbatint, however, did seem to darken my hair more than the Naturtint. I used 5N for my medium brown hair because that's what I was using in Naturtint. I am wondering now if I should try the 6N in the Herbatint.

    4. I've used Herbatint for 4-5 years and have had NONE of the issues the original poster speaks of. Not once has it given me blotchy hair, and I've used about 8 different shades in the browns from each category plus the vibrant red. My hair has always been healthy and shiny, and they have some beautiful, natural-looking colours. Light golden brown or light mahagony brown are lovely. I started using Herbatint after a scary scalp reaction to a supermarket-bought dye, and I had no issue with it. The only thing to be wary of is that they do come out darker than expected. The darkness fades in a couple of washes, but it's still darker than what I'd expect (just like supermarket brands are).
      No matter what brand you use, you HAVE to research what each code means - don't go by the hair shade pics on the box. I've even contacted Herbatint for colour advice to which they promptly replied.

  7. Hi NHD, I totally agree. But it is nice to have a safe and effective color option if we want to go that route.

    Hi Philip, Thanks for your input Philip. I don't agree with or appreciate your closing remarks though. I followed the instructions to the letter and I ended up with a mess. And as I said in the review, I'm not the only one who has had bad results from Herbatint, that I am aware of. The box shown is actually one I still see on shelves here in BC in some stores so perhaps this is very old product for sale, I don't know. I DO know that I won't be using Herbatint again, for the reasons I brought up above. I have found a much better natural coloring product that worked beautifully for me, and that one I will be reviewing here at a later date.

    Thanks for stopping in, G

  8. Hi Geraldine. I hope this note finds you well. When you get a chance, try Naturtint. It won't leave your hair dry; although, a conditioner would fix that problem with Herbatint.

    Naturtint is a UK based company. It is fairly priced.

    Also, I recommend going to a salon and observe how they apply hair color. The technique is something you want to mimic to achieve an even color throughout your hair. It is a trick of the trade so to speak. Perhaps, youtube will have a tutorial video to look at.

    I find that Naturtint is very accurate with their colors as well. Doesn't smell, stain, and clean off walls and floors very easily. I have thick hair and the color lasts six weeks.

    Invest in a good conditioner though; it makes all the difference no matter what brand you buy to color your hair.

    Cheers, Sue from Canada.

  9. Hi Sue, Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I actually studied hairdressing many years ago and still do some cutting etc...on an occasional basis now. I am aware of how to apply hair color properly. I don't think that was the problem here. I will check out Naturtint, not familiar with that name brand. and I agree about a good intensive conditioner, it can help a lot.

    I have two hair-related reviews coming up here shortly that may be of interest to you. One is for another coloring product. Hope you'll stop by again. G

  10. I have use Herbatint twice now and my hair has become extremely dried out. It looks fried! I had to cut my hair real short to get rid of the damage. Its going to take 2- 3 more trims to cut off the rest of my damaged hair. I will not be using this product again.

  11. Dear consumer,
    There does not exist, at the today’s technical stage , any permanent hairdye which is completely natural and with 30 shades;
    The only one is Henna which is a powder hairdye, but gives you only red shades and creates an impermeable film around the hair, so that if one wishes to recolour the hair (even with chemical hairdyes) you need to wait for its full regrowth!
    Herbatint is the most natural alternative on the market, because it has no ammonia and is formulated with a very low peroxide rate (10 volumes) , with chemical ingredients at the lowest level
    and with many vegetal extracts among which Aloe Barbadensis that has a high restructuring and antiinflammatory power.
    For what concerns the safety of the product more than referring to the commercial information that is widely spread and has no scientific proof, it is better to refer to institutional bodies such as the American FDA and/ or the European Union that are every year conducting deep studies about the safety of the ingredients being used in hairdyes and that prohibit the ones that are considered as being harmful.
    Herbatint is being formulated according to the directives of these bodies and thus it can be used without problem.
    Moreover for your information, we are present on more than 35 international markets since more than 40 years and we are ranking as leader position.
    With reference to the application, it is important to achieve the right results , to apply the gel according to the instructions and to put it on the hair with a brush (and not comb the hair) and to wait during the advised processing time in order that the product, being very few aggressive for the health of the hair, has the time to penetrate inside. The dryness that you experienced on your hair may derivate from the fact that the ingredients used are very pure (especially to not overload the hair) , but using the conditioner cream that you find in every package the hair gets back the softness and silkness.
    We exclude the fact that it could have weaken the hair, as the product does not use ingredients which can achieve this results, but even more the hair is protected by the vegetal extracts that Herbatint contains.

  12. Hi to Herbatint rep. above: Yes, I do agree that there is no such thing as a truly "natural" hair coloring product, unless a person uses something like ground nut shells, henna etc...and these have inconsistent and in my experience, unsatisfactory results.

    There are however products that minimize the amount of questionable ingredients that they contain. And of course, with any hair color product it STILL HAS TO WORK! That was my biggest complaint about Herbatint. It made a complete mess of my hair and my hair was in good condition when I used it. It had not been colored for a long time before that. I have since found Tints of Nature (review available, see the sidebar) and have been very happy with the results I got with this product. I am certainly not the only consumer complaining about Herbatint products. You can take a browse online to find plenty more disgruntled Herbatint users. Having a wide selection of colors doesn't make up for a product that is unsatisfactory in other ways either.

  13. Henna is wonderful... Been using it for years, and while it does not cover grey, it does blend it with the rest of the hair (I have less than 25% grey), giving the hair a warm reddish color and never washing out. Particularly, the brand by Sipa laboratories - packaged in France - nice quality stuff.

  14. Hi, I too have had bad results using Herbatint... my hair feel like steel wool - and I have always had soft silky hair, even without the use of hair conditioners. My hair dresser cannot get over the change in my hair.

    I am quite upset - and am glad to know it's not just me who has had this experience. Now, I know it's truly the product and not just age or something like that.

    Geraldine, I am really curious to find out what new product you have been using and how you like it. My son's wedding is in a month and I need to colour my hair.

    Thanks very much! eileen from Canada

  15. Hi Anonymous, Re: henna. Interesting to read this. I've read many times that henna doesn't cover grey and that's a consideration for a lot of people. But lately and including your comment, I've read that it does. Sounds like you are very satisfied with the results you are getting, that's great.

    Hi Eileen, I know of what you speak.

    If you are looking for a good alternative to Herbatint, check out my review:


    for Tints of Nature. I've been very happy with this product. MUCH superior to Herbatint, in every way.

    Thanks for stopping in. G

  16. It is really a surprise for me to see such a feedback to this haircolor. I am not an expert user of haircolor...have tried it only 6 times...4 out of which was Herbatint...my hair looks really nice, silky and shiny (in comparison to two other rather expensive haircolors)...Yes, I indeed had to play a bit around proper shade...but now I found perfect one :) But I pay a lot attention to my hair...use conditioner every time and a hair mask once a week...Noone from my surrounding believes that my hair is not of a natural colour ...

  17. I adore Herbatint. It does dry my hair, but the Royal Creme conditioner they sell is absolutely fabulous and works wonders even after the first application. Another great conditioner is aubrey white camellia for use with dyed hair.

    Herbatint goes on in a gel form, is easy to mix, can be used more than once, and is safe on skin. It washes out in the shower like a dream without staining anything, including the walls and tub. It is absolutely easy to apply and lasts for weeks, covering all grey.

    Taking the time to apply it to your roots, timing the color, then adding color to the rest of the hair and combing with a wide tooth comb throughout, then timing for another final 10 minutes, gives great results.

    The only problem with Herbatint is that there are too many gorgeous colors to choose from! And I'm not sure which is my best shade! I'm going to try light mahagony chestnut next.

  18. I have used Herbatint for a few years and have not found it to dry out my hair. This last application (last night) left my hair feeling soft and it certainly was shiny too. I had just cut my hair the day before the application so it was great condition to apply the product (no dry ends/split ends, etc). I always use black and all the hairdressers Ive gone to have told me that it looks very natural and blends in well with my hair. I've never used other permanent hair dye products so not sure if this has anything to do with it.

  19. I just happened on this site and have to say that I have been using Herbatint for 15 years now. I get lots of compliments on my hair color. And my stylist tells me my hair is in great condition. Yes, it does feel like straw when first colored, but the Royal Cream Conditioner does close the cuticles and leave my hair soft, smooth and shiny.

  20. I stumbled on this site accidentally when I was trying to find a way to lighten my hair with Herbatint. I have used this hair colour for at least the past ten years and I have been extremely happy with the results. I only want to change it because I feel it is now a bit dark for my skin. I switched to Herbatint because of the expense of salon colour and have found it to be extremely economical and great for my hair. I have always had lots of compliments on the shine and colour of my hair and even hairdressers comment when I go to the salon for a cut. My hair never fades and it is only because the grays start to become visible at the part that i have to reapply. I have always used it as per the instructions and have never had a bad result. My hairdresser always comments on the condition of my hair so it can't be that bad. So, Phillip Allen, if you are reading this comment, I would be interested to know how I can switch to a lighter shade of Herbatint. Even if it means going to a salon for the original lightening, I will return to your wonderful product.

  21. I have used permanent hair colour of both home use and salon brands for about twelve years. After beginning to get a stinging in the scalp and runny nose/ streaming eyes the last few times, my stylist recommended Herbatint. I have now used it three times, she applied it. My hair is much shinier and feels great. I had no reaction. It took a couple of attempts to mix the colour to the right shade but the thing I love about it is that it doesn't fade to that brassy shade. I use a mix of 5N and 6N to get a chestnut colour which suits my skin much better. I live in the tropics so if it doesn't fade here I have to recommend it highly. My hair has remained in better condition, of course I condition well, and I will continue to use it until I decide to go grey. Tried it 18 months ago and everyone hated it including me - doesn't look good on everyone but I am fully pro choice!

    1. Thank you for this comment. I was finding 5N a little too dark and 6N a little too light for my skin colour and was wondering whether you could mix the two. Tried it today and am much happier with the colour! The only problem I have with this product is my scalp goes a bit itchy and flaky afterwards - does anyone know how best to deal with this?

  22. Although I have used Herbatint for years, and am happy with the colour, my hair is so fried that I am switching. I used to have soft, very manageable hair, but ever since I started using Herbatint, I have had trouble. Even my hair dresser can't get over how difficult my hair is, even after applying masks, and extra conditioning treatments.

  23. Funny how lots of the reviews saying Herbatint is good sound similar! Also, I find it appalling that a manufacturer would argue with a reviewer. Surely we should be able to test a product, come up with a conclusion ourselves, without the manufacturer telling us we are wrong and their product is actually good! I have used every hair dye imaginable, including Herbatint, and the rest of them- 'natural' and 'unnatural'. Herbatint is o.k. not my favourite- the colours always look a bit dark and grey/muddy to me, all the N ones anyway, and there's never enough conditioner in the pack to compensate the initial dryness (I have short fine hair too). Henna is the only hair dye to make my hair feel good but is so fiddly and messy! And never lasts on my hair. I'm still searching for the best delicate hair dye and Herbatint wasn't the one for me.

    1. I've been using Colora henna for quite a while now. I mix it with regular coffee, to intensify it's "staying power" and keep the orangish tinge that can result from henna of any shade, to a minimum. If you look at my new profile photo, you'll see the results. I had colored my hair a couple of days before that shot was taken, with the Ash Brown Colora. I've used the Brown too and think I'll go back to it after comparing the two.

      I don't find henna any messier than most regular dyes and what a BIG relief it is not to worry about any getting in my eyes while applying it or processing time. A thorough shower and shampoo after that and I'm good to go. And my hair condition never looked better.

      Plan to review Colora here at some time in the near future so stay tuned. Hope this helps and thanks for your thoughtful comment!


  24. I love Herbatint haircolor! It never dries out my damaged ends, but actually makes them more soft and shiny! No toxic smell of any kind, I appreciate this product, for it's effectiveness and safety, I can't stand those commercial hair dyes I used years ago. Herbatint feels wonderful on my hair. I only use it for the last 3 years, but I wish I found it earlier before I killed my hair and put my health at risk with those toxic L'oreal and similar brand hair colors.
    The only 'negative' thing I have to say about Herbatint is that the colors on the box are very "off". For example, if I want a light ash brown shade, I have to buy the dark ash blonde shade, because the color much darker than it show on the box. After learning that , I have no problems at all..

  25. Hello, Geraldine. I too have had a bad experience with Herbatint on my hair, which had not been colored, and was brown with grey. The N series, dark blonde, came out dark brown with an orange tinge. I tried to correct it with the dark blonde from the ash series, and that did help, but it still has an unwanted red (or orange-red) tinge which does not look good with my complexion. Also, my hair does feel extremely dry when I wash it. It doesn't even feel like hair anymore when it gets wet. I only dyed it a few days ago and I am hoping some of the dryness will go away, but I don't know.

  26. Everyone's experience with Herbatint is different depending on their own hair type and what's on their hair already, however I didn't like what I saw it do to my friend's hair. She used to ask me to dye her roots every month and she started using this Herbatint. After a few applications her hair was like straw...it felt so bad and was just looking and feeling like straw. I don't know why it happened ...what is in Herbatint that made her hair dry out...anyways i won't use it now that I'm having to dye my roots..

  27. Hello, I have used red henna straight from India for the past four years. I let someone convince me they could highlight it to blonde, which I knew better but did it anyway ! Needless to say it was a disaster, can you spell ORANGE !!! Thank goodness I just did the front bang area. I have very healthy long beautiful hair due to useing henna. Thank goodness for Herbatint, I used the 6C dark ash blonde, which on the box looked just like my natural root color. I put it just on the highlighted hair and like magic it worked beautifully and just blended in perfectly. My hair is back to looking gorgeous ! The sight tells you to go two shades darker than you natural shade,unless you are blond to avoid going to dark. I just wanted to share my experience with this product because it rescued me from my hair crisis ��������

    1. I just tried herbatint 8N for the first time yesterday, I previously just had it coloured by a stylist and sometimes did it myself with a regular store bought colour, however my hair was becoming so dry and fragile,I have noticed that my scalp had become so sensitive, with little sores and burning on my scalp, now I can honestly say I am so impressed by this product, no burning, no scalp irritation and above all my natural curl came back as if it was nourished by the application, I will not use any other colour again now since I found this product, my hair is soft and looks so good, I was complimented on the condition and look of my hair today, which does not normally happen to my dry frizzy mess, its rejuvenated my hair to a past younger condition, and I am covering grey coloured hair.

  28. I used herbatint 10 n platinum and my hair is a mess now. I am going back to tint of nature and I love the color and even lighting my dark roots.


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