Skip to Content

Is Aveda hair color better than others?

When it comes to coloring hair, there are so many options on the market it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right brand and formula. Aveda is a popular salon hair color line that claims to deliver gorgeous, natural-looking results while being gentler on hair. But is Aveda hair color really better than drugstore boxes or other professional color lines? Let’s take a look at what sets Aveda apart and whether it lives up to its reputation.

Aveda’s Natural Origins

Founded in 1978 by Horst Rechelbacher, Aveda was one of the first beauty brands to focus on using natural, plant-derived ingredients. Aveda’s mission is to care for the world we live in, using sustainable business practices and earth-friendly formulas. Over 95% of Aveda’s ingredients are naturally derived from plants like flowers, herbs, and roots. This natural approach extends to their hair coloring line.

Aveda Hair Color Ingredients

Aveda hair colors use more natural ingredients than most drugstore hair color brands. Here is a look at some of their key ingredients:

Ingredient Details
Certified Organic Botanical Extracts Sourced from certified organic farms, these plant-based extracts add conditioning properties.
Antioxidants Ingredients like green tea work to neutralize free radicals and protect hair from damage.
Amino Acids Help seal the cuticle for less abrasion and fading.
Essential Oils Give hair color a pleasant aroma while providing anti-inflammatory benefits.

By using more naturally-derived ingredients, Aveda can reduce the number of synthetic chemicals in their hair dyes. This makes the colors gentler on the hair and scalp.

Aveda’s Hair Color Options

Aveda offers permanent, demi-permanent, and semi-permanent hair coloring options. Here is an overview:

Type How it Works Lasts For
Permanent Uses ammonia to open the cuticle and deposit lasting dye inside the hair shaft. Until hair grows out or is cut off.
Demi-permanent Deposits dye but doesn’t use ammonia to penetrate as deeply. 4-12 weeks.
Semi-permanent Coats hair strand’s outer layer only. 4-6 weeks.

Permanent color provides the longest-lasting results, while semi-permanent adds a sheer tint that washes out gradually. Demi-permanent falls somewhere in the middle. Aveda stylists can customize the right formula and timing based on your hair goals.

Customized Color Formulation

One of the key benefits of getting your hair colored at an Aveda salon is that they offer customized color formulations. The stylist will conduct a thorough consultation to understand your hair’s current state and your desired results. Hair is carefully examined for its texture, density, oiliness, and condition. The stylist will then craft a formula using different concentrations of dye, developer, and toners to create your perfect shade.

This customization helps maximize results and minimize damage. Pre-packaged drugstore boxes use a one-size-fits-all formula that isn’t tailored your hair’s unique needs. At an Aveda salon, you get a personalized color experience.

Damage Protection Treatments

To help combat the drying and damaging effects of hair dye, Aveda offers treatment add-ins that can be mixed into your color formula. These include:

  • Damage Remedy – Helps repair bonds in the hair to reduce damage.
  • Invati Advanced – Contains salicylic acid from wintergreen to smooth and strengthen hair.
  • Botanical Kinetics – Plant-derived ceramides reinforce the cuticle to minimize stressors.

Your stylist can determine which treatment booster makes the most sense for your hair goals. These add-ins provide an extra layer of protection while coloring to keep hair feeling healthier.

Ammonia-Free Options

Most permanent hair dyes rely on ammonia to open the cuticle and allow color to penetrate the hair shaft. However, ammonia can be irritating and drying. Aveda offers two ammonia-free permanent color options:

  • Botanical Colors replace ammonia with a gentler chemical called monoethanolamine (MEA).
  • Full Spectrum Permanent Hair Color is Aveda’s most naturally derived permanent dye. It uses non-ammonia salts and amino acids to achieve vivid results.

Going ammonia-free helps reduce odor, scalp irritation, and damage. For those with sensitive skin or hair, avoiding ammonia can make the coloring process much more comfortable.

Excellent Grey Coverage

Covering stubborn grey hairs can be one of the biggest challenges with hair dye. Aveda’s permanent hair colors use special pigments and application techniques to provide excellent grey coverage. Even coarse or resistant grey hair gets saturated with color for seamless roots and uniform results from roots to ends.

For best grey coverage, your Aveda colorist may suggest pre-toning hair with blue or violet shades first. This neutralizes brassy undertones that can cause grey hair to take color unevenly. The pre-toning step helps prep grey strands for perfect color adhesion.

Longer Lasting Color

The customized formulas used at Aveda help hair color last longer between appointments. Your stylist can adjust the developer volume and conditioning add-ins to stabilize color molecules and prolong fade resistance. Using the right concentrations for your hair type means less bleeding and better retention of hue.

At-home drugstore kits take a one-formula-fits-all approach that often washes out quickly. With professional in-salon coloring at Aveda, you can expect your color to stay truer for longer between touch-ups.

Less Chemical Smell

Some people dislike the pungent chemical odor associated with hair dye. Because Aveda hair colors rely more on natural botanical ingredients than harsh chemicals, they give off a much more pleasant aroma.

Rather than inhaling ammonia fumes, you experience lighter herbal scents from the plant-derived essential oils and extracts. The smell is far less offensive when spending time at the salon getting your hair colored. It’s a more enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Cruelty-Free Company

Aveda is certified cruelty-free by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. They do not test any products or ingredients on animals. This is important to many consumers who want to vote with their dollars to support humane beauty companies.

Recyclable Packaging

Part of Aveda’s earth-friendly mission includes a commitment to sustainable packaging. Their hair color tubes, bottles, and boxes contain high percentages of recyclable materials like aluminum and paper. This reduces landfill waste and the overall environmental impact of their products.

Free of Many Harmful Ingredients

In alignment with their naturally-minded philosophy, Aveda avoids many controversial chemical ingredients in their hair dyes. Aveda permanent and demi-permanent colors are:

  • Paraben free
  • Phthalate free
  • Mineral oil free
  • Petrolatum free
  • Gluten free

They take care to formulate their shades using more plant-based alternatives. While not completely non-toxic, they have removed many of the most worrisome compounds.

Downsides of Aveda Hair Color

While Aveda offers many advantages, there are some potential downsides to be aware of too:

  • Higher cost – In-salon professional coloring comes at a price. Aveda hair color applications typically start at $65 and up.
  • Still contains some chemicals – While more natural than grocery store brands, Aveda hair dyes cannot be 100% chemical-free and still work effectively.
  • Allergic reactions possible – Those with skin sensitivities should always patch test before coloring hair.
  • Can still damage hair – Any permanent dye process opens the cuticle and removes protein. Damage must be minimized through proper application and aftercare.

While Aveda avoids many nasty ingredients in their colors, there is no such thing as a completely non-damaging permanent dye. Tradeoffs between vibrant colors and healthy hair must be managed carefully.

Is Aveda Hair Color Worth the Investment?

While more expensive than at-home kits, Aveda hair color provides significant benefits that may make the investment worthwhile for many consumers. You get carefully customized color formulations, damage control treatments, grey coverage expertise, and longer lasting results. The salon experience is also more comfortable thanks to the naturally derived ingredients.

However, for those on a tight budget or who color their hair frequently, the lower cost and convenience of drugstore dyes may be more practical. There is no definitively “best” hair color brand across the board. It depends on your specific hair, priorities, and budget considerations. Aveda offers superior quality and experience yet comes at a price.


Aveda has built an impressive reputation in the professional hair color industry for good reason. The brand sets itself apart through its commitment to naturally-sourced botanical ingredients, sustainable business practices, and customized salon services. While not right for everyone, Aveda hair color delivers beautiful, long-lasting results for many clients. Its unique approach makes hair look and feel healthier during and after the coloring process.

So is Aveda hair color better than other options? When considering the healthy, natural ingredient profile, experienced technicians, and tailored approach, one could certainly argue that Aveda provides an exceptional coloring experience well worth the investment for those who can afford it. However, more budget-friendly alternatives may get the job done too. As with most hair care choices, finding the right brand is a balance between your hair’s needs and your own preferences.