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Dublin: 2°C Friday 22 January 2021

New EU rules make hair dye safer

Good news for the 60 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men in Europe who colour their hair.

Image: Timothy Tolle via Flickr/Creative Commons

A NEW EU directive on hair dyes has made the popular products safer, it was announced this month.

An estimated 60 per cent of women and 10 per cent of mean colour their hair regularly, and sales of hair dye products in the EU are rising steadily.

The hair dye market in the EU was worth €2.6 billion in 2004 alone, so the EU Cosmetics Directive aims to ensure these dyes contain only safe substances.

This month, the European Commission adopted a directive on hair dyes that restricts the use of an additional 24 substances in the products.


Almost 10 years ago, in April 2003, the commission and member states agreed to an overall strategy to assess and regulate all hair dyes.

Following on from this, the cosmetics industry was asked to substantiate the safety of all substances used in hair dyes with updated data, “focussing primarily on their potentially toxic proprieties”.

After the products were assessed by the EU Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), the commission banned the use in hair dyes of 180 substances and restricted the use of another 52.

The latest directive means 24 additional substances are now restricted. There is still one more batch of 45 substances left for assessment by the SCCS.


Nessa Childers MEP welcomed the EU Cosmetics Directive, saying:

These new hair dye EU rules are a welcome and sensible consumer safety measure. The many thousands of Irish people who dye their hair want to know that the substances they use are safe.

She said these new EU rules mean “people can be more confident of the hair dye products sold in Europe”.

Read: Irish teen to star in hair ad with Cheryl Cole>

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