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Should You Try INOA Ammonia-Free Hair Colour?

I did, and here's what happened.

After reading some scary reports about the carcinogenic chemicals in hair dyes—not to mention living through some MAJOR dye-induced damage a few years back—I was super-eager to try INOA.

It's a new, ammonia-free, in-salon permanent colour system by L'Oréal Professionnel (INOA is short from Innovation No Ammonia).

From The Styling Edit Archives

Now some salons DO use no-ammonia colours already—but the difference with this one is that it's permanent (not a demi), provides 100 percent gray coverage, and it doesn't damage or dry out your hair.

I gave it a try a few weeks ago at Toronto's Taz Hair. (By the way, if you're looking for a new colourist, I've been seeing Joanna for a few years now and she is amazing.)

Anyway, INOA was basically my last hurrah (I think) with all-over permanent colour. On the recommendation of my new favourite hair guy Charles Baker Strahan, I've decided to go back to my lightish brown base with blonde highlights. So I got Joanna to use INOA to colour-correct the non-highlighted pieces, in order to take out my previous reddish tint.

The dye takes a bit longer than most to mix up because it's oil-based, but that's also what makes it safe even on sensitive scalps. Not only does it give off ZERO odour (you know how most hair salons have that noxious ammonia scent, right?), it also won't burn or irritate. My hair has been feeling silky-soft ever since—and from what I can tell beneath the highlights, the colour looks great.

Expect to pay a little bit more (about $15 or so) than you would with a regular dye. And understand that it's by no means 100 percent natural—although it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Have you tried INOA?

What hair colour system do you use?

Know of any other ammonia-free options?