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Organic Colour Systems Full Ingredients List

Updated on March 15, 2016
Back of Organic Colour Systems Bottle
Back of Organic Colour Systems Bottle | Source

I've been getting many requests for a full Ingredients List breakdown of Organic Colour Systems or OCS, as you may know them. Full disclosure: I've used this color line for many years, and have firsthand experience with the product. However, I've always had one big issue with their brand and that's their name.

First and foremost, 100% organic hair color does not exist. Can it contain organic ingredients? Yes. Can it be less toxic than other color lines? Absolutely. But do not kid yourself, unless you're using certain brands of henna, the term "organic hair color" in the professional hair coloring word is inaccurate and deceiving.

What the term "organic hair color" has come to mean in the hairdressing world is this: less toxic hair color with organic ingredients (meaning they're not grown with pesticides). I wanted to clarify this terminology before proceeding because I feel it's necessary for all of us to understand.

I've always known the above statement to be true, and never told any client of mine OCS color was 100% organic, but recently, a well-known blogger opened my eyes to some of the ingredients in this product and it prompted me to take a deeper look.

You can read her opinions on here: Organic Colour Systems Review

Organic Colour Systems Full Ingredients List

Skin Deep Score
PEG-2 Soyamine
Surfactant, Penetration Enhancer
Aqua / Water
Base / Water
PEG-4 Rapeseedamide
Alcohol Denatured
Antimicrobial / Astringent
Oleic Acid
Surfactant / Emollient
Viscosity Decreaser
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein*
Conditioning Agent
Synthetic Fragrance Blend
Sodium Sulphite
Comfrey Leaf Extract*
Sodium Hydrosulphite
Reduction Agent
Tetrasodium EDTA
Chelating Agent
Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C
PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate
Aloe Leaf Juice*
Moisturizing Agent
Orange Peel Extract*
Fragrance, Conditioning
Grapefruit Extract*
Vitamin E
2-Amino-Hydroxyethylaminoanisole Sulphate
N-Phenyl-p-phenylenediamine sulphate
HC Yellow 2
HC Red 3
Total Organic Ingredient Count: 5

Organic Colour Systems: The Good

First off, of all the "organic color lines" I've reviewed, OCS actually has more than your typical ammonia-free hair color line. Goodies like Aloe Vera and Comfrey root could definitely come in handy when dealing with sensitive scalps.

Their Ethanolamine levels aren't as high as many other brands and this leaves the hair in better condition, except one caveat. You do have to "work at it" to get good grey coverage with this color line. Pre-washing, always using heat and using a turbo activator (not from the same brand) is the only way I could get consistently get the results I wanted.

I'll also mention, that this color line is very warm-based. Getting cool ash tones is a little tough, but when you have mostly hispanic clientele, like myself, this wasn't always a bad thing.

Organic Colour Systems: The Bad

Okay, this is where my breakdown "gets real." And I'll be honest, I'm a little disappointed. When I first purchased this color line, I was told it had a natural, soy based. I saw the word "Soyamine" listed at the top of the ingredients list and figured it was a fancy work for Soy.

I was very wrong about that.

What that previously mentioned blogger opened up my eyes to is PEGs. Polyethylene Glycols or petrochemicals that can be "derived" from natural ingredients, but not without coupling it with a very bad ingredient.

In order to create a PEG, you need to have ethylene oxide. Ethylene Oxide is a 10/10 on skin deep and a KNOWN HUMAN CARCINOGEN.

"At some point, carcinogenic ethylene oxide is added to make the final ingredients less irritating to the skin. If the final product is not cleaned up properly, there might be carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane left in the final product."

I thought to myself... how common could 1,4-dioxane be in products with PEGs? Here's what I found:

The carcinogen 1,4-dioxane contaminates up to 46% of personal care products tested (OCA 2008, EWG 2008). The chemical is an unwanted byproduct of an ingredient processing method called ethoxylation used to reduce the risk of skin irritation for petroleum-based ingredients.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has found that many products on the market today contain 1,4-dioxane, and some body care products may contain 1,4-dioxane at levels higher than recommended by FDA for other types of products (ATSDR 2007). ATSDR recommends limiting childrens exposure to consumer products that may contain this carcinogenic impurity.

I was absolutely shocked when I read this. Trust me, I've seen brands tout themselves as PEG-FREE, but I never really put 2 and 2 together. The main base of Organic Colour Systems scores a 5 on Skin Deep due to these contamination concerns.

Even Schwarzkopf's Essensity (which I review here) doesn't have that many PEGs or puts them as the base of their color.

Another alarming thing I realized was how high up on the ingredients list PARFUM or FRAGRANCE is on this product. We all know about the nasties lurking in fragrance (phthalates, to name one), and I never thought OCS had an overwhelming smell.

Then, I remembered a few times my experience wasn't that great. When my clients are done processing under heat, I have to add water and really emulsify for a good 4-5 minutes. The Tech Manual really stresses emulsification.

During this shampoo bowl process there would be an almost puff or cloud of an ammonia-type smell that would take my breath away and cause me to have a serious coughing fit. I never thought anything of it and clients didn't complain, but now I am starting to wonder if the high amount of fragrance in the product was trying to cover up the smell until the end when it was all released.

Or it could just be me and my own sensitivities.


There's no such thing as organic hair color. Just companies trying to make cleaner better products. Is Organic Colour Systems one of those companies? I like to think so.

In no way shape or form will I go back to regular, ammoniated color, but it seems like I am still on a quest to find a professional color line that meets my standards in terms of performance, consistency and an attempt at using less chemicals and more natural (preferably organic) ingredients.


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    • profile image

      Sherry Grajek 

      21 months ago

      Thank you so much for all your helpful reviews! Skin Deep has been one of my greatest tools, too. Would you be interested in reviewing Kevin Murphy?

    • HairNerd profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Austin, TX

      Hi Jaiya. I am a big fan of Oway Hcolor right now. You can check out my review on that color line on this page

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      So what's topping your list of least toxic haircolor?


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