INOA Hair Color

INOA Hair ColorINOA Hair Color (which stands for Innovative No Ammonia) is, according to its manufacturer L’Oreal, a revolutionary new hair color system that does not contain ammonia and has “supreme respect for the hair”.  While we are not accustomed to talking badly about competitive brands, we are particularly disturbed by the actions of this company with this specific product as their advertising and marketing practices for against the ethics and standards that we are proud to hold ourselves to. Because of this, we felt duty-bound to disclose some of the disturbing facts that are just beginning to be uncovered about this brand.Here are just a few issues that we feel warrant careful consideration and further examination before making a decision to carry this hair color line in your salon:

1.  The INOA Hair Color Line DOES Contain Ammonia:

A recent government review has not only revealed that the INOA Hair Color line does in fact contain ammonia, but also ordered L’Oreal to cease making the claim that their line has “no ammonia”.  In fact, INOA has multiple times the concentrations of PPD’s found in traditional hair color and more than 10X the amount of MEA (Monoethanolamine) found in some non-ammonia based hair colors.  This should not be surprising at all because according to Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of Not Just a Pretty Face “it’s also worth noting that L’Oreal hair dyes commonly score a 10 for their high hazard level in Skin Deep.”

We find L’Oreal’s claims about INOA Hair Color to be dangerous as some women who may be pregnant, be recovering or current cancer patients, be allergic to or otherwise have adverse reactions to ammonia may seek out INOA Hair Color because of their false perceptions that the entire line is free of ammonia as their advertising indicates.

2.  L’Oreal INOA hair color, or a remarkably similar product, was previously sold in drugstores for almost 12% of its current cost:

In March of 2010, L’Oreal abruptly discontinued their popular and affordable non-ammonia hair color that was retailed for at home use which was heavily marketing under the brand Nature Match. Interestingly, that is the same month they launched their INOA hair color. A quick comparison of the ingredients list for Nature Match Hair Color and INOAHair Color will quickly reveal that the products have basically the same ingredients except for a single fragrance and conditioning agent. What’s the biggest difference between the two products? Nature Match retailed for about $3.99 per application and INOA Hair Color is sold to salon professionals for about $24 per application.

3.  INOA Hair Color is Cumbersome, Limiting, Stifling, and Time Consuming to Apply:

According to a recent article on HairColorist.com from the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists, INOA was found to take 3X longer to mix and another 3X longer to apply than another leading color brand.  This is a due to a number of factors including the small (and very non-eco-friendly) tube packaging, the requirement of mixing a separate oil ingredient, as well as the fundamental poor consistency of the INOA hair color.  In the test, conducted by the American Board of Certified Hair Colorsist, the entire mixing and application process for INOA Hair Color is almost 19 minutes while the same process only took approximately 7 minutes with another leading color brand.

Interestingly, the same article noted that the consistency of INOA Hair Color would make it difficult to accomplish a single application with 4 ounces of color.

Finally, with truly-professional hair color lines like Organic Color Systems, stylists are able to express their artistry and truly unleash their creativity in their hair color which provides an excellent platform for differentiating their services.  With Organic Color Systems, colorists have 67 intermixable colors, intensifiers, and concentrates available to them as well as a range of pharmaceutical-grade activators with varying consistencies and volumes. Whereas INOA Hair Color and their limited and stifling tube dispensing system where colorists are unable to uniquely individualize their art.  INOA Hair Color is more for the colorist who wants to safely “Paint by numbers” where Organic Color Systems is for the truly professional hair colorist.

4.  Very poor performance of INOA Hair Color has been reported by both salon professionals and clients, especially after the second application:

Online reviews of INOA Hair Color will reveal that both hairstylists and clients have indicated significant problems with color fading off tone, grey coverage, and “inconsistent and unreliable results”. The American Board of Certified Hair Colorists found that INOA Hair Color exhibited “significant fading” and that their were “mixed results” when it came to grey coverage.  They also concluded that the INOA Hair Color produced a “corse cuticle” and “became increasingly difficult to comb the hair the more it was exposed to the sun”.

Online reviews about INOA Hair Color also consistently indicated it that had a strong tendency to damage the hair on the second application of the product and even more with further applications.  Also, their were several indications of significant scalp irritation which seems to be consistent with the unexpected ammonia contents in some of the lines products.

5.  L’Oreal INOA Hair Color is not an organic, natural, cruelty-free, or eco-friendly product:

Clearly signified by the neon glowing orb that is INOA Hair Color halmark logo, INOA is not an organic, natural, cruelty-free, or eco-friendly product. INOA Hair Color contains multiple times the amount of PPD (Paraphenylenediamine)  contained in other hair colors and more than 10X the levels of MEA (Monoethanolamine).  While these ingredients are required to provide an exceptional and permanent result, it is generally considered to be in the best interest of both the client’s and stylist’s health to minimize both.

While L’Oreal has made great strides in improving their animal testing policies in recent years, their track record or animal testing has not been favorable with many consumers throughout the United States and the rest of the world boycotting their products for this very reason. Even today L’Oreal’s practice of not testing final products on animals but, but excluding individual ingredients from this practice, simply aggravates many animal rights activists who are against the practices of cruel and unnecessary testing on innocent animals.

The INOA hair color packaging is not efficient or eco-friendly as the tubes are small and produce a lot of waste.  As salons professionals and clients become more and more conscious about preserving the environment, such wast has been becoming increasingly unappealing.

Maintaining high levels of product integrity is among the most important core values at Organic Salon Systems which we feel shines through in our Organic Color Systems line.  From our cruelty-free and vegan certification from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), our comprehensive range of salon products that are 100% ammonia-free and contain no SLS, thioglycolates, parabens, resorcinol, or formaldehyde, or all of the Certified Organic Ingredients in the products throughout our range; the integrity of our products is apparent and as important to us as their superior performance.

  • http://www.ericdeanhair.com/ Eric Dean

    Just to be fair, INOA Post Shampoo has the Ammonium Hydroxide in it, the color does not.

    That being said, were stylist mislead, yes, were consumers mislead, yes.

    However you can still use the color if you are happy with it. Just don’t use the post shampoo. I know many that haven’t since day one.

    I for one am not happy with the results, but they great thing is we have SOOOO many alternate options.

    Buy what you want, what you think works, but don’t let companies scare you away from what you use. Scare tactics are just as bad a misleading articles.

    • http://www.organiccolorsystems.com Scott

      Eric, please don’t mistake shinning light on true facts and clarifying important information as a scare tactic. These are important issues that have real implications. We spent a great deal of time deliberating on how or even whether to respond to these disingenuous tactics. Ultimately, we determined that a company whose mission is to eradicate dangerous toxins from the salon environment would be negligent if we did not at least alert our readers and clients to the facts. We were careful to cite the sources to each and every fact in this draft and we did point out that it is only one product in their line that contained ammonia and not their entire line.

  • J. Sutton

    INOA – don’t use it! It’s very toxic. I’ve had a terrible reaction.

  • Kim

    I have had bad experiences with INOA. My stylist recommended it claiminig no ammonia and that my hair would return to its “virgin state” after 9 applications. First, the color is not conisistent with each application. I have warm tones and the color, dark chocolate, appeared black the fourth time the color was applied. I wash my hair in luke warm water and my hair color fades in a few weeks.

    When I questioned my hair dresser, she claims that she cannot please me and has offered a refund. She states that I must be taking meds that interact with the color. I am taking nothing, including vitamins. It very frustrating to be paying for dissatisfaction and I’ve read other reviews that claim the color fades quickly, too. I even told the owner of the shop that the product does contain Ammonium Hydroxide and she wanted to argue with me.

    I have always had long beautiful hair and I am embarrassed to get out of the house right now. There are four different colors in my hair and it looks as if I tried to color my hair myself! I’m hoping baking soda can strip this product out.

    • http://www.organiccolorsystems.com Scott

      Kim, it seems like it is time to try Organic Color Systems. You will not be disappointed. It is amazing and delivers what INOA can only promise!

  • Rhonda

    I have been a stylist for 26 years. I left a salon that pushed the INOA product on all color clients. When we had our first class for the product and the instructor used me as her model and my hair fell out for 5 mths! it was dry and dull and hard to comb. I mentioned it to the other stylists and the owner (who is not a stylist, but believes everything she hears that could possibly benefit the salon unless she doesn’t like it) and they all told me my hair was dry and any color would have done that. Not true. My hair has been colored for years and I have never had issues. I left there and had a client from one of the other stylists come to my new salon. She mentioned her stylist at my old salon used the INOA and she hated it. The next time in she asked for her old color, L”Oeals Majeral which is great but the stylist brought over the owner and they pushed how it would get better with each applicaton and used it again so she left them. I told her I didn’t like it either and had issues with it and this was 1 reason I left the salon) my owner would catch my color clients as they walked in while I was still with other client and talk up the new color so they wanted it, and I didn’t want to go against my owner infront of client so I used it,then they weren’t happy with results and it was my fault!) anyway, so this new clients daughter still goes to other salon and her mom told her I didn’t like the color and she told my old owner I said that so then my old owner showed up during my vacation and told my new owner that she was gonna sue me for slandering the product she carries. I called my lawyer and found out I am ok to give my own opinion on products. My opinion is I hate the new INOA color and now that I know all that is written above I understand why!

    • http://www.organicsalonsystems.com Rebecca

      Have you had a chance to use the Organic Color Systems?

  • mona

    I am a color client who has gray . Used redken shades EQ…no problem. My salon owner/stylist pushed the INOA…said after 9 times my hair condition would be better. Not so i donn’t like the color..the texture is not better…appears worse and my salp burned when they colored it yesterday. It was itchy and sensitive at home…I will not allow this INOA product again. I had my doubts about the raves of this product but now I am convinced. My hair is coarse and always after color it feels better.. yesterday was the worst. I hated my hair after. The owner actually asked me my opinion if I felt product made my hair feel more moisturized after all these inoa colors I had….answer NO .. said she was asking all her clients…funny…sends up a red flag to me…now I am pissed as my hair seems worse.
    one more thing ..the color is put on my gray roots and left but the rest of my hair gets nothing on it…weird. At least the redken went on the roots and the rest was coated with the other stuff. $80 for the INOA not worth it…ugh

    • http://www.organiccolorsystems.com Marcie

      Mona, we have continually heard the same thing about INOA. Please don’t give up on ammonia-free hair color. Our Organic Color Systems line consistently gets rave reviews and people that begin to use it never change! I hope your colorist refunds your money and provides you with another treatment where they a more suitable hair color like ours!

  • Lisa G

    SO WHAT!!! Atleast the company is trying to get out a good product. Why don’t you put effort into being non-critical! I hate people like you!!!

    • Amber

      Trying and being misleading are 2 different things… L’Oreal is a terribly unethical company. I wouldn’t use any of their products, let alone INOA

      • faye

        I WISH I had known. I went to a new hair salon for color only (after changing from colorist I went to for 15 years, for personal reasons — he uses Wella and does an excellent job, just couldn’t take his rudeness anymore) SO new salon recommended to this new very fancy upscale salon that charged double the price – the new colorist raved about this L’Oreal Inoa and I never had a problem with any permanent hair color before, always had done professionally — WELL after my hair was done by her — I have long naturally curly hair in excellent shape — from that first color application it destroyed my hair. I have broken ends all over my hair — like a halo and the only thing I can do now is let it grow back and baby it with extra extra conditioning. Since this happened I sought help from other hair professionals and this is what they told me. And my original guy — colorist should I say (15 year history) didn’t have the decency to return my call. I guess he heard I ditched him after he made me cry my last visit. Soooooo . . . any help, any comments. HELP! I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life.

        • tom

          sorry but L’Oreal do not clam that Inoa is natural, also I am a colour specialist and inoa does not have ammonia it has an alkaline agent that opens the cuticle a lot less than a product with ammonia, so that means it is pretty much impossible for it to snap your hair, so maybe you need to long at what the hairdresser actually done to you have (bad workmen blame the tools)

          • faye

            All I know is that it totally damaged my hair. The colorist in complete denial she did nothing wrong. So what happened?? I’ve always had very healthy hair til this happened. Now all I can do it appears is let it grow out which will take a long time. I have very long curly hair or cut it off. I’ve researched everything!!! So mad this ever happened.

  • Jim

    I can’t speak for the levels of Ethanolamine or other ingredients HOWEVER, the ‘Ammonia’ that you are talking about is found in the Post-Color Shampoo and is in a very small quantity as a pH adjuster – THE IS NO AMMONIA IN THE HAIRCOLOR OR ANY OF ITS OTHER COMPONENTS. This is just another example of a “grain” of truth being used to mislead the public. Organic Color Systems may use ingredients that at present test as safer but that does NOT mean better. And as for misleading, Haircolor itself including ‘Organic’ Color Systems is a hazardous chemical ‘cocktail’ and the moniker “Organic” is misleading in itself as there may be organically sourced ingredients in the product but that does NOT make it SAFE. So you are just as guilty as L’Oreal in that respect. Try selling your product based upon its OWN MERITS, NOT by “Bashing” other brands – this is ‘unprofessional’ Leave that job to the public media.

  • jenn

    INOA hair dye burned my scalp and made my hair fall out. The dye sucks!!!!!