Hair Dyes – NEW SCCS Opinions

On June 25, 2015, the SCCS published updates on the hair dyes: 2,6-Dihydroxyethylamino toluene, 2,5,6-Triamino-4-pyridimidinol sulphate and the new hair dye HC Yellow n.º 17 safety, covering the following points:

Hair Dye Conclusion Safety Concerns



2,6-Dihydroxyethylamino toluene




Safe as oxidative hair dye up to 1.0% (on-head)



Not to be used with nitrosating agents

Nitrosamine content up to 50 ppb



2,5,6-Triamino-4-pyridimidinol sulfate



Safe as oxidative hair dye up to 0.5% (on-head)



Skin sensitizing potential


HC Yellow n.º 17




Safe as non-oxidative hair dye up to 0.5%, except for its sensitization potential




The opinions will remain open for comments until October 28, 2015.

What are Hair Dyes?

Hair dyes are a special type of colorants used in hair products to color the hair, either temporarily or permanently.  There are two types of hair dyes – non-oxidative and oxidative. The oxidative hair dyes are used the most and require the intervention of an external oxidizing agent – usually Hydrogen Peroxide – to produce a coloring effect on the hair.

Are Hair Dyes Safe?

With the publication, in 2001, of the study “Use of permanent hair dyes and bladder cancer risk”, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that the use of hair dyes in cosmetic products was not devoid of safety concerns.

As such, it was recommended that the European Commission take further steps to control the use of hair dyes in cosmetics.

The European Commission, Member States and the stakeholders agreed upon a strategy to regulate hair dyes used in hair coloring products, based on their global safety assessment, including testing genotoxicity and mutagenicity.

For that, the SCCS decided that the cosmetics hair care industry must submit updated files for a risk assessment.

The SCCS set up an expert panel to assess the safety of individual hair dyes for which updated files were submitted.


Cosmetic ingredients used in Europe are often under review by the SCCS and several opinion papers are open to feedback.

Hair dyes are permanently in the spotlight. As there are inherent concerns about the safety of the ingredients , their use has become more regulated in the last few years. Many hair dyes have been banned from cosmetic use and others have been submitted to strict restrictions in terms of the amounts (%) allowed and mandatory labeling requirements.

These new SCCS Opinions on 2,6-Dihydroxyethylamino toluene, 2,5,6-Triamino-4-pyridimidinol sulfate and on the new hair dye HC Yellow n.º 17 add a great deal of new information to the debate, which could lead to the definitive regulation of their use.

Once these SCCS Opinions close, the agreed list of conditions in which these hair dyes can be used in the EU might be established.

Cosmetics manufacturers and their Responsible Person should closely follow the updates from the SCCS in order to make the appropriate decisions towards ensuring the continuous compliance of their products on the EU market.

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