Indigofera tinctoria as hair dye ingredient: is it safe?

Indigofera tinctoria is a plant known since ancient times for the peculiar properties of its extracts, which can be used both as blue dye for textiles and for cosmetic purposes. Despite its well documented use across centuries, in October 2003 the European Commission requested to evaluate the safety of this plant when used  in cosmetic products as a hair dye ingredient.

After several years of technical research and investigation, on April 3rd 2020 the Scientific Committee on Consumers Safety (SCCS) published its final opinion regarding the use of indigofera tinctoria (C170) (CAS  84775-63-3) as hair dye.

The main committee’s conclusions are:

  • The ingredient is considered “safe when used in non-oxidative conditions hair colouring products at on-head concentrations of up to 25%” (i.e. 100 g of Indigofera tinctoria mixed with 300 mL of hot water between 50°C and 100°C);
  • “A weak skin sensitisation potential cannot be excluded”.

Additionally, it is suggested to identify and quantify possible impurities, and in case of heavy metals concentrations above trace levels, the analysis of valence state of the ion and the salt form should also be provided.

Valeria Piattelli

Regulatory Affairs Department


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