The In’s and Out’s of Hair Color

I sat down with Master Colorist, Chad Keast, to talk hair color and the questions to ask every hair colorist before having a color service in your favorite salon. I have the pleasure of working with Chad Keast in the Intelligent Nutrients Salon in Minneapolis, MN. Chad’s interest in safe color options has blossomed and his interest in clean color lines has widely expanded over the past decade.

Clients chat daily on the topic of hair color in the salon. In fact, hair color is one of the biggest revenue makers for salons to date. How do we know what color lines are safe? We live in a world of zero regulation for beauty industry products. Scary? Yes. But I sat down with Chad to discuss a few of the important questions to ask when choosing a salon colorist.

JM: Are hair color brands that claim to be organic really organic?

CK: Sadly, hair color is not organic outside of herbal hair colors which do not have the same performance capabilities as chemical hair colorants. The beauty industry is inundated with false, misleading and deceptive marketing and products. The Intelligent Nutrients Salon’s focus is to support companies that do not mislead consumers and are the most forward-thinking with ingredients and innovation. I am constantly looking for better options and want to develop programs for cleaner color lines for hair professionals and consumers on hair color safety.

JM: What are the cleanest professional brands of hair color?

CK: Mastery Hair Color has the most comprehensive information online for consumers and hairdressers. The company discloses all of their ingredients, which no other professional color line will do nor are they required to do. Not clearly listing ingredients exposes the reality of how unregulated the industry is. Fragrance in products can also contain entire lists of toxic ingredients that companies do not have to disclose.

Essensity Hair Color has the best professional coverage and performance and is fragrance free. I use this color line the most in our salon because it is the most forward color product that I have worked with and has the most consistent and longest wearing results. The line also uses grape seed oil instead of mineral or petroleum and is silicone free.  

As far as herbal hair colors, which utilize natural colorants such as henna, walnut shell, buckthorn, indigo and beetroot. In the salon, we currently have 15 shades available that can be intermixed for a custom result. A color consultation is set up with every client before booking to discuss how well this color service will work for him or her. Logona/Sante Color Creams and powders are my go-to for botanical hair color.

JM: What are the top questions to ask when booking hair color at a salon?

CK: Do your own research online first and book a consultation with a professional who specializes in a cleaner hair color option. Many salons do not make color safety a top priority and are set in old ways of doing business. As a client, if you are concerned about reactions to color or have sensitivities, ask the salon to conduct a patch test first, prior to an actual color service.

You can find Chad Keast at Intelligent Nutrients or at