A Surprising Way to Stop Scalp Irritation Caused by Hair Dye

It never fails. Every time I color my hair, I end up with a miserably itchy scalp that flakes a few days after treatment. You might think I'm crazy to put myself through this torture every six weeks or so (unless you're the same way), but I just can't stand to have glistening silver roots. And if you're wondering why I haven't tried other brands to correct the problem. Trust me, I have. No matter how natural or gentle a brand claims to be, my scalp gets irritated.

So when I explained my situation to pro hairstylist David John at the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles, he had a simple, but surprising, solution: Sweet'N Low. Yes, as in the artificial sweetener.

He just added a few packets of the sweet stuff to the hair dye, before application, then let it sit in my hair to develop. It was just one extra little step that felt like a complete miracle to me. My scalp didn't itch, the color still looked beautiful post-rinse and I didn't see any change in my scalp a few days later.

Of course, I had to find out the science behind this discovery so I asked cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos to explain. She says, "Cream of tartar, AKA potassium bitartrate, is one of the ingredients in Sweet'N Low. It has a low pH buffer, while saccharin [another main ingredient in it] also has an acidic pH. Because of these properties, it is believed that the addition of artificial sweeteners helps neutralize some of the ammonia used in hair color and mitigate irritation."

Really? I couldn't believe someone hadn't suggested this to me before, after all these years of coloring and complaining. Either way, I had to share my newfound knowledge. If you get an irritated scalp when you dye your hair, you might as well suggest this solution to your colorist to see if it works. I'm completely sold on it and think it's worth a try before you commit yourself to a dye-free lifestyle.

Comments
  • kyliej
    Posted on

    I dye my hair often and unfortunately have breakouts of eczema along my hair line on the side of my face due to chemicals - argan oil has helped make it heal BUT you need to use an argan oil that has no chemicals and is alcohol free. I tried ALL the argan oils, and the Somaluxe Argan Oil is the one that is the best for my hair eczema. I also use it on my skin daily and have seen amazing results in smoothness and clarity. Just remember to use a very small amount on your face, I usually run my fingers along the side of the Somaluxe dropper. Also the smell on this is much better then some others I have tried.

  • Servant of most high
    Posted on

    After coloring your hair, next day or two message extra virgin olive oil, wash with mild shampoo, what a relief from irritated or flaky scalp. Just sharing information that works.

  • Amanda
    Posted on

    a small packet of sugar works wonders also! I do it all the time when I bleach, as well as my hairstylist does to! :)

  • Joie
    Posted on

    Used an ammonia-free hair dye the other day with severe scalp itching and redness during and after the process. Coconut oil, which is soothing to hair and skin, helped to quickly resolve the issue.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    What about highlighting hair with bleach?

  • Daisyd
    Posted on

    Could I use this after my colour which it's driving my scalp mad!! Would it work post colouring.

  • Carla
    Posted on

    Yes, this works for most people. 2 packets mixed directly into the color mixture. But remember--your hairdresser is not a doctor. If you have an underlying issue (psoriasis or eczema) or extreme allergies, this will not 'fix' it. It really only works with the ammonia--so deposit-only color users will not feel a result. NOTE that since deposit-only colors do not contain ammonia, they probably won't irritate your scalp. But adding the S&L certainly won't hurt anything. It is the combo of Cream of Tartar and Saccharin that is the magic bullet--so 'no' on the Stevia,Equal or sugar. I do ask some of my clients to take a half Benadryl about 30 minutes before the color service. In addition to hints and tips in comments above, do not drink coffee while you process--the warmth and caffeine dilate your blood vessels--especially of the scalp. I find many people who skip the coffee skip the itch.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Thanks a lot . it was such a valuable information. i too have the same problem. i was wondering that whether there will be any solution to this. Thanks a lot.

  • Hair Goddess
    Posted on

    Use Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo couple of times a week. I suffered with itchy and burning scalp after coloring for long time. I no longer have itchy and burning scalp anymore since using Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo.

  • Jay T
    Posted on

    is it supposed to use Sweet N Low or you can use any other sweetener from other brand? We don't have Sweet N Low here in my country.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Can I add packets of Sweet N Low to Clairol Natural Instincts too? Even that irritated my scalp.

  • Terri
    Posted on

    I forgot the add the last part of my trick, besides the Clairol creme developer instead of the one at Sally's. After coloring, shampooing and conditioning, I do one final shampoo, and then finish with a conditioner. That extra shampoo seems to make a big difference!

  • Terri
    Posted on

    What I discovered is that the CREME DEVELOPER can make a difference. When my hairdresser uses the developer she gets from Sally's Beauty Supply, my scalp goes crazy with itching. But if I color my hair at home and use Clairol (20 volume) I hardly have any itching at all. And if I do, it's very mild and hardly noticeable, and the next time I shampoo, I'm fine.

  • Lisa
    Posted on

    Sweet and low is an old beauty parlor trick and it works for me, but this time I had my hair done she used the sweet and low and it was ok while the color was on my head. Two days later and I am so itchy I am going crazy. I am going to try using head and shoulders.the tops of my ears are even itchy. Agh what we endure for hair color. Lol

  • rose
    Posted on

    It worked for me - you may need to make adjustments depending on your hair length, its properties and the colouring product you use. Don't stop at the first attempt, like all things, practice makes perfect. We don't have Sweet N Low here so I use any artificial sweetener and add a pinch or so of Cream of Tartar.

  • Beth in Chicago
    Posted on

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I went to the salon for cut and color this morning, and 6 hours later my scalp was itching like crazy. It's weird - it's only the back, like right above where the ridge on your skull is. Anyway, I tried the Sweet and Low solution and it worked! For all of you gals in the UK and Europe, each table size packet/sachet in the US is one gram. I mixed up 6 packets (so 6 grams) in a measuring cup of 1 liter of water (1 US quart). I found it easier to saturate a wash cloth in the sweet & low and water solution and press it against my scalp rather than dumping it over my head (after all, it's not the hair you want to reach, but your scalp). I gave it an hour or so and am just letting my hair air dry and my scalp is much less itchy. Thanks again for the tip!

  • Linda
    Posted on

    My hair was blonde, I stopped bleaching it because I wanted a break from bleaching. So I decided to go Red. I use the Red wine Sparks hair dye, my hair started itching for first time ever. I thought it was the red shampoo so I tried Loreal Pureal shampoo and it's still itching, so now I am thinking it's gotta be the Sparks Hair Dye, which I love because it's NO BLEACHING & the color is VIBRANT. I am gonna try the Sweet n Low method, cause the itching is irritating me.

  • Karin
    Posted on

    I was told about the sweet & low by a stylist at the beauty supply where I get my color. It works, but the color did not take as well on the roots so I had a light band. Today I colored out the band and did not use the sweetner & I am insanely itching. I'll have to try it again & maybe leave the color on longer or get one shade darker.

  • Sandy
    Posted on

    The only thing that works for me is Head & Shoulders, shampoo it twice and the itching stops!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I have dyed my hair 2 days ago and notice when I have new growth the scalp is thoroughly itchy and flaky. I have stumbled upon this article and I consume stevia. I will try it with stevia. If that doesn't work, I will use coconut sugar.

  • Suzanne
    Posted on

    My scalp would itch incessantly for days and days after dying my hair. A hairdresser told me an easy way to stop the itching and I have been using this for years now. Apply dye and shampoo hair. Once you have shampooed hair (twice is ok) pour sprite or 7-up onto hair. Saturate and leave sit for a minute. Rinse out and apply hair conditioner... rinse and dry as usual. The sprite or 7-up can be sweetened or diet... no matter. Both of these work great. Absolutely stops the itching!

  • Martha
    Posted on

    My stylist adds regular sugar, works for me!

  • Linda
    Posted on

    It worked for me!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    After reading all the comments about using 'sweet and low' I tried it. My head started itching shortly after applying the hair color. I thought, surely my scalp is just itching out of the blue since everybody is saying it works. I used it in the hair color solution as instructed. Well, it did not work. Now I have the hair color but can't enjoy it because it scalp is itching like a dog w/fleas... very uncomfortable. So now I'm back researching what to do again. Well more research said to use 'sweet & low' in warm water and rinse my hair with. I did more and more sweet and low. I don't know why sweet and low would work for some but not others but it didn't work for me. And by the way, I'm scratching and still researching. I just hope I don't have to go to the doctor. So disappointed with this sweet and low talk... SWEET & LOW DID NOT WORK people. I read a few comments were some said it didn't work. But the odds were so low for the people that it didn't work. Well, I can tell you now.. I now another joining the few that it didn't work for. And oh.. another suggestion is warm water with apple apple cider vinegar. Didn't work either. To be exact.. both calmed my skin for about 30 minutes.. then the itching came right back. So I'M back to my research now, got to go.. ITCHING! GOOD LUCK!

  • JeannieCee
    Posted on

    It has to be Sween N Low. As someone else mentioned, Splenda and the other sweeteners completely different products. My colorist adds 5 - 6 packets to the hair color she puts on my roots and it does not affect the color at all. We also add it to my glaze which is Redken Shades EQ and it doesn't affect the color with that either. My color lasts 8 + weeks. I use all Kerestase shampoos & conditioners for color treated hair and I don't wash my hair every day because it doesn't need it. You have to see how many packets work for you. By the way, I have used different brand hair dye over the years and they all make me itchy. Don't know what I would have done all of these years had my hairdresser not told me about adding Sweet & Low 25 years ago!!!!

  • Cherri
    Posted on

    Did not work for me ( Sweet and Low), hated the itching which lasts a week or more for me. Tried all types of color, found one that works great and NO ITCH. It is called Olia. I will never use another brand! Works great, different creamy almost greasy feel when putting it on, but I am thrilled with the results! I hope it works for others like it does for me!

  • ladyvalentime
    Posted on

    well to all you lady and gents,the best thing to do is after dying your hair go on to the doctor and get the epipen shot or ask for the steroid shot so you can maintain your breathing. I suggest for you to put wingworm cream or either (miconazole vaginal antifungal) in your scalp before and after you use dye and take a couple of diphenhydramine this will either help until you believe you have to go to the er.

  • JeannieCee
    Posted on

    Seriously, I have been mixing Sweet N Low in my hair color (to prevent itching & burning scalp) for the past 25 years!!!! My hair stylist told me about it 25 years ago!!! Of course as the years passed and I changed salons, I had to tell my new stylist and colorist to add Sweet N Low but just in case, I always carry it with me. It works great!! Don't know what I would have done without it all of these years. Thanks for explaining "how" it works as I never bothered to ask.

  • Sharyn
    Posted on

    Appy Sea Breeze from a spray bottle on the itchy area, works instantly!!!!!

  • Sani
    Posted on

    I have use it in some of my clients and it really works for these with sensitive scalp. But for these that have allergy of PPD my best recommendation is to apply the color using a lowlight technique. A lots of work but this way you will not touch the color on the scalp. Very meticulous work. the foils have to be washed 1 by 1. Don't aspect the color coming right from scalp because it can touch the skin. This technique also is more expensive since it takes a longer time to be applied and washed out. If you have darker hair and color it light blond. that way is less visible at the scalp

  • Slugger
    Posted on

    It's not a perfect world , chemicals can irritate the scalp but "irritation " and " flaking " are not " burns " . Maybe you just need to stop coloring your heir . If yo can't put up a bit of irritation . You can't have it all !

  • Me
    Posted on

    I have been adding sweet n low to my color for years! It really works!

  • Mark
    Posted on

    3 yrs ago i dyed my hair and got a bad scalp reaction that hasn't gone away since. Does anyone have any idea of what is wrong and what can i do to get solve this problem?

  • Sherry
    Posted on

    My mom was having itching scalp issues. She takes one benedryl 1/2 hour before hair treatment and the stylist puts 2 packets of the Sweet-N-Low in the dye. She hasn't had an itchy problem since.

  • Jane
    Posted on

    I've been having the dreaded burning and itching after going to the salon for my hair color. The last time it was horrific. My scalp wept and then scab over only to weep after the shower when scabs would soften. Took two weeks to go away. I told my hair dresser and she suggested another kind of dye. I had the patch test done and it was OK. Today I went and got the hair dyed with that dye and same thing. 2-3 hours later I'm dying. My head is on fire. I saw your blog and ran to the store and bought "Sweet N LOW"! I mixed 4 packets with warm water and rinsed. It was instant relief!!! I'm so happy to find this out. Thank you, Thank you. I'll take some with me to my next hair appointment.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I had a bad reaction to hair dye after applying more dyed with a better color withing 3 days....now, nearly a month later, my sore neck resulted in a tingling, burning scalp, just like the hair dye reaction..the doctor said the tingling was caused by a pinched nerve and that I'd never get rid of it....andy comments?

  • Rhome
    Posted on

    can someone tell me if sweet N Low will work for me, i dyed y hair and six hours later my scalp started to itch, and i light scratched and now my scalp is running a clear like puss bad, my pillow was messed up. thanks!

  • Kani
    Posted on

    Hi, I read that some of you are suffering from white scaly patches on your scalp,and it itches,Well I use to get this and I thought it was dandruff,I even had a dermatologist he told me to use that T-gel shampoo,that shampoo has tar in it, actual (TAR) do you know how bad that is for your scalp and that tar is getting into your blood stream,I had the same thing it was so irritating. I would wash my hair and even after I would wash my hair I and when it was drying I could see the white scales forming especially along the hair line but it was all over my scalp,it would fake off and get all over my clothes so embarrassing I finally found a doctor who know what it was( Psoriasis )of the scalp there is no cure but he did give me a topical, light-based, and systemic pharmaceutical treatments.According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, over 5 million people in the United States have psoriasis.At first I would use it on my scalp at night once a night ,its not greasy or oily it absorbs in your scalp like water,you do this for about 10 days than you see it slowly going away than you use it every other night,than maybe 3 to 4 times a week now I only use it in the winter months with the dry weather and the furnace is running I also use a humidifier in my room at night and have a filter on my shower to block any nasty stuff in the water..but I'm telling you this because there is hope you may think its the dye that's causing your inflammation ,but it just maybe irritating the under line problem it's worth checking out I'm sure glad I did...Hope this helps someone...!

  • Diane
    Posted on

    Without a doubt, I am a victim of the itchy scalp after hair coloring! Here's what I have found that works: First, make sure your hair dresser adds 4 packets of SWEET-N-LOW (substitutes won't work)in the hair color mix before they put it on your hair! If you do your color at home, do the same thing! It works! If this is your first time discovering this problem, here's how to relieve the itch. Go to any pharmacy and get "SCALPICIN" ... you can buy it over the counter, and it costs about $7.00. It's a liquid itch relief that contains 1% hydrocortizone in a bottle that you can pour on your scalp. Instant relief! It works!! It even makes your scalp feel good after the itchy feeling has stopped. You can also try this home remedy...mix 4 packets of SWEET-N-LOW in a cup of warm water, pour it over your scalp, let it sit, then rinse with warm water. It works also.

  • Timothys Rambo
    Posted on

    Mainly recent news, get natural hair care products! Its fresh ingredients clean your hair without stripping it. It has been known to improve hair health and stimulate growth. It will help you simplify your natural hair care routine and achieve maximum natural hair growth.

  • luna
    Posted on

    :) My friend who's a hairstylist told me this trick 8 yrs ago! You add it to you hair color while mixing. It does work though;)

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Usually after I dye my hair I have to take benedryl for the itch. I definitely will try sweet n low, after all these years of suffering I'll try anything.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I suddenly developed an allergy to hair color after 25 years. Each time the reaction gets worse. I found a semipermanent color called Tints of Nature at Whole Foods. Did patch test, no problems. I have been warned that if I expose myself again to PPD, it could cause anaphylaxis. The last exposure took more than 4 weeks to recover from and were on my scalp, neck, chest and back. Look very carefully for a product with NO PPD!

  • katie
    Posted on

    hi every time i dye me hair at my hairdresser my ears get swollen and very itchy.so do i use sweet n low? i tried every product nothing worked.i never had problems before.

  • Kingofthechair
    Posted on

    Sweet N low is old school, however it can effect the penetration of color dyes into the hair as it reduces alkali . I recommend Hair and scalp therapy by Prorituals www.prorituals.com it is an essential fatty acid that puts moisture on to scalp and hair as the color processes. This can be added to the hair color. I also pre clarify hair before coloring hair. When you are an EMMY winner and work on A- list clients you have to do color the correct way and remove all the silicones from hair prior to coloring as they can block peretration of color and cause pre-mature fading. The hair has a layer called the endocuticle that will open with the moisture from water giving petter color penetration and a more even result. Same way as when we wipe a spill on a counter top with a damp sponge vs. a dry one. It is unfortunate that our industry has fallen into the hands of uneducated manufactures who's motive is to get your hair to fade faster to sell you more products. My advice, Stick with boutique color brands as they tend to have a higher grade of dye than mass market brands.

  • sri
    Posted on

    Hi friends, Can we use other sweeter instead of sweet n low

  • Rani
    Posted on

    I asked my niece to send me sweet n low and i used john fredia's blue blak BUT it was foam type of color and i had my fingers crossed and oh my god after two to three hours it itched like hell,,so i don't know because the color was in the form type that's why ?? I am going to try the creamy type to see if it does or not..The form coloring is new on the market so i don't know if it does not work with this type..Please help someone out there,,by the way i am indian so i don't know...

  • Geri
    Posted on

    It worked great for me with a n organic hair dye . Now I will try it with Wella and hope I get good results. Will try 3-4 packets. Thanks for confirming what I heard from my hairdresser

  • BobbysGirl
    Posted on

    After twenty years of coloring (and dreading the burning, itching scalp that resulted)I tried this yesterday and was amazed. I have long hair and use two bottles of color and the equivalent developer. I added six packets of Sweet N Low and could immediately feel a difference. It did not affect the color's capability at all. Thanks so much for the great tip!

  • kmorris
    Posted on

    I was so excited to try this and put 4 packs of sweet n low in the hair color I use. The good news: The color still looked good. The bad news: just as much itching as before.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    What size packet of Sweet and low in Ireland there are big pckts give amount in trams please

  • Patti
    Posted on

    I have the exact same problem. The back of my head breaks out and itches like crazy when I color my hair every 3 weeks. I am silver under this brunette color and I am not ready to stay that way. I have used hair color that says it's ammonia free. I have tried the sweet and low before, but we only used 1 pkg. Sorry you all are going through this too! OH, the price we pay!

  • Roset
    Posted on

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I'm going to try these.

  • DB
    Posted on

    I've used Sweet n Low with L'Oreal Preference for 3 yrs no difference in performance. I dump 4 packets of Sweet n Low in the bottle of developer cream then shake it, then I add the color and shake again. Color as usual. I would not dye my hair at all without it.

  • Beverley
    Posted on

    It really works dyed my Hair twice now no itchy scalp Thanks Sweet n Low.

  • jojo
    Posted on

    being a chemist, HC pH is around 9.50 to 11.00. Yes it can reach that level. pH for HC is not acidic and yes sugar does neutralize the system....

  • Fay
    Posted on

    Thank you so much for posting this.

  • Lisa
    Posted on

    omg my scalp burns so bad i can hardly stand it when i color my hair.the day after i get puss on my scalp and i just feel like i'm gonna die but i still keep coloring it. I'm going to try the sweet and low something has to help relieve the pain.

  • Lisa
    Posted on

    a

  • leesha
    Posted on

    I dyed my hair a fortnite ago and it itched, within a couple of days i was at the drs gettin antibiotics as my head was weeping and scabing, it has been a fortnite nw an if anything it has worsened, the scabbing has spread all ova my head an my body is itching crazy.not sleeping caus of itching. I use tgel daily wich to is a shampoo that i find soothing..if anyone can help please do thanx.l

  • leesha
    Posted on

    I dyed my hair a fortnite ago and it itched, within a couple of days i was at the drs gettin antibiotics as my head was weeping and scabing, it has been a fortnite nw an if anything it has worsened, the scabbing has spread all ova my head an my body is itching crazy.not sleeping caus of itching. I use tgel daily wich to is a shampoo that i find soothing..if anyone can help please do thanx.l

  • leesha
    Posted on

    I dyed my hair a fortnite ago and it itched, within a couple of days i was at the drs gettin antibiotics as my head was weeping and scabing, it has been a fortnite nw an if anything it has worsened, the scabbing has spread all ova my head an my body is itching crazy.not sleeping caus of itching. I use tgel daily wich to is a shampoo that i find soothing..if anyone can help please do thanx.l

  • leesha
    Posted on

    I dyed my hair a fortnite ago and it itched, within a couple of days i was at the drs gettin antibiotics as my head was weeping and scabing, it has been a fortnite nw an if anything it has worsened, the scabbing has spread all ova my head an my body is itching crazy.not sleeping caus of itching. I use tgel daily wich to is a shampoo that i find soothing..if anyone can help please do thanx.l

  • JetBlack
    Posted on

    I had read this article after yet another itchy, burning, irritating reaction to my drugstore hair dye. Tried all brands, they all made me itchy and irritated. The skin around my hairline and on my neck would get red, hot and itch like crazy. I refuse to go gray, so I decided I would suffer. I colored my hair today and remembered at the last minute about adding Sweet 'n Low. Used just 2 packets and it's like a miracle. There is some very minor itching, still, but nowhere near what it used to be. Next time I'm going to use 4-6 packets. Give it a try....what have you got to lose? Thank you so much for the tip ~ my scalp thanks you, too!

  • Sandra
    Posted on

    So lets get it clear. Exactly how many packets of Sweet n' Low and are they just stirred into the dye or should the mixture be left to stand or used immediately. Exact instructions please!! Also is it worth using Sweet n' low as a rinse when shampooing in the couple of days after having hair dyed.

  • Tammy
    Posted on

    Thanks for the tip, i'm going to try that for next time because it really is sore and itchy. thanks again. Hope it works for me. :)

  • Tracy
    Posted on

    My stylist does this when she colors my hair! When she first said she would do this after I told her my scalp always gets itchy, I thought she was crazy, but it really works! I can't believe I'm seeing it here, bug then again, it really does work, so I shouldn't be surprised!!!

  • Kate
    Posted on

    A PPD allergy can result in anaphylaxis. I am severely allergic to most chemical dyes -- boxed and professional. I highly doubt that Sweet n' Low will rectify this, and such is a dangerous suggestion for someone who has a PPD allergy. But, hey ... fly at `er if you want to be on devil drug Prednisone! PPD free: Goldwell Elumen and Chi Ionic.

  • donna
    Posted on

    i do use sweet and low when i color my hair because if i do not my scalp is sooo itchie my hair dresser told me about that trick it reay works!!!

  • Marcie
    Posted on

    PPD is a horrible and very serious allergy. A packet or 10 packets will not help you if you're allergic to this chemical. If you are itchy or worse after having your hair colored get to an allergist and get tested before it becomes much more serious. This is an allergy that gets worse over time.

  • HM
    Posted on

    PPD isn't banned in Europe. It's considered safe, and only about 0.1% of the population will develop and allergy to it. If you find your scalp itching after you color your hair you really should do a patch test before coloring again. If it's an allergy the Sweet'n Low won't help. If your skin breaks out in a rash, you start swelling, or have breathing problems you're likely having an allergic reaction...and I'd hope you consult your doctor. http://www.thefactsabout.co.uk/files/22112011143021hair_colorants_final.pdf

  • tom
    Posted on

    The sweet and low really works. I have my stylist stir in 4 packs in the color. No more itching and burning.

  • Marcia Brady
    Posted on

    I also have heard Sprite helps. I have not colored my hair in over two months now because of the burn. Trying to find a good brand. I love Loreal's color but it always burned. Then I tried NiceNEasy Clairol and I about died. That brand really really burned. I am just now scared because top of my head has hardly any hair. ha ha

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Oh my goodness some of you girls kill me... Sweet N' Low is NOT Splenda!! The ingredients are NOT the same!! If she says use Sweet N' Low, then use Sweet N' Low. That does not mean, try substituting Equal, Splenda, Stevia, etc... "Cream of tartar, AKA potassium bitartrate, is one of the ingredients in Sweet'N Low. It has a low pH buffer, while saccharin [another main ingredient in it] also has an acidic pH. Did y'all bother to read the article?? That is probably why your head is still itching. SMDH... but at least it is not itching :)

  • Milla
    Posted on

    I had itching right from the beginning when I started coloring my own hair w/supermarket brands of hair dye.Then had a bit of relief when I had it professionally done,as it did not seem to itch for as long as it did when I applied the color myself as my stylist could apply it w/a brush delicately to the root area, something I couldn't avoid.When I did it,it always laid on my scalp too long.Now have the same head on fire itching issues again, w/ my hair dresser applying the color.But my gray is resistant to color so she has to smush it into the scalp.It always itches,but seemed to reach a pitch of uncomfortableness a few weeks back.My hair dresser then started using the ammonia free dye& for three sessions it barely itched,then BOOM back again& in a way that I had never had it before.When the ammonia based coloring had started to bother me I had a spot of two where I would get bloody scabs.The time prior to this it got worse & this last time it was ridiculously itchy.I work up this morning with long thick scabs on my scalp and my hair clumped together in places as if with blood,but when I asked my hubby to look he said that whatever it was, it was clear & colorless like glue.So my scalp must have been ousing puss or something or other as a reaction to my scratching.It literally feels like I have dried honey in the roots.I'll try the Sweet N'Low sugar substitute,& if that doesn't work will try returning to ammonia based dyes.Won't be the 1st time I've had an allergic reaction to an additive in a supposed gentle or less chemically loaded product.I'm allergic to Tide Free and clear but not to regular Tide, and to Baby Oil & Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, & soaps like Lever & Dial. Suspect that it's an common additive allergy that does not bother most people but that I'm allergic to.Washing my hair when I come home from the stylist used to help. Clobex Spray is fantastic for flaking skin in your hair. Spray it in, pick out the flakes & immediately looks great..awesome!

  • Tiffany
    Posted on

    Yes, it works for me.

  • Christi
    Posted on

    Wow! Can't wait to try...

  • Miranda
    Posted on

    I am skeptical about the sweet & low. I just use the Loreal Everpure moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. It calms my scalp down pretty fast. It's sulfate free so it's supposed to help prevent fading. I can't say that it does because I use red dye which is going to fade fast no matter what. I'm planning on stocking up on the Pureology Reviving Red line that my salon swears by. They have a couple of redhead who work there who insist that it helps keep red. But as far as a quick cheap fix for the scalp, the Loreal Everpure moisturizing does great.

  • filip
    Posted on

    Cindy...really? Do you think it's literally the flavor "sweet" that helps with irritation? I ask because it's the only thing that Splenda has in common with Sweet'n'Low (and even that is questionable). Splenda is sucralose. No cream of tartar, no sacchrine, no irritation mitigation.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I just had my hair colored and it was burning and itching so bad I couldn't think straight. She kept taking about sweet n low next time and I just thought she was talking about some other hair product. I had no idea she was taking about the sweetner. Interesting, good tip to know.

  • Cindy
    Posted on

    Even when I use the sweetener - I have a problem. I'm wondering if it is just Sweet-n-low or if it's because I'm using Splenda. But anyhow, I literally get sick from the itching as it feels like a bad sunburn on top of the itching.

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    Just had my hair done 4 days ago and the flakes on my scalp look and feel awful. The flaking looks so bad especially on dark brown hair, I am so embarrassed. I am trying the sweet and low today. I will write back in a few days how it worked. Thanks!!!! Peggy

  • D
    Posted on

    For those facing severe breakouts in the head, try this anti-biotic, CO-TRIMOXOZOLE. It's also known as BACTRIM. But surprisingly it only stops the acne for a short duration. I still haven't found the complete cure. Need help on scalp breakouts, I've been having it for a few years now.

  • Phil T
    Posted on

    Got some color today and my scalp broke out and itched like crazy. The Sweet and Low was a godsend!

  • mary
    Posted on

    Wow, it works!! Just colored my husbands hair. The itching was so bad. Four packets of sweet and low with a couple tablespoons of water applied to his hair and instant relief.

  • Cammie
    Posted on

    Which professional hair colors do not have PPDs in them and where can we buy them

  • Kay
    Posted on

    Someone please HELP!!! My daughter got her hair colored at a SALON and has had a severe reaction to a "new" color! The stylist DID NOT do a pre-strand test to check for allergies or reactions. My daughter is the mother of a small infant and in severe pain, almost 2 months later....she isn't ANY better!! Everyone who has been adversely effected by the hair color needs to file a complaint with SOMEONE!!! Clairol has several class action lawsuits against them right now and this has been going on for YEARS. The PPD has been banned in the UK and some other countries. Please post if ANY of you know of anything that will relieve her pain, itching and misery!

  • Angie
    Posted on

    Does this actually work????.

  • Amrik
    Posted on

    I with lot of proud would suggest a shampoo that mother of all the anti dandruff / scalp itching shampoos in the world. Yes it is HAIR SCIENCE anti dandruff shapoo from Australia. It is 100 pct soap free with perfect combination of medication to give u 100 Pct result. I sufferd like hell from dandruff and itching and used 10s of shampoos but of no use. This god send gave relief to me 100 pct. go ahead use it and be happy and bless the mfrs

  • Alyce
    Posted on

    A hairdresser suggested this to me some years ago and it has been a lifesaver. it really does work like magic. I have been to several hairdressers since then and they all look at me like I have two heads when I hand them the two packets - they mix it in, but I can tell that they think that I am crazy and that they are indulging me. :-) Not sure why every hairdresser doesn't know this!

  • Lina
    Posted on

    I've been having the same problem since I dyed my hair black. The itching is unbelievable. Thought I would google my issue and low and behold I'm not the only one!...Going to try the sweet & low and hope it works. I feel like a dog w/fleas after dying my hair. The itching is so constant.

  • vina
    Posted on

    Thanks for shairing.I was going crazy to know what to do with itching scalp.am tired scratchig my head.

  • Stephanie McDonnell
    Posted on

    I colored my hair last night, and for the first time ever have a burning scalp. I called a friend in another state who is a hair stylist, and she recommended this same thing. In fact, she said wash with milk, then put Sweet N Low in your conditioner and leave it in your hair overnight. I suppose it would be a great preventative measure putting it in your color prior to treatment. I did wash with milk last night, but with no Sweet N Low on hand, I plan to go with this remedy for relief today. I'll check back with my results.

  • Katie
    Posted on

    Please do not use sweet n low. You are only masking the itching. Research lawsuits that have been going on from all over the country if its tingling a little its suppose to the ph balance of our hair is between 4.5-5.5 color is a ph of 10. If it is burning rinse it out ASAP you have to clarify hair before color to remove mineral build up in your hair from hard water color cant be put on dirty hair and it burns from minerals in our hair. Get pure is a great clarify & soma has one. Please research people sweet n low is not helping you if you have a hole in your scalp from chemical burns!

  • Laura Clin
    Posted on

    Please, all you people out there still dying your hair-hair dye is not what it used to be. Many horrible chemicals are now added that have been banned in many countries. I used Loreal preference hair color-did my pre-test-nothing happened-but 23 min. into dyeing my hair-I had extreme burning. A few wks. later my hair started falling out, my scalp became red, itchy, inflamed and scaly. Many weeks later nothing is getting any better-only now I have itchy rash everywhere. I'm afraid,eventually it will cause lead to cancer-as I have lumps all over my scalp

  • going grey
    Posted on

    scary reaction 2 i too had reaction to brown dye. third time at the salon using Wella demi-permant dark brown. supposed to be gentle. my hair has been falling out for the last 13 days from the scalp (lost more than 1/2 its volume). no red blistering just falling out and crunchy hair. everything i've read about these chemicals is that you can get sensitized. in other words with each exposure reaction can get worse. i think the dark dyes have the PPD or TDS in them. and PPD was banned in european nations decades ago. Got dr appt monday to find out. No more dye for me, i'll wear my greys proudly. Ladies, if it itches -- something's wrong. Listen to your body.

  • Debbie
    Posted on

    Will rinsing with sweet and low work after you have colored to reduce the itching? Does a clarifying shampoo or tree tea oil work better? This intense itching is driving me crazy, and oral antihistimines have not helped.

  • Teri
    Posted on

    I'm trying the Sweet'N Low today! Will post later if it was a success or not. I so hope it does. The itching makes me think I'm going crazy for about 3-4 days after applying dye. Crossing my fingers ;)

  • Thi
    Posted on

    Ok, tried the sweet & low in my home hair coloring kit, didn't work; my head itch like every time I have colored my hair. I used 3 pkgs ....should I have used more? I wonder if this sweet & low thing only work with certain brand of hair coloring kit; any suggestion anyone? I guess I will find out the next time I color my hair. Also I have found online that it was suggested to use 2 pkg of sweet & low PLUS 4 drops of lavender oil (mix in with your hair dye before applying)....hhmmmmm; should I or shouldn't I?

  • Scary Reaction
    Posted on

    I had swelling so severe the last time I colored my hair, I looked like something out of Star Wars. It's been itching or burning previously, but never anything like this. Finally got tested and found out I am allergic to PPD - a substance apparently banned in Europe, so why do we allow it here in basically ALL of our hair colors? It comes under a lot of names, but basically it is ANYTHING with the word "chrome" in it; dichromate, etc. My most severe reaction was to the L'Oreal Cream version - the basic version didn't bother me. Also, reds seem to give me more irritation. The darker the color, the more PPD is in it. I tried sweet and low as well. Didn't work so well for me. I have been coloring my hair for 25 years and this only recently started happening. Apparently that's not so unusual, either. I may go gray very soon.

  • Rebecca
    Posted on

    Can you use sweet n' low in store bought dyes as well? i had a VERY severe allergic reaction to L'Oreal Preference hair dye. I am naturally blonde and, like a dummy, went black. i'm scared of frying my hair and having to chop it off to get back to blonde, so i continue to dye it black, i use natrual instincts now and it has been better, but i'm still getting the sever itchy scalp and headaches. at least my face hasnt swelled up yet, this time...

  • Maryann Scott
    Posted on

    I am sitting here trying very hard to not dig at my head which is driving me crazy. I just had my hair done two days ago. So I think what I will do now is mixup a solution of sweet low with water and pour it over my head and see if that will give any relief. I look forward to your solution. I have my hair done. How many packets should be put in? You say a few does that mean 3, 4,6,? Thank you again for trying to help all of us. MaryAnn

  • Marilyn
    Posted on

    JK My daughter just has a chronic itchy scalp. We've tried Tea Tree shampoos/oil, selsun blue, head and shoulders,scalpicin, T-sal shampoo and she has scabs/flakes/itching all the time! Would sweet n'low be good to put in a tablespoon of shampoo? She is getting very anxious and depressed and doctors have no clue why it's itchy. PS. no lice --> Try L'Oreal EverCreme or EverPure. It's more more gentle than the shampoos you have listed in your post. Your daughter may have a food intolerance such as wheat or dairy.

  • anila
    Posted on

    please tell what is sweet low

  • Becky
    Posted on

    My stylist did a skin test which was negative.... He suggested not only the packets of SweetnLow, but watch how your stylist applies haircolor.... should use sides of brush, not scrubbed into scalp, don't color freshly washed hair, need oil on the scalp, dont scratch scalp before or sometimes even brush hard, don't scratch while color is on your head, etc... don't put on glasses (can cause reaction to metal stems or even the color with the plastic) There are so many reasons that are not true allergies.

  • HaleyBrees
    Posted on

    Do you have to put the sweet n low in the bottle before applying or on your head after you put the dye in?

  • RedBurn
    Posted on

    Oh! I wish I knew this on Monday - my hair looks great but I'm DYING with the burning/itch!

  • Jeri
    Posted on

    I'm about ready to quit the hair coloring. I've tried the sweet & Low with not success. I've tried everything but still have the itching and scabbing condition after a color is put on. It usualy lasts about 12 days before I'm back to normal. Also when they put the color on I have instant burning everywhere. I've seen my dermatologist who told me "just don't have your hair colored." Any other suggestions from anyone?

  • Jane
    Posted on

    Will Equal work as well???

  • Joanne
    Posted on

    Does anyone know where to buy sweet n low?

  • Maria
    Posted on

    Thank You for sharing...I've been having a problem with every hair color out there.. I'm going to have to try it, can't wait, I hope it works and will let you guys know.....

  • Joanne
    Posted on

    Where can I buy Sweet n Low?

  • Ed
    Posted on

    Tried this, it really works. Unbelievable !

  • Susan
    Posted on

    Sitting in the salon chair now with zero itching!

  • Pat
    Posted on

    Thanks so much for sharing! i will try this next time I color. :)

  • Jassi
    Posted on

    I just cannot believe this Sweet n low thing but tomorrow I will defenately use in my hair color . Thanks for sharing ...

  • frank
    Posted on

    Works all the time!

  • JK
    Posted on

    My daughter just has a chronic itchy scalp. We've tried Tea Tree shampoos/oil, selsun blue, head and shoulders,scalpicin, T-sal shampoo and she has scabs/flakes/itching all the time! Would sweet n'low be good to put in a tablespoon of shampoo? She is getting very anxious and depressed and doctors have no clue why it's itchy. PS. no lice

  • Debbie
    Posted on

    I am a hairstylist and haircolor irritates my scalp also. Sweet and low absolutely works! I add 3 packs to my color. I learned this trick at a hair show years ago and I swear by it!

  • Ivan
    Posted on

    I could not believe it, I stopped dying my hair for the last couple of yrs because of itchy scalp. I simply added 6 sachets of sweet n' low. I could not even feel a thing. This works.

  • Kelly
    Posted on

    I have been getting itchy scalp for years as well...this would be Awesome if it works. My question is...I also get a nasty rash that lasts for a few weeks, will it help that? If so, you have made me a happy woman.

  • Azslyn
    Posted on

    Thank you for sharing =}

  • Maria
    Posted on

    The crimes we commit against our health simply because we refuse to accept ourselves the way we are :| I dye my hair too and the reason I ended up here is because I have an itchy scalp after having gone to the hairdresser to come out of there pretending I have no grey hair!

  • andrea
    Posted on

    Can i use any sweetner or does it have to be sweet and low????

  • Claire Tilly
    Posted on

    I recently used some hair dye and my scalp had a bad reaction to it. I had a little dry scalp previously but nothing crazy. After my scalp was so dry and itching all the time and scabbing. I tried the Shielo Hydrate Shampoo and it was INSTANT relief. I also feel like it took it away, my scalp does itch anymore.

  • Julia
    Posted on

    WOW !! I have not used hair color for almost a year now because I just couldn't stand the itchiness. I am gonna try and will be sure to let you guys know how it goes

  • Posted on

    Try L'Oreal Professional color "INOA" it's ammonia free so there is zero scalp irritation .

  • Kelly
    Posted on

    It's not likely that the amounnt of sweetner contained in one or two packets would overwhelm the basic nature of the hair color to a point at which it would be no longer effective.

  • maxi
    Posted on

    Hi Susan,My grey roots are driving me crazy every two weeks i have to color what can i do for this please?

  • Coiffurecottage
    Posted on

    I've been using sweet& low for about 20 yrs in color. In our salon ...we use it in all on the scalp color.

  • Stephanie G.
    Posted on

    If it neutralizes elements of the hair dye, wouldn't that also make the coloring product less effective? Do you find that since using this solution that the color is weaker or that it doesn't last as long?

  • Posted on

    I know, when David told me he was going to add Sweet'N Low to my hair dye, I thought he was joking at first, but I promise it worked. He put about 4 or 5 packets in, but I also have really thick hair. Let us know if you try this! Would love to know what you think.

  • pandabear
    Posted on

    Sweet n low isnt real sugar, and therefore wont make your hair sticky, but does have the proper pH balance to counter act the pH of the hair color so your scalp wont dry out and be so itchy.

  • gale
    Posted on

    I can't believe it, I have the same exact problem! I'll have to tell my colorist the next time I go, very interesting...

  • Meredith
    Posted on

    Sweet n Low really?? This seems like it would make your hair sticky.

  • Marcia
    Posted on

    I love common household fixes. I'll have to talk to my stylist about this strategy the next time I get my roots done.