What Are Synthetic Dyes?

Synthetic, or human-made dyes, were originally derived from coal tar. Synthetic dyes have a wider and brighter color range, longer color permanence, and are faster, easier and cheaper to produce than natural dyes. There are over 10,000 different types of synthetic dyes.

Natural dyes were used before the discovery of synthetic dyes and are mostly made from plant sources such as leaves, wood and fungi. Although using natural dyes may seem better or healthier, they are actually often no safer or more environmentally friendly than using synthetic dyes. Many natural dye sources can be highly toxic or poisonous, such as logwood and rhubarb leaves.