Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate

What Is It?

Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate is a white to light yellow powder. In cosmetics and personal care products, Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate is used in the formulation of semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes, colors and tints.

Why Is It Used?

Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate is a water-soluble ingredient that is added to hair dyes. The exact color obtained will depend on the other ingredients that are used in the preparation and the starting color of the hair.

Scientific Facts

Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate is used in semi-permanent hair coloring systems that are usually applied in a shampoo base and contain thickeners, alkalizers and foam stabilizers.

Safety Information

The safety of Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that the available data were insufficient to assess the safety of Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate as used in hair coloring products.

CIR Safety Review:

The results of a chronic oral toxicity study of a composite hair dye formulation containing 2.25% Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate indicated neither gross nor microscopic changes that were related to the test substance administration. The same hair dye formulation (administered in the diet at concentrations of 0.005% and 0.02%) was not classified as a reproductive toxicant. Moderate ocular irritation and mild skin irritation reactions to Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate were observed.

The CIR Expert Panel noted that additional data, including impurities, dermal penetration and genotoxicity were needed in order to complete the assessment of the safety of this ingredient.

More information about the safety of hair dyes.

Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate is not specifically listed in the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

More Scientific Information

Hair dyeing formulations belong to three categories – temporary, semi-permanent and permanent coloring of hair. Temporary coloring preparations, often called color rinses, provide color which lasts until the first shampooing. Ingredients which impart temporary color may have a fairly high molecular weight and are unable to penetrate the hair shaft.

These materials are simply deposited onto the hair fiber and are removed by subsequent shampooing. Semi-permanent coloring preparations generally provide color through several shampooings. These materials are often low molecular weight pre-formed dyes which can penetrate the hair shaft to some extent. Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate is a substituted aromatic compound.

In cosmetics and personal care products, Sodium m-Nitrobenzenesulfonate functions may be used as a base component in semi-permanent hair coloring products.


The FDA’s factsheet on Hair Dye Products…

Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetic Ingredients Inventory