Melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, usually resistant to standard chemotherapeutics. Despite a huge number of clinical trials, any success to find a chemotherapeutic agent that can effectively destroy melanoma is yet to be achieved. Para-phenylenediamine (p-PD) in the hair dyes is reported to purely serve as an external dyeing agent. Very little is known about whether p-PD has any effect on the melanin producing cells. We have demonstrated p-PD mediated apoptotic death of both human and mouse melanoma cells in vitro. Mouse melanoma tumour growth was also arrested by the apoptotic activity of intraperitoneal administration of p-PD with almost no side effects. This apoptosis is shown to occur primarily via loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and caspase 8 activation. p-PD mediated apoptosis was also confirmed by the increase in sub-G0/G1 cell number. Thus, our experimental observation suggests that p-PD can be a potential less expensive candidate to be developed as a chemotherapeutic agent for melanoma. © 2016 Debajit Bhowmick et al.