Thinking back now on just how long ago I started colouring my hair, I am not even sure what got me started on it.
I think the image in the media about being blonde and having more fun? Goodness knows, but I started with highlights. No one tells you, just how often you need to go for touch ups before you start! I don’t know if you are like me? I hated the look of the dark roots. Now this seems to be in fashion, so I guess women are not so bothered by it?
It must have cost me a fortune over the years. I didn’t have a clue when I started colouring my hair, about the chemicals and the effect that they can have on our bodies.I guess in the back of my mind I was aware some sort of chemical must be needed to bleach my hair, but I don’t think people were as aware then, as they are now.
I wanted to share a little story about colouring hair. As I mentioned I had started colouring my hair in my early 20’s . I have to admit after moving to the States, it was getting so expensive to have a colour as often as I needed it. The condition of my hair felt dry and unloved. I had a good friend who used to go into Manhattan to have her hair cut and styled. I have to admit being really nervous in going back to brunette. I had heard all the horror stories of your hair going green or falling out!
I decided to at last take the plunge, and visit the upmarket hair salon in Manhattan. My friend always looked great, so it did give me some confidence.
The day arrived, I had butterflies in my stomach! what would I look like after all this time being blonde? The experience of going into such an expensive salon was a bit unnerving. I arrived and the door was opened by a gentleman who showed me where to go. I was given a top to change into, to protect my clothes. ( that was a first for me! normally you end up with one of those tie up ones and a towel!) Then I was shown upstairs to an area just used for hair colour, Wow! this was a whole floor dedicated to just mixing colours! ( I really didn’t think about the chemicals)
After this blending experience, I was shown downstairs, where they washed my hair in preparation for the stylist. I felt like a princess! When the stylist cut my hair, all I can say is she was amazing! I have never since had such a cut. She was lovely and chatty and offered me advice on makeup too! After this, a separate lady dried my hair.
I came out of that salon feeling ten feet tall, my hair swooshed like the models on a runway, the shine was amazing. To have such a clear memory of what happened about 30 years ago, just shows the impact that it had on me. It explains why we want to go and have someone else make decisions on our hair, and make us feel good. Maybe it is why most of us put up with what ever the salon is using without questioning it?
There is again a huge difference in what chemicals are allowed in each country. Even though Europe has banned a list of chemicals, which is great, there are still other chemicals which are allowed to be used in hair colour.A list of banned chemicals in the E.U.can be found on this link by THE EPOCH TIMES
But these chemicals are not banned everywhere. America seems again to allow many more chemicals on their allowed list .
I was reading an article that popped up on my google feed about the increased risk that hair colour and straighteners can have on your health , including the possible increased risk of breast cancer. It was written by SCITECHDAILY.COM . I am seeing more articles about this popping up on my news feed than ever.
BALAYAGE – Hair what is it? I wasn’t sure but it is a softer highlighted look . Styli lists paint the colour on to your hair for a sun kissed look.
NUTRAFOL Give a clear understanding of what this entails. I have to admit it is a really pretty look.
HAIR DYE AND USE OF CHEMICAL STRAIGHTENERS, COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER, ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN OF COLOR
The International Journal Of Cancer suggest that products normally used by women of colour have more hormonal‐active compounds . After a survey of women ages from 35-74 between 2003-2009 Permanent dye use was associated with 45% higher breast cancer risk in black women,and 7% higher risk in white women. Also breast cancer was associated with a higher frequency of using chemical hair straighteners.Especially among black women. It is definitely food for thought on just what we are applying to our hair, could we find an alternative?
HARVARD – Only this month ( Sept) has come out with an article that Permanent Hair Dye and Chemical Straighteners may have a slight increase risk of certain cancers such as breast cancer. Again the shocking difference for women of colour is that the risk is so much greater at 45% compared to 7% for white women. This was from using these products at least once a year.
For me that really enforces the need to change what we are doing for our own health. If you can find something natural to use, even if the time spent actually achieving the results you want, takes longer, surely it is worth that effort.
Wiley Online Library has in depth scientific articles, free to research online. They have over 20,000 scholarly and professional books, and reference papers. This resource is a great place to find out more on some of these issues.
Even though products can appear natural (Green Washing), you still have to read the labels to see what has been added.
Only today I read a really good article by MIND BODY GREEN.COM which gives a really common sense attitude on what is in the hair dyes that many people use ( I won’t just say women, as men are also using more and more dyes.) It makes me wonder when I see the advertisements on men’s hair dyes , how is it that they work in five minutes? What is in them that they react so quickly? How strong are these chemicals?The difference in the time it takes for a woman’s hair colour, often 30 minutes plus, to 5 plus minutes for men’s, seems to strange to me. The website also goes into other ways we can colour our hair more safely.
It is written by William Cole, D.C.,IFMCP a functional Medicine Practitioner. They have a linking article by Lindsay Kellner
Lindsay goes into a deeper article on hair colour after speaking with an L.A. based colourist to PINK ,Scarlett Johansson and other celebs. Giving other ways to colour your hair naturally
MENS HAIR COLOUR
Thinking about men’s hair dye, this article on CONSUMER REPORTS explains how they are trying to get rid of LEAD ACETATE from products such as- Following statement from the article highlighted ( Lead acetate has been a key ingredient in what are called progressive hair dyes, such as Grecian Formula and Youthair. These dyes, typically targeted at men, are applied over time for a gradual coloring effect as opposed to typical single-use dyes.)
They are trying to get this removed at last from these products in the USA , but from what the article suggests there may still be some left on the shelves!
They suggest that removing LEAD FROM LIPSTICKS should be the next action. I have covered this in another part of this blog, linked above.
CONSUMER REPORTS is a well written and informative resource. Well worth looking into.
TRENDING HAIR COLORS & TRANSFORMATIONS
The amount of different hair colours that seem to be trending at the moment is amazing. The color Pink has been running out ! The different pink glows and shades of hair colour are lifting peoples moods during this self isolation periods. I can totally get that , it is a fun candyfloss happy feeling. I read an interesting article on ALLURE , giving an insight into just how much Pink is out there! I think having a little control over what we can , in this Covid 19 lock down, is allowing us all to experiment with our hair color, especially as the hairdressers are all shut.
I saw these really vivid colours for hair from Lime Crime Unicorn Hair colors. They do have the most amazing fun colours , a beautiful Pink and Blue Hair colour. But you do have to be wary of what is in them.
Admit-tingly they are not a permanent color and last around 8-10 washes . I have put a link here for EWG data base who have information on two of their colors.
PUNKY COLOR is another brand that advertise that they are –
(from link )”FORMULATED TO NOT DAMAGE YOUR HAIR: Worried your hair dye is damaging your hair? Thanks to Punky Colour Cotton Candy Semi-Permanent Coloring Cream, it is safe to use, does not contain animal-derived ingredients and a top-quality product that will give you amazing results without ammonia, parabens or resorcinol. The color will adhere to your precious locks with no need for the use of bleaches, or peroxide. Look and feel your best, by knowing you’re using a harmless and healthy hair tint!” ( taken from Amazon) EWG have the rating on these also.
SUN KISSED HAIR WITH LIGHTENING SHAMPOO
Watching TV the other evening, they were advertising lightening shampoo, It got me thinking about what could be in these to actually change the colour of your hair? I did look up one product on EWG a John Frieda One Go Blonde Hair Lightening. This link gives a total list of the ingredients. I have seen mixed results, some people absolutely loving the products, and others having issues with allergic reactions, which when you look into link on EWG. I can understand , as that seems to the one are you need to be aware of. From one review video, the lady was told that the lightening came from Chamomile and Citric additives. I am still not quite sure, as these ingredients are way down on the list. I am going to dig into each of the ingredients and add more information. I wasn’t sure whether this product needed to be in the colouring section or the shampoo and conditioning?
Of course there many other brands out there, probably for most people they have heard of John Frieda as they advertise so heavily.
KLORANE- offer a shampoo lightening product , which they say is (
with Chamomile for Blonde Hair, Enhances highlights, brightens blonde hair, Paraben, Hydrogen Peroxide, Ammonia, SLS Free) I can still see the word fragrance on there, which will add to the chemicals on the list via the link.
PINK HAIR WITHOUT USING CHEMICALS DYES
On the quest for Pink , Blue and other colour hair for a bit of fun, but without using some kind of dye. I came across BELLATORY.com Brittanie Anne has had the great idea of using either a food dye ( of course you need to look for a natural one) also Cranberry juice or Beet juice, she says that these should give you a temporary colour . Of course food colours come in many different colours, which opens up other tints such as Blue, Green etc. They mention that it does work on paler hair more effectively.
I came across a company offering food colours , which come from natural sources , for example vegetables, fruits and edible plants EXBERRY has a lot of information on their products.
So today I saw another article on what colours we will be leaning towards after the lockdown. With another lockdown seemingly around the corner, I wonder what we will all be missing again.
Online they suggest that the colour red will be the next big colour, The lock down has left everyone feeling drab and fed up. We have all been stuck in doors without access to the hairdressers! Suggesting that red will give a feeling of power and energy.
DEALING WITH LOCK DOWN AND NO HAIRDRESSERS
Since the Lockdown that we are all going through, there have been a few articles on colouring your hair with tissue paper! I thought that this was a new fad, but have since found a few articles dating back a few years. It is hard at the moment to get to the hairdressers and when they are gong to be open is unknown at the moment. I don’t know what chemicals they have in them, I guess it is a very temporary colour? Be care with the boiling water she mentions in this video! If you want to use something more natural, check out the food colours below.
HEALTHLINE have a list of 7 different ideas for colouring your hair from natural items such as carrot juice, Beet juice, Henna, Lemon Juice and Coffee ( I did try the coffee mixed with Henna for a darker colour, but this one didn’t work for me.) They suggest sage to darken brown hair too, with the possibility of it covering grey hair!
GOING CHEMICAL FREE
I have only this week, been trying to get rid of the colour that I have been using.
Gosh it is so hard to try and stay away from the chemicals in Hair Colour.
I began by growing out the chemical version, as I have read about leaving it some weeks before using a Henna Base.
This quite frankly was driving me nuts!
As I have mentioned , I hate to see the roots anyway.
I resorted to tying up my hair so I couldn’t see them as much.
Then the search was on to find a colour that I was happy with.
I began to read, that with the Henna base colours, if you have a different colour, as in the grey as your roots, then it could be two different colours coming through ( would this also look like roots! )
Then to realise some people actually sleep in the Henna ( with a towel on the bed) as the colour may need to develop longer. Not sure I could do that. How romantic!
Or at least some companies suggesting that you leave this on for about 3 hours. Since switching to Henna I have found that I need to leave it on for about 4 hours, but this is different for everyone.
The advice is normally on the box.
You have to be committed to this time scale.You can in a way, understand that people want a quick fix. Since then, I have found that just touching up the roots seems to work, but again the length of time doesn’t change.
I went searching for one without the additives, it also depends where you live to be able to get the products. some were frankly too expensive with the postage too.
As we are in France, the shipping cost for some of them was too much.
By this time I am about ready to stick anything on my hair!We have visitors staying soon.
The thought of wandering around the house with green gunge, on my hair for several hours with people here, was not a great thought!
I have seen on some sites, if you want to gain more colour on the roots, then maybe a build up of the colour just added to the roots will help.
I have resigned myself for a couple of months to just go with the lower PPDS and then when I have a pile of time to try the Henna way.
I will update you as I go forward.
Also having seen the above article by Mind Body Green, I see that even with Henna you need to be careful how the Henna was produced, avoiding any heavy metals. This due to where they are grown.
Gosh nothing is easy!
A LIST OF WHAT IS IN HAIR COLOUR
PPD, Ammonia , Parabens, Propylene Glycol ,Resorcinol, Peroxide, Metals, Toluene, Diaminobenzene .Lead Acetate , 4-APB, Persulfates and other chemicals.
NATURAL HAIR DYES
I still don’t feel ready yet to embrace the grey, but I do know friends that look amazing with grey hair.
I have been on the hunt for years, trying to find a colour that wasn’t full of scary chemicals, and not harsh on your hair.
I resorted to either buying one in the health food shops, or now in our local chemists who offer a safer option.
I thought that the one I had found was a safer brand, due to it not having the ammonia and the Parabens inside, but I found it does still contains some PPD even if the level is lower than other brands.
From what I have read, it seems that PPD is put into Permanent hair colour to penetrate the hair, and make it a permanent dye.
That still doesn’t make me feel comfortable to keep using it!
Since starting this blog, I have found some alternatives , which I haven’t had the opportunity to try as yet.
Also in this search an article in NATURALER which also give some home made recipes for a gradual dyeing process , such as coffee, tea and seeped walnut shells to darken hair, and lemon juice to lighten hair.
That sounds really interesting, I suppose women for many years have been using homemade recipes.
I found a warning on using the BLACK WALNUT HULL POWDER on WEB MD that is worth a look if you are intending to use this powder to dye your hair.
I have seen a few recipes for using walnuts in this way. Also I have seen this ingredient in some Henna mixes for brown hair. Do they make this clear? what if you are allergic to nuts like my daughter?
Like anything else you need to research, if you are planning to use something different.
You can find some interesting recipes for this on the website ANNEMARIE
Another article I found while on the hunt, was a product called HAIRPRINT
This seems to have a totally different approach, to getting rid of your greys.
It is not a dye but a hair colour restorer.
They seem to have produced, a totally different approach to changing your hair colour( non- toxic ).Ingredients list
It sounds a bit messy at first, until you get the hang of it.
I think it is worth seeing the reviews on this product.
It was the first time I have ever heard of this method, a totally different approach. They have some information, suggesting that this product doesn’t work on blonde or red hair at the moment.
As yet it is not something I have tried.
The cost seems a bit more than your average dye.
But still cheaper than going to a salon. Maybe a good idea if you have a friendly hair stylist who could work with you on this.
There seems to be a salon in South Africa offering to do this for you.
SRY LIVING .COM have a very good article on Henna or Chemical Dye, what is better for Gray Hair.
The article is a little old, but if you are trying to decide what is better for you, it is an interesting read.
SKINS MATTER has some really informative articles on using Hair colours with PPD and alternatives with links to other products.
DEALING WITH YOUR ROOTS SHOWING
I hate this part of dyeing your hair, it seems to come around so quickly!
Whenever I read about when to apply the the colour again, it is between 4-6 weeks.
Is it just me? or does anyone else have their roots showing after 2 weeks plus?
Then all I can see, when I look in the mirror is the roots!
The amount of advertisements on the quick fix for your roots seem to be popping up more frequently. What is in this stuff?
They are not cheap either! Business insider have a list of the most popular on the market, they seem to range from around $10 to $35 , they do have harsh chemicals in them and most of them only last between shampoos.
There are a mixture of results on EWG for root cover, some are lower than others in the toxicity levels.It is better to look up the name of the product that you would like to use ,then look deeper to see what concerns there are . Some have a low overall mark but may have problems with allergic reactions.
I know how hard it is, without being able to visit a hairdressers. I have to admit, most of my friends when asked the first place they want to visit is the hairdressers for a cut or colour or both!
It is projected of an easy way to change your appearance, keeping us youthful. But it really hides the chemicals that are in these products.
The advertisements on TV are really appealing, they make it all seem so easy and safe.
I believe it does contain some Mica too. More information on the link.
Depending on the amount of grey you have, will determine the the length of time it will last you. Between 6 months and a year. It seems to have won a number of awards such as in Glamour, the list is on the link above.
HAIR COLOUR COMPANIES USING LESS CHEMICALS
Also looking at alternatives to a Henna base,as not everyone wants to use Henna.
I have found a few companies, where the chemicals have been reduced to lower amounts.
I guess everyone has to make a choice on what suits their lifestyle.
Naturigin hair colour whose main office is in Denmark, are offering a range of 19 different colours.
Their promotion says they offer the lowest PPD level, in a permanent hair colour in the world.
In fact they say it is between three and six times lower than their nearest competition.
It is also without Ammonia, Parabens, Resorcinol. You still need to do a patch test as with all colours.
They also contain organic ingredients but they are on the pricey side.
Their range of products can be found HERE
I have found a company based in the UK who have a load of products, including Hair colour that have no PPDs or anything else in them, often they contain some Henna. the online shop is SUVARNA .
This on line shop also carry’s many other brands of non toxic products.
In the the back of my mind was Henna as a natural product.
I am a brunette, so I had never thought of using Henna at all. In my mind it was always linked with the colour red or orange. Since digging deeper, I have found some information on changing your colour to black , red high lights or even brown with some mixing of other natural and plant ingredients.
I have read, that you should leave some weeks after using a conventional hair dye, before you use a Henna mix. Again the advice seems to change, depending on what product you are going to use. Once you have chosen to use Henna, you need to be sure that is the route for you, as it is harder to go back to other products.
(If you have tried HENNA and it wasn’t for you, how can you remove it naturally?)
(This really detailed article by MIM has a great blog , helping also if you want to use some other type of product. )
I haven’t tried this so far , again not sure if that would change too, if you are using a semi- permanent hair colour.
I think it is best to get some professional advise before you try.
There are many Henna products on the market.
Some are pure Henna, others have blended other natural ingredients to produce other colours. Also some work better than others for coverage of grey or white hair. As I have found, this can take a few applications before you get the results that you are hoping for.
LOGONA This is a Henna base , to use their Chocolate Brown colour for instance, they suggest using brewed coffee or tea instead of the boiling water to create a deeper colour. ( I tried the coffee one, but it didn’t make any difference with my hair)
(Info from the link )-
“Organic henna from the Egyptian fair trade project Sekem Farm
100% herbal colouring
Free from synthetic colours, fragrances and preservatives
Free from peroxides, ammoniac and any other chemical substances”
They are also against animal testing. You can find the full range of hair colours HERE
There is also a non- toxic hair colour, that is also certified organic called PURE ORGANICS .
It has Henna listed in the ingredients. The video below explains the best way to mix it to use.
There is a good review written by the blog Damselinnodistress.com who tried the dark brown colour on her mum.
It’s Pure Organics Herbal Hair
This is a video I have found is PRAISE ONATURALS it is a really clear easy to follow video for black hair.
It is great to have a practical guide.
I have never mixed up Henna before, I never realised what a thick mixture it makes.
After seeing different information on using Henna, I found this report on Black Henna by NHS/UK
It seems as though Black Henna has PPD in it.
This can can be used for temporary tattoos, and this can give enormous problems,with people having reactions while getting a Henna tattoo on holiday.
BROWN HAIR WITH HENNA
For anyone like myself, that would rather stay brunette.
There is a video by MIM to show how to blend the different ingredients needed .
I would like to avoid orange roots!
HOW HENNA SEEMS TO WORK
I have seen on numerous sites, that if you have grey or white roots , these will come out a different colour to your main hair colour.
This is because it wraps its self around the hair, and doesn’t penetrate it.
So it will depend on the base colour, to what colour you will end up with.
Also the strength of the hair comes into play again, on how well it takes.
Gosh its like going in for some exam, the stuff you have to read, just to get a hair colour!
I never realised going natural with this would be so complicated! And frustrating.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I USED HENNA FOR THE FIRST TIME
Well , I eventually stopped again with the chemical hair colours. I bought a Henna product from our local Organic Bio shop called Henne . I had seen some good results from peoples reviews and it was really inexpensive, so what was there to loose ?
I have to admit to being scared stiff of going like an orange glow stick!
I had seen some people saying that it hadn’t taken to their hair, it seems to be effective on certain hair types and how your hair takes to the henna.
The time they give ,for leaving it on your hair, seems to really vary, so I went for it and left it on about two and a half hours. It smelt sort of earthy which wasn’t so bad. It still smells better than the chemical stuff.
I stuck a plastic hair covering over it and a towel and sat around. I was really nervous once I had rinsed off the Henna mix. They suggested that you wash your hair before hand then just rinse off the product , not shampoo it.
I was really disappointed with the out come after all that nervousness, it hadn’t touched the grey hair! Undefeated I went and bought another brand.
THE NEXT PRODUCT I TRIED BY LOGONA
This one was much more expensive than the first one. When I opened the box it was still a packet of the Henna mix. I really struggled to know which colour to choose.
I just wanted a brown mix, not too dark.
They do say that it won’t lighten your hair but will darken any other hair that you have already coloured before. So I was just attacking the roots.
I think I had bought the wrong colour again , though they do suggest that you use it three times in a row to gain the colour that you want to achieve. This brand worked much better for my hair, but there was a little “orangy “high light when my hair was in the sunlight. I hate the colour orange! For me it should just be on the fruit! So I have tried the original one to tone it down. I think the next try is the Chocolate colour as they say it is better for greys.
I do think you feel better knowing what you are using won’t harm you. Of course you still need to do a test on your own skin for any allergies . But you can use the Henna the next day if you want, which is great.
Yes the condition of your hair is a great after effect too. I will keep on till I get it right, I cant go back now to the chemicals , even if they are less hassle to use, and they are quicker of course. The risks are too great.
USING THE CHOCOLATE COLOUR LOGONA
Wow Yeah!!!! It worked , I am much happier, this colour seems to work much better , I have only put one coat so far , and it is much better as an overall colour.
Well on with the trial, I had been using the Chocolate colour which was fine when you first put it on, as it washed out for me, I ended up with an orangey red tinge on the roots. Not totally happy with that. So I was on the hunt again.
I found a place to buy the Khadi Ash Brown Henna Colour- I am in love!!!! It only takes two hours to work – that was a huge plus for me. That is the longest that they recommend, you can leave it for less time. I was convinced at first, that wouldn’t be enough time, after trying the other brands. Then the colour doesn’t show any red or orange, what a result!
I absolutely love it. Another plus , it’s Organic too.
The only difference I have found is that you do need to be careful with the temperature of the water you mix the powder with, as it can change the colour. I have been using a thermometer in the water and leaving it in a bowl of water the same temp, so that the temperature of the product remains the same throughout the application process. They do suggest using a special shampoo before you apply the colour without the additives, you can purchase this too from the same company. Also to protect the colour afterwards, they sell an oil to extend the colour. All I can say it has been a game changer for me.
I hope that when you decide to try Henna you are successful too, it is such a relief to know you can use something natural.
MAKING COLOURS FROM FRUIT
I was reading an article from MNN.COM it is really interesting to see they are now trying to make colours from fruit such as Blackcurrant. I love that idea, taking inspiration from nature. There is also a very clear explanation on using Henna too.
INDUS VALLEY – They make two products for colouring hair, one is Organic with no chemicals at all, this is HENNA based with other natural products.
MatricariaChamomilla, RubiaCordifolia, Indigoferatinctoria, Lawsoniainermis (henna), EmbilcaOfficinalis, BacopaNunnieri, Trigonellafoenum-graecum, Cassia auriculata..
The other product is –
Gel hair colourant that says it has no PPDs but does contain some other chemicals, such as TOLUENE and DIAMINE SULPHATE amongst others .
You can see the list of all the ingredients, by hovering over the picture.
I was quite excited to see no PPDs, until I realised it had the other ingredients present!
I know it seems impossible not to have some kind of compromise when you are trying to dye your hair.
USING SEMI PERMANENT COLOURS
Is there a difference in what is used in Permanent colours and semi-permanent ?
I have to admit I wasn’t too sure on this. I guess because it doesn’t last as long as the permanent type.
I thought it must be less harmful. I did try one out a few years ago, and I felt that I was recolouring my hair almost as often as I was washing it! But that was some time ago. Perhaps things have changed?
So first a guide to what chemicals they put inside a semi- permanent colour.
WHAT THEY CAN CONTAIN
Para-toluenediamine sulfate (PTDS) avoid this chemical – people allergic to PPDs could have a reaction to this as well. It shouldn’t contain Ammonia or Peroxide.
But like everything else , check the label to see what else could be lurking in there!
Again like Permanent colour do a patch test.
While searching I have found a semi-permanent hair colour called NATURE’S GREY BUSTERS
Which say they are made without any PPD or PTDS, No Ammonia , Peroxides, parabens, resorcinol, propylene glycol or any other chemicals, this sounds very promising.
At the moment, I can’t find them on Amazon. They used to be listed but not sure when they are due back. I have listed their website if you would like to contact them direct.
At first I thought this was a product just to put a shine on your hair.
I was about to add this to the styling products.
I read this article on the difference between a gloss and a hair dye.
This interesting article is by ELLE.COM though this article doesn’t go into the chemical side of what is in these products. I will do a little digging on that.
HUFFPOST LIFE have an article offering 9 reasons to get a gloss.
Some articles are saying it is a semi permanent .You can have colour , but it sits on top of the hair. Others it can be a clear finish , taming fly away hair and giving a gloss.
They seem to last around six weeks.
So far I am having trouble finding lists of ingredients. This post will be ongoing!