Hair Coloring Revisited

Beautiful Girl with Healthy Long Purple Hair and Blue EyesSince I wrote the post on natural hair care products, the comment I made about hair coloring products has been bothering me.

And on the topic of hair, just to be completely honest, I have my hair professionally colored (just can’t bring myself to do the all natural gray yet).  Yes, it has chemicals in it and I am not perfect about everything I put into my body (I do my best).  I do believe the choices I’ve made are helping my body do it’s job of eliminating toxins and I feel great so it’s working for me!

Why am I willing to accept toxic chemicals in my hair coloring products when I am doing all this research to find household and personal care products that don’t have them?  Plus at this point I am getting hair coloring about every six weeks so it’s often enough to be concerning.  Maybe despite all of the detoxification I’ve done these chemicals are toxic enough to be more than my body can eliminate…  That sucking sound you hear is me pulling my beautifully colored head out of the sand…

It was easy enough to find new shampoo, toothpaste, etc but changing your hair color on a longer term basis is in fact a chemical process.  I know that products have improved since way back when, but given what I’ve learned about so many other products, it was highly likely I would find chemicals I didn’t want to find.  I think the main reason I hadn’t researched this yet is because I don’t want to stop coloring my hair and I don’t know if there are any good alternatives that will work well enough for my stylist.  How opportune that I was due for a haircut and color so I could broach the subject.

I LOVE my stylist and as many women (and men) will attest, it is a relationship frequently cultivated over years and can be one of our most highly treasured relationships.  After all, stylists can have a huge part in helping us look good and we all know that great hair days are a big positive energy boost!  Since I started with highlights rather than overall color, I have always gone to my stylist for hair coloring rather than trying it at home.  Over time this has progressed to overall hair darkening plus highlights.  My stylist is a master at color!  I told her about my blog and research and asked if she could help me.  For starters, she gave me an empty box of the product she uses on me which is for professional use only.

I also learned from her that changing to a new color system can be a big commitment for a stylist.  Way more than trying a new shampoo and tossing it if you don’t like it.  It takes time for the stylist to learn how a new company’s product works.  It’s not as simple as taking the old color combinations and just using the new products.  Most stylists mix colors specifically for each client and because we are all different, the colors don’t always work consistently across clients.  There is an investment in inventory and classes and then the process of working with clients to see what tweaks need to be made to get desired results.  Stylists want to give client’s great results, and they want predictability as much as possible (no one wants pink hair unless that was the intent!).Portraot of a beautiful woman with long color hair

The product box for my color, not unexpectedly, has warning signs like a toxic waste dump:

Haircolor can cause an allergic reaction which in certain rare cases can be severe, therefore you and your client must follow these precautions:

  • Wear suitable disposable gloves during the preparation, application and rinsing of the product.
  • Do not use if your client has already had a reaction to a haircolor product or if your client has a sensitive, itchy or damaged scalp.
  • If your client has a tattoo, the risks of an allergic reaction may be increased.  (This really surprised me, although it’s not an issue for me personally.)
  • Perform a skin allergy test on your client 48 hours before each use of this product.  (Each use – meaning you might not have been allergic in the past, but you could become allergic over time.)
  • Avoid contact of this product with eyes and skin (how do you avoid contact with skin if you are putting it onto your hair and scalp and rinsing it out?).
  • Do not use on children.
  • This product may not be used for dyeing the eyelashes or eyebrows, to do so may cause blindness.

Yikes!  I knew it would be bad…. but wow.  So now what?  Many, many women I know color their hair and stylists are coming into contact with these chemicals daily, so this is important!

I don’t like raising issues without offering some solutions.  I WANT a better solution too!  My stylist has agreed to help with this project to see what we can find, but this might take some time.  After some online research, Organic Color Systems looks like they have made some great progress in this area.  Their permanent colors contain the lowest amount of PPD possible and still work (apparently you can’t get permanent color without PPD).  They also have a line of semi-permanent color that is PPD free – great if you are happy with shorter term color or if you want something funky like Orange or Violet.  Sounds promising and I will keep you posted on how this research project goes.  I’ve got 6 weeks until the next coloring event…

If anyone has experience with Organic Color Systems or success with other non-toxic professional hair coloring products, please let me know at liz@sharingwellnesswithfriends.com.