Coloring Your Hair: Safer Ways to Less Grey

Coloring Your Hair: Safer Ways to Less Grey

One beauty practice we tend to hedge around is hair color. Not all women are ready to go grey. And you know what? That’s ok. But there are safer ways to coloring your hair.

We are pretty clued in to the downside of conventional hair dyes. Even if you are not quite sure what is in that hair dye, the noxious odor and simple fact that it permanently changes your hair color is enough to suggest some pretty potent, and not so natural, ingredients.

A massive 75 percent of women (and many men) partake of this unhealthy practice. We eat a healthful diet, exercise, use clean personal care products, yet the majority of women apply toxic hair color to their scalp every month or so.

It all comes down to a little something called feeling good. For some, hair color is in a nonissue. For most, it matters a great deal. You wouldn’t use a healthy facial moisturizer if it provided less than satisfactory results, right? Same with hair color. Most women have not found a healthier alternative to toxic dyes that also give the desired outcome.

So yes, it is important to feel good about yourself. And if coloring your hair is part of what makes you feel good, by all means, go for it. But you should know what, exactly, is in that hair dye.

The main offenders in chemical hair dyes are synthetic colorants and petro-ingredients (both linked to cancer), and ammonia. The FDA does restrict the use of some (very toxic) ingredients in cosmetics. While coal tar is not prohibited, even though it has been “determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”, products containing it must come with a warning. Hair dyes are one area where coal tar can crop up. Once again, you are on your own in the U.S. where cosmetic safety is concerned and it is in your best interest to become an avid label reader. The European Union has banned several hair dye ingredients.

If you are not ready to go grey, and many of us are not, what are your alternatives to toxic hair dye?

The most natural hair color is henna. The problem? Mixed and unpredictable results. Some love it, most do not. Logona makes a natural hair color and Naturtint is another less toxic option. These are less reliable than the chemical version and tend to be shorter lived, but definitely a safer alternative.

Still other women, myself included, take precautions while using the toxic stuff. I go as long as I can between coloring and have my stylist apply highlights and lowlights with foil, so the color has as little exposure to my skin as possible. This is also a bit more natural looking than a mono-hued color. Is it healthy? No. Is it important to me? Yes.

As with most things beauty related, the choice is up to you. Healthy is good, but you have to feel good too. Make healthy choices where it works for you.

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Image of woman coloring hair via Shutterstock

Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert who has been researching and writing on the subjects of natural beauty, health, and wellness for over 10 years. She specializes in sharing safe beauty products and her knowledge on healthy ingredients with her readers, and helping organic beauty brands and shop owners share their message and products with the world through her writing services.