I think most of us would agree that the little mirror on the visor of your car is your enemy-it’s possibly the worst place to check in on how you’re looking. Every flaw is amplified; every freckle is enlarged. Case in point: I was late for a meeting last week and, as I was hopping out of the car, decided to do one last check-in via the car mirror. There they were. A few gray hairs glimmering in the sunlight.
My hair is a dark brown-almost black and there have always been random gray hairs. But lately I seem to be finding more and more. My locks have never been colored (except for a brief run- in with sun-in during summer camp-think BRIGHT orange).
I know I’m not alone-statistics are showing more men and women are starting to gray at an earlier age: 32 percent of British women under the age of 30 have started to go gray — up 14 percent from two decades ago.
So what are us greenies to do when the grays come our way?
The gray is coming for all of us and there’s no stopping mother nature. As a green living advocate, like many of you, I pay close attention to the chemicals that go in and on my body. As much as I want to keep the dark hair, my intuition is screaming “toxic chemicals”.
OPTIONS FOR HAIR COLOR
OPTION 1: Bring on the gray
Gray hair is beautiful. There are so many people that look absolutely stunning with a head of gray hair. It can even be trendy to go gray. However, I’m just not there-maybe someday I will be, but not right now.
OPTION 2: Conventional hair dye
Most hair dyes also don’t have to go through safety testing that other cosmetic color additives do before hitting salons and store shelves. Studying something like hair dyes is complicated because they may contain any of thousands of different chemicals. According to the American Cancer Society, concern about cancer risk is largely limited to the semi-permanent dyes and the permanent dyes that contain heavy duty chemicals. Health concerns may range from skin irritations to cancer. I know many of you use hair dye and there’s no judgment here. I can’t do it.
OPTION 3: Alternatives to conventional dyes
Off I went to Whole Foods to check out their options. Box after box of hair color-even the ones that promoted themselves as “all natural” had ingredient lists that read like a chemistry text book. Many of the ingredients were challenging to pronounce- which induces an automatic “put me back on the shelf and run” reaction. Home I went, empty handed.
My next stop was Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, a database that rates the safety of all of your favorite personal care products. They actually have an entire category dedicated to hair coloring products. After scouring the brands and products, I decided that henna products were my answer to ridding my head of the grays.
My Solution: henna products
I ordered 2 henna products; both scored a hazard score of ONE (zero is the safest possible score) on Skin Deep.
Using these wouldn’t be harmful and could possibly cover up the few straggling grays. Now to see if they work!
Stay tuned for part two-you’ll hear all about my DIY henna applications and details on whether they actually worked!
Do you color your hair? Is this one area where you throw all green values out the window and go for permanent color?
Any other hair coloring options out there?
Do you have gray hair? How did you decide to go gray?
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[Top photo used under Creative Commons by Brandon Greer/Flickr]