Bored with your same old dull hair color? Trying to spice it up a bit? Trying to create a new persona? Or maybe you feel like your hair doesnít match your personality? Or maybe youíve been asked to dye it for a performance?
And if you do decide to dye your hair, oh the choices you must face! Cinnamon? Cinnamon spice? Or cinnamon stick?! They may not sound that different, but that slight distinction in redness could be the difference between beautiful and a not-so-beautiful disaster. And think of the social repercussions of such a mis-choice!
I myself have faced this daunting fear before. First I was just bored, so I thought, aha! I shall dye my hair! After days of searching through CVSí stock of hair dyes, I decided that I had chosen just the right shade. Only a slightly darker brown. I didnít want to be too risky, after all. (Yes, I was thinking of the humiliation of accidentally dying my hair black. I would not do well with black). And it was great! I loved the color, though in reality it was not much different from my natural color. Looking back, I think my pleasure came more from the adrenaline of taking a risk.
So I was pleased. Mother, however, was not. Besides the fact that she liked my natural hair color better, she was, of course, quite unsettled by the fact that I had used hair dye bought at CVS. My arguments: I used semi-permanent. It didnít smell bad. I used Natural Instincts. So it must be OK. (Though I knew that it probably wasnít; in my memory, nothing name brand was OK in my household).
Unfortunately, the outlook for any future hair dying excursions was looking pretty bleak: Motherís arguments made much more sense than mine (shocker). Apparently, hair dyes have chemicals, too! Bad chemicals. Very bad chemicals. So bad, in fact, that Europe banned 22 chemicals found in market hair dye in 2006, with over a hundred under review for their dangers.
The worst chemical? Lead acetate. Letís just talk about this for a second: Lead acetate is a color additive used in progressive hair dyes in America. Research also happens to lead to the conclusion that lead acetate is dangerous for your health in pretty much every way possible. Cancer? Check. Developmental and reproductive toxicity? Check. Allergies? Check. Neurotoxicity? Check. Violations of government restrictions? Check. Oh, and the list goes on.
While most hair dyes are not going to be this bad (progressive hair dyes are most popular with men), please do check and make sure that lead acetate is not an ingredient in your favorite hair dye. Other hair dyes, however, do point to the possibility of being carcinogenic, especially for dark permanent colors.
Instead, you might want to try a dye that has fewer to none of possibly carcinogenic chemicals. Aveda is a good dye, though not perfect. The healthiest that I know of is Herbatint, which you should be able to buy in any health food store.
Note to self: Make sure hair dye doesnít turn into hair die.
Not to readers: Do share your own hair dye stories.
Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.