Friday, November 26, 2010

5 reasons I stopped colouring my hair

For Christmas 2008, my husband gave me a copy of the book, Living Green by Annmaree Kane and Christina Neubert. I devoured this book over the summer holidays and resolved to make many "green" changes in my life.

The first and easiest decision I made was to stop colouring my hair. It was easy because it didn't involve sourcing alternative products or making my own hair dyes from scratch. I just stopped.

Of course I had to spend the next year and a half dealing with regrowth issues, but even these weren't too bad as my hair had been dyed just a few shades darker than my natural colour and it faded down over time to blend quite well with my emerging colour.

I'm so happy with the decision I made, and wanted to share some of the reasons why I chose to go cold turkey after 14 years of dying my hair.

5 reasons I stopped colouring my hair

1. To eliminate a major source of toxins from my life.
Conventional hair dyes (which are all I ever used) are largely derived from petrochemical sources and contain lead. These toxins penetrate directly through hair follicles into the blood stream and have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, immune system compromise that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis, and miscarriage or damage to the unborn child. I was newly pregnant when I decided to stop colouring my hair, so that gave me extra motivation to stick with it.

2. To save time.
I don't have to worry about getting to the hairdresser every 5-6 weeks for a colour. Now I'm lucky if I make it to the hairdresser once in six months. And when I do go, it's just a quick cut and I'm out of there. No more waiting for my colour to set.

3. To save money.
All that colour was expensive. My own natural colour is free.

4. To see what my natural colour was.
I used to think my natural hair colour was mousy, but that was just in comparison to the strong colours I was dying it. It's more subtle now, but I like that. And I think it suits me better. I also enjoy watching the slight changes that occur in the sun, when my hair picks up golden flecks.

5. To get rid of regrowth, permanently.
Boy I used to hate regrowth. As soon as the first sign of it appeared, I wanted to head back to the hairdresser and get it fixed. Now my hair grows, and it's good. The colour is always perfectly blended.

The healthier way to dye hair

If you do choose to keep colouring your hair, these are the suggestions given in Living Green for making it less of a toxin-overload on your body.

1. Use natural, organic hair dyes.

2. If using conventional dyes, choose semi-permanent products.

3. Choose lighter colours. The darker the shade, the greater the concentration of harmful chemicals in the dye.

4. Drink a litre of water after colouring your hair, to help flush those toxins out of your body.


  1. Your parents have always thought your natural hair colour was just perfect, much like the person under it!

  2. wow, Ive wondered about this for a while. I want to stop dyeing my hair (after 20 years of doing it) but dont want to go through the regrowth and dare I say greY!!
    Might have to look for that book, its sounds good.

  3. Thanks Dad. That's very sweet.

  4. Hi Leonie, good luck! I haven't got any grey hair yet but I do wonder what I'll do when I get them. I'd like to think I will embrace them. Please let me know how you get on with this. Best wishes, Emma

  5. Hi Em,
    I am pleased you have stopped dying your hair. I did the same thing sometime back, mainly because I got tired to death with the dying process. Now I am a pie-bald - a mixture of grey and dark grey. But that is the natural me and I am at peace with it all
    Love Mum

  6. Hi Emma, I can't say I was as committed to dying my hair as you were, but I did do it occasionally before I decided it wasn't worth the chemicals or the money, plus I quite like my natural hair colour now! I also stopped wearing makeup. I started to think that it wasn't necessary and its just marketed by companies trying to make us feel insecure about the way we look. Cheers, Liz

  7. I have always dyed my own hair with varying results: not as many good ones as I wanted. My friend and I have started using henna as its great. A bit time consuming but so shiny and it makes my hair feel so so soft. I am going grey and was trying to be au naturale but after 6 months I find myself in the toxic colour aisle again

    1. I'm getting more grays showing through now than when I wrote this post. I think it won't be long before I'm looking for natural colour options. It makes me doubly glad that I got to enjoy my own colour for these past few years.


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