I have been dying my hair since I was 13. I started off with the wash-out kind, but have since bleached it, highlighted it, dyed blue, red and purple streaks in it, dyed the underside dark with the outside light, and have been every shade of blonde, and many shades of red ever since. One of my goals for my 101 in 1001 project is to go back to my natural colour. I have been trying to dye it back to its natural colour (ironic, I know) for about 6 months; the last two dye-jobs made absolutely no difference despite one being dark blonde and the other being light brown, but I think we might have it with the latest attempt! (But I’ll have to wait for my roots to grow out to be sure – I might be too dark now.)
The main reason I want to go back to my natural colour is because I have little idea what it is anymore. I mean, I tell people I’m blond, but what if I’m not anymore? My father had blond hair as a kid, but is now a brunette. It’s been 15 years since I’ve seen more then just my roots, but even just from that little bit of natural hair colour showing, I know my hair is much darker now than before.
Another reason is in regards to the amount of time, and money I’ve spent on this. Say it takes about half hour each time to dye your hair (by this I mean the time it takes picking out the right brand and shade in the store, reading the directions, mixing the chemicals, applying it, and then rinsing it out – I am not including the time it takes to absorb because you can usually do other things with this 20 minutes). So if I dyed my hair an average of once every 2 months, that equals:
6 times a year x 15 years x 30 minutes each time =
45 hours of my life spent dying my hair*. (And I’m only 28. )
As for money? Let’s be cheap and say each box costs $10 (plus I like round numbers). That means I’ve spent:
6 times a year x 15 years x $10 per box =
$900 dying my hair*. (I could have got an iPhone for that kind of money! )
* Neither of these figures includes the few times I spent over 2 hours and more than $125 getting it done at the salon.
Of course, the dangers of dying my hair is also a growing concern. If you do a quick Google search, you will most likely find information on damaged hair, allergic reactions (which are usually mild, but have been fatal), asthma, and cancer.
Asthma typically only affects hair stylists because of their higher exposure to persulfates used in bleaches and phenylenediamine (PPD) from hair dyes. PDD is “known to be toxic to the immune system, skin, nervous system, respiratory system, liver and kidneys. It is the most toxic chemical in hair dyes. The European Union classifies it as a toxin and irritant that is dangerous in the environment. In Canada, its use in cosmetics is restricted and it was banned in France, Germany and Sweden.” (Source) So for someone like, me, it’s not something I need to be terribly concerned with, but good to note for any of you budding beauticians reading this.
As for cancer, well, not surprisingly, that’s inconclusive. According to the National Cancer Institute’s website “there are over 5,000 different chemicals used in hair dye products, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in animals”. “Some studies have linked the personal use of hair dyes with increased risks of certain cancers of the blood and bone marrow […] and leukemia, [but] other studies have not shown such links. Studies of breast and bladder cancer have also produced conflicting results”. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), however, concluded that personal use of hair dyes is “not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans”. (Source) Other websites said more or less the same thing – there is a chance you may get cancer from using hair dye, but the risk is low. The risks increase if you use permanent dyes (opposed to semipermanent and temporary), black or darker coloured dyes, and/or those who had used permanent dyes for longer durations (15 or more years). I’m guilty of 2 of the 3.
Nowadays, there are more and more “natural” and “organic” hair dyes and hair products on the market that are less harmful; they are typically more expensive and have fewer colour options, and I’ve heard that they don’t work as well. There are natural way to dye your hair that haven’t been linked to cancer or other harmful effects, such as using henna, honey, black coffee or teas, but it can be hard to get the colour you want.
So, without further ado, I give you my before and after pictures. If in two months I can’t see a glaring difference between my roots and the rest of my hair, I will consider this goal completed.
According to the box it came in, this is “light golden brown”.
And this is light natural brown.