Don’t tell me I have to give up coloring my hair, not going to happen! The use of hair dyes is a modern-day phenomenon in America and Europe. Various data show 33-70% of women over the age of 18 and a minimum of 10% of men have joined the vanity train. Hair coloring has become so popular that it is barely given a thought by most. It is part of our schedule and we prioritize it right up there with breathing and eating. It makes our hair soft, shiny and vibrant in color, making us feel like we look better and giving us a bounce to our step. Who in their right mind would give that up? Not even a consideration for most of us. So how do we balance our health with our vanity? There are always ways to get around everything, even while maintaining our vanity comfort zones. If you are chronically ill, look at the facts and then look at the wonderful alternatives you have to keep coloring your hair.
Hair coloring has been used since ancient times. Most of us like to look our best, always have, always will. Now that our world is becoming more aware of the hazards of chemicals we can make wiser decisions for our health. Simply using the “caution” and “warning” packaging statements might not be enough to base our choices.
“Overlooked by Western medicine and well-understood by Ayurveda are the 13 emissary veins that literally drain your brain through your skull. In most people, there are 13 holes in the skull that veins pass through, and the clinical significance of this is astounding.” – Dr. John Douillard in Do Your Hair Products Seep Into Your Brain?
There is one line that needs to be drawn between reasonable vanity and your health. Many hairdressers will offer to color/dye your eyebrows or eyelashes. This absolutely should NOT be done.
“Never use hair dye to dye your eyebrows or eyelashes. This can hurt your eyes. You might even go blind. The FDA does not allow using hair dyes on eyelashes and eyebrows.” American Cancer Society
There is always a way around any dilemma. We can even keep our special friendships with our hairdressers. Two out of two hairdressers I used during my chronic illness have wholeheartedly worked with me using the hair coloring I have purchased and taken in for my appointments. They have been understanding and even curious about using “alternatives.” This has helped with my brain and health and even has helped my hairdressers health. The chemicals in traditional coloring and dyes are so harsh that hairdressers have an increased chance of contracting bladder cancer than the general population due to their exposure in the workplace. I care about my hairdressers and certainly do not want to add any harm to them.
Be kind to your hairdressers. This profession is their livelihood. Lecturing them about the dangers most likely will not go over well. There are dangers in every profession and there are dangers getting out of bed every morning. Be kind and use your common sense when speaking to them about changing your product and the increased risks to them about the use of traditional hair coloring chemicals. Tip your hairdresser well to encourage them to use the healthy products.
One easy healthy solution is eliminating the step of heating your hair with the chemicals on your head to reduce some of the health risks. Instead of baking it into your brain, sit still and just wait for the color to set.
Choosing a healthier product is the best way to overcome the harsh dangerous chemicals. Some newer hair dye products are vegetable based. These products may have some drawbacks, such as not being able to change hair color drastically or having the color fade sooner than is seen with permanent dyes (unless they contain some of the same ingredients as the permanent dyes). But they may be an option for some people concerned about hair dye safety.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list that can help you make wise product choices. EWG’s has done the most extensive non-biased testing and research on products and chemicals that I am aware of. This database is already set to search for “hair coloring and bleaching” products. They list their tested products in order of best to the worse rating. Scroll through the list and find a brand or color that you are interested in. Click on the product and it will take you to the details of that product, listing their rating on each of the ingredients/chemicals in the product. It is well worth the time and effort to research what you are routinely being exposed to.
I am super picky about my hair and I have found an acceptable alternative that I have been happy with for the last couple of years. You do not have to give up your vanity, just give up the mega doses of chemicals on your brain!
There is evidence both on what hair coloring does to our brains and to the bodies of the hairdressers that are more widely exposed to these chemicals.
- Environmental Working Group (EWG) has an excellent article summing up the facts. Click here for EWG article.
- What does the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) have to say about hair dyes? Click here to find out.
- 5 Abstracts with Paraphenylenediamine (Hair Dye Ingredient) Research. Click here for research.
- 7 Abstracts with Nickelous Sulfate (a chemical in hair dye) Research. Click here for research.
- Can Hair Dyes Give You Cancer? Click here for Dr. Mercola’s answers.
- The Atlantic offers a comprehensive look at the subject for the hairdresser and the customer. “Hair Dye: A History – People have been coloring their hair since ancient times. But still, most know relatively little about the chemistry—and its implications for health.”
We have not even started talking about inhaling the chemicals or what happens as they are washed down the drain.
Our population is plagued with more illness than what is acceptable. With better choices, we have some control over this. My hope is that you will look at the facts and these healthy alternatives to care for your hair and your vanity. Your brain plays a crucial role in your happiness and your health.
Are you taking good care of your brain by making wise choices for your vanity? Which healthy hair color products work best for you?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.