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Green Hair... not literally, of course!
Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 | 04:44 PM AT
Many of you have written or called and asked if there is an all-natural, safe way to colour hair. It's taken me a long time to find a solution because much of what I found on the internet and in health stores was marked "natural" or "organic" but still contained the same harmful chemicals that commercial dyes do. So what are these chemicals?
The use of PPD in cosmetics that are applied directly to the skin (such as temporary tattoos) can cause serious allergic reactions and poses a risk to the health and safety of the user. Therefore, cosmetics containing PPD that are applied directly to the skin are banned from sale in Canada. PPD is an acceptable ingredient for use in hair dyes that are rinsed off after a maximum of 30 minutes. When used correctly, hair dye does not come directly into contact with skin for prolonged periods of time.
Allergic reactions to PPD include red skin rashes, itching, blisters, open sores, and scarring within 2 to 10 days following application. These allergic reactions may also lead to sensitivities to other products such as hair dye, sun block and some types of clothing dyes.
Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide: Both these compounds can cause skin or lung irritation in sensitive individuals.
Now, my own sister got a rash following a black henna tattoo. It was awful: weeping sores, a burning sensation that prevented her from sleeping for two weeks, poor baby! It's been 10 years since she got that "temporary" tattoo, but you can still see a mishappen red scorpion on her upper arm. As far as her dermatologist is concerned, she can never use regular hair dye because her body has become hypersensitive to PPD. If you're like my sister, or are just uncomfortable with the idea of putting stuff on your hair when it's been banned for use on skin, keep reading. Because there's hope!
Hip hip HENNA!
Depending on how they're blended, these two herbs will colour your hair anywhere from a strawberry blonde to a deep reddish black. No PPD. No ammonia. No hydrogen peroxide!
Want to know what Brett Plager, a master colourist at Salon Noir thought of this product? Keep reading. Or watch the video (after 7pm).
Meet Alison Proteau. She's actually a long time CBC viewer (hoorah!) and sweetly volunteered to help test Light Mountain's Cover the Grey.
Here's what you have to keep in mind:
2. Henna stains skin and clothing: Make sure to avoid using pristine white towels and to protect all your nice light-coloured clothing and work surfaces. It also helps to slather some vaseline or moisturiser along your hairline to prevent orange skin.
3. A little help from friends: It helps to have more than a pair of hands to slather the goop on.
4. Some like it hot: Henna colour deepens when it comes into contact with heat. That's why Indian brides wear their bridal henna overnight (and ruin their mums' sheets--ask me, I should know!). The heat of one's body actually helps the dye darken. In a salon, folks are often put under one of those canopy dryers. At home, you can mimic this with a hair dryer (be careful not to burn yourself) or simply by leaving the stuff on for about 2 hours.
5. Henna DOESN'T prefer blondes: If you're a bottle blonde, henna is probably not for you. Bleached hair tends to get orange and brassy when it comes into contact with henna. Also, if you have coarse or very dry hair, henna can further exacerbate your problem.
6. Henna and allergies: It doesn't matter that henna and indigo are natural. You MUST use a patch test. Also, if you know that you are G6PD deficient, DON'T USE HENNA without speaking to your physician. Here's more info.
For Ginette: things didn't work out quite so well. It may have been because we were rushing a little because I only had the camera for a limited amount of time. Or it could be that the "Color the Gray" just didn't take on her hair. But she was left with grays that had the slightest tinge of old seaweed. Which, frankly, is taking this whole "Be Green" movement a tad too far! Luckily, Brett stepped in (with some chemical dye... sigh) and fixed the problem. Ginette has gone back to being the ravishing brunette she always was.
There's also Sol Natural Foods in Aylmer: 186 avenue de la Colline, Gatineau.
On a side note, I just want to mention something: Brett Plager has got to be one of the nicest and most helpful people I've ever come into contact with. I am seriously stunned by how willing he was to go out of his way to help me. He helped find volunteers to have their hair coloured, he freed up time on his schedule and he was open to experimentation with a colour he'd never tried. So I just want to say, he's fabulous! If I WERE to colour my hair, he'd be my guy.
And now it's your turn: have you ever coloured your hair with henna or indigo? Would you be willing to switch?
This discussion is now Open. Submit your comments.
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