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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Healthy Choices with Pure Botanical Hair Color

My gray hair had been peeking out for several weeks now. Three weeks ago I miscarried and went searching for answers to why this might have happened. One of the things I discovered was that the habit of coloring our hair every 4-6 weeks can be extremely damaging to our reproductive systems and causing cancer. Three women in my immediate circle who regularly color their hair and work with hair dyes had breast cancer or a genetic birth defect baby. I had switched from a permanent hair color (Revlon ColorSilk Medium Golden Brown to the non-permanent color Clairol , Natural Instincts, Navajo Bronze because it says right on the box "healthier way to color" (versus the leading level 3). Both of which have a rating of 9 and 10 respectively by for toxicity for cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immune toxicity, and more.

I have bought botanical (plant based) hair color before thinking I was going to use it. I read the instructions and was discouraged at the laborious process. I gave the box away to a friend who was going to use it for a craft project. This time I was determined to give it a try. I bought Light Mountain Natural, Color the Gray, Light Brown. This has a EWG (Environmental Working Group rating of 1 for toxicity. Yay!

I read the instructions and watched several YouTube videos on how to do it. Next I needed a block of time to 'getter done'. We had been swamped with baseball practice and tournaments. I was determined to make Monday 'the day'.

The first step seems to me to be a primer step for coloring the gray hair. Then you put on the real color. After the first step I didn't think I was going to have enough color for step 2. I went to the small  local health food store and they didn't have what I needed. I had to run to the larger farther away health store to get another box of color, Light Mountain Natural, Light Brown. I mixed both batches and let that cure for 3 hours. In the past my hair has been stubborn taking chemical color so I knew it could take longer than usual. I tried the best I could for quite some time getting the mixture on my hair in a systematic way. I felt like I was dealing with dreadlocks. It was heavy and smelly. I called my oldest son into the bathroom to take some pictures, thinking I want this documented. I may never do this again. He was also helpful in pointing out some missed spots.

Once I got all the color on from two packages I wrapped plastic wrap over it, then a Turbie Twist. I went to my room to hide out for three hours. By the time the three hours were up it was 9:40pm. I took a very long shower rinsing out all that product. It was gritty near the end. The water was nearly clear but there was gritty pieces left. I ended my shower thinking that was good enough. As I towel dried my hair the grit kept falling out. I don't consistently blow dry my hair, I mostly let it air dry.

After combing my hair out with a wide toothed pick I went to bed. The smell was overwhelming, something like a campfire when someone puts green leaves in the fire. When I gave my son a hug good-night he commented on the powerful smell. I thought it would dissipate. I tried to sleep with it anyway. It was too much. I had to get up and blow it dry. It also helped get rid of more of the left over grits, instead of leaving them on my pillow.

The smell isn't too bad now, much more subtle. It hasn't been 24 hours yet. That's when I can wash it using shampoo and conditioner. After a few days, the oxidizing of the color should be done. I will update this post with pictures then.

Have you tried botanical hair color? What was your result? Would you do it again?

UPDATE: This is a picture outside after 3 days. (July 2, 2010) The color is a little lighter where I had previously had bleached highlights. The gray is lighter and redder than the overall color. I don't mind this effect as it blends in well. I'm writing this a week after coloring and the color has gotten even better. My hair feels healthier and I will do it again regardless of the laborious process.

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