I was allowed to start wearing makeup when I was twelve and a half – the same time I was allowed to get my ears pierced, subscribe to Teen magazine, and start getting perms to achieve the big hair trend of the late eighties. It all happened during the summer before I started junior high, and the new beauty treatments were an exciting rite of passage.
I liked curly hair but naturally had hair with an unruly wave, so I got spiral perms twice a year. It didn’t matter that the permanent solution stung my scalp and the odor made my eyes burn – I was getting the look I wanted. As soon as the smelly solution was rinsed out, I had cascading curls yet again.
By the time I was in my twenties, I was introduced to the wonder of hair color and it quickly took on the same novelty as perms had a decade before. Again, it didn’t matter about overwhelming odors. I just wanted highlights.
After two decades of regularly using products and potions, imagine my shock when I learned that toxic chemicals were integral components of hair dyes, shampoos, soaps, and makeup.
One easy way to hurt yourself, your family, and the environment is to continue to use artificial hair dyes. As some of the most toxic personal care products on the market, hair coloring is hazardous to use.
Some hair dyes include P-Phenylenediamine, a skin allergen, lung and nervous system irritant; 1 P-Aminophenol, a chemical that irritates eyes, skin, and respiratory systems, requires the use of safety glasses, gloves, and good ventilation, and is toxic to aquatic organisms; 2 Resorcinol, a chemical linked to convulsions, dizziness, vertigo, confusion, disorientation, and tremors, as well as a potential harm to thyroid glands; 3 and Ethanolamine, a toxin that irritates lungs, skin, and eyes. 4
I stopped dyeing my hair – cold turkey – about six months before my husband and I started trying to get pregnant. When I learned the coloring was so toxic, I didn’t want another drop coating my hair and covering my scalp. (No wonder the dye smelled so completely atrocious!)
Stopping is the easiest and safest choice I can recommend. Henna dyes are available; while they’re safe, I have no idea how effective they are. And experimenting with hair products – especially coloring – can be a little disconcerting.
Have you started avoiding artificial hair color? Please share your process!
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