In February I wrote about why I stopped coloring my hair. You can read the details here. In short, it’s part of the process of learning to love myself the way I am, and not buy into definitions of beauty set by those whose main objective is to sell their products.
I also watched “The Story of Cosmetics” by the Story of Stuff Project, which opened my eyes to the number of potentially toxic chemicals I was applying to my body every day. I decided to eliminate as many chemicals as I could, by minimizing the number of “beauty” products I use. Most salon hair dyes contain hundreds of chemicals, some of them known carcinogens and neurotoxins.
Tracie has been my stylist for 11 years. It was she who convinced me to stop shampooing every day, and to embrace my natural curls rather than fight them. She’s also used to my hair-related whims. For example, I’ve been known to go from shoulder-length waves to Halle Berry short in one fell swoop. So, when I first told her I wanted to stop coloring my hair, she probably thought it was another phase, but I plan to stick with it.
It’s now been six months since my decision to go dye-free. To be honest, it doesn’t look that different. The color Tracie used was a semi-permanent, very close to my natural color, with a few reddish-gold highlights. Most of my friends haven’t even noticed.
For me, though, it’s a small victory. When I look in the mirror, instead of seeing “ugly” gray that must be covered, I see me. It’s been nice getting to know the real, natural me again.
I also see a bit of my brother. We are going gray in the same places, and noticing that in my reflection helps me feel a bit closer to him, since we live in different cities and don’t see each other often.
On top of the emotional benefits, there is an additional, financial benefit to not coloring my hair. A color and highlight used to cost me $75, on top of the $45 hair cut. I’m saving around $300 a year, just by learning to embrace my natural color.
Some people have asked why I don’t switch to henna or another, non-toxic hair color. The truth is I’m tired of the hassle and upkeep, and frankly, I have better things to do with my time than spend more time fussing with my hair. I like my new natural look.
You can see more pictures of my dye-free hair on Flickr. Next on my list of beauty products to eliminate: nail polish.