When it comes to transforming your natural – albeit drab – locks into unnatural – albeit gorgeous – shades of rich flowing color, be wary of companies that advertise "natural" on their boxes, for the process is anything but.
Hair dyes are harmful for one reason: chemicals. A combination of chemicals works to lift the cuticle, penetrate the hair shaft and deposit the desired color, including peroxide, ammonia and petrochemicals like coal and tar. Unfortunately, hair dyes are also effective for one reason, that too being chemicals. One pesky, major obstacle has prevented the development of truly natural products, that being efficacy. It seems the more natural the product, the less effective it is, especially at covering gray.
Still, in the sea of conventional hair colorings, there are more natural and thus safer brands. But few, if any, are 100 percent natural. In fact, if you take a look at some popular health store brands, you'll find most contain two FDA-reviewed carcinogens: 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine (4-MMPD) and 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine sulphate (4-MMPD sulphate), as well as other chemicals generally believed to be harmful, including Resorcinol, O-Aminophenol, Ethan-olamine, Propylene Glycol and Nonoxynol. Jim Douglass, the maker of Herbatint and Vegetal brands admits, "to get long-lasting color, you need chemicals, and some products have more than others."
Unfortunately, vanity persists for most of us, and fortunately, we do have the option of choosing the lesser of two evils. But it hardly serves you to use a product that contains half the chemicals if you have to dye your hair twice as much! It's up to you and your hairstylist to find the right product for your very special hair. Consider consulting a stylist dedicated to organic and healthy processes like Frederic States in Santa Monica.
All this said, a few truly natural ways to alter the shade of your strands do in fact exist. To lighten, spray lemon juice in your hair, slather on some sunscreen, and spend a couple hours letting mother sun work her highlighting magic. Also, some plant-based dyes made from roots, barks and leaves, most commonly henna, don't require chemicals to color your hair. Although it will fade out after four to six weeks, since there are no harsh chemicals, recoloring won't pose a risk. Henna also can provide body, strength and thickness to the hair. Plus, it's the only colorant to have been safety-approved by the FDA. So, although your coloring options diminish, you can indeed get your coloring fix safely and naturally.