Hair Coloring

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I have had an interest in permanent hair coloring for a long time as I have been using it for many years. Over this time, there has been much concern as to the safety of the dyes and the chemicals that are used to produce the colors.

Hair coloring
Is hair coloring dangerous to health? “Haircoloring” by Dean Wissing – IMG_3814 copy. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Hair Coloring

Today, hair coloring is immensely popular, with over 75 percent of American women dyeing their hair, and globally hair colorants are a rapidly growing over-$7 billion industry. At home coloring in the United States reached $1.9 billion in the year 2011, and is expected to raise to $2.2 billion by 2016. (Source

Also, of interest is that it is estimated that 10% of men use some sort of hair coloring.

What about the safety of dye that I am exposed to at least every 6 weeks?

I think most of us have had concerns about using hair coloring and the reference to cancers. A few times I thought I would just go gray gracefully. This does work well for some skin tones but it definitely did not work for me. So each time I tried to not dye I came to the same conclusion and went back to dying my hair. I felt that going gray when I was so young impeded my lifestyle.

Hair Color -What are the concerns?

The following is from National Cancer Institute

  • “Because early hair dye formulations contained chemicals that were found to cause cancer in animals, manufacturers changed the ingredients in hair dye products to eliminate some of these chemicals in the mid- to late 1970s.
  • Some studies have indicated that people who began using hair dyes before 1980 have an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • The evidence for increased risks of other cancers from hair dye use is limited and conflicting.

Over 5,000 different chemicals are used in hair dye products, some of which are reported to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in animals. Because so many people use hair dyes, scientists have tried to determine whether exposure to the chemicals in hair coloring products is associated with an increased risk of cancer in people.”

It is noted in the article below that the animal studies were not conclusive

And this from the American Cancer Society.

“Studies done in the lab

Some of the ingredients used in hair dyes (including certain aromatic amines) have been shown to cause cancer in lab animals, usually when the animals were fed large amounts of the dyes over a long period of time. Although studies have shown that some of the dye applied to an animal’s skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, most have not found a link between skin application and cancer risk.

It’s not clear how these results might relate to people’s use of hair dyes.

Should I limit my exposure to hair dye?

It’s not clear how much personal hair dye use might raise cancer risk, if at all. Most studies done so far have not found a strong link, but more studies are needed to help clarify this issue.

For people who want to dye their hair but are concerned about safety, the FDA has provided some suggestions:

  • Follow the directions in the package. Pay attention to all “Caution” and “Warning” statements.
  • Be sure to do a patch test for allergic reactions before putting the dye in your hair. Do a patch test before every use. (Some people become more allergic to certain ingredients the more they are exposed. You may not have an allergic reaction the first time you use a product but you may the second or even third time, so it is important to keep checking.)
  • Wear gloves when applying hair dye.
  • Don’t leave the dye on your head any longer than the directions say you should.
  • Rinse your scalp thoroughly with water after use.
  • Never mix different hair dye products. This can hurt your hair and scalp.
  • Never use hair dye to dye your eyebrows or eyelashes. This can hurt your eyes. You might even go blind. The FDA does not allow using hair dyes on eyelashes and eyebrows.”

That all sounds like good advice regarding permanent hair color, there will always be a lot of concern with the use of harsh chemicals. I decided about 18 months ago to change to what appears to be a safer option for permanent hair color.

The hair coloring product is called Naturtint

Read a review of Naturtint here

It can be very costly to have the hair salons do a full hair color.

To be honest, I can’t very often afford to have my hair done in a salon although it is very nice not to have to do it myself.

Here are a couple of tips that I have found in dyeing my own hair.

I have shoulder length hair and I find that I can get two uses out of the one packet of hair dye.

To do this, one has to measure fairly carefully to halve the lotion in the bottles. I save the application bottle from the time before so that I always have a spare bottle to work with. I could take some sort of measuring instrument to measure out half of the color and half of the developer but that seems too messy for my liking.

How to halve the hair coloring contents

Instead, I take a marking pen and measure on the outside of the bottles to mark the halfway point. Now pour this into the spare bottle. Some bottles are quite opaque and it is hard to see when you have tipped enough out into the other bottle. To remedy this use a LED flashlight and shine it into the neck of the bottle and you will be able to see the dark shadow of the liquid and know when you have poured out half of the content. Put the two halves together and you should have enough to do the whole head.

Always start with the roots and problem areas first and use the remainder on the other areas.

Caution never try and save any leftover lotion that has the color and developer already mixed. They must be saved in their separate bottles.

My hair color costs around $14 so that is a savings of $7 every time I color my hair getting two uses out of the packet.

What to do while you are waiting to wash the dye off

I don’t like to sit around doing nothing so I either read or work on the computer. For both of these activities, I need glasses. I can’t let dye get all over the frames, so I take some cling wrap and wrap the glasses wings to protect them from the dye.  I get some work done and in no time, it is time to wash the dye off and reveal my renewed color.

Hair Color - glasses

Using Naturtint, at least, I feel like I am doing what I can to be careful and not using the harsher chemicals that many of the permanent hair colors contain.

Are you concerned with the harsh chemicals in some hair products?

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