My wavering dedication to natural hair color or the great vanity compromise

hair3Last week I colored my hair with commercial hair dye, one of those that can be found in every pharmacy and supermarket. After years of using only henna on my hair. Because I couldn’t stand my bright-red temples, or the always peeking out gray. Because I felt I needed to look better.

For about four or five years, I have been dyeing my hair exclusively with henna. It was cheap (from any Indian grocery store) and as natural as it gets. It worked well for a while, covering some of my prematurely melanin-deprived tresses. Lately I have been noticing that the gray is taking over at a faster rate, and I feel it’s too early to just let it be. I’m not ready yet, although I like to believe that I won’t mind it as much later in life. A full head of beautiful white hair. It can be the best look ever. But who knows. Maybe in my eighties.

All my gray is covered now and I am happy about that. And while I do feel like I am compromising the health of my locks (and not only), I don’t think I can return to henna. There are few things that can make me take a fall off the natural living wagon, and it looks like vanity is one of them. Because I am shallow and my convictions are weak like that.

But I also don’t think that I can make myself use again this regular, heavily-chemical product either. I feel that my hair is limp and lifeless and my scalp is dry and flaky. And I feel like this is not who I am.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a truly natural hair color that works. There are some products out there that would represent a sort of compromise, but I need to try many brands before I find something good.

Finding the right natural products is always a pain. So much label squinting, so much checking of impossible to pronounce ingredients on the Skin Deep website. Such high prices. The easier path, of course, would be to use directly the raw materials and make my own concoctions, but that sometimes doesn’t work too well, or not anymore, like my henna. So I will have to go to our natural foods store and again spend a whole hour of my very precious baby-free time researching the few options that they carry. I almost always end up feeling sad that many of these companies that promote their stuff as natural are just trying to take advantage of the green hype, instead of actually abiding to some well-meaning principles of selling a good, safe product, and doing fair business. Because money is more important than people most of the time, in this world we live in.

So I’m not looking forward to this “market research” (to call it something fancy). It sometimes leads to good results, and I happily find a products that I want to use forever, only to realize that after a few short years, when the company makes it big, they change their formulas, and the products are nowhere near as healthy as they once used to be.  I think even letting the gray hair be might seem more appealing than doing all that work. But probably not.

2 thoughts on “My wavering dedication to natural hair color or the great vanity compromise

  1. Rachel J Fenton

    I don’t think you owe anyone an explanation for what you do with your hair. I’m sad that society and media have made you feel you should justify your actions. But you absolutely rock, regardless of your hair – you wear it, it doesn’t wear you! You are beautiful inside and out x

    • Lori

      Yeah, absolutely, I don’t think I owe any explanation to anyone, but I do owe one to myself. And I am a product of the environment in which I grew up, and some values are very difficult to unlearn. As much as I would like to be “my own woman,” it is not probably and attainable possibility. We are all in various ways, more or less subtle, brainwashed and pressured into the mold. Even when we become aware of it, we can’t always break out. And even when we break out, don’t we find ourselves set in yet another mold, only slightly different? I guess I am choosing my battles with the world and with myself. I can’t win them all, and I am trying to be fine with that.

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