I’ve switched to vegan, zero waste hair colour and it’s been amazing!
Hair colour was the last thing I addressed after I went vegan. Prior to my decision to go vegan, I used Clairol Natural Instincts, which worked fairly well with my sensitive skin (at least it didn’t set my scalp on fire). But still caused my scalp to itch. I was using it every four weeks, but after learning more about the chemicals involved in the colouring process, I really started to wonder if it was worth it. Between animal testing, waste (disposable single-use plastic bottles for the dye, etc.), and skin irritation, I felt like there had to be a better way.
So I started to investigate natural hair colour products, discovered Lush’s Henna products, and decided to give it a try. I’ve been really happy with it! This video contains a few suggestions about how to use the product (especially if you’d like to save money, since the Lush bars are rather pricey).
Here’s a little secret from those of us in the know: a bar of Lush hair colour will last nearly a year if you are just covering grey hair. However, it’s important to note that the instructions I give in this video are for brunettes with some grey hair. So it’s not meant to be universal advice. If you have blonde or black hair (or totally grey), the video tutorial probably won’t be as applicable for you.
I’ve found that the red henna works best for covering greys. It definitely gives you the best “bang for your buck.” And while Lush carries other colours intended to impart a more brown or black colour to your hair, I think those would be better for all over use than for specific application to grey hair.
Natural hair colour advantages
After five years of using harsh toxic dyes, it’s wonderful to finally have discovered a non-toxic product that produces great results without polluting the environment or resulting in unnecessary waste. I also appreciate that the LUSH product takes a while to work (it requires about two hours on the hair to produce a rich result). This might seem like a drawback, but it ensures neither your hair nor your scalp will be damaged. How? Well, artificial dyes contain ingredients that allow them to work quickly. But this comes at the expense of your hair and skin (to say nothing of possible health effects). I just put a shower cap on my head and go about my evening. If a drop accidentally lands on my marble countertops, I know it won’t cause staining as long as it’s wiped off (unlike artificial dye, which destroys pretty much anything it touches).
It also means a lot to me that the product is vegan and cruelty-free. If you’ve ever had a skin irritation yourself, you can probably sympathize with the sheer stupidity of making animals suffer through cosmetic tests of hair dye. It’s unnecessary and inexcusable. And it clearly doesn’t do much to make cosmetics less toxic! I’ve continuously had horrible reactions to these supposedly safe products. Recall artificial dyes are so dangerous they have to do a test on your skin every time, just in case you develop an anaphylactic reaction to hair dye ingredients since the last time you coloured your hair. And yes, people end up blind and disabled every year after developing sensitivity to the toxic ingredients in most hair dye.
Henna is what I would probably call “almost permanent”. It sticks to hair well and does not come off on anything at all after it’s been rinsed from the hair. This means no marks on your pillows, etc. It also doesn’t leave a harsh “demarcation” line on the scalp between the grey roots and coloured portion. It will not “wash out” although any colour that is bright red will tone down after a few washes.
The only disadvantage of the more permanent nature of henna is that it doesn’t work well in combination with artificial permanent dyes containing peroxide. If you think you might want to bleach your hair blonde in the near future, don’t use henna. Peroxide tends to actually drive the henna into the hair shaft, making it nearly impossible to remove. So when you colour your hair with henna, realize that you can go darker after henna, but not lighter. Also, it’s very important to let your hairdresser know you have used henna before getting highlights, etc. This is because it can affect the way the colour will perform on your hair.
I would recommend that any man or woman try this at least once. It’s especially nice for anyone who has sensitive skin or scalp irritation, because it won’t irritate your skin. If you have any questions about it, I’d be happy to help. And be aware that if you have non-brunette hair, there are some books out there on DIY non-toxic hair colour for blondes and people with black hair.
I’d like to give special thanks to each and everyone in the ModVegan Patreon community for their sponsorship of ModVegan, and especially Artelio, Richard, Genevieve and Jess for their generous support!
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