Friday, May 7, 2010

To Dye Or Not To Dye?

It's pretty much agreed upon by everyone that colouring hair is damaging, and that to attain extreme hair lengths, it's best to stick with one's natural colour.

However many of us, for whatever reason, choose to dye our hair.  For many in their teens and twenties, it's to experiment with colour.  For those of us who are older it may be to cover the silvers.  That is the case for me.  I use L'Oreal's Preference hair colour in Medium Blonde.  It's not to ashy and not too golden--just right for me.

While I know many beautiful women with salt and pepper or silver hair, it's just not a look that I'm comfortable with.  I feel as though I'd disappear if my hair was its natural colour, which is now predominantly white.

I may or may not be correct in that assessment, but I am not prepared to give up my blonde locks.  Whether or not that may change in the future, I don't know.

I do know that by the very fact that I'm colouring my hair, I am limiting its ultimate length. While my real final goal is tailbone length hair, I may have to accept that I won't be able to grow healthy looking hair beyond waist length. I guess I won't know until I get there.

There are some things that I've learned that have helped keep my coloured hair in better shape than it's been in the past.

There has been research done that shows that the application of anti-oxidants before colouring may help to reduce peroxide damage. Ktani, a member of the Long Hair Community, found that coconut oil has these properties. I was one of her first guinea pigs, and I've been coconut oiling my hair before colouring for over a year and a half now. While the evidence thus far is merely anecdotal, I've been very pleased with the results.

I apply coconut oil all over the length of my hair, right up to the roots before a touch-up.  I leave it on for a minimum of 15 minutes and sometimes as long as several hours before I apply the dye to my roots.

I make sure that I rinse very, very thoroughly, and I use a lot of colour safe conditioner afterwards.

Additionally, I try to go as long as possible between touch-ups; I go about 6 weeks.

With regular deep moisture treatments in between colourings, and my regular small trims, I'm managing to keep my hair looking and feeling relatively healthy, and I'm happy to say, split-end free thus far.

So while I would never recommend that anyone dye their hair, I know that many will anyway, so I thought I'd share some of the tips that I've learned.  While they may work for me, they may not work for everyone.  And remember; dying your hair is a commitment.  It does require upkeep, and should you decide to go natural, depending on the colour you use, there will be demarcation during grow-out.  Not everyone is comfortable with this idea.

However, for me, it's a small commitment of time and energy, and it keeps me feeling happy.  Feeling happy with my hair is all that I really want from my hair anyway.


  1. Your hair is very beautiful. You do a great job with it.

  2. I so totally am NOT ready to go grey either. I do not like myself with grey all around my face but don't mind the silvers interspersed among the other hair.
    I've often thought it would be so much easier to go grey when one is a blonde. There isn't so much of a shocking difference from blonde to grey and it blends much better than dark brown or black and grey.

    I also tried out ktani's tip on the coconut and it didn't interfere with the dye uptake process whatsoever and made my hair very nice. I've since forgotten to do it again but now that you've reminded me, I will. It's roots time tomorrow and actually it has been for the last week but I'm terribly lazy.

  3. It isn't the silver color that bothers me so much with my own hair, but my texture has gone from bad to worse. When I was talking to the beauty school, she told me that I should try glazing my hair but without pigment added. She thought it would help with the texture and I sure aim to try it out. I look truly like Albert Einstein or Don King and it just is hideous.

  4. Thank you SchnauzerMom. You were among the beautiful silver-haired women I had in mind as I wrote this entry.

    LadyOfCanterbury, I am happy to know that I'm not alone in not being ready to go grey. I can understand how you might think that it's easier if one is blonde, but the blonde against my face is very, very different from the white and iron grey the is around my face. Believe me.

    Do keep up with the coconut oil. Having done it for so long, I have seen some results that have astounded me, such as increased nape thickness, possibly due to less breakage. And I mean a much greater nape thicknes. From 2 1/4 inches (even when I had my bangs grown out) to 3 inches. You may find you have good results down the line if you stick with it.

    AutumnLeaves, I understand that for some people, the silvers are very different in texture. That hasn't been the case for me.

    In any case, in every photo I've ever seen of you, your hair looks beautiful. I don't know whose hair you're looking at, my dear, but I'm not seeing Albert Einstein, Don King or hideousness.


I love hearing from you.