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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Chemicals...Run Away & Head Toward the Green, Green Grass

I was a late bloomer when it comes to hair colour. For years after succumbing to professional haircuts (managed my own through high school just fine, thank you - ok - a little natural wave hides a multitude of trimming flaws, but still...) I resisted my stylist's encouragement to add colour. As long as I had natural colour of my own, I was happy enough...and I was cheap...mostly it was because I was cheap, because I was curious. Eventually I agreed to some highlights, and it wasn't long before I was having my whole head coloured. And, as I suspected, I was hooked. I love trying new colour combinations and highlight patterns - I pretty much let my stylist try any new little skill she has learned, and we go from there. Well, for much of the past few years, I have basically ignored (and honestly forgotten, after a few days) a bit of scalp itching and irritation, and occasional node swelling behind my ears, after having my hair coloured. Sadly, but I suppose fortunately, after my last visit the irritation did not subside after a few days, and the node swelling was quite painful. Overall, it took a few weeks for all the symptoms of the reaction to go away. So I have to face the facts. I have an allergy, likely to PPD. And in the end, it is a good thing I expect, because otherwise I might have continued putting toxic chemicals into my body every 10 weeks or so. I actually did a little research a few years ago, and didn't find anything terribly alarming. I wasn't using dark dyes regularly, and nothing permanent. But the colour has been consistently dark lately, and I think my stylist is using more permanent colours, and there also seems to be a bit more research available now. So I have to admit that even if I wasn't having reactions, using this stuff is not likely a good idea based on what I have read recently (and experienced personally). I still have to call my stylist to break the bad news and see if she has any ideas for my upcoming appointment, just in time for Christmas. Bad time to stop colouring, after being so used to it. Thankfully, there are some non-toxic and less toxic alternatives, and some natural options (never tried henna, but who knows), and for those who just want greys to vanish (without any real colour change), there are recipes online for rosemary and sage-based do-it-yourself rinses. I am still pretty sad about this, but ready to find some new options.

Now, after researching hair dyes, I decided, out of interest, to look into various other things, like makeup and lotions and soaps (as I have also been on the hunt for seasonal scents in handsoap for fall and winter). Of course, all this stuff is commonly made with toxic ingredients as well - my foundation, eyeliner, perfume - all of it. At home, we have already made the switch to non-toxic laundry detergent, household cleaner, and (usually) dishwashing detergent. Still lots of chemical-based products on our shelves to use up, but we're getting there. Now I guess it is time to do the same with our personal care products. It's pretty hard not to act once you are wittingly adding proven and suspected toxins to your body. Also very sad...I do love my perfume (and will use it up rather than throw it out), and must admit to being a little nervous about the effectiveness of the shampoos and styling products I might have to try, but it's worth a shot.

Here are some websites I have found interesting and useful so far (most are Canadian) - I do not claim to be an expert on this stuff (yet), and have not tried most of it, but hey, it's a start:

General information about product ingredients: http://lesstoxicguide.ca/index.asp?

On-line drug-store with LOTS of products, including a green/organic section (and FREE, fast shipping in Canada on anything): www.well.ca

One example of natural hair colour: http://actbynature.com/

One home-made herbal hair colour recipe: http://www.ehow.com/how_5294388_cover-grey-hair-naturally.html

Organic soaps: http://www.rockymountainsoap.com/webpage/1003154/1000144

Organic soaps, lotions, etc.: http://www.greenbeaver.com/new_products

Organic & non-toxic beauty products, various brands: http://www.karmavore.ca

Organic perfume: http://www.natural-living-for-women.com/organic-perfume.html

Non-toxic (sugar based) nail polish: http://suncoatproducts.com/index-polish.htm - I ordered one of these polishes, and the remover. The polish looks great on, and the remover did the job without the stink!

Household, beauty, natural health: www.shaklee.ca - we use the laundry concentrate and all-purpose household cleaner. Seems to do the job quite nicely.

Ok, there's some research for you to do in your spare time. I haven't even touched on the world of green/organic/natural/non-toxic baby products out there - cloth and unbleached disposable diapers, skin care, etc. And as far as online shopping in Canada goes, there are LOTS of options for the baby stuff, which is nice to see. Have fun exploring!

1 comment:

deborah said...

Just a comment from a natural product user...it is still really important to read what's in the 'natural' stuff because sometimes it too isn't that great. :) (ie. propylene glycol & SLS)

Have fun experimenting with different products!