We commit hours of our time, on a regular basis, not to mention countless euros, to layering chemical dyes on our hair. Are you tempted to go natural?
Lipstick, powder and paint are fun, but the one thing we will not go without – our true desert island essential – is hair colour. We lose hours of our time, on a regular basis, not to mention countless euros, sitting in a stuffy salon having chemical dyes layered onto our hair. Some do it to experiment and change their look, but most of us do it to cover up greys, and it’s a compulsory bit of maintenance that few of us really enjoy. But since young girls started turning their hair silver out of choice, perhaps it’s worth considering ditching the dye if you’re heading that way naturally. Books like Silver Hair A Handbook (Workman, 2018) encourage this approach. I’m going that way myself, having been warned off by hairdressers for years (you need to ask a really honest stylist if it will suit you and your hair – many will do their best to put you off).
After decades of colouring, slowly my hair is recovering condition as I lay off the dye. A while back, Sinead at South by Kazumi (previously Dean Hickey) added a few highlights to brighten around the face while I transition from murky blonde to white, and that’s one way to ease the process. It takes a while, that’s for sure. I probably haven’t coloured mine for three years now, and I’m not fully there yet. My colour was always a bit haphazard, so I didn’t get the abrupt line you’d see if you’re one uniform dark colour, and I’d say that’s harder still. Regular trims help, as does good shampoo (I used Kérastase Aura Botanica because it’s silicone-free, and alleviates dryness, and more recently the Davines range, particularly Love shampoo, at Romina Daniel salon in Sandyford).
Other adjustments may be needed: I find a brighter lipstick and slightly warmer make-up is more necessary, as I don’t want to look 95. But really it’s not the big leap we all think – and if I find it draining at any stage, I’ll just slope back to the colourist. One option would be Organic Italian Hairdressing in Dalkey who create their own organic and chemical-free colouring products and can do everything from balayage to highlights. The fact is I will never have the thick, shiny chestnut hair of my 20s, and that’s ok. And on reflection, I don’t think any colour I tried ever looked that good – always a bit fake, a bit obvious (except for a brief blonde moment courtesy of Mane salon), not really me, and more about the hairdresser’s mood than my own (a murderous dark brown which morphed to coppery orange between appointments months was surely never what I asked for). This is one way of doing something different, and rather more laissez-faire. For now, I like the hours (and cash) I have back, the authenticity of my own colour – and the freedom from something I hated doing.