I love my job, but as a stylist, I’m often compelled to admit that the problems I help my clients address are rarely a matter of life or death. Recently, however, a new study published in the Journal of Cancer has demonstrated a clear connection between the use of hair dye (as well as chemical straighteners) and an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
On the surface, this should be good news because unlike other things that might lower your risk for cancer like not living in a certain area or subsisting on a diet of perfectly pure foods grown in one’s backyard, it should be easy enough to just, you know… NOT dye your hair. But as a long-time advocate for natural hair color (and texture, for that matter), I know that it’s just not that simple.
Over the years, I’ve coached hundreds of women on what to do with their hair and it’s often the most intense, emotionally charged part of the work we do together. Many of my clients have a much easier time donating thousands of dollars worth of old clothes that no longer serve them than they do grappling with the idea of being even SLIGHTLY less blonde, or god forbid, grey. Trying to tell women it’s just hair and it’s not a big deal isn’t helpful. Clothes may be an extension of ourselves, but hair is literally a part of our bodies, so it makes sense that a change in hair can bring up a lot of emotions by virtue of bumping up against our very sense of who we are.
After all, it’s not quitting the dye we’re afraid of, it’s how we will FEEL with different hair that we fear. Less beautiful. Less special. Mousey. Old. Add to that the very distinct possibility of receiving negative comments on your natural hair, particularly during the often awkward transition period, and it’s enough to leave a lot of us racing to the salon chair, toxicity be damned.
(Sidebar: A family member recently told me, while professing she would dye her hair until the day she dies, that she thought women who let their hair go grey were all slobs who had given up….seriously?? Yikes. BTW, I have a decent amount of grey and do not and likely never will dye my hair again.)
I’m not actually trying to convince you to stop dying your hair. You already know if that’s something you want to do, be it for your health or any other reason. I’m here for those of you who do want to quit the dye, but are afraid it will look bad, that people will judge you, and that you’ll just feel deflated looking in the mirror. If this is you, I can help.
There’s very little in what I do that I would call magical, but the ability of a correctly executed color analysis to bring out the beauty of a person’s natural coloring in an instant can only be described that way. With one turn of a drape, hair color that both my client and I perceived as dull and mousey before suddenly comes alive with fascinating undertones and a healthy sheen that connects with her eyes and skin in a way that sucks you in and makes you want to look, and then look some more.
The effect is not subtle, but rather like a very blurry photograph has suddenly snapped into focus. What was flat, is now a kaleidoscope. What was shabby is now polished and pristine. What was disjointed is now in perfect harmony. I can’t help but feel there are few things more beautiful than natural hair against the right blouse color with a pinch of the right blush and lipstick, and not because of any poetic notions I have about all things natural, or even my desire to help women avoid unnecessary health risks, but just because I’ve seen it work and been amazed by it time and time again.
It’s true that even positive change can be hard. Some people will not like your hair (some people probably don’t like your hair now either, a topic for another day, perhaps). But learning the properties of your natural coloring and how to work with them is the single most powerful tool I have found in the process of helping hundreds of women stop dying their hair AND actually feel good about it when they look in the mirror.
Reach out if you’re ready to experience the life-changing magic of color analysis and we will talk about getting that done for you, whether that means me coming to your area or referring you to an awesome local colleague who can make it happen. If you’re anywhere between NYC and DC, I will be opening times for color analysis in my home studio as well, so get in touch to get a space on my calendar.