Hair Today, Grey Tomorrow

SueCarr-new-smBy Sue Carr

I’ve focused on hair a lot during my journey towards greener living. This might lead you to believe that my hair is my prized asset, my obsession, my single most important accessory on which I take extreme time and care.

And about that you’d be wrong.

I would guesstimate that I spend about 80% less time on my hair than the average woman. I haven’t done any statistical studies on this, but my guess is that most women spend more than five minutes per day on their hair, and that’s about where I am. Shampooing included.

It’s not just hair. The whole primpy girly-girl thing is just not me. I whip on my five makeup products in about three minutes each morning. I don’t get manicures or pedicures (never had either in my life). And I’ve never had a regular stylist. I’m just not into primping.

So here’s my challenge: I’m starting to get flecked with grey and I’m not sure how to handle it.

The empowered, feminist, Jamie-Lee-Curtis side of me says “Just let it go grey! Buck the trend! You don’t have to sink tons of time and money into the dead cells on your head just to look younger. You’re gorgeous anyway!” Not to mention, this would be the greenest of green solutions to this issue. No coloring = no chemicals, ever.

But then there’s that other side, the side that doesn’t really want to be the only kindergarten mom with a bristly greying mop reminiscent of a witch who lives in the deep, dark depths of the forest eating young children for snacks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful that I’ve made it to 40 without ever having to make this decision. I have many friends who started greying in their early to mid-30s who wish they could have this dilemma only now. Many of these friends spend a hundred dollars or more every four to six weeks (not to mention several hours in a salon) to have their hair colored. Not my thing on either count. Too frugal, too busy (or perhaps too impatient—either way).

Add to this my new green living attitude, and I’m strapped with a tough decision. If I color, how would I color? The ewg.org website lists very few hair color products in the safe range, so my choices would certainly be limited. And unless I want to spend a fortune at a specialty salon (I don’t), I will have to do it myself, which means another chore to squeeze into the schedule.

So I’m writing this mostly as an opinion poll. I believe I’m in the minority as a woman who doesn’t color my hair. For those of you who do, how do you do it? Are you a salon girl for a DIY dyer? Do you try to go green with your hair color, or is this an area where you’re not willing to compromise? And for those of you who don’t color, please share your experience. Do you find the experience liberating? Do you ever regret not coloring?

I’m not so much looking for glowing compliments or advice on what I personally should do (though who doesn’t love the occasional glowing compliment?). Rather, I’d like to hear your experiences in order to learn from them and help me weigh my own decision, and perhaps help others out there through this dilemma as well. Thanks in advance for sharing!

Sue Nelko Carr is a freelance writer, editor, blogger and a full-time mother, trying to live a greener life in Pittsburgh, PA. 


3 thoughts on “Hair Today, Grey Tomorrow”

  1. It may seem weird that I am posting a comment since I am Mrs. Green but I am weird so not to worry. I have researched healthy products for coloring my hair far and wide. I cannot find a better product than Aveda because their dyes are 97% plant and botanically based. And they really do amazing things for the planet – ethical, life changing and life saving things.

  2. Deb says:

    I went grey naturally with natures timing. I have had lots of compliments. And I know LOTS of folks in their 50’s and 60’s who wish they would have gone naturally grey have but now feel they can’t change because it would just be TOO drastic. I would suggest you see how much it costs to color…then put use that money for something REALLY fun, dinner out, a great steak w/babysitter, a shopping spree. I think you’ll be glad and pleasantly surprised how much the color grey adds to your style. You may have to change some of the colors you wear…but, hey, it’s fun to shop for colors you’re not used to. Go for it!! Live the natural way…I think you’ll be pleased.

  3. jess meider says:

    sue, why don’t you HENNA it? Henna is a great alternative and they have different kinds, and it’s all natural. indian women have been using it for a long long time. and as far as the grey goes, you know, it’s just like anything you present yourself in – if you like your hair dark and not grey, it’s just like putting on an outfit…(in my mind anyway) goood luck! you’re beautiful! jess

Comments are closed.