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Does organic hair colour really work?

Canadian Living
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Does organic hair colour really work?

My experience with "natural" hair colour has two connections to the United Kingdom. The first time was in 1998, when I was visiting my cousins in Glasgow, Scotland. My cousin Katie offered the idea of colouring her hair and being the I'll-try-any-beauty-treatment-out-there person that I am, I happily hit up the local drugstore to make some selects. Three rounds of a cherry-coloured henna later (as IF our mothers would allow us to peruse the chemical colour aisle!), Katie's hair was still black as sticky tar. We reasoned that Katie's jet "Black Scot" hair was impervious to colour shifting and took off for a shopping trip to Marks & Sparks ( Marks and Spencer, to be correct) instead. Here's a shot of Katie on the far left, myself on the far right. Sandwiched between us is my sister Vanessa. This was taken years later, when we met up in England for a wedding. Please excuse my tan—it was taken during one summer spent lifeguarding at a beach. [caption id="attachment_5677" align="aligncenter" width="359" caption="Cousin Katie, sister Vanessa in the middle and myself."] [/caption] And it wasn't until earlier this year that I started thinking about "natural" hair colour again. I was lucky enough to visit Lymington, England in January of this year. A welcome respite from chilly Toronto, the charming seaside town also boasted the head office and laboratories of Herb UK, the manufacturers of Tints of Nature and Organic Colour Systems. The former is a mass-market haircare brand that includes hair colour, shampoos and treatments. Interestingly enough, it's only available in the natural foods section of grocery stores (for now, you can find it at Loblaw locations across the country) instead of the traditional hair colour aisle. After all, hair colour is considering pretty low priority with health food stores globally. Why? It's the notion that granola types who make their own almond butter and recycle everything they use aren't likely to colour their hair, since they are so well aware of the necessity for chemicals to "process" their hair. And in a sense, they're right. You DO need chemicals. But you don't always need all of the nasty ones. [caption id="attachment_5721" align="aligncenter" width="341" caption="Tints of Nature Conditioning Permanent Colour, $19, at Loblaw locations and online at well.ca."] [/caption] And honestly, I was really skeptical. I thought it would be Henna 2.0, this time with all my white striped-tee shirts nicely halo-ed with residual dye. And even when the Managing Director of the brand, Raoul Perfitt told me the dye will restore my hair's ph levels and make it feel softer after using it—I was still skeptical. (What? As a beauty editor I have to have a *bit* of a discerning eye!). But... I was wrong. First off, let me be clear—I didn't use the permanent. I used the demi-permanent (which hit shelves this month), which Raoul likened to "covering a lightbulb up with coloured cellophane"—essentially coating my hair for six to eight washes and dosing it with high-shine.  I don't colour my hair, so loved the idea of not having to change the chemical structure of the hair while giving it a flash of colour. [caption id="attachment_5724" align="aligncenter" width="389" caption="The new packaging and range of shades from Tints of Nature."] [/caption] But the permanent range worked for my PR companion very, very well. Her hair looked really shiny post-colour, and it also felt super soft. When we coloured our hair, we were also treated to a Tints of Nature Reconstructing Treatment before the colour was applied, but after we shampooed and conditioned. The brand carries that too (and can I just say I am obsessed with the sulfate-free shampoo? It's a strong contender for my next 'This Works' series). So in conclusion, yes, you can treat your grey, boost your shade or give yourself some highlights. It's not like the pigment comes from beet juice or coffee grinds—there are some real chemicals in there, but the quality of their ingredients is safer and more gentle on your end. They contain 60 per cent active organic ingredients, and the sulfate-free shampoo is so gentle, you can use it as a face wash (many of the Herb UK employees do) and their conditioner works just as well as a hand cream. [caption id="attachment_5734" align="aligncenter" width="366" caption="My hair post Tints of Nature."] [/caption] There's also no:
  • resourcinol
  • ammonia (that's where the nasty smell comes from)
  • parabens
  • propylene glycol
  • lowest level of PPDs possible (read more about them here)
  • gentle form of peroxide (necessary to lift your colour and achieve a bright blond)
But they've added some nice:
  • Vitamin C and E
  • Orange extract
  • Aloe extract
  • Grapefruit extract
  • Chamomile extract
All of the organic ingredients are certified by ECOCERT or the Soil Association Organic Standard, absolutely nothing is tested on animals. Packaging is recycled (and you can recycle it again). I don't know about you, but that's a step in the right direction for me. In a category that's seen as an essential (more than mascara and concealer for some of you), it's comforting to know some brands are marrying safety and efficacy without stripping the fun out of beauty treatments. Because that's the best part, right?    
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Does organic hair colour really work?

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