Get a fresh look with organic hair dye

One woman shares how a cancer diagnosis changed her hair styling routine forever. Discover how she achieved a fresh new look with the help of organic hair dye.

By Katherine Flemming
Photography by Carlyle Routh

Get a fresh look with organic hair dye
For her entire adult life, Kathi Andri has been bleaching her hair to achieve a bright, sunny blond. "I became so used to the tingling and burning effects of bleach," says Kathi. But after a devastating breast cancer diagnosis (invasive ductal carcinoma) in April 2011, the mother of three revamped her entire beauty routine, tossing anything containing parabens.

After six rounds of chemo, a bilateral mastectomy and a shaved head, Kathi wasn't so fond of the dark, dull blond that started to grow in.

"I'm just so glad to have hair," says Kathi. Hoping to brighten her shade, which had an ashy tinge after an at-home dye job, she kept an open mind about her new look.

Choosing an organic hair colour
Stylists Kristi Leigh and Stephanie Ricchio of Jeanet Spa and Salon in Toronto mixed a blond shade from Organic Color Systems, a salon-only hair colour composed of organic ingredients and free of ammonia, formaldehyde, resorcinol and other harsh ingredients. (For an at-home version of Kathi's colour, try the brand's retail product, Tints of Nature, in Extra Lightening Blonde, $20, loblaws.ca.)

The stylists settled on a bright blond, suggesting she 
add even brighter highlights as her hair grows. After applying the 
colour, Leigh placed Kathi under a dryer. "Heat from the dryer opens 
the cuticle, allowing the colour 
to penetrate," says Leigh.

She 
combined that with 30 minutes 
of open-air processing, with nary 
a burning feeling or toxic-smelling fume for Kathi. Ricchio cut closely around Kathi's hairline, focusing on the wispy bits around her ears and nape of her neck. She kept pieces around the top of her head slightly longer, giving Kathi the opportunity to experiment with styling.

Reduce grooming time with healthy hair dyes

"I am thrilled to be able to colour my hair like I used to, only with healthier options," says Kathi. "I discovered through the process how liberating it is to have a wash-and-go hairstyle! My beauty regimen has been cut by 15 to 20 minutes. I love that!"

This story was originally titled "Freshest Crop" in the May 2012 issue.

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