Last year, I was invited to my cousin’s wedding. Because I had a rather vivid purple color on my hair at the time and the roots were showing for a good five centimeters, I decided to color my hair so it would look good in the photos. I asked the hairdresser to color my hair in a natural-looking deep brown. I asked her not to use the stronger dye with ammonia, so it wouldn’t cover the greys.
That was in August 2019 and that was the last time I colored my hair.
It felt like a big step as I’ve been coloring my hair since last year of primary school (I was 14 when my mom finally allowed me to dye my hair to auburn with a washable color). Since then I was regularly coloring my hair every three months.
In high school, I graduated to permanent color and was going from brown to chocolate and back again until I hit my mid-twenties when I decided to go into more vivid reds and purples.
As you can imagine, such a schedule and how strong the dyes were affected my hair a lot.
It became a norm for my hair to fall out for whatever reason. I was always finding hairs in my hairbrush, after each coloring session, after washing my hair. Any stress in my life would result in even more hair falling out, and if I toweled my hair more vigorously I would find hair fallen on the towel.
And that doesn’t even touch on what the skin on my head was like.
Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
Yet I continued to color my hair for years. Simply because I felt like I had to.
By now, you might be asking yourself why, after so long, have I decided to go back to my natural hair color. And I can’t point to one singular reason.
There were several factors that, when put together, resulted in me making a conscious choice to stop coloring my hair.
I have long hair and to color them completely, I need two boxes of hair dye. So the cost doubles to approx. 50 PLN every three months.
Over the twenty years, give or take, that I’ve been coloring my hair that amounts to an estimated 4000PLN. That’s a laptop.
And every time I was going through my budget I never put money aside for hair dye, and every time I got it at Rossmann I had to find the money somewhere, often moving it from projects I cared about more than my hair.
Treating my hair better
I have very thick hair that I was always very proud of. It pains me to see them falling out of my head daily. And as I grew older I became more and more concerned with the health of my hair. But any treatment that I looked into was recommending a break from coloring to let my hair rest and heal.
Well, I guess that’s exactly what I’m doing. I want to give them a year to recover before I try any kind of treatment to help them even more.
I guess we shall see.
Accepting and learning to love my grays
Given how superficial our society is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was apprehensive at the idea that I might have grey hair. Granted, I haven’t noticed any yet, but I know the day I see my first one isn’t far away.
I think that fear was making it more difficult to break the habit of coloring my hair.
And here, I have to credit the minimalist movement – more specifically one of the minimalist YouTube creators, for helping me embrace the possibility of having grey hair.
Patricia (or A Small Wardrobe, as she’s known on YouTube) has been embracing her greys for a while now and she’s been speaking about that quite openly on her channel. She helped me realize greys were nothing to be afraid of and she showed me how easy it is to love them.
Impact on the environment
I’m a little ashamed to admit that the impact on the environment played the smallest role in my decision to stop coloring my hair.
I suspect it’s because we don’t normally think about what impact such infrequent actions have on the planet.
But when I thought about it, I realized the impact hair dyes have on the environment shouldn’t be ignored.
Not only the excessive packaging isn’t something that can be recycled (all the plastic is contaminated by the chemicals, so it’s going all to the landfill), but the chemicals need to be washed out of our hair and enter the sewage system, flowing down to the water treatment plant. And sure, they will say that the water is cleared using a different set of chemicals, but… can we be sure?
These were the factors that convinced me to stop coloring my hair. And while my hair didn’t stop falling out completely, I can confidently say that the amount of hair I lose every day lessened.
I’m not going to lie. Every once in a while I look at my Bucket List where I have “unusual hair color” as one of my items and I think it would be a pity to delete it out completely and give up on the idea. For now, I am keeping it, but more to use it as a reminder of past dreams, as I decided to accept the fact that I might never get to cross it off.
being back to my natural hair color feels right at the moment, greys and all.
What about you? Do you color your hair? Have you ever considered going back to your natural color? Let me know!