Ah Crap. I fell off my pedestal of self-satisfaction.
I lost my blonde when I turned 30. For awhile I highlighted, but stopped when I moved since the golden honey color didn’t really go with my new pale never-see-the-sun Minnesota skin. Last winter I decided I really didn’t care for the mousy shade so I dyed it a vibrant dark brown. It looked much better, but I didn’t keep it up because there wasn’t a sprayer in the shower in England (I can’t dye my hair without a sprayer – everything in the bathroom would be speckled with purple spots).
Today I decided I absolutely must dye my hair tonight because I’m subbing for a girl named Sarah who is my exact size and her last day is Saturday and I want my hair dark brown again so I can show up to work looking just like her which I think will be hysterically funny. I headed to Target earlier today hoping they would carry one of the brands the Skin Deep database lists as having the lowest hazard ratings. Most of the products rated 0 to 2 are henna based. There are actually several kinds of henna, with hazard ratings ranging from 0 to 7. The type used most often, LAWSONIA INERMIS (HENNA), rated a 5 or a 7 depending on its use (with a 76% data gap). The second most common kind, LAWSONIA INERMIS (HENNA) EXTRACT, rated ZERO but had a 98% data gap. The natural hair dyes rate low overall because (usually) the only potentially hazardous ingredient is the henna. For my crazy-haired friends I would like to note that most Manic Panic dyes rate 4, which is better than 95% of the 1,052 products analyzed. In any case, Target didn’t carry any of the low hazard brands – Pinaud, Aubrey Organics, Light Mountain, Rainbow, and Accelderade.
While researching earlier I stopped with products rated 5 and over because that’s when I became concerned about the ingredients. For example, Clairol Natural Instincts Medium Auburn Brown #22 (the dye I used all last winter) has a hazard rating of 8. The scariest ingredient in the Clairol dye is P-PHENYLENEDIAMINE (10) which is followed by a list of hazards so long I’m afraid I’m going suffer organ failure just writing about it. The US EPA, Air Risk Information Support Center says, “Kidney Toxicity Hazards: suspected, Respiratory Toxicity Hazards: suspected, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicity Hazards: suspected.” P-Phenylenediamine is restricted in Canada and classified by the European Union as “Toxic by inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion ” and “Very toxic to aquatic organisms.” But just a little is fine, right?
So, I stood in the aisle at Target for ten minutes reading all the hair dye packages. Finally I picked L’Oreal Paris Dark Golden Brown 4W, which I thought was probably the least hazardous of the available products, but as I am not familiar with that many ingredients yet I wasn’t really sure. This is the first time I have ever wished I had a Blackberry – I could have looked up all of the products without leaving the store. I jumped off the wagon: I bought hair dye even though I knew it was bad for me. I am fairly sure Target has the widest selection available in Lino Lakes, and I just didn’t have the patience to drive around searching for a better product. I have fallen off my high horse back into a cushy SUV of Laziness.
It turns out the L’Oreal Paris dye has a 7 hazard rating with a 80% data gap. There are three high hazard ingredients: Ethanolamine (7), Resorcinal (8) and the ubiquitous Fragrance (8). 35% of hair dyes have lower concerns, which makes me feel okay about my choice, but kind of freaked out about the other products going down the drain. It will be about 2 months until it will be time to dye my hair again. Until then I’ll keep my eye out for a store that sells safer dye. That’s if the Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride doesn’t blind me first.