The lowdown on vegan dye
Hair dye has had a pretty bad rap through the years. From bleach jobs that turn green to split ends even the toughest conditioner can't fix - going au natural has never seemed more appealing. But it's not the act of colouring your hair that's the problem - it's the dye you (or the salons) are using. Luckily the beauty industry is slowly waking up and taking notice, with all-natural, vegan varieties making their way onto the market.
I jumped at the chance to visit the Grip Organic Hair Salon in Wimbledon Village, London, which exclusively uses Colour Herbe to dye clients' hair. It's an ammonia-free product that works with olive oil, aloe vera, rosemary protein, herb distillate, vegetable enzymes, cinchona and organic pigments.
After a chat with Theo Bambacas, Colour Herbe Brand Ambasador, Master stylist/Educator, we decided subtle highlights would look great for summer. But hang on: with my dark hair, doesn't that mean using peroxide? Turns out peroxide has never been the problem; only when it's paired with ammonia or used in high-strength doses does it become one.
"People often mistake the toxicity of ammonia with peroxide," Theo explained.
"Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has one extra molecule of oxygen than water (H2O). Colour Herbe uses virtually ingestible-strength hydrogen peroxide which is enough to gently oxidise the pigments in the hair shaft, leaving the hair feeling 'uncoloured' afterwards."
Theo adds that three per cent food grade hydrogen peroxide has been used in medical treatments for 170 years and is not harmful to the human body, which puts things into perspective. It's important not to confuse this with high-strength peroxide that burns skin or damages hair, or high PH levels of ammonia.
This makes lightening the hair with Colour Herbe a far more pleasant experience. There is absolutely no smell from the dye, it doesn't stain the skin, nor does it feel hot or uncomfortable on the scalp. You also end up with a natural finish that doesn't look "dyed". So how does it work?
"When using Colour Herbe to lighten hair, it works synergistically with your own natural tones, lightening your hair the same shades the sun would," Theo revealed.
"This is in stark contrast to ammonia and high PH colours that blast open the cuticle layer of the hair and lighten hair in a damaging way, creating brassy and unnatural tones in the process. For grey coverage it's much the same, the colour works with your own pigment and the natural translucent result means no more unnatural block colour results, and a less contrasting re-growth to follow. The shine that the hair is naturally left in is a result of the condition of the hair, not a coating of chemicals."
Using all-natural dyes by no means equals a less vibrant colour finish. I loved the natural-looking golden highlights I received, which became even more accentuated in the sun. And while the range available is smaller than most, shades can be mixed and matched to create the perfect one for you - think of it as a specially-tailored, designer treatment!
It's no wonder Theo has found more and more people looking for less aggressive ways to change their hair colour.
"As people's bodies are becoming increasingly unable to process the chemicals that bombard them on a daily basis, they can suddenly become allergic to traditional colours," he revealed.
"Colour Herbe is a great alternative for sensitive or allergic clients, also those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or post cancer treatment. The low PH formula means your skin isn't absorbing the ingredients anywhere near as readily as with a traditional high PH colour and the gentle formula leaves hair in great condition naturally without the use of manmade silicones and phthalates."