Do You Dye Your Hair?

Updated on November 22, 2011
M.F. asks from Albany, CA
16 answers

I have been dying my hair since I was about 15.
I dye it black.

I use at home hair color and have for 17 years.
I use Loreal mostly, or what ever is cheapest at the time... not that easy to mess up black.

Today I read an article about a mom that is in a coma and who is not expected to wake up, and if she does she will have permanent brain damage. She had just colored her hair with the same Loreal hair dye she always used.
It was not a new process or brand.
She had an allergic reaction and may leave two kids motherless.

I am switching to organic hair dye, henna or something...

What do you think?

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So What Happened?


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answers from Norfolk on

About every 8 weeks.
Nope - not a health care issue.
What it IS is the commonly accepted poison that most commercial hair dye is.
Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) is in a lot of hair dyes and it's bad news.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

That is very very sad. I wonder how common that is? I've been coloring my hair for about 6 years now. I'm allergic to the stuff they use in the salons so I've been buying the organic ones. I'm not allergic to those. Sometimes I'll just grab Loreal or something like that but I do okay with over the counter products although sometimes they make me a little sick sometimes. But I only color my hair twice a year so that helps. Otherwise, that might be me! I'm allergic to everything!!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

Here's a scary thought;

Anaphalaxis can happen at any time from anything.

Hair dye, oranges, toothpaste, bananas, latex, your own COUCH (or pet, or whatever).

Allergies USUALLY come on slowly and get worse over time OR come on strong and weaken over time.

But there's no 'path' with them they follow for sure. She'd PROBABLY been having gradually increasing signs of allergy for awhile (but didn't notice them, or blew them off, like most of us with mild allergies do), and bam. This time her immune system went POISON!!! and triggered the full out response that saves our lives if it's an actual (slow acting) poison, and kills us if it isn't.

Unfortunately... she's probably (speculating here) suffering brain loss/coma from lack of oxygen to the brain after her throat and airways swelled.

I had something similar happen 2 summers ago. BEST. Gazpacho. Ever. Unfortunately it had watermelon in it, and I'm allergic to watermelon. Now... previously, all it did was make me itch. This time I got a full on anaphalctic reaction. My throat swelled so fast I couldn't swallow... so I smashed a benedryl and half snorted half poured it up my nose (nasal tissue is REALLY vascular, it's why people snort recreational drugs, they get into your system FAST). It started working right away, and I went to the ER just to be safe. Major allergic reaction (dx'd as anaphalactic shock). ALMOST out of the blue. I now have an epi pen.

If I HADN'T had benedryl on hand, or hadn't decided to snort it because I couldn't swallow? Well... a watermelon related death is pretty Plants v Zombies... but that's probably what would have happened. We're only 10 minutes from the ER. That's about 4 minutes too late when you can't breathe. It's also why schools and camps keep epipens on hand, as well as benedryl. Either of those two things are lifesaving in the face of anaphalaxis.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

As a hairstylist, I do color my hair. There are people with allergic reactions, usually tingling scalps or red welts, but even that is few and far between. It is such a sad thing to see this happen in such a devastating results. That is extremely rare.

** A sad fact... if you experience a tingling, slightly itchy scalp, we stylists add in a packet or two of sweet n low to your color. Why? It numbs your skin because it was originally created as a nerve agent, and was discovered to have a sweet taste, so it was changed as a food additive. Terrifying thought.

I am not a henna fan. Unless you want reddish hair that is spotty looking. But it is not good for grey coverage, and if you ever want to change your color, you have to cut it out of your hair b/c you can't color over it with anything else.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Since my red hair has begun to fade to a less-than-attractive beige-pink (shudder, gag), I've been using henna about every 4-5 weeks. It's supposed to wash out slowly, but it stays really permanent for me. It's also not supposed to cover grey very well, but I have a big patch that's gone totally white on one side of my head, lucky me, and the henna does just as well there as on the still-reddish hair.

Henna adds a protein coating to the hair, and leaves it glossier, with more body. I get lotsa compliments on my hair color, especially the first two weeks after an application. (No, I don't hold stock in a henna distributor, I just like it.)

Even if the henna turns out not to be what you like (I think a dark black has to be done with two applications), the nutrition/whole foods stores also offer a couple of brands of non-toxic hair coloring products. I've heard for years that the darker colors of drug-store dyes are pretty toxic and contain carcinogens, which the skin, being a big sponge, easily absorbs.

I hope you'll switch. And I hope you find something you really like!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I've dyed my hair in the past, but nothing regularly. It was too much for me to keep up with. A couple of my coworkers use henna and I told them I would bring back a bunch of it cheap when I go to back to India in January. I am thinking of trying it myself just to see how it turns out. They swear by it!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I just started a few months ago. If my hair would just be grey, I would go natural, but it is going a very ugly mousey color.
I use the non ammonia L'oreal. I will check for that ingredient.
Does henna cover grey?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

hmmm... makes me wonder if the main issue was something else but her reaction being so close to the dying that it was the first thought of the problem? I'll give an example:

When I was 18, I had just had sex with my then bf and had felt a horrible and shoclking stab of pain the the vaginal/uterine area. It ewnt away so I thought nothing of it. Over the next 6 hours, it had become harder and harder to breath, having stabbing pain in the rib area when taking big breathes, etc. Then I fainted. My parents roused me, I told them I didn't know what happened but I had had sex earlier that day. I was fainting the entire way to the ER. The first they checked once I was finally admitted and my Father told them what I said... they catheterized me for a urine sample and gave me an internal... because my having sex must have been an indicator of an STD giving me those symptoms. I am appalled at how stupid they were in retrospect. It took then another 8 hours to give me an abdominal ultrasound where they saw my abdominal cavity full with blood and the cyst that ruptured off my ovary. Their quick conclusion almost cost me my life, I was that close to bleeding to death in the hospital.

Having said that... I dye my ahir with many different products and have not had any reactions.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

I use to dye my hair with henna when i was a teen. Kinda red head!

I do not dye my hair now. I am 32 (almost) and have a nice streak of gray and tons of grey popping up. I have always had a few silvers even in high school but its really starting to take over. I just dont see the point in it right now. I kinda dig my silvery strans. Actually hoping the streak in my hair gets more so it looks more like a streak. My father has beautiful snow white hair and I really think its nice. My luck mine will be all yellow and not pretty at all. LOL

I did like the henna dye. But prolly wont dye my hair until I become embarassed about it. *** oh yeah and just because something is organic or all natural dose not mean it will be safe...posion ivy is all natural and i wont go rubbing that all over my head ;D

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

I've been dyeing my hair for almost 25 years and I have never had any reactions. I've used home hair color, salon color, pretty much everything that's out there. I've had highlights and color weaving, but mostly do all over color. I've been using Naturtint at home for the last couple of years and Loreal Root Touch Up in between all over colorings. I switched to Naturtint because it is a vegetable dye and I wanted to use something more natural because I have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I find that I feel better when I am not exposed to so many chemicals. Also, since I dye my hair auburn and red is such an unstable dye that fades quickly, I'm doing some kind of color maintenance at least once a month. Also, I'm probably having to dye my hair more frequently because I've got a lot more gray in my hair than I had in high school!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I have wondered the same thing, mostly because I worry about exposing myself to toxins. I like my hair to be blonde, I found an ammonia free blonde at PCC. I bet whole foods has natural hair colors kits as well. If you look I bet you can find an organic salon as well. I think you could find a less harmful hair color kit at your local Organic or health food store, or check amazon. I have never had black hair though, so I dont know that may be harder to acheive. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I haven't ever used henna, mainly because everytime I have ever gone to a hair salon (and this is with many different locations) they ask me if I ever used henna (prior to them coloring my hair). I say 'no, why ?' They tell me that if I used henna, and then they color over with normal hair color the chance of problems is high - hair falling out, breakage, color coming out that scared me away from henna. I have never tried the organic dyes, but have always wondered how they would turn out.

I have colored my hair many times myself, and gone to the salon. Personally, I like the result better when I do it myself. I had such a bad experience Again from this 'high end' hairdresser. Do not be fooled that just because the place seems ritzy, and the hairdressers all have major attitudes that they are supreme - that the place is better than a low end place. I can vouch for this, as this last girl I went to screwed up my haircolor 3 times - she kept saying, let me do it again. I trusted her stupidly and the end result was a disaster - I had mahogany hair and that was the one color I specified to her I did not want !!! I hated it. I asked for a coppery golden strawberry red (not mahogany with dark brown undertones). Well I ran from that place in tears, went to Walgreeens, bought 'Color Oops' and washed all that mahogany out, and my natural hair color came back. Thank goodness for this product, so many good reviews on youtube. Anyways, I am going to just color my hair myself from now on - when I can spend $ 10.00-14.00 a box compared to 50.00-90.00 for a salon to do more.

I too am interested in finding a safer product not just because of allergic reactions, but cancer. Think about it, this stuff seeps right in your head and your brain is right there - I think after time something very bad can develop.

Same with fluoride and other toxic chemicals we use and most people are unaware of.

There is one product I heard about, and they even do it in certain salons:

I also heard of this, its not organic, but has none of the bad stuff in it, but unfortunately once again you need to do it at a salon....when will they make something equivalent to the salon product for at home use ??

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You can be allergic to many things, and for a lot of people with allergies natural products are the worst regardless of whether they are organic or have pesticides- it's the plant that is the problem. I am actually allergic to henna, as well as nearly every 'natural' product i've tried except those that are oatmeal and honey based. It seems entirely wrong, but the more chemical something is, the more likely it wont bother me. Anyway, i just wanted to say that while natural is much better for most people in most situations, allergies are a different kind of problem and natural can be much worse.
If you ever have symptoms that may be allergy related you should always be aware and have someone watch you. If they seem sudden or keep getting worse see a doctor right away. Its also a good idea to keep benadryl in the house.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Wow. That's terrible. I wonder if something mixed with a product already in her hair? My mother has dyed her hair for many, many years. I remember her applying these kits to dry hair, and most of the time she had all that hairspray and product in her hair already.
I have never truly dyed my hair- not with the OTC hair color. I'll have gotten a few highlights before, and I immediately regret it as my head got all itchy.
I am a natural light-medium blonde, so leave I just go natural. I have always wondered what I would look like with darker hair, but anything other than my natural color just looks stupid on me due to my blonde eyebrows. lol

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I'm not worried. This happened in the UK and they aren't exactlly known for having the best doctors and hospitals there. Sounds a little fishy to me.

I'll keep doing my hair at home.


answers from Redding on

Probably why we shouldnt change who we really are. Yes, I'm a bleach blonde. Wish I was just natural tho. We all should be natural and stop the madness, seriously.

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