Confession time: About twice a year, up until 3 months ago, I was using chemical hair color. My reasoning (excuse?) was that all-natural hair color - and by the way, this includes nearly all the stuff at Whole Foods, as they have the known carcinogen PPD in them as well - did a poor job covering grey. Yes, I have some salt and pepper action going on, and no, I don't want to talk about it. I do, however, like to keep it hidden.
Unfortunately, from what my customers have told me, even Logona - considered the best of the 100% natural hair color brands - took a good 2 boxes to get noticably rich color, and left a lot to be desired when it came to covering grey (often turning it orange - not really my thing).
Let's not belabor this "eco-confession," however, and instead get to the point of my story. Today I finally gathered the courage to try Palette by Nature, one of our latest additions to The Nature of Beauty, after my brave testers came back with rave reviews (terrible, I know, to ask others to do what I myself couldn't). I documented the process, complete with pictures to show you.
Here are my before pictures. As you can see, my hair color reflects my ambivalent, and thus inconsistent, approach to coloring it, with a rather unforunate mix of dishwater blond, brown, auburn, and grey.
Before showing you the post-color results, I thought I'd first review the process. I combed the pre-color base through my hair in sections. It has a nice aloe scent, and is easy to apply. It took nearly the entire bottle to saturate my extremely thick hair, and I had to use both my hair color comb and my gloved fingers to ensure all strands were coated.
I then blended two colors to get the shade I wanted. I feared the 7N would be too light (you cannot lighten your hair with PBN), and the 6N looked a bit dark, so I mixed them, using half of each bottle. You can save all unused color for the next time, meaning you won't be wasting anything if you buy two boxes. The color application was also easy, with the only slight concern being that with hair already coated with the base, it was hard to tell for sure whether I had missed any areas. I had to be very aware of where the color was going. The scent, again, was quite pleasant.
Probably the most labor-intensive part came next. I applied the deeply attractive plastic bag over my hair as instructed (notice the absence of photos of me wearing the cap), and then every 5 minutes until I was done, I went over the top of it with my blow dryer set on Hot. It occurred to me, though, that if it's a sunny day and you a) have a privacy fence or, b) possess a devil-may-care attitude, you could bring some reading material outside and sit in the direct sun for 45 minutes, which would be way more fun (just wear sunscreen, please), and would do an excellent job of keeping both cap and hair beneath it heated.
The rest went as you would expect. I rinsed it out in the shower, then washed and conditioned with Intelligent Nutrients color-safe Harmonic Shampoo and Conditioner. And here is what I got:
Yes, it's a bit darker than before, but it's also the first day after coloring, and I'm guessing it will lighten up a bit after a few washes. Even if it doesn't, I'm absolutely loving the results. My hair looks great, it feels great, the color is even and rich, and the grey is nearly 100% gone. To be perfectly honest, it worked way better than I expected it to. It worked as well, if not better, than the toxin-filled nastiness I used before, meaning I will never be tempted again to reach for Cancer In A Box when my hair is in need of some pizazz.
UPDATE: We have now sold over one hundred boxes of Palette by Nature, and have received a great deal of feedback. I have also had the privilege to speak with Alex, the line's creator, when he came by the store to deliver product, educate me further about the hair color, and answer my questions. Based on my own repeated experience now with the color, the cumulative feedback from customers, and Alex's input, I have found the following tips to be most useful when it comes to getting the most of our Palette by Nature color:
- Use a fine tooth comb. I truly believe Logona's color applicator brush is the best one I have found for this purpose. Your colorist may tell you that it's harmful to comb hair color through the hair, but that only applies to product with PPD. With a color-depositing product like PbyN, you want to comb it through to coat as many hair strands as thoroughly as possible.
- You can save whatever color you don't use, even if it you have combined colors. Just put the cap back on, and store it a nice, dry location until the next time you color your hair.
- Use heat, ideally a hot blow dryer or a sit-under-it dryer like you'd find at a salon. Heat is your best friend with this product, as it activates the color and helps bind it to the cuticle.
- Apply the color several times during the processing phase to gray hair for better coverage. You can use a gloved finger or two to reapply the dye to the temples, roots, etc. while the color is taking hold. Just be sure to apply a good cleansing lotion or gel around the hair line to prevent dying the skin.
- Don't rub the product into the scalp. You will end up with color patches on your scalp.
- Know that the color and condition of the hair cuticle determines the final result. If you have had your hair chemically-colored (and yes, that applies to pretty much everything you'll find at the local co-op as well), the cuticle has sustained damage, period. And that damage will effect the way the hair color looks. You may have areas of the hair that are more damaged than others, and the damaged parts may take on a color that has a "coal" undertone. This also means, however, that as you grow out your hair, and healthy hair takes over as the damaged hair is cut off, you will get better results with each application.
- If the hair seems too dark, or has a "coal" undertone, consider mixing in one of the GD shades. I do this all the time now, as I find the GD shades really brighten up the color. If you want some reddish tone to it, consider using a Chestnut shade.
- Use a good, color-safe shampoo and conditioner. I'm not kidding here. Consider IN's Harmonic Shampoo and Conditioner, or Rare El'ements Shampoo & Conditioner, which were all created specifically to be gentle on color treated hair. Otherwise, your color will not last nearly as long, and you may find the color altering a bit as aspects of it are stripped away by the shampoo in particular.
- Keep it in perspective. This is not a chemical color product, which means nothing opens the cuticle and lifts the existing color out. I know you really want 100% of the gray to go away, and I know you really want beautiful blond hair instead of dishwater blond hair (me too!), and I know that before, with the other stuff, you were able to achieve a golden brown hue with some pretty highlights. I wish as much as any of you that this were all possible. The fact is, however, that you may have to decide how badly you want it all. This is far and away the best PPD-free, 100% natural hair color system on the market today, but it will have some limits, because it does not use PPD. That is why PPD is still freely sold around the world, despite the fact that everyone in the industry freely admits it's toxic (why do you think they tell you not to color your hair when you're pregnant?). In the end, it comes down to what you want more: Healthy, beautiful hair with nice, rich color - although perhaps not the exact one you want and with a few gray hairs at the temple or peeking through at the root - OR beautiful, perfectly dyed (yet damaged) hair, and an increased risk of developing an irreversible allergic reaction to a highly carcinogenic chemical.
- I have had a number of customers decide against trying Palette by Nature because they don't like the idea of having to hold a hair dryer to their head for 35-40 minutes. Personally speaking, it seems a small price to pay, but if it's enough to dissuade you from tossing the toxins, let me suggest something my mother gave me for Christmas. She got one for herself, because she also uses Palette by Nature, and thought I would like it as well. She was correct! http://www.conair.com/soft-bonnet-hair-dryer-p-37.html. It's perhaps the least sexy beauty accessory I have ever owned, so I don't recommend coloring your hair when there's a possibility Colin Firth may be stopping by for tea. Otherwise, it's a brilliant purchase. You just pop the dryer's bonnet over the plastic cap that comes with the dye, fire it up, and you've got 40 minutes of guilt-free Internet time while your hands-free dryer does the work.
Just about every day, we receive emails, phone calls, and visits from customers wanting to know how to best deal with resistent gray hair, or gray roots that don't want to blend with the rest of their hair. Well, Palette by Nature just sent all of us a Valentine's Day present (they love us! they really love us!) with these fantastic tips for glamming the grays.
TIPS FOR GRAY ROOTS AND/OR RESISTANT GRAY HAIR
- Apply ALL NATURAL BASE to roots or resistant gray areas by lightly squeezing applicator bottle and comb through with comb or hair coloring brush making certain that hair is completely saturated.
- Apply ALL NATURAL COLORANT on top of ALL NATURAL BASE by lightly squeezing applicator bottle and comb through with comb, making certain that hair is completely saturated.
- Apply direct medium/high heat with blow dryer (do not put plastic cap on) for 10 minutes. Color will become thicker (it is normal). DO NOT RINSE COLOR.
- Repeat Steps 1 and 2 above. If you need to color an entire head, repeat Steps 1 and 2 above for entire hair starting with roots first and continue combing through with comb or hair coloring brush until an entire hair is saturated well with ALL NATURAL BASE first and then with ALL NATURAL COLORANT .
- Apply direct medium/high heat with blow dryer (put plastic cap on) for 30 minutes. You can take a few 5 minutes rests throughout the entire processing time.
- Rinse hair thoroughly with Color Protective Cleansing Gel and Conditioner.
- Dry hair and style as usual (Color Protective Styling Gel is recommended).