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Hair Dye and Self Image

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There are more than two schools of thought when it comes to hair dye. For women of the post-sixties feminist revolution, hair dye is often smugly disdained as something for vain, media obsessed consumerist low-brows with no autonomy or inner peace. For most other American women, dyeing one's hair even before it turns gray is just, well, part of a beauty regime, like a manicure or a waxing (I know, I know, don't get me started).
Hair dye can be used for self-expression and artistic outlet - take the young things with purple, pink and blue highlights who have also come to utilize kitchen utensils as jewelry and who would never hesitate to throw some glitter onto their faces at the drop of a hat. The hair dye they use is like paint and they are the canvasses; whether or not they are true artists is somewhat beside the point.

Other women simply color just to color - they like changing up their look or they like the texture and shine of all the different ingredients in the stuff. They can go from auburn to blonde to midnight vixen within a six-month time period and not even have to go to therapy for identity issues.
Women for whom the gray tolls can either opt in or out of hair dye. Some like their hair turning the color of wisdom and hate the expense of the professional dye job or the mess of the at-home variety. They just let it go, let it grow and chuckle knowingly at anyone who would criticize.
Others run screaming to their hairdresser or their local Wal-Mart the moment a wiry white hair pokes through the masses, hurrying to regain their lost reality, to stave off the senior discount, the "Ma'am" at the grocery store.
If you are a hair-dyeing queen (or a male queen or just a plain old dude) please be advised that many products used in the salons and ones you buy yourself can be toxic, can cause health problems and can even cause hair loss. Some of the toxic chemicals that can be found in hair dye include, but are not limited to:
PPD p-phenylene diamine, ammonia, heavy metals, peroxide, pesticides. Henna and other plant-based hair dyes can do a wonderful job coloring your hair while A great place to look for all natural hair dyes is here: http://www.skincarebeautyzone.com/hair-care/natural-hair-care/the-top-10-most-vibrant-natural-hair-dyes/?utm_source=web&utm_medium=twitter
More difficult to come by are products that don't test on animals. For a list of "cruelty-free" companies, of which hair color is almost non-existent, unfortunately, click here: http://www.idausa.org/facts/crueltyfree.html#cf4_12
Remember, blonde or gray, brunette or auburn, purple, pink or blue, it's still only your hair, and your hair is not YOU.

Aimee Boyle is a regular writer for EmpwoHER and she works with students of a variety of different hair colors on a daily basis.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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