Friday, January 28, 2011

Non-Toxic Hair Color for Cancer Patients

Finding a Fabulous, Non-Toxic Hair Colorant
Now I Use Non-Toxic Hair Color and Color It Myself.
 Just one month after I was diagnosed with Uterine Leiomyosarcoma, I met with a reputable Naturopath.  She ordered several lab tests which revealed that my body had "off-the-chart" levels of certain chemicals commonly found in grooming products, particularly parabens and pthalates. When my Naturopath recommended that I stop exposing my body to these chemicals, I readily agreed. There is only so much toxicity the body can tolerate before it leads to a toxic crisis. Unless the cause of the toxicity is discovered and removed, the crisis will eventually lead to organic disease, even cancer.

Before My Diagnosis I Used Lots of Chemicals on My Hair

My hair is naturally curly, and it needs an abundance of products to keep it looking good. Before I found out that I had cancer, I was going regularly to the salon for highlights. In fact, my hair was more blonde than brown! I knew that I had to give up my highlights, but I wasn't ready to stop coloring. So I went in search of the best non-toxic way to color my hair. 

I didn't want a product with peroxide because it would damage my hair and make it frizzy. So here was the challenge: to find a non-toxic product that would have the ability to cover a little gray without using peroxide and provide a natural looking medium brown color.

At first I tried Surya Henna Powder which is free of PPD, parabens, resorcinol, heavy metals, peroxide and ammonia. It left my hair shiny and in great condition, but even their "Ash" Brown had a lot of red in it. That's because gold, red and copper hues are characteristic of the henna plant.

In my search to find a non-toxic, non-henna, ash brown hair color, I came across Act by Nature's Palette by Nature. They make their hair dye from living plants using the latest scientific achievements in green chemistry. The result is a 100% naturally-derived plant based permanent hair colorant that is free of paraphenylene diamine (PPD), resorcinol, m-aminophenol, p-aminophenol, toluene, 2.5 diamine, azo-dyes, diazo-dyes, disperse dyes, ammonia and parabens - all synthetic chemicals which are know allergens and suspected carcinogens.

Palette by Nature's Light Natural Brown gave me a medium-dark brown color without any red undertones. It changed my gray to light brown highlights. In order to cover a minor amount of gray, however, I had to keep the product on my head longer than recommended, strictly adhering to the instructions to keep it warm with a hair dryer for the entire period while processing. Once this was done, the color was permanent and did not fade. 

My only disappointment has been with the gray coverage at the crown and temples. I feel like I need to break down and use a product with a little peroxide just on the crown and temples.  

Naturtint makes a permanent hair colorant with no parabens, ammonia, resorcinol, silicones, paraffin, mineral oils, SLS or formaldehyde derivatives. But it does have peroxide. I'm going to try it next week just as a touch-up, and I'll let you know the results. 

For more information about my healing lifestyle, including diet and supplements, please visit Surviving Uterine Leiomyosarcoma - How Everything Fits Into My Day.

1/29/11 Update: I purchased Naturtint 5N Light Chestnut Brown from my local health food store. One box was enough to cover the bangs, crown and temples of my hair. The  application was easy, the gray coverage superb, and the color is perfect! I definitely recommend it. Light Chestnut Brown gave me a rich medium brown shade and blended perfectly with the rest of my hair. 

3/10/11 Update:  It has been six weeks since I colored my crown and temples with Naturtint 5N. The color remained true and did not fade or turn brassy. I will definitely use Naturtint the next time I color. It was so much easier to use, made much less mess, and covered the grays beautifully. 

4/15/11 Update: After 8 weeks it was time to color my roots. I decided to color my entire head with Naturtint 5N Light Chestnut Brown to even out the color and lighten the darker part that was colored previously with Palette by Nature. It took 3 boxes to cover my hair because it is nearly waist length now. I left it on for 20 minutes. The color was uniform, medium to dark brown with no red, and had nice natural highlights.

6/23/11 Update After several applications of Naturtint (about once every 2 months), my hair began to feel dry and frizzy. Yes, the peroxide was too much with repeated applications.  Frankly, it felt like straw! And, as one reader pointed out in the comment section, Naturtint still contained PPD's, although they claim to use far less than most other brands.  I decided to go back to Palette by Nature's Light Natural Brown. I may use Naturtint occasionally just at the temples and a couple of highly resistant spots near my bangs that are more visible.  Otherwise, I am returning to Palette by Nature. It kept my hair in excellent condition and full of shine. 

7-3-11 Update I returned to Palette by Nature and my hair just loved it! It's full of shine, bouncy curls and a nice dark brown color. Yes, light brown comes out dark brown, but it is natural and not red like henna.

1/24/13 Update I'm still using Palette by Nature's non-toxic color, now in Medium Natural Brown. For one super stubborn gray spot on my crown I use a tiny bit of "Root Touch Up" which is NOT non-toxic, but it allows me to treat just that stubborn area without saturating the scalp. The rest of my grays are turned a lighter shade of brown with Palette by Nature. 

3/1/13 Update As I age, I am finding more grays throughout my head. This time I used Palette by Nature Dark Natural Brown and left it on for 1 1/2 hours WITHOUT heat. The coverage was nice and even with the gray hairs turning a lighter brown shade, providing nice highlights. 

3/23/14 Non-toxic products are an important part of detoxification in the anticancer lifestyle.

I lost 1/3 of my hair and had to cut it off just past my shoulders following my cancer surgery/hysterectomy.  I was feeling fatigued, depressed and my hair was falling out in huge fist-fulls.  I believe my hormones were out of balance. After meeting with naturopath Dr. Monique Mazza, I began taking Bio-identical hormones. I felt happy and full of energy. Other great things for my hair include Natural Factors Biosil,  Barlean's flax seed oil and Carlson's fish oil. This is the first time since I was in my 20's that my hair has grown this long.


Tiffany said...

And if you ask me, your curls are the most beautiful they have ever been!

Jeannie said...

Thank you, Tiffany! Balancing my body with bio-identical hormones and using non-toxic hair color has really allowed my hair to grow back thick and long, in great condition.

Teresa Lewis said...

I found your blog "by accident" researching ULMS. I have been undergoing Hyperthermia and low dose radiation in Los Angeles at VCI for the past three months and less than two weeks ago got a clear PET scan! I know this is just the first step and that I have to stay healthy and stress free. Thank you for this uplifting blog. I'd love to talk more via email about stress reduction and bio-identical hormones. Perhaps one day I could meet you in person. I'll be going back to Florida in a few weeks. More about me: EMAIL:

Marian said...

You look wonderful! I admire your strength and love your hair. I stumbled upon your blog looking for better ways to color my hair. I have difficult gray, which in perspective, is nothing in the big picture. I just want to wish you good health! Please be cautious, the link to Naturetint on your blog sent me to Vitacost, which had the ingredients listed. It included PPD. It was right there - p-phenylenediamine. Please continue to heal and thank you for your blog! :-)

Jeannie said...

Thank you Marian!

According to Naturtint, their permanent colors contain the minimum ammount of PPD needed to make them work and cover gray. They say that there is a lot less of it in Naturtint compared to regular hair colors. They do make a semi-permanent color line that is completely free of PPDs. It is called Naturtint Reflex Semi-Permanent Hair Color. It will cover mid-range grays, and can also be used to extend the life of the permanent hair color. What I put on my hair is not so much a concern as what I put on my scalp where it will be absorbed into my system! Thank you for pointing this out.

Anna said...

I was diagnosed with stage 1 Endometrial cancer in 2009. I never went back to see the OBGYN and change my diet to Budwig diet and raw food diet. I believe in natural cancer treatments, because I had too many side effects with conventional treatments for my previous lymphoma.
Regarding hair dye, I have been using Naturtint for more than a decade and continue to use it. I enjoyed reading your blog.

Jeannie said...

Hi Anna,
Thank you for posting! I wish you the very best health. Please feel free to share more on Facebook. I'd love to hear from you.

rashmi said...

You can also use Vegetal Bio color which is 100% ppd free and is natural.i have used it so many times and got desired results. said...

What choice is less harmful (less toxic) and what can we really do to protect ourselves when it comes to hair dyes?

Six brands available on the shelves of the health food stores ( Sanotint , Herbatint , Color & Soin , Naturetint , Hair fashion Alegretti , EcoColors ) were analyzed for you. See their toxicological decryption on the page Non-toxic hair dyes on

Jeannie said...

Thanks for the link to a site with a lot of great information. As for hair dye, Palette by Nature was again cited as a great non-toxic color, but by no means permanent.

Heather Anderson said...

Hi, I just found your site as I was looking into natural hair coloring. I had a question for you. All the boxes of natural hair colorant said that you had to let your hair grow out if you had been coloring with chemicals. How did you make the transition from chemical coloring to more natural coloring? Thanks for sharing.

Jeannie said...

Hi Heather, I did NOT have to grow out my hair before starting to use Palette by Nature. I have found it to be completely compatible with henna or commercial colors, causing no unusual effects. Be sure to have plenty of towels to cover the area as it makes a mess! They do include a remover to help you clean up. :)

Dahlia said...

First off, you have gorgeous hair! My hair is long, dark thick and curly. I'm just getting some grey, and I would like to cover it. I'm surprised you used Naturtint. I bought it yesterday but after reading about it on the EWG, Skin Deep web-site, I decided to return it. It came out with a moderate hazard in terms of toxicity, and one ingredient had a high hazard.

Jeannie said...

Hi Dahlia, Thank you for the compliment! You are right about Naturtint - not a great product. On top of that, the peroxide left my hair dry and frizzy after a couple of treatments. I continue to use Palette by Nature which leaves my hair in great condition. As more gray comes in, I've switched to the Dark Natural Brown shade for better coverage. For a few very stubborn spots near my bangs/crown I use a TINY bit of Root Touch-Up, which is definitely toxic, but it is the only way I can manage those grays. Best of luck to you!

dönek güvercin said...

en iyi saç renklerimodelleri size yakışır

Jeannie said...

Thank you for your kind words!

Jennifer Frank said...

This is awesome! Reading about holistic cancer cures I've learned that hair dyes can cause serous threat to your health, since I've shy away from such beauty chemicals. Anyway, Naturtint sounds great! Can't wait to try it out myself and finally get a much needed make over.

Anonymous said...

You are gorgeous, no matter what you do to your hair you'll always be pretty. Thank you for the helpful information.

Jeannie said...

Thank you for your kind compliments!