How to have colour-treated hair and still look "natural"
I have been having my hair coloured since I was 18, after filling out the appearance section of the driver’s license form and a boyfriend pointed out that I wasn’t actually a “blonde” anymore. Puberty had evolved my buttery wheat hue to a mousey beige or what he referred to as a “dirty dish water” colour. Always a sucker for giving in to societal pressure, I began my transition from au naturale to chemically-treated hair, by heading straight to the nearest drugstore to pick up a product called Sun-In that promised to deliver a “sunsational summer look” by spraying it onto damp hair and then laying in the sun…for those nostalgia junkies like me, check out this ‘80s Sun-In commercial…talk about misleading advertising! The ingredients weren’t in fact bottled sunshine, but rather peroxide and water, which turned my neutral dull hair into a frizzy brassy disaster complete with split ends. Over the years, I changed hair stylists with the seasons, trying to find someone who could make me a blonde again without the reddish undertones. When my scalp started to suffer from irritation and thinning hair due to the harsh treatments, I decided to settle on dark brown as a way of minimizing the potency of the toxins. To add insult to injury, at 24, I started to go gray, making my quest to maintain a decent hair colour that much more frustrating with noticeable roots emerging a mere 3 weeks after each colour session.
By the time I met Traci, my hair was dry, brittle, and thinning after years of compromising its health, thickness, and shine. When she suggested she use a more natural colour system to transition my hair to blonde, I expressed skepticism since even the most aggressive (ahem…toxic) colour formulas had failed to produce believably blonde results. For months, she respected my wishes to maintain a simple dark brown and didn’t judge me when I’d arrive to her chair showing evidence of using Nice ‘n Easy root touch-up between our appointments…sorry Traci! After some convincing, Traci gradually evolved my colour to the NON-BRASSY golden blonde it is today…see photo below where the only brassy reddish hair in the frame belongs to my ginger pooch, Lucy (isn’t she a peach)!? Due to a combination of Traci’s expert skill and the amazing Organic Colour System used at Thair, my tresses are also healthy, soft, and full, making it the closest in texture and colour to what my hair was during my youth.
Thair is one of the few (if not only) salons in Toronto that use Organic Colour System, a British company that has developed the safest colour system on the market, while also being effective. Most hair colour products use harsh chemicals like ammonia and parabens that rob our hair of its shine and strength, but OCS is ammonia and paraben free, as well as vegan. Its claim to fame is that it uses the most certified organic ingredients possible and includes “fewer toxic chemicals than any other hair colour system.” In addition to it being gentler on hair, the OCS formula includes nourishing and strengthening ingredients that can actually help repair hair like mine that has been damaged.
Because of its kinder formula, OCS also works with your hair, instead of fighting against it. For instance, my natural hair colour has a variety of hues…darker underneath, lighter on top with gray around the sides and crown. I like to think of OCS as being more of a camouflage effect than a solid coverage, because the overall result looks more like highlights than a monochromatic colour. No hair colour product is 100% natural, because if it was, it wouldn’t work. But OCS is the cleanest and safest system on the market and I am personally thankful that Thair makes the effort to order it from all the way across the pond!
For more information on the science and formulation of Organic Colour Systems, the ladies at Thair will be able to explain in more detail how it works. In closing, keep in mind that to maintain the health and longevity of colour-treated hair, it is also important to use non-toxic hair products. I tend to switch up the brands I use, fluctuating between John Masters, Intelligent Nutrients, and Josh Rosebrook. Next time I’m at Thair, I also intend on picking up the Graydon haircare products that they’ve recently started selling. Even Lucy uses the non-toxic John Masters lemongrass and flaxseed dog shampoo and conditioner to keep her ginger fur gleaming for her boyfriend, Lucas (Traci’s dog)!