Going Grey Gracefully…and some Greenwashing


Photo by: The Rhumb Line

14246393At 17 I noticed my first strands of grey hair. At first it was just a few and they were easily disguised by my bleach blonde streaks. Throughout my twenties, a distinctive patch started to emerge and I started to fancy I was going to look as distinguished as Maxwell Sheffield from The Nanny. Unfortunately, the remainder of my hair is mousey brown, and let’s face it, I’m no TV star. So I continued to dye my hair…sometimes blonde, sometimes brunette.

More recently, I started caring more about the kinds of chemicals that I was putting on my head, so I considered growing my natural hair out for a while. I even discussed it with a few female friends and acquaintances and they strongly urged me not to go there. Overwhelmingly, they had stories of young woman who had let their hair go naturally grey and it didn’t work out so well. In all cases, said young woman was almost instantly treated poorly, as if she had aged overnight. Why is it in our society that men are allowed to age gracefully but the popular media considers women largely past our prime by the time we hit 35?  It’s frustrating!

NaturtintI let my hair go without colour for a few months, but it started looking limp, lifeless and dull. I started to feel the same way just looking at it. Back to hair colouring it was, but I wanted to use the most natural product I could find to avoid those nasty chemicals. In the interests of expediency I made a visit to the local (mostly) organic store and picked up a box of Nutratint Dark Golden Blonde with Grey Coverage. It said it was made with organic ingredients, and of course we all believe packaging don’t we?

Alas it wasn’t such good news when I checked Natratint on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Despite being packaged as a good alternative to other chemical hair colours, Natratint scored a 7/10 (high hazard). That’s a big red light. eeeeccckkkk! I got greenwashed!

After further investigation I found this on the Natratint website:

WARNING – The Naturtint Permanent colours do contain the minimum amount of ppd (p-PHENYLENEDIAMINE) necessary to make them work well and cover grey permanently. However, this is a chemical that some people with sensitive skin may react to, even though there is a lot less of it in the Naturtint ones compared to many other ranges.

OK, so they have less of the bad stuff than others, but at 7/10 on the hazard scale I won’t be using this product again. Back to the drawing board.


  1. If you find something PLEASE let me know. I have been searching for a better way to cover the grays and I cannot find it.
    Really enjoy your blog.

  2. Having recently sprouted my first three grey hairs (I’m sure there must be others hiding in there!), I’ve been thinking about this too. I think mine are still pretty discreet, but early greying seems to run in the family and I’d love it if there were an eco-friendly way to delay the process. Looking forward to seeing what works for you!

  3. Thank you for saving me from Naturtint. Have reacted to chemical dyes and lost some hair so was looking for a gentle alternative. Was actually considering Naturtint until I read this.

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