Friday, April 24, 2009

To color or not to color...Aveda makes the dyeing dilemma less painful

Hey all you GLR regulars, Melissa here, taking a spin for Jenn. Enjoy!

Among my many baby steps toward a greener way of living have definitely been a few that some people would not even contemplate. I won't even bother to list them, but I figure these are the ways in which I account for the steps I, in turn, can't contemplate. Like navy showers. Like trying to fit three kids in car seats into a Smart Car. Like moving from the suburbs to the city. Everyone has their level...enough said.

One step I've contemplated, but ultimately rejected (for now, anyway) is giving up on hair color. I gave up on length (going from shoulder-length to my current pixifed do) to save shower time months back, and have been loving how fast it is to shampoo and rinse now -- so much less guilt! That said, all the trims that have been necessary to maintain the shorter style have brought me up short in another way: the last of my last hair color session (done at home, from a box that cost probably no more than $10) was all gone. And the greys were taking a spot front and center.

For months and months, I hesitated. I really hated to be responsible for dumping more dye chemicals down my drain. It just seemed out of kilter with everything else I've been trying to do. And I didn't really want to pay my colorist to dump them down her drain either. I know I'm not the only person who cares about the environment to fret about whether to color or not. But who wants to look 50 at 40?

Well, not me, for one. So, in doing some desperate online research, I was reminded that
Aveda, purveyor of a range of beauty products and services, offers hair coloring services that use more nature-based ingredients. But since I didn't have time to look up the details right then, I didn't get too far.

After some more stalling, I finally decided the time had come, and booked myself at a salon that uses Aveda products. I verified with my colorist that, indeed, Aveda's line is more environmentally-friendly (Um, not to say I would have leapt, outraged, out of the chair if the answer had been "no, not really!" The greys had to go!) than most other DIY or salon coloring products.

Here's how Aveda's Web site describes its Shades of Enlightenment Advanced Lifting
Creme Hair Color (not sure if this is what I got, but I think it's close): "Blondes awaken with the first permanent hair color system that's 97 percent naturally derived—capturing the active energy of plants."

My colorist noted that the hair color line does contain a small amount of peroxide -- necessary for the color to "deposit" (I have to confess I don't know precisely what this means, but my guess is that it means the peroxide helps the dye to do what you want it to do to your hair). But the overwhelming majority of Aveda's products are plant-derived, and they have a whole
policy around their process for selecting green ingredients. And a quick search on Aveda at Treehugger shows them to be generally beloved over there.

As for my experience, the first thing I noticed was that I didn't smell any of the usual smells when the colorist wheeled out her tray with the mixed color. She warned me that some natural products can actually have a stronger smell even than traditional peroxide-heavy colors, but even when my entire head was foiled, I never smelled a thing. And I have an obnoxiously well-developed sense of smell, so that's got to be worth something!

And the color, when all was said and done, looked good. I'd say great, but we went for highlights and lowlights of blonde and brown -- subtle with a capital sssss. It's so similar to what my own normal hair would look like that it's hard to gush about it...maybe I'll be a little bolder next time. All the same, I'm happy I did it, because I'm not looking quite so salt-and-peppery now.

Oh, and one more hair remains happily unfried, something I could not say of my past out-of-box experiences!

If there's a downside, it's the price tag. Like any salon process, this cost more -- way more -- than doing it yourself from a box you buy at CVS or Target. And it probably even cost a few bucks more than I've shelled out in the past for highlights, even when my hair was long. But I think the environmental benefits made it worthwhile. What with the sun finally warming things up now, I can probably stretch this round of color six months, right? So I'm pinning four green leaves on Aveda for the moment -- could jump up to five if my next attempt at a slightly gutsier look works out!


ginger said...

yay! good for you! aveda is on peta's cruelty free cosmetics list, plus everyone i know loves them.
i recently discovered naturtint and have used it twice now. i was going to tell you because i just colored my hair yesterday and here you are posting about the same thing.
naturtint costs about $12, is all vegetarian, not tested on animals, doesn't smell bad and is permanent. i wish they had more color options, but they do have a pretty good variety considering the lack of chemicals involved.

T.Allen-Mercado said...

I've been using Aveda for years and swear by them. I don't dye...I kinda like my platinum locks, but I use their color enhancing conditioner for shine; pricier than the others, but SO worth it!

Jenn said...

Awesome! I've been nervous to try the henna for my lack of knowledge in chemistry and fear of messing it up. This might just be something I look into next trip to the salon, thanks Melissa!

MelissaBBGG said...

Hmm, I'd say naturtint's price has Aveda's beat! Might have to give it a try. I've liked Aveda for years, too, mostly because they have such a variety of great smells in that place! And I love their skin stuff...the toning mist and the hydrating mask, especially -- they feel great and smell even better. Just have to save some pennies before going in there!

Karen said...

I've never colored my hair and have had grey since my 30's. The gal the cuts my hair once asked if I ever colored it and when I said no, she exclaimed "Do you know HOW MUCH money you've saved?" Ha.

MelissaBBGG said...

Karen, I wish I had the nerve to go with the greys, but I have just this soupcon of vanity that screams, "Not yet!" I have definitely seen some women (and men) out there with knockout, drop dead gorgeous grey hair, and maybe that will be me someday. Hope so, and in the meantime, more power to you!

FairiesNest said...

My son's girlfriend turned me onto Aveda. She's attending the Aveda institute and loves their products!

Stephany said...

Speaking of the Aveda Institute (Aveda's beauty schools), you can get your hair colored there for about 1/3 what Aveda color costs in a salon (or at least what it costs at a typical Salon where I live, in San Francisco). There is a high amount of instructor supervision and I've never left without the exact cut or color I had in mind. Enjoy!