Why Ditching Hair Dye Is Difficult - The Fermented Foody

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Why Ditching Hair Dye Is Difficult

Hi You!

Last week I received a message on my YouTube channel that was so interesting, I wanted to share it here with you. It highlights the same messages that I read about many times in silver forums during my own transition from dyed to natural hair.  It’ll be a year in early December that I made the decision to ditch hair dye.

Here’s the message I received:

OK, I’m 47. Been going grey since, oh crikey..probably 16 or 17.

I’ve been a slave to the N7 brown dye for nearly 30 years!! I’m trying to get some motivation and inspiration from the internet to finally give me the courage to ditch the dye and like you, I feel its just so unhealthy now.

It’s become such a chore and I feel it’s almost like eating secretly a kebab and drinking a whole bottle of wine, I know it’s not doing me any good physically and spiritually if that makes sense. I’m interested in your video because it highlighted a couple of points that I too have encountered that not may people touch on.

Both men and women that know me say ” you don’t want to go grey yet, it’ll be so dowdy and age you” and I start to believe them. It’s mainly men that have more of an opinion on my grey they intimate it will render me to the category of unsexy, unfeminine and as generally past it! (That shouldn’t bother me, I’m married to a gorgeous fella who thinks I should embrace my natural colour.)

I am very disheartened by these sorts of attitudes, are they saying that the colour of my hair is solely responsible for making me unattractive/zero sex appeal/undesirable? As I actually write this down it comes to me that that says a much more about them than it does about me.

The second point that comes to me as I write this is that the media, the glossy mags etc. never seem to have naturally grey haired middle aged women modelling anything other than jam recipes.

The grey templed fellas are adorned with Tom Ford suits and Rolex watches, behind the wheel of sun seekers and sipping vintage brandy. It’s far more honest in reality. These ads say you probably won’t be able to afford this lifestyle until you’re 40+ boy and the 40+ girls?? well they don’t feature, especially if they have a silvery bonce.

Most women think men look great with grey hair and I think that’s because women are less focused on, and less attracted by the purely visual aspect of others, I feel blokes are more attracted/stimulated by what they see (I know I’m generalising but..) I think that’s why the male opinions in your experiment seemed to be initially bias towards ‘keep yourself looking good, make an effort = dye your hair!?!
I feel better now I’ve had a rant, sorry.

I still don’t know what to do tough, my castings box is calling to me but ….I must resist…..must resist!!

Why Ditching Hair Dye is Difficult

Why Ditch The Hair Dye

Hi Lexie,

Your message made me smile. Good to get it all out! 😉

Point 1: When you ditch the dye, you’re doing it for YOU, not anyone else. The first thing you need to do is stop worrying about what anyone else may think. It’s not important. Plus, you happen to have an in-house bonus. In your own words – ‘a gorgeous fella who thinks I should embrace my natural colour.’ Your husband! ‘Nuff said? 😉

Point 2: Why does the media concern you? Unless you’re a model needing work, allow them get on with whatever they do and you be the proud owner of whatever hair colour you desire. Don’t be guided by anything other than your own inner voice.

I believe that the way we feel inside directly correlates with the reaction we receive from others.

I experienced my own concerns about ditching the dye (go to this URL: www.thefermentedfoody.com .. and check the category list for: My Transition to Silver. I detailed my story there. It may help you decide.)

I have yet to make the final video – Part 4. I’ll be a year into ‘transitioning and then being silver’ in early December. When I get time I’ll film the round up.

Meanwhile, before and during my transition – when I was frequenting silver forums – I read many stories of how women had to deal with negativity from colleagues/ friends/ family/ strangers.

I don’t know if the result I’ve experienced is based on my approach to this whole subject, but I have only received not only positive, but mainly hugely positive feedback on my new short, silver hair.

I don’t think it can be because it’s AMAZING! It’s just short, silver hair. Right? I have it cut well and that’s it.

I think it’s because truly, honestly, deep down inside, I feel completely happy with my decision and am thoroughly enjoying the new me.

After the initial fear, embracing the real me, accepting my age, understanding that people may perceive me as older – and being ok with that – was such a relief.

I’ve had many tell me I look in my 30’s-40’s (I’m 52). Occasionally a teenager thinks I’m older. That’s ok too. They’re young. I’m not going to look like a kid to them. 😉

I’m having enormous fun choosing new colours for make up/ clothes/ accessories and not being a slave to a toxic dye that may well have been compromising my health. I’m much healthier these days – with a general clean up on hair dye/ skin products/ food etc.

It’s also great not having to endure the physical reaction during the colouring process. A constant itching. And once, a burning sensation, that made me reconsider why I was doing this to my body.

I made a ton of wonderful new online friends during the transition. I’ve had huge fun during the entire experience. I can’t actually think of a single negative!

Oh. And my husband encouraged me too. That’s all I needed. Some don’t have that. We’re lucky. 🙂

Today I feel different. Quietly more confident. Is that because I’ve bucked convention and survived? Not sure. I just feel relaxed that I’ve no hair worries right now.

Importantly, I feel grateful that I HAVE hair at all, whatever the colour. The quality of my hair has improved since I stopped regularly trying to kill it off.

Putting things in perspective was also key for me.

* There are people who don’t have the luxury of hair (I know one woman very well who has alopecia)
* There are people who lose their lives young to illness (people close to me: 31 and 38 yrs of age)
* There are people who have huge physical disabilities to overcome and live with every day of their lives (On the day I went to have my hair cut short I drove past someone I know who’s been a victim of a terrible accident. He is visibly badly burned, has lost part of both legs and lost an arm. An amazingly courageous and lovely man, with a supportive family, all getting on with their lives)
* There are millions of people around the world who don’t have a roof over their head. Or enough, warmth, food, comfort, love, safety.

The colour of my hair was less important than any of the bullet points above, so for me, it became an easy decision. Media/fashion/people’s opinions weren’t my personal drivers.

Yes, I still had a little nerve the moment the scissors snipped. However ..

* I knew that my hair would grow back if I wanted it to.
* I knew I could reach for another bottle of colour if I couldn’t handle the silver.
* I also knew that I was unlikely to ever do those things.
* Once I’d made my decision, I committed to it because I knew it was best for me.

If you’d like to see the rest of our conversation, click this link and check below the video:


Here’s information from Dupont on PPD; one of the key chemicals in many hair dyes.

You’ll notice that they don’t recommend PPD for prolonged skin contact … Remember that when you’re dying your hair, the chemical reaction is happening ON your scalp.


Here’s my initial article “Is Hair DyesDangerous?” written a few weeks into my transition to silver hair:


Please comment below if you’ve successfully transitioned, experienced difficulties along the way, are still going through hair changes, or are considering ditching the dye and feel to nervous to take the plunge. I’m so interested to know how you’re dealing with it.

Chat soon,

Why Ditch The Hair Dye?







Image reference: http://www2.dupont.com/Specialty_Chem_Intermediates/en_US/products/ppd.html

About the Author Sarah Jackson

I love to experiment with food, write poetry, read, walk in nature, take iphone photographs, sing, cycle, watch good movies, documentaries, dramas and comedy.

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Leave a Comment:

Kate says

Hi, Sarah, I stopped using hair dye about four or five years ago. I’d used it for a few years to cover up a grey line that appeared – I find that most people go grey in streaks, but mine started as a line all round the edge of the scalp (a perfectly healthy scalp, I should add) and from then on the hair started to lose its colour (I put it down to stress). Anyway, four-ish years ago I stopped, as I couldn’t be bothered any more. And to my surprise I haven’t yet gone grey (or silver)! True, my hair isn’t the corn blonde it was in my youth, but it’s still got colour. This is actually working against me as nobody believes I don’t dye it, hmm… Still, maybe it’s my healthy Primal diet and the fact that I now have no stress to speak of (got divorced 😉 ) but whatever, I’m not bothered now if and when my hair decides to go silver. So keep up the good work!

    Sarah Jackson says

    No stress (and your reason – lol).

    People ask me all the time if I have my hair coloured, because of the various streaks of different silvers and whites. I’m happy to tell them it’s my natural hair. They always seem amazed! Just enjoy it Kate. If you’re being asked, it’s probably because people think it looks fab! We can celebrate our natural highlights.

Liz Eremenko says

I have been colour free for two and a half years . Never ever regretted it! I love the rebellious feeling I get from having silver hair. I get a million comments on my hair too. Lots are from wistful ladies of my own age who tell me that if their grey was like mine they’d happily do it too. I always reply that I had no idea when I began my journey how it would turn out!! Not a clue but I always knew that if I didn’t like it the worst that would happen would be short dark hair. I and lots of other people I know have found the same confidence from being dye free. It’s a big leap yes, but one I shall forever be glad I took. I’ve made lots of new friends- including Sarah ? And I’ve gained so much in terms of confidence and time and money . I hope to inspire others to at least consider making the change .

    Sarah Jackson says

    I think that line about ‘if my grey was like yours I’d do it too’ is probably the response I hear most too Liz. I think it’s fear based, which is natural, given society norms. I’m sure you’ve inspired many since you transitioned yourself.

    Am so glad we met! One of the bonuses of going grey/silver is making fantastic new friends. What’s not to love about that? 🙂

Hannah Atkinson says

I love your silver hair. People pay good money and ruin their hair to bleach and tone and turn their brown hair silver at the moment. I’m fortunate that I just found my first greys at 37 but hope I can age gracefully when I need to x

    Sarah Jackson says

    Thank you Hannah. You started later than some and earlier than others, but it sounds as though you’re ready to embrace, which is great! x

Robyn says

I ditched the dye and have never felt better about it! It’s interesting though how many comments I get about how much grey I have….”you should dye it” they say, “you’re still so young”! UGH!! Don’t these people understand grey is the new black? I see so many young girls (I work in a high school) who think the grey is the newest, hottest, color and are taking great steps to become grey (yep they’re dying their hair grey). Perhaps it’s time I told them about you Sarah! 🙂

    Sarah Jackson says

    I spotted a couple of young girls last week who had coloured their hair grey Robyn! That phase will no doubt pass. It won’t change how you and I, or the 1000’s of other women who love the freedom of shining silvers, feel about our natural locks. 😉 .. I don’t see the attitude to grey hair changing in our life-time. If we can encourage others to confidenty embrace their own colour though, we’ll have made steps forward.

    Please do spread the word Robyn! My story is here on this blog for anyone worrying about transitioning!

    And good for you that you’ve gone natural so young. I wish I’d done so myself!

Paola says

I haven’t because I am not fully silver, but I have chunks in my hair, quite big for my age (29 years old), so I die my hair to hide it, but that’s mainly because I like changing my hair colour, it bores me when its one colour for too long. I try to not get influenced by what people say from now so when it’s my time to transition it will be easier.

    Sarah Jackson says

    Paola, each to their own. 🙂 We all make decisions based on whatever we feel suits us best. Thank you for joining the conversation.

Liz says

This is wonderful. Thanks for posting this! To anyone on the fence I say, go silver, gals: it’s a great, freeing feeling! 🙂

    Sarah Jackson says

    Thanks Liz. Ditto to your advice! 🙂

Gilly Maddison says

I can totally see why people are ditching hair dye and embracing their naturally greying hair. The health implications of toxic dyes seem to be making many women put health before vanity now. My own natural hair color is reddish blonde and as I approach 60, it is getting lighter and looking more blonde than red. All through my childhood, I hated my hair because it was a very unusual colour not being ginger or blonde but a mix of both. It was commented on so often by total strangers and I also got bullied at school because it was different to most other kids’ hair. Only now do I fully appreciate my hair colour because it hasn’t gone grey yet. My mother is 87 and still has lots of natural colour in hers. The only issue is, people assume I color my hair and I have had people actually argue with me and call me a liar when I say I don’t color it!!!!!! As hair and skin are made of the same stuff, it always amazes me that we tolerate unwanted discussion/comment about a person’s hair while making the same discussion about skin color a crime.

    Sarah Jackson says

    Hair does seem to be one of those ‘free for all’ topics, doesn’t it Gilly.

    Perhaps a confident smile and simple, brief response such as: ‘It’s my own and I know I’m lucky!’ may disarm the type of people who want to confront you? 🙂

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