Vanity hair

Since my early twenties I have had pesky strands of grey hair, thanks to my father who also had grey by the time he met my mother at the age of 23. Unlike Dad, who embraced the distinguished professor look, I have been regularly dyeing my hair for the past decade or so (this is in addition to the teenage experimental phases, from black to mustard yellow Sun-in with purple streaks in between, which don’t count). After a few years of botch jobs at home, I eventually switched to a salon which has been much better.

Unfortunately, I’m not someone who could just let their hair grow out during pregnancy and be an earth mother type. I don’t care whether if it is in fashion, and it does seem to recur on the catwalks every now and again: I am simply not yet prepared for the world to see my grey hair.

jessiej

The fabulous Jessie J… one way to cover up grey roots (thanks Glamour)

Hair dye in pregnancy divides opinion, professional and otherwise. The general consensus seems to be that too many chemicals during the first trimester in particular are very bad. One suggestion I read was to only use highlights, as these aren’t supposed to touch your scalp so much, therefore limiting the amount that might get absorbed. Since we started thinking about having a baby, my hairdresser has switched to INOA dye. This is made by L’Oreal and stands for “Innovative No Ammonia”. It is therefore supposed to be more natural and less harsh on your hair and your body in general – thus limiting potential harm to your baby. I talked it all through at length with my hairdresser and she calmed all my worries and fears.

What clinched it for me was my hairdresser becoming pregnant herself and continuing to religiously dye her hair bright red with blonde streaks (not like Geri but much prettier than it sounds!) every few weeks. I figured that if (a) she is using it herself plus (b) she is around loads of dye anyway all day long as it’s her job, it couldn’t be that bad. In addition, according to the NHS, “it’s fine to colour your hair during pregnancy.” Who am I to argue?

Recently I have been more concerned with what I’m going to do after the baby comes. The answer seems to be home dye, as I’m not sure about exposing a baby to salon fumes and can’t really justify a babysitter for such an indulgence. A month or so ago I decided to try dyeing my hair at home again so that if there was a disaster, I would have time to get it fixed. Thank goodness for forward planning!

I initially tried temporary dye as that was the only ammonia-free dye I could find in Boots. While the colour looked lovely, it didn’t cover the grey. I needed something ammonia-free but permanent, which I found online. Upon applying the dye, I could immediately see my roots were a rather strange colour. Maybe it will look different once washed and dried, I reasoned – I remembered that sometimes even the most innocuous brown hair dye could look purple at first. Alas, to my horror, bright ORANGE hair emerged. I have nothing against gingers, in fact I think red hair can be beautiful, but against my rosy skin tone it looked absolutely hideous. Even worse was the fact only my roots seemed to be orange so it looked like I’d been trying to dye my natural ginger hair brown!

There was only one thing to do. Cry.

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Not so fabulous: Pixie (also thanks to Glamour)

Eventually I summoned up courage, called the salon, confessed my shame and went for a consultation the next day. Fortunately my hairdresser booked me in pretty much immediately so hardly anyone saw my ginger awfulness (I never thought I’d be grateful for cold weather in April, but wearing a woolly hat saved my dignity). I nearly cried again after the deep clean, which faded the bright ginger to an even worse pale orange – it looked like my roots had become stained with nicotine. Gross! Nearly four hours later, I had reasonable hair again and have learned my lesson the hard way. My hairdresser kindly wrote down my colours for me so hopefully I can match it better next time or perhaps try and get someone to come to the house and do it.

I have a feeling my hair saga is not over though: that’s the problem with hair, it just keeps on growing…

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