Colour me gorgeous: Hair Colour and chemotherapy
Patrick Swan: Style Guru, answers a letter to amoena life magazine
Carole writes: I have recently finished my treatment for breast cancer: chemotherapy, mastectomy and fifteen radiotherapy treatments, during which I lost all my hair. Luckily it is now growing back; unluckily it is growing back grey!!
Having spoken to my cancer care nurse, I find that colouring my hair with anything that contains bleach is out of the question, and that I should wait at least a year before using a plant-based dye. My nurse did admit that she knew of no research which had been done on this subject, but a lot of her patients had also asked her about hair colouring.
Recent pictures of Kylie Minogue were such positive images, and gave a good direction on how the introduction of colour can help you achieve a great look as your locks grow. I took particular notice of how her colour was applied away fromt her scalp, which is a modern take on those fab although slightly radical looks of early Madonna and punk icon Debbie Harry. You can choose any colour shade you want, although blonder shades without the need of bleach are easier and give a kinder effect with greying hair, and create the illusion your hair is a bit longer than it is. Beige or more neutral tones work well with higher percentages of grey to avoid brassiness, which is neither flattering nor sophisticated.
It's a good idea to wait as long as possible after you treatment before starting to dye your hair again. However, a splash of colour can give you a real boost when you're feeling low, so if you absolutely can't do without it my advice would be to make sure you only use tints or hair dyes made of natural colourants, such as henna or vegetable products. A couple to try are Daniel Field's Watercolour (available from Sainsbury's, or from www.honestycosmetics.co.uk) and Herbatint., which are formulated without ammonia. Aubrey Organics also does a vegetable-based dye in dark brown (get both at www.essentialslondon.com).
A good alternative if you simply want to disguise roots or colour re-growth is a tinted styling mousse. These wash out every time you wash your hair, but are a safe, quick and easy alternative to harsher dyes and tints, until you are able to start using other products again.
Or why not treat yourself to an appointment at a salon specialising in natural hair colouring? They are experts, after all, and can advise you on all aspects of natural hair care. Visit www.colourherbe.co.uk or www.aveda.co.uk for details of your nearest salon.