Glorious locks, shining tresses, Rapunzel, Goldilocks… Throughout history, and in fairy tales and legends, a woman’s hair has been seen as a manifestation of her femininity and desirability.
Today hair and our obsession with it is a multi-billion dollar industry, including hair dyes, styling products, wigs, celebrity hairdressers and hairstyle magazines. The endless media ‘reports’ on celebrities ‘new do’s” fuel the idea of forever changing your ‘look’, and keeping women insecure about, and spending their time and money on, their appearance, encouraging a culture of dissatisfaction…
Having a ‘Bad hair day’? Feel the need to re-invent yourself? Then get to the hairdressers is the advice we are given and we even encourage each other to participate in the belief that a new hair do will paper over the cracks in our emotional lives and give us that much sought after ‘great self-esteem’! A ‘new you’ is promised just by a snip of the scissors and a bottle of dye! God forbid that you should have grey hairs or split ends…you are just letting yourself go.
The pressure to look groomed and preened at all times is a reality for many women, at college, at work, as a Mother, as a Grand-Mother.
As a result we spend an incredible amount of time and money on our hair styling.
“According to the research, the average British woman spends about £27,722.52 on her hair in her lifetime.“ (That equates to over $50,000.00 in U.S. funds for you American readers.)
Quote from “The Cost of Gorgeous Hair“
So what is the big deal? We all want to look our best right? The natural look is OK for girls but a woman needs to look sophisticated and to have the latest seasons cut and color, surely?
The hidden costs of this are environmental and the long term effects on our health from the chemicals in the products. The recent story involving Brazilian Blowout products is a just the latest example…
From The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:
Product tests have revealed extremely high levels of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical, in some Brazilian Blowout products (even those labelled “formaldehyde-free”), but the company still insists its products are safe. (All the salon workers and clients who’ve reported nose bleeds, dizziness, rashes and hair loss might beg to differ.)
So maybe we need to question this obsession with grooming our locks… to demand safer more natural products that do not harm our bodies and environment, to question the need to dye at the first sightings of grey hairs, to embrace our natural color, to let go of the idea of having a permanently perfect coiffure… radical I know. I am not suggesting we all become disheveled and wild, but surely nothing is more beautiful than healthy naturally shining hair and no color suits you better than your own?
The demands from the world of advertising, media and society are real, but we own our response to them and as consumers we have the option to put our money where our ideals are and make our own demands on manufacturers. Money talks… if you don’t like the objectification in an advertising campaign, don’t buy the product; if you don’t like the chemical ingredients, choose a natural alternative.
Green Hairdressing Salons are opening in more places, so check your area for toxic free hairdressers. Get creative… there are many home herbals available that list recipes for home made herbal hair rinses, face creams, cleansing products, etc.
On a personal note… I adore my grey hairs, my ‘silver streaks of wisdom’, I would not dye my hair, do not go to the hairdressers, use olive oil once every 3 months as a hair treatment, make rosemary hair rinse, my hair is natural, healthy and chemical free… because I’m worth it!