Beauty Clinic: Help! I'm allergic - and I'm going grey

Q. I have many and various allergies, which are completely unpredictable.  Now, at the age of 46, I am rather grey and need to cover it but I am scared, as I simply couldn't predict if I would have an allergic reaction to a product.  I know you should do a patch test, but I might still have a reaction 24 or 48 hours later.  I am leaning towards home colouring because of the cost but would be willing to go to a salon if necessary. A. We cover the topic of adverse hair dye reactions in our latest book The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible. Key to your situation is that, at the last count, the European Commission listed 27 chemicals found in hair colouring as skin sensitisers: 10 extreme, 13 strong and four moderate.

Although self- (patch) testing has been held out as the key safety measure for consumers, few people do it and theoretically it may increase the risk of sensitisation. In any case, the validity of the results is now considered so unreliable that the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) may recommend the current test be discontinued.

So it would seem to us really not worth the risk for someone with your history of allergies. In The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible, we do give a recipe for a Sage Darkening Treatment, which if used regularly will help to gradually darken grey hair, although it won’t ever cover it completely.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 11.03.34Alternatively, we wonder if you might consider accentuating the grey instead. Aveda Pure Plant Blue Malva Shampoo, (there is a matching Blue Malva Colour Conditioner), promises to add silvery brightness to grey hair.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.59.30Trichologist Philip Kingsley’s range of hair products offers Pure Silver Shampoo and Conditioner, which are specifically formulated for grey hair (also highlighted and bleached blonde locks). It offers optical brighteners, as well as violet hues, to enhance the grey (while not turning it ‘blue-rinsed’.)

NB We obviously cannot guarantee that any product we have mentioned would not cause a reaction, as you are so very sensitive.

Aveda Pure Plant Blue Malva Shampoo/£29 for 1 litre at

Aveda Blue Malva Colour Conditioner/£20.50 for 250 ml at

Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Shampoo/£17 for 250 ml at

Philip Kingsley Pure Silver Conditioner/£20 for 250 ml at