I’ve been getting silver hairs since I was twenty (well before becoming vegan and changing up my nutrition–don’t worry, I’m all over my B12 and magnesium). My early grays seem to be hereditary—and of all the possible hereditary woes out there, a few gray hairs is nothing to fret over. And yet, while I admire silver hair on other women, I don’t fancy it on myself. I think the main reason isn’t so much the difference of color but the difference of texture. My happy, pigmented hair is naturally straight and smooth, but my grays are wiry and prone to stand straight up when they’re growing in (why?!). Needless to say, it’s a funky looking juxtaposition.
On two occasions, I’ve dabbled in mild-ish semi-permanent dyes that do a decent job of disguising the grays for roughly a month before fading. These easy, ammonia-free options are okay—I’m not crazy about them because they’re certainly not natural, but they do make a difference in how I feel about my hair, and I don’t have to crack a window to survive the coloring process.
When I became pregnant, however, I wanted to avoid all dyes, especially in the first trimester. I had planned to just ignore the grays and attempt to embrace aging gracefully (ha! not my strong suit)—until I came across Hairprint, a food-grade pigment restorer made completely of natural, pregnancy-safe ingredients (you could eat it, but it’s not recommended!).
Instead of dyeing the hair, Hairprint infuses the hair cortex (the inner part of the strand) with eumelanin pigment, a protein that’s naturally present in non-gray hair.
Reintroducing the pigment into hair allows hair to return to its original hue—i.e., no synthetic color needed. In theory, the pigment protein adds strength, body, and shine to hair, leaving you with permanent color that actually makes your hair healthier. (The eumelanin pigment in Hairprint is derived from velvet beans.)
Hairprint can be used on hair that has been previously dyed with conventional and natural methods (so everything ranging from boxed hair dye to henna), but there are very specific transition tips to follow to avoid making the previously dyed hair too dark. Basically, you coat your non-virgin hair with shea butter and only apply Hairprint to new growth.
Because a large chunk of my hair isn’t virgin, I technically should have applied shea butter to those portions, but the thought of washing shea butter out of my hair was daunting, so I skipped this step and focused Hairprint on my roots—and I’m so glad I didn’t bother with that shea butter business because let me tell you, applying Hairprint is a journey. YOU WILL LEAVE YOUR HAIRPRINT EXPERIENCE A STRONGER PERSON.
Even if you don’t have lingering morning (*ahem* all-day) sickness and hormonal fatigue, you will need to prepare snacks, fuel up on electrolytes, and summon goddess-levels of patience. Altogether, the process took about an hour and a half and involved three applications of product and two shampoos—that’s four lathers! (Most home dye kits take about 30 minutes.) Also, stuff got everywhere! Even when I was very careful, I managed to get it on the sink, tub, floor, and toilet (???). For the record, my other DIY hair color application experiences were never this wild and crazy–I mean, I don’t purposely fling the stuff everywhere! Between applications (there’s a 15-minute wait time), I was scrubbing everything feverishly before the pigment set.
That said, the instructions are simple to follow, and the product has absolutely no odor. After my final shampoo, I eagerly anticipated the results…by which I mean, I passed out on the couch.
Ultimately, the results were pretty good. My hair was so shiny and smooth and felt incredibly healthy. Even though I didn’t use shea butter to protect my older hair, my color looked even and natural. Unfortunately, some of the grays are still there, but the texture is much improved. Now they just look like healthy, paler hairs, and they really don’t bug me anymore. I would estimate that Hairprint covered about 50-75% of my grays in terms of color but improved the appearance of every hair.
At the moment, Hairprint is only available for light brown, brown, and black hair. There are kits suited for men and women. Hairprint is designed to work on both cooperative and non-porous hair (perhaps some of my grays are non-porous?). The kits are free of carcinogens, developmental toxins, endocrine disruptors, GMOS, heavy metals, neurotoxins, pesticides, reproductive toxins, dyes, animal products, and harmful VOCs.
Have you tried Hairprint–or anything like it?
Related: These 3 Vegan Hair Dyes Are Drop Dead Gorge–And Way Better For You
The One Change that Dramatically Improved the Health of my Hair
5 Simple DIY Tips for Managing Oily Hair
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Photo: Hairprint, Mary Hood Luttrell