Going Gray – Gracefully and Gluten Free

Growing up, I was never one to experiment with hair color and never even colored my hair at all until I reached my 30s and those few gray hairs started to make an appearance. Once I started coloring my hair, I noticed a very alarming trend. Every time I had my hair colored I felt like I had the flu for days.

My hairdresser couldn’t figure it out and finally I just decided that the way I felt for days after getting my hair colored was not worth it. I stopped coloring my hair but now the gray hair was coming in a little more noticeably and it was starting to affect my self image.

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Madison Reed New Radiant Color Kit Box

After much searching, I found Madison Reed – their hair color is free from the harshest of chemicals – ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, PPD, phthalates and gluten. I decided to give it a try and the results were so very wonderful. I did not get sick, my hair felt so healthy, the hair color did not smell bad and I could even do the color myself. That was over 5 years ago and after using the Madison Reed hair color for a few months my hair dresser told me that my scalp and hair had never looked better.

The PPD in the hair color I had used previously was the likely culprit to my feeling so ill after getting my hair done, but the gluten in the shampoo and conditioners I had been using was not helping matters either. In 2011 I figured out that I have a gluten sensitivity and if I use gluten free hair products, I can keep the scalp eczema at bay.

Earlier this summer I mad a conscious decision to gradually start embracing my gray hair and at 50 I am much more ready for that transition than I was at 35. The first thing I did was transition to the Madison Reed Light Works highlighting system instead of their all over color. Using light blonde highlights in my dark hair in summer helps to ease the grow out of my last all over color.


Now that I have blonde highlights in my hair, I have started using a purple shampoo to keep the blonde (and my natural grays) bright and remove the brassiness. I found AG Hair Care Sterling Silver Shampoo works best and it is gluten-free. The only drawback is that it can be a bit drying to my hair so I have found LATHER’s Mint Thyme Shampoo and Creme Rinse are good to add into my hair care rotation.

There are plenty of hair care products available at your favorite stores, but deciphering the huge list of ingredients on the label can be so tedious – especially since gluten can go by lots of different names – like Triticum vulgare (wheat) and Stearyl dimonium hydroxypropyl (hydrolyzed wheat protein) to name a few. I have found that working with companies like Madison Reed and LATHER, I can find all my hair and body products and know that the ingredients these companies use are of the highest qualities and will not make me sick.

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