FIFTY SHADES OF GREYISH

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(MORE magazine just announced that I am finally trending. Gray hair is in for 2015. Well, actually, I’m not grey, I’m platinum, but it’s all the same-all natural and it’s all me. I am not too sure I would’ve wound up letting my true self be exposed if I had not had a very negative thing happened to me in my late 40s that forced me to be who I am.)

Hair Today-Gone Tomorrow and Trending!

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They were the most beautiful roses I had ever seen. Their perfumed fragrance drew me toward them and instantly my face caught fire. Masses of giant red ants with glowing eyes enveloped my face injecting their poison into every available inch of my face.

I woke up with my heart racing. Only a dream, I thought, but in a millisecond I realized that in my subconscious nocturnal state I was living what was happening to me in reality. I could hardly open my eyes with the heaviness of what felt like hundreds of Lilliputians weighing down my eyelids. My face burned, mimicking the toxins of swarming bees stinging my face. I got up and looked in the mirror. Everything above my neck was red, swollen and was oozing with tiny blisters. My scalp was an inferno.

It took many doctors and two weeks of sleeping upright in pain until I finally got the proper diagnosis. The culprit behind my suffering? An acute allergic reaction to paraphenylenediamine used in hair dye.

How did I know, I was never tested. With the exception of one time in New York when I had my hair dyed Swiss chocolate, I have always had natural blonde hair. Right after that I experienced what seemed to be a slight facial eczema, but didn’t connect the dots to hair dye.

My acute episode happened in my late 40s when my blonde hair began to look very monotone and faded. I decided to have my hair reverse frosted. That is a process of placing dark blonde streaks going through my colorless hair to brighten it. (Of course my hairdresser never patch tested me for PPD allergy. In addition, that reaction, for years gave me cross reactions to other substances. A real nightmare sorting out to what I was newly allergic and not.)

For awhile my agent suggested I use the vegetable based red henna so that I wouldn’t be put into an ‘aging’ category and could get more acting jobs. But eight years ago, finally getting tired of the process, I said enough is enough and decided to just be me and see what was under all that henna.

And there it was, my white hair hiding under that red mop all those years. “Free at last!”

So I guess in a weird way I can be ever grateful to PPD for forcing me to be me and appropriately age with no pretenses of being other then I am.

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Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.