So I’m allergic to my hair. You might be thinking, “huh?” I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

allergic to my hair

In my preparations for my wonderful trip to Bologna, I decided to get my hair done. It was actually an emergency because several weeks ago I got sick of my mane and chopped about half of it away. Still long, but considerably lighter. I lost 1.5 kilos in hair.

Seeing newer pictures of myself and my terrible mop of hair, one thing was clear: I was going to go to a salon a.s.a.p. and shell-out about €120. So that’s what I did. After teaching on Wednesday, I walked over to the salon, sat in a chair, pointed to my head and said, “Fix it.”

A few hours later (yes, really), I exited the salon feeling trepidatious about my new do, my new color and my new account balance. But it was done.

Sleeping with my enemy.

Remembering my mom and sister together telling me (many years ago) that I should never shampoo my hair right after getting it colored, I slept with the residue in my hair and on my scalp. It was uncomfortable for me, but you know - we women suffer for that sort of thing. It’s normal.

Now, I’ve done this many times before (though not with this particular product line), but this time it was different. The next morning, I was ill.

For quite a while I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so awful. It was just dumb luck that I didn’t have any classes that day, so I was able to wallow in my miserable state for a few hours. Then I realized that my scalp wasn’t just uncomfortable. It was burning.


Formaldehyde. Bane of my existence.

I washed and soaked and washed again. More color came away. As it did, I slowly started to feel better. I drank a lot of water; I went to bed early. The next morning, I was feeling somewhat better but still trepidatious - uncertain about leaving the house without a toilet tucked neatly under my arm.

Still, I did head out and I did teach. I made it through without incident but the idea of going grey is becoming more appealing to me now. (I don’t know why.)

Who am I kidding? I know I’m going to go through this again. It’s my HAIR!

Chemistry Point: It’s probably an aldehyde in the coloring agent that made me sick. I’m very allergic to formaldehyde, so it’s likely that a related chemical affected me. My best guess is that the dyes I’ve had applied to my hair in the past were of the sort of aldehyde that doesn’t affect me adversely. (Imagine trying to ask about that at the salon. “Excuse me, but could you tell me what sort of aldehydes are in your hair products?”)

Bleh. But Awesome.

But the awesome thing about being stuck at home yesterday was that I got to be there when my new order of fresh business cards arrived by post (for the Bologna Book Fair). They are hands down (or up, to yell, “hurrah!”) the best cards I’ve ever had printed (these are from MOO - see what I got just below). High quality cardstock that feels good.

moo cardsIf you want to place an order with MOO, my new card printer, please DO use this Friend Referral link. It will help me build some credit for my next order.


--Download I'm Allergic to MY HAIR. Yep. as PDF --