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True Roots

What Quitting Hair Dye Taught Me about Health and Beauty

Ronnie Citron-Fink


List Price: 29.00*
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Other Editions of This Title:
MP3 CD (6/4/2019)
Compact Disc (6/4/2019)


Like 75% of American women, Ronnie Citron-Fink dyed her hair, visiting the salon every few weeks to hide gray roots in her signature dark brown mane. She wanted to look attractive, professional, young. Yet as a journalist covering health and the environment, she knew something wasn’t right. All those unpronounceable chemical names on the back of the hair dye box were far from natural. Were her recurring headaches and allergies telltale signs that the dye offered the illusion of health, all the while undermining it?

So after twenty-five years of coloring, Ronnie took a leap and decided to ditch the dye. Suddenly everyone, from friends and family to rank strangers, seemed to have questions about her hair. How’d you do it? Are you doing that on purpose? Are you OK? Armed with a mantra that explained her reasons for going gray—the upkeep, the cost, the chemicals—Ronnie started to ask her own questions.

What are the risks of coloring? Why are hair dye companies allowed to use chemicals that may be harmful? Are there safer alternatives? Maybe most importantly, why do women feel compelled to color? Will I still feel like me when I have gray hair?

True Roots follows Ronnie’s journey from dark dyes to a silver crown of glory, from fear of aging to embracing natural beauty. Along the way, readers will learn how to protect themselves, whether by transitioning to their natural color or switching to safer products. Like Ronnie, women of all ages can discover their own hair story, one built on individuality, health, and truth.

Praise For True Roots: What Quitting Hair Dye Taught Me about Health and Beauty


— NextTribe

"True Roots is the illuminating, shocking, and relatable story of Citron-Fink’s personal journey and journalistic revelations." 

— Martha's Vineyard Times

"True Roots illuminates what every woman needs to know about the impact of hair dye—from the damage to our bodies and the environment to its reinforcement of impossible beauty standards. This book is a refreshing and honest revelation."

— Lisa Congdon, Editor, "A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives"

"Ronnie's truth-telling investigation makes it crystal clear that we should assume chemicals in our products are dangerous until proven safe, not the other way around. I am still coloring my hair, but with each chapter, I feel my resolve growing to make a change!"

— Laurie David, Producer/Author

"True Roots is THE book the hair care industry does not want you to read. It's lively, persuasive, and shocking—information we desperately need to make informed choices about what we are willing to do to our health for the sake of trying to look young."

— Elizabeth Benedict, Editor, "Me, My Hair and I: 27 Women Untangle an Obsession"

"True Roots examines the price women pay for beauty. Through her firsthand experience and 'transition' to gray, Ronnie Citron-Fink asks the hard questions, including if we should or shouldn't dye. It's a must-read for every woman (or man) who is starting to see the appearances of those wily, wiry grays or has been coloring for years."

— Amy Ziff, Founder, MADE SAFE

Island Press, 9781610919425, 200pp.

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

About the Author

Ronnie Citron-Fink is the editorial director for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Moms Clean Air Force. She is a contributor to A Glorious Freedom: On Being a Woman, Getting Older, and Living an Extraordinary Life, edited by Lisa Congdon, and has written for USA Today, In Style, and Huffington Post, among other publications. Yahoo named Ronnie one of the “Top 10 Living Green Experts.”