Ronnie Citron-Fink | An Island Press Author

Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is the editorial director for the Environmental Defense Fund's Moms Clean Air Force, a national organization of over a million people uniting to protect children’s health by combating the urgent crisis of climate change.  

She is a contributor to A Glorious Freedom: On Being a Woman, Getting Older, and Living an Extraordinary Life (Chronicle Books, 2017), edited by Lisa Congdon.  

As a journalist, Ronnie has written, edited and published articles about the environment, health, politics, beauty, design, parenting and education for websites, books and magazines. Her articles have been published in InStyle, USA Today, and Huffington Post, among other publications. She is the founder of the blog, Econesting, and was recognized as one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. 

Ronnie has a masters degree in education. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.

#ForewordFriday: Uncovering the Risks of Hair Dyeing

After twenty-five years dyeing her hair, one woman decides to stop and uncovers the long-term damages of America's beauty products.

Like the majority of American women, Ronnie Citron-Fink colored her hair. Yet as an environmental journalist, she knew all those unpronounceable chemical names—para-phenylenediamine,toluene, ammonia, parabens—on the back of the hair dye box were far from safe. After twenty-five years of coloring her hair dark brown, she decided to confront the powerful beauty influences in her life, ditch the dye, and go in search of answers. What are the risks of coloring? Why are hair dye companies allowed to use chemicals that may be harmful? Are there safer alternatives? True Roots: What Quitting Hair Dye Taught Me about Health and Beauty is the unforgettable story of that truth-seeking investigation.

True Roots shatters the misconceptions with surprising revelations about the regulation of beauty products in this country, suspected carcinogens in hair dyes, and who is most vulnerable to these dangers. It reveals a study from the National Institutes of Health that concludes salon workers can experience a fivefold increase in cancer risk compared to those not exposed, links between dark hair dyes and bladder cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and more. While True Roots takes a realistic look at the dangers associated with chemicals in hair dye, she raises hope. Some promising signs include proposed, bipartisan legislation that would mandate greater FDA oversight over beauty-product safety, a cultural shift in how women with gray hair are feeling empowered, and breakthroughs in safer hair products.Throughout, Citron-Fink also offers readers an honest account of her experience—and its emotional upheaval—as she transitions from dark dyes to natural gray. The result is a deeply human look at one of the most charged intersections of wellness and beauty facing women today. Through her expert investigation and personal account, anyone who chemically alters their hair can discover a new hair story built on individuality, health, and truth.

Check out Chapter 8 "A Greener Shade of Gray?" below or download the PDF here.