“To Dye Or Not To Dye” – Speech 2 in Toastmasters

Not waiting to let the dust settle, and my nerves conquer me, I booked speech 2 a brief two weeks later for 29 June 2012. Surprisingly it proved more nerve-wracking that the first but I persevered. Speech 2 in the Competent Communicator manual – Organize Your Speech. In other words, create a strong opening, middle and conclusion. With a title “To Dye Or Not To Dye” I approached the podium and delivered the following speech: –

To dye or not to dye?  That is the question!

Toastmaster, fellow toastmaster and welcome guests,

Before you think I have descended into the realms of despair let me happily reassure you.  I refer of course to the dyeing of hair. 

It’s hard to imagine a world without artificial hair colour. Women would have to make friends with the shade they were born with, fewer blonds might roam the planet and there’s no telling how many mature women might drive the scarf market and men the hat market to new heights. Hair colour is certainly the easiest and most affordable transformational beauty product on today’s market; as a result of that little box of chemicals, faces are transformed, the aging process appears suspended and the psychological benefits resulting from a treatment are endless.  This bounty of benefits wouldn’t be possible without the expertise of scientists who knew a thing or two about the bucks and blessings hair colour products produce and the advertisers who understand the desires of human nature.

From ancient times people have been dyeing their hair using extracts from plants and minerals to create their preferred colour.  Archaeologists have found evidence that as far back as the Neanderthals, humans have been using a mixture of techniques to change the colour of both hair and skin.  By the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, plant and animal matter were being used on a regular basis to colour hair. Ancient Gauls and Saxons dyed their hair various vibrant colours to show rank and to instil fear into enemies on the battlefield.

The development of synthetic dyes, in particular hydrogen peroxide, paved the way for chemist Eugene Schueller, who created the first commercial chemical hair dye.  This product was later known as “L’Oreal.”   In 1950 Clairol introduced the first one-step hair dye product that brought in the ability for hair to be coloured at home. 

Hair dyeing is now a multibillion dollar industry that involves the use of both plant-derived and synthetic dyes.  From temporary to semi-permanent to permanent hair colours you can regularly change your colour, be it a quick home dye to a top class salon experience! 

And it’s not just women who have embraced the wondrous enhancement of hair dye.  According to a review commissioned by L’Oreal between 2008 and 2010 there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of men visiting hair salons to dye their hair.

But why do we, today’s society, dye our hair?  Is it to keep up appearances, attempting to retain the youthful look and defy the undefeatable march of time?  Or are we simply trying to look better and therefore feel better? 

Everyone will notice the punk-rocker with luminous coloured hair or the schoolgirl with vibrant pink tresses.  Every colour is an expression of a person’s individualism – they have a statement to make and how better than with their hair!  The jet black hair of the Goth is as recognisable as the tinted spikes of the Mohican.  How wrong can it be to dye your hair if a change of colour on the outside makes you feel more alive inside?  I for one am strongly in favour.  Having found my first grey hair in my twenties the bottle of hair dye was a miracle solution.  Shades have varied since as brands come and go, and my moods changes from wanting brown hair to getting more daring with an auburn hue or reddish tint. 

And I have a goal.  The day I retire I intend to dye my hair bright electric blue – no blue rinse brigade for me!

In conclusion to the question of whether to dye or not to dye, I have to say a definite yes to dyeing is my answer.  And why is that?  Well, to quote L’Oreal’s evergreen theme “Because I’m worth it!”

I have to admit that speech brought a few laughs and comments, an added bonus for me.

Well that’s it for Speech 2, some facts and some laughs, a fairly good combination and reaction. Not bad at all!



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