Many women afflicted with drab or greying hair believe a new colour would be to dye for — but for one crop in North Cork the sight of mousy locks leaves them green with envy — literally.

Everyone has a bad hair day — but what do you do when you literally can’t wash that problem out?

Women living in the rural part of Co Cork are spending a small fortune trying to cover up a greening of dyed hair, which is due to an excess of iron in the water supply.

A local hairdresser has been inundated with ladies seeking help after falling victim to the acidic, iron-rich supply in the villages of Dromahane and Bweeng, near Mallow.

Natalie Landy, manager of the Red Door Beauty Studios, said she first encountered the issue when the business opened in Dromahane a year ago.

At first she thought it might be connected to the colouring products they were using, so she called in an expert who later identified excessive iron levels in the water as the source.

“The green was especially noticeable in people who coloured their hair blonde. But it also created a green hue in brunettes,” she said.

The salon immediately took corrective action, but staff are still helping a steady stream of women who have been dyeing their hair at home.

“The water is also acidic and if the hair is bleached then it can cause it to break and come off in clumps. The acidic pH can also cause skin irritation,” Natalie said.

To counteract the iron and pH damage, women have to make three or four trips to the salon to get their hair and scalp cleansed before a new colour can be applied.

One customer at the salon, a woman from Bweeng who didn’t wish to be identified, said she decided to get rid of her blonde locks last September because of the greening.

“People would notice it and I was conscious of it. I have two other friends who had the same issue. I went back to black,” she said.

Mayor of County Cork Cllr John Paul O’Shea got so many complaints from local women he brought the matter to the attention of council engineers earlier this week.

They have agreed to a €40,000 upgrade of the local water treatment plant, which should rectify the problem.

“I hope when works are completed over the coming week that the women of the area will be much happier and looking as dashing as ever,’’ he said.

Mr O’Shea said he’d also had several complaints that excess acid levels were causing damage to back boilers, copper pipes, and showers.


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