Friday, October 26

Using Henna Hair Color for the First Time

For my birthday I wanted to switch up my hair routine and try a new color. As some of you already know, I wasn't born with bright red hair. It's all thanks to my trusty chemical hair dye, which is something I'm not proud of, but I love the vibrant color so I continue to poison myself in the name of beauty. It's a guilty pleasure for sure, however, I know that putting toxic junk on my head every month is beyond evil and I wanted to stop.

I told myself that after my birthday I was going to switch over to natural henna hair dye. This made me both excited and nervous. Excited because it's all natural henna (it's a flowering plant used to dye skin, hair, and nails) that colors hair without damaging it, but nervous because it's something new and I didn't know if it would turn out good. That, and I read that it's extremely messy and takes a long time to process.

Mahogany Powder Henna $6.99

So I finally got the courage to try it, and went to my local beauty store to pick out a box of bright red Colora Henna Powder in the color Mahogany. Now I already knew that the sample color, like most products, was an exaggeration of the color and that it wouldn't be an exact match. I could live with something a bit more natural as long as it wasn't that drastic. Henna is more of a subtle change, especially for dark hair.

Instructions and Henna Powder Before Mixing

A Plastic Bag to Cover My Head and Plastic Gloves

On the day that I decided to dye my hair, I took all of my belongings out of the bathroom and laid newspaper down on the counter tops and the floor. I'm good at dyeing my hair traditionally, and rarely make a mess, but I was warned that this was different. It's like putting mud on your hair. So I followed the instructions careful, and mixed the powder with water until the desired consistence was achieve. Then I started slapping it on my head. It was such an odd feeling. It was cold and it smelt wonderful, like a soft tea-like aroma. I didn't do too bad, but it was a little messier than cream products. So I was grateful that I put newspaper on the counter, but the paper on the floor wasn't necessary.

Henna After Mixing With Water

Then it was time to wait for a whole hour. This wasn't fun, because I noticed that as the henna dried that it was flaking off, so I didn't want to leave my bathroom. As a matter of fact, I just stood in the bathtub because I didn't want to get it anywhere. It was boring, so I decided to do squats for an hour as I watched videos on my iPad. I'm sure it would have been an entertaining sight to see.

After the excruciating hour was up, I used my handheld showerhead to wash it out completely and made sure to keep my head down to not get it all over the shower walls. This took forever it seemed, because it was like washing dry sand out of hair. A messy process indeed.

When I got out to look at the color I was completely disappointed (so much so that I didn't even want to take a photo). It didn't change my dark color at all. I did read that it's best to keep henna on for a few hours, but I didn't have the patience for it. That, and I wanted to follow the instructions precisely to see what would happen, which stated to only leave it for one hour. Also, henna is suppose to make one's hair thicker by coating the follicle and tame frizz. Not that I have a problem in this area, but I didn't notice a different in my hair texture at all. So I was disappointed by that as well.

This hair experiment was still worth it because now I know that I tried and it wasn't right for me. I'm sure that blondes would have a much better experience because light hair is easier to color. At least I went one month without chemical dye, but it's back to my old ways next time. Also I didn't use compound henna, which makes it okay to switch back without a bad reaction. Lastly, I've decided that I'm going natural next year though, so the countdown begins. Ten more months of bright red and then I'm calling it quits. I'm excited for the change, but I'll also enjoy my last few months as a redhead.

If you've tried henna hair dye, or have any coloring tips in general, feel free to share them. 
I would love to hear about your experience. 

Cheers and happy hair dyeing.
~Claudia

17 comments:

  1. Heh. I had purple (blue under florescent lights) for a bit in high school. It was nutty, but a big pain, because I had to keep retouching it. It was fun though. If I even do a color again, it'll probably be green, but only if I can find some good coloring that doesn't have a huge upkeep. It ought to look pretty cool, since my hair is getting back to its previous length, too. :D
    What is your natural color? Dark brown?

    <3
    Aaron

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  2. Oh awesome. Yeah, any bright color is going to be a lot of work. I'm curious, why green? :)

    My hair has changed a lot throughout the years, blonde to dark brown, and now to silver. I will look like a Final Fantasy character. XD

    <3 Claudia

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  3. Your hair is silver on its own?? Can we trade? ^__^
    I have some lightning slowly coming in, but sometimes I wish it was all white/silver already.
    Why green? Just 'cause it's a favorite color, and y'know... Druid, with the plants and things... :3

    <3
    Aaron

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  4. Yes. It's a dark silver now.
    Ah! I see about the green. :) Yes, indeed. How fitting.

    <3 Claudia

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  5. *dies* <3
    That's so amazing. I just love silver hair. I wish I could see it. :3

    <3
    Aaron

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  6. Haha! Well, it won't be too long. Interesting, I thought you liked red?
    ~Claudia

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  7. I do indeed! There's just something ethereal about silver/white.
    If you ever capture your natural color, let me know? :3
    I'd like to see your new color, too!

    <3
    Aaron

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  8. Ah! I see. :)
    I'm sure you'll get to see it. Next year around September.

    Cheers hun,
    ~Claudia

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  9. All the hair dyes available in the market contain harmful substance like ammonia and ammonium hydroxide. These are used as the main ingredients in hair coloring products because it assists in preparing the hair so that the dye can be easily absorbed into the hair shaft. As a side effect, these awfully toxic elements get diffused inside the scalp as well. As result it causes irritation that leaves its permanent negative mark on eyes, skin and respiratory passages. It is also likely to produce skin cancer and kidney problems.

    natural henna hair dye

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  10. Thank you Annie for sharing, that's good to know. I definitely want to stop dying my hair soon as well.

    ~Claudia

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  11. Hi Claudia
    What colour was your hair when you applied the henna? Was it dyed red at that point? I'm just curious about what happened....
    You might find my site interesting, and if you want to try my henna,drop me a line, I'll send you some.
    Take care, and as Annie Monie has pointed out, be careful with hair dyes.
    Sabrina x

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  12. Hi Sabrina,
    Yes, my hair is a dark bright red. At the time it was that plus my roots, which are a mixture of white and dark brown. The brown stayed brown and the white turned a light strawberry blonde.

    I'm guessing that you might leave yours in for longer than an hour? I'm actually going to go completely natural soon, but thank you about the kind offer. I still encourage others to go the henna route if they insist on coloring their hair. :)

    ~Claudia

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  13. Hi Claudia! okay, I've got a few observations here:
    it's always helpful to know the origin of your henna; Rajastani and Morocco henna, for example,are known for fast release. I love the fact that you used straight - henna works better ( in my opinion) with straight water than with acid, and water triggers faster dye release than acids. But you didn't say what temp water you used or how long you waited ( or incidentally whether the henna was well sealed prior to use). Hotter water will trigger faster dye release. If you used cool water it would have been best to have let the paste sit overnight before applying.

    I prefer to apply warm or hot henna to hair, especially if the weather is cool, so if you've mixed it the night before, heat it gently on the stove in a pot !

    Sugar in your henna helps keep the moist. Also very important is to have cling film plastic wrap/ or saran wrap on stand by - use that to wrap up once the henna is all in, and a scarf on top of that; make sure you're well dressed and the house is warm!(then you don't have to stand in the bath tub for an hour!). Henna likes heat. And it's important to keep it moist in order to assist washing out - moist paste means you won't be tugging dried clay off your hair and breaking it if you have fine hair. Wrapping the henna helps with heat, keeping paste moist, and prevents drips.

    ok, now you've got henna in dye release mode, and it's in your hair, and you're all wrapped up - relax ! I always say aim for at least 2 hours, but even 1 hour should be enough when henna is in dye release to get stunning colour.

    I suspect you didn't get perfect dye release due to cool temperatures.

    You should have got an overall deep chestnut red and a sprinkling of orange red roots. Henna turns gray roots orange, and it deepens the darker hair colours. 100% gray = 100% orange with pure henna, and indigo used after that will turn the orange auburn,through to brown, through to black, depending how long you leave it in for.

    If you have powder left and you want to to try again, let me know - I'll talk you through it step by step; or if you want to experiment with different henna, let me know and I'll send you some !

    Take care, it's a wild world out there!
    Sabrina.x

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  14. whoops!! : a couple of omitted words there - first sentence should read:

    it's always helpful to know the origin of your henna; Rajastani and Morocco henna, for example,are known for fast DYE release. I love the fact that you used straight WATER -

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  15. Hi Sabrina,
    No worries about the words. I do it all the time too! :D

    Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to explain things to me.

    The ingredients on the box (because I still have it) says "henna." Haha, that's it! So I'm not sure what type it is. As for the water, I used cold water. That's wonderful to know about the hot water. I left it on for an hour, and yes the henna seemed well sealed.

    I definitely think that 2 hours would have been better. :) That's good to know about white hair too. I never knew!

    Again, thank you so much for the much needed advice. I have half of a box left and I plan to use it when I cut my hair off.

    Your website's been amazingly helpful as well. I'm learning a lot just by reading more.

    <3 Claudia

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  16. Hi Claudia

    Good luck for next time! I'd love to know how you get on and will drop by occasionally to check.

    Go with the weather next time: if it's hot outside, mix henna with cool water overnight, cover loosely with plastic,and let it sit; apply next day. If it's cold out, heat your henna which you mixed up overnight before applying, or use freshly boiled water and let it cool ten minutes before using it to mix henna; then let henna stand 30-40 mins before you apply ( this gives it about enough time, whatever it's origin to get into dye release).
    Do not oil your hair or use hair conditioner pre henna ( and only ever add a little oil to henna if you have exceptionally fine or dry hair).

    Wrap up well once it's in your hair, wash out 2 hours later and voila ! Hot henna hair waves prevail !

    Learn to relax while it's in your hair. Enjoy !

    Peace,
    Sabrina. x

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  17. Sabrina,
    Thank you so much for your help hun and taking the time. Will do. What you're teaching me makes a lot of sense.

    Heehee, indeed. Relaxing is always a good thing!
    <3 Claudia

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