18 June 2013

My Henna Hair Dye Adventure

I'm going more natural with many things in life and I decided that I wanted to try and apply that to my hair color. Henna is one way to naturally dye your hair and it is also supposed to condition your hair. Pure henna results in a red/orange color, which is more or less what color I choose anyways, so I figured it was worth trying to dye my hair with something good for it, rather than something bad for it like I normally do. I didn't get quite the same color payoff I do with synthetic dye but, for a natural experiment, it went pretty well. It was certainly more fun than dying my hair the way I usually do.

It took me a while to find henna that wasn't super expensive (either because it was at a specialty store or I was paying a ton for shipping). Finally, I found a company in Portland, Oregon called Henna Color Lab that had nicely put together packages at reasonable prices specifically for dying hair. I went with the Pure Henna Hair Dye as I really just wanted to see the color I'd get from henna alone. However, if I chose to do henna again, I think I'd order the Wine Red Henna to see if I can get more red out of it. The base color I started with on my hair was medium brown at the roots, fading gently to red at the bottom (it was almost a weird red ombre going on). The henna picked up differently on the non-dyed part of the hair versus the parts that had residual dye, which I was expecting. It did add some red into the brown though and brightened up the already red bits. The first couple days it was a brighter, orange-y red that mellowed out to a sort of soft auburn.

The process was in many way similar to the way I usually dye my hair. First, mix up the dye. Second, apply it, starting at the roots then working to the tips. Then, let it sit. Finally wash it out.

Pure henna powder- just add hot water!

Mix it to a "pudding-like" consistency.
 Lilly claimed that it smelled like fish. It definitely smelled...different. I thought it smelled like a dried herby-plant thing. Whenever I condition my hair, I can still smell it slightly. I don't mind the smell at all and it goes away when it dries. In any case, packing the henna mud onto my head was really fun- and messy!

Shower cap over it all. I had to wait a full hour with it in.
The wait time was probably the biggest difference. The synthetic dyes usually need to sit for about 15 minutes, whereas the henna needed to sit for an hour for maximum results. I wiled away the time playing Halo with Sir, Nick, and Thomas.

The end result (photo taken a couple days ago).
The ombre effect is still sort of there, but my hair does blend together better overall. I keep going back and forth as to whether I'll try the henna again or not. We'll see. I think I'm more likely to do it again if I cut my hair soon, because then it will be most of the synthetically dyed hair will be gone. Yeah, I need a haircut.

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