Of all the things my Mom used to nag (for lack of a better word) me about, topping the list of her least favorite habits of mine was my need to dye my hair a new color every few months. Not only did she love my natural hair color, but she was concerned about the chemicals in hair dye. Once I finished cleaning up my diet, one of the first chemical products I gave up was for my Mom, my beautiful and ever-changing hair dyes. After months of growth, my natural hair color began to show through for the first time in years. However, it was no longer the beautiful golden blonde it was as a child, but rather a plain “dirty dishwasher” blonde. Determined to find a way to get my vibrant colorful locks back without the dangers of chemical dyes, I began researching henna dye.
At first, I came across a lot of horror stories and mishaps and was very discouraged. But after spending hours raiding through reviews and information, I found that most of the issues seemed to be user error or caused by using a bad quality henna dye. As a result, I began to search for a dye I could use with a good reputation that did not use extra additives or unnatural ingredients. For my desired dark brown hair, this seemed to be any henna product that used only two ingredients— Lawsonia inermis (red henna) and indigofereae (black henna). I currently use the Dark Brown (Sable) from Rainbow Research Henna.
I have now had GREAT success (and now beautiful color again) with henna for years. It is a very simple process, just mix henna with water and dye according to package directions. However, I have learned numerous tips and advice that I’d like to share with you to make the conversion easier! See below for more information:
- Henna hair dye is not pleasant. It is very strong smelling (grassy) and messy. However, its advantages make it worth it to me: its fumes do not burn my eyes, it does not leave my hair a dried up frizzy mess, and it is much SAFER than chemical hair dyes.
- Tools needed: metal spoon (for spreading), gloves, a glass bowl for mixing, a glass measuring cup, filtered water, paper towels (for cleanup), plastic wrap, a shower cap, and a t-shirt that can get ruined.
- There can be variances in crops so the henna powder can be anywhere from a green to a brownish green.
- Be careful when mixing. Henna powder is easily airborne and can make a mess until mixed into a paste.
- If the package you use lists a specific amount of water, you may need more. Do not worry, henna mixes slightly different every time and the amount of water (give or take small amounts) won’t affect the final color. Just mix water in until a paste is created that appears as though it will spread easily. For one container, I typically use about 1¾ – 2 cups of water.
- Wrap your head up TIGHT. The dye needs to remain moist through the entire process. My first time dyeing, I thought I could skip the part where I wrapped the hair in plastic wrap…and just use the shower cap. However, too much air dried most of the henna up. So, when I went to rinse, I had to peel off an entire head full of henna chunks the texture of dried mud (and it took me hours).
- Get comfy and stay clean. The process takes about twice as long as boxed dye and is quite messy (I find it leaks henna-colored water out after its been on awhile). I like to wear an old t-shirt, cover a couch in old towels, and watch a long movie to pass the time!
- DO NOT dye over henna hair with salon dye or chemical dye. When using henna, you must allow the hair to grow out before you can use dye of any other type.
As with anything, it is a trial and error process, so don’t necessarily give up if the first time doesn’t go perfectly. And as with a chemical dye, do not shampoo and follow up with a good conditioner. I prefer to use Shea Moisture for this process, as it is a natural, slightly thicker conditioner that works well for damaged hair.
Enjoy your beautiful new hair color! I have never mixed colors, but would love to know if you have had success with it or have any additional tips for a successful henna dye! Please comment below and let me know about your experiences with henna.
Make the switch to natural hair care, it’s worth a little extra work for beautiful chemical-free color! Here’s to regaining our sparkle together,
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