Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Crunchy Way to Dye Hair

My "virgin" haircolor
In high school I dyed my hair with the toxic chemical filled junk you buy at the drugstore. I loved having red/burgundy hair. I got a lot of compliments and it really brought out my green eyes. But it washed out really quickly and I couldn't keep up with the expense and found it annoying. I started growing it out during my pregnancy with Ceaghan. And during my pregnancy with Cesilee I chopped a bunch off and ended up with all virgin hair. My natural hair color is your average ashy medium brown. Lately I have been growing out that haircut and started craving change. But I am so crunchy that I use coconut oil as lotion, how could I slather chemicals all over my head?? I searched for an alternative. I discovered Henna. There is a lot of misinformation about henna floating around. It is definitely something you need to research before jumping into. There are a few reasons for this. The most important being that not all Henna is created equal. Henna is a powdered plant and ONLY creates red tones. Yeah those "Henna Hair dye" boxes at the drugstore that claim fabulous colors are NOT pure henna and most likely contain other herbs/dyes and things like metallic salts that you do not want on your hair. What you want to look for is pure "body art quality" henna. Known as BAQ henna. This will help  ensure your henna is just henna. Another reason you really need to research is that this is not something you do spontaneously with the thought of changing soon after. Henna is permanent and by permanent I mean so permanent that you will need to go to crazy damaging measures (think bleach, peroxide, stripping!) or grow it out if you dont like it anymore. It is something you commit to and you should be sure you want to go there. This is a plus for me as the chemical red dyes washed out insanely fast. Henna binds to the keratin inside your hair, this causes its permanence and also strengthens your hair. Another thing to research is which "type" of henna will help you achieve the red tone you want. Now all henna is red and it won't lighten hair, it simply puts the red on top of what you already have. But hennas from different regions give different intensity of red. This depends on the lawsome content, the higher the content the more red and the deeper red. Even the henna's with the highest lawsome content might not give you the result you want the first time. You usually need to do multiple full head henna's before achieving the color you want. This is completely safe to do as henna is good for you hair. I wanted a deep red wine color and wanted to avoid orange. After going back and forth on  which type to use, I decided on Yemeni Henna from Henna Sooq. The henna sooq website has a lot of helpful information. I discovered that adding hibiscus powder to your henna mix helps create redder tones. I bought some with the henna.
My results after two applications of Henna
I was so excited when my henna arrived. I couldn't wait to be a redhead again and cure my itchy scalp/shedding issues I have been having. When it was finally time to henna I mixed 100 grams Yemeni henna with warm water and 3 tablespoons of hibiscus powder. I waited for the dye to release and left it on my hair for around 5-6 hours. Its a bit messy to apply and it will get everywhere. I wrapped it with plastic wrap and put a cap over top. This will keep the henna moist. If the henna dries, it stops staining and will dry out your hair. I then used a bottle (yes the entire thing) of Suave Coconut conditioner to wash the henna out. You do NOT want to use shampoo and I recommend a silicone free conditioner to cleanse it all out. Rinse until the water runs clear. This will take a bit. My hair was firery and orang-ish! This was alright though as henna comes out this way right away but then oxidizes and settles down over a period of days. The color deepens and goes redder as opposed to orange toned. So wait a few days before evaluating the color. I waited a few and decided to henna again. This time I mixed the henna and hibiscus into conditioner instead of water. This conditioned my hair more and was easier to wash out. My hair has finished oxidizing and I LOVE the results! I will just be doing root touch ups from here on out now that I have reached the color I like. If I kept applying full head applications the henna would build up getting darker and more purple burgundy color which I do not want. My hair feels healthy and strong. It is the most manageable it has ever been in my life. Here is a video with clips and photos of the process:

Well there you go. I am a henna head now and loving it! I missed the red hair a lot. I am happy that I could achieve what I wanted in a natural and crunchy way. If I ever decide that I dont want to henna anymore I could grow it out again. Hair grows, so why not have fun with it?


  1. Your hair looks great. I should give henna another shot. It was never red enough for me but I'll try the hibiscus powder. The peroxide dye is really bad for my dreads.

  2. Love my henna red hair! I've only ordered from Mehandi but love following Henna Sooq on FB! I should try their henna sometime. Found you via MamaNatural!