Soo as I’ve mentioned before, I’m on the natural and organic train and now I can’t get off. The next step in my transition was hair dye, and as we all know, whether you’re into organic or not, hair dye is packed to the brim with chemicals. Ammonia weakens the hair and makes it more porous (easy to…penetrate * giggles *), leading to unhealthy, frizzy hair with split ends. Drying Resorcinol, parabens, and isopropyl alcohol are also thrown in, to name but a few.
Henna has long been used as an alternative, and the world has been using it for centuries. I highly recommend checking out Lush’s article on their website about the history of henna. Interesting reading if you’re a bit of a nerd like me!
In search of the perfect henna hair dye, I was immediately sold by Lush’s Caca Noir. It contains henna (obvs), indigo herb (to give a darker colour) and nourishing cocoa butter.
I had my hair dyed balayage-stylee around a year ago. It was a lovely golden brown, but it has now faded to a brassy, dull light brown. I wanted to go back to my rich brown locks, and did originally settle on Lush’s Caca Brun, but they had sold out L However, me being the impatient child I am, I thought Caca Noir might do….
So there I am, sitting there with my big ol’ block of henna, ready to dye my hair. The instructions do say it gets a bit messy, so to lay some towels down. I covered the kitchen floor in towels, and put newspaper on the surfaces. I armed myself with my gloves (provided by Lush with the dye, thanks babes), and ignored the step about putting Vaseline around the hair and neck line. Big mistake.
First thing you have to do, is chop up your henna. Now, I’ve watched Youtube videos of people doing this, and I’ve decided that they all have super human strength. It is HARD. Really hard. The only advice I can give for this part is to sort of shred it rather than chop it into chunks. And be careful! I nearly lost a finger a fair few times.
Neeext: place the henna into a bain marie, and stir in some boiling water. Keep adding and stirring until the henna gets to the consistency of melted chocolate. Easy peasy, right? What can go wrong?
I had this image in my head of the henna smelling and looking like melted chocolate, that maybe I’d struggle not to eat. HELL NAH. The smell, oh my lawd the smell. It’s bad. It’s kind of like if you emptied a really cheap tea bag into a blender, chucked in some grass, and some mud, then blended it, put it in a pan, and burnt it. It was really hard to carry on if I’m honest, the smell was so strong and overpowering.
Aside from the smell, the mess is even more traumatising. Remember I said the whole kitchen either had a towel or newspaper on it? Well it’s not enough, ok. I got it on the kettle, the cupboards, all over my clothes, the carpet of the next room, the cooker. It gets everywhere! The consistency, even when it’s ready to use, is quite dry. As soon as you start to apply, it seems to go sort of grassy. Which strangely enough seems to make it messier because it doesn’t stick to anything and just drops off. It’s also really hard to stir initially making the whole bain marie and adding boiling water a bit fiddly. I’d advise using an oven glove or towel that you’re not attached to to keep it from sliding around.
It is easy to apply with just your hands, I don’t think an applicator would be very useful to be honest. Once you’ve put it on your hair sort of goes like dreadlocks, and is hard to manipulate, so I advise applying it to the hair in the direction you need it to stay for the next one or two hours.
It’s really hard to not get it in the hairline, neck line, all over your face etc so I advise NOT skipping the Vaseline step like I did.
I left mine for an hour and 45 minutes. You can wrap your hair in cling film and keep it warm to get a redder shade, and leaving it unwrapped and therefore cool will give cooler tones. I left mine unwrapped.
I found it really difficult to wash out but this is as standard with henna dyes. I started with a shampoo, then used a conditioner to loosen it up a bit. Then about another 2 shampoos after that, and the final conditioner.
My hair didn’t feel that great when I got out of the shower, but once I started to blow dry it I could see it was actually very soft and shiny. However, there was no colour change initially. I did feel a bit disappointed, after all that effort, to have no results. BUT, after two hours, I noticed my hair had completely changed. My roots were back to my original dark brown colour (yay!) and the rest of my hair was also a lovely dark brown, with my previous balayage still showing through slightly to give my hair some dimension.
It’s now been two weeks, and unfortunately, it has completely faded. Henna does claim to be permanent, and obviously even permanent fades. But I wasn’t expecting it to be this quick.
Overall, I think henna is good as long as you are prepared for the mess. The fading is something that I’m going to work on for the next few months. I’m going to try and write another post where I can include some pictures of the stages (a camera in that mess was not a good idea but I’ll make it work!). I’m planning on adding more water to make it runnier and therefore easier to work with. And now I know how messy it gets I can prepare the kitchen better, much to Mother’s delight!
So watch this space, I will make henna work!