In Part 1 of Going Red: One Year Later, I left off having dyed my hair samples. Today I’ll tell you more about my first experience using Henna and the mixture I use.
This is my before-going-red head-shot that I asked Caveman to take as I said goodbye to being a blonde! The blonde looks really pretty from the back, but from the front (which is what I saw when I looked in the mirror – I hated it). Also the light blonde that looks so pretty, was actually really dry and brittle.
The henna order arrived from Henna for Hair on a Friday while I was at work. Caveman got home before I did and he kindly agreed to be my alchemist and everything mixed up for me! He’s a sweetheart like that and he loves a good science project! 😉 Mixing the henna really is trial and error, plus there are lots of different mixes people have come up that may or may not work for you. You can read the different mixes here on the Henna for Hair website and there are some good YouTube videos too found here. I also searched YouTube and found other videos on henna too. I was really nervous and excited!
After a year of coloring with henna I’ve worked out how to get the right consistency of the mixture, kinda like runny yogurt. However, our first batch was like thick peanut butter, in fact it was so thick and heavy my neck hurt for two days afterwards! The mixture I like best is to add 1 cup of Lemon Juice, then about 1 1/2 cups orange-cinnamon tea steeped for a long time, if not overnight. For the spices, I’ve added different ones from time to time, but my favorite spices so far are simply 2 tablespoons of Paprika and 2 tablespoons of Cinnamon. If I add cloves, it is only a little! The first batch I added 1 tablespoon and I didn’t stop smelling like cloves for a month! No matter your mix, you’re going to get red hair, LOL, but with the different spices you will get more orange-y, bright red or darker, auburn red. You can either let the mixture sit overnight so the dye will release OR you can heat it gently over a heat vent for the dye to release. I’ve even read/watched on YouTube someone heated their mixture up on the stove, but over very low heat. I wouldn’t recommend the microwave, because you want it to heat slowly – not instantly. The henna from Henna for Hair comes in 100gm packets. I can typically get away with only using 1/2 a batch (50gm), then I freeze the rest for next time even though my hair is longer. Read here for more info other people’s experiences.
Back to the first application, we waited until after Caveboy was asleep for the night, and then Caveman put the mud mixture in my hair. Sorry about the lack of photos here, but it’s really hard to attempt to control the mud, rubber gloves, spoon & mixing bowl. It can be very messy! Once the mixture is in your hair, you wrap it up in cling wrap to hold everything in and keep the running to a minimum. You can either put a towel over your head or an old knit hat, something to help hold the heat in or if it’s hot skip the extra wrap (I usually do in the summer). Then you wait…a long time…like 3 + hours….Aaaannnnndnddd…..let me just say, after that first coloring “Whoa!” Not only was it red, it was bright fire-orange red! It GLOWED!
I didn’t tell anyone in my family I was going to do it. My parents were out-of-town that weekend with my extended family at my grandparents. We typically Skype with them when they are gone so they can get their grand-baby fix. We called them up on Skype the next afternoon and I completely shocked them when we turned on the video and there I was with red hair. It was really funny! My aunt kept whispering to my Mom, “I think she has red hair, I think she has red hair” until they finally asked me if in fact I did have red hair, to which I relied, “Yes, I dyed it last night”! I got mixed reviews at first but overall everyone really liked it. Me, it took some getting used to for the first month or so, but now I really like it.
Henna takes anywhere from 3 to 5 days to really soak into the hair shaft, so after a couple of days your hair isn’t as bright as the first day and after a week its a lot darker red. Obviously going from a blonde to a redhead is a big jump. I also work in a office where there are lots of people, so….I waited until I had a long holiday weekend before taking the plunge in hopes my hair would have time to darken before returning to work. It did darken some, as in it didn’t glow, but due to the large amount of light blonde hair that had been colored red it was really bright, carrot red for a long time.
Here’s a comparison for you; from last March to this February. Not a great comparison mind you because the lighting is different, the cell phone camera capabilities are completely different and the subject is one year older; but its a comparison not the less. 😉
I have to say, overall I like being a redhead. I get complements on the color all the time. My hair is much healthier and naturally shiny without adding lots of product. I’ve had about 3 or 4 hair cuts since going red and the chemically damaged ends are almost outta there!!! The last time I was at the salon, my stylist said, “Can you hear that?” I said I could not and asked her to explain. As she cut, she held the section close to my ear. The damaged ends crunched as she cut them!!! I have since, at my stylist suggestion, started using a leave-in conditioner cream on the ends to help control the split-ends until the damaged stuff is completely gone & beyond. I re-colored every 2 months and with each coloring my hair has darkened to a nice auburn color that I like the best. Due to the amount of gray up top, after coloring it looks like I have highlights throughout the auburn too, a nice bonus! I’ve had loads of fun redefining my makeup and wardrobe choices over this year & I’m always looking for new styles & trends. Going red has also gotten me excited about styling my hair. Some of the new things I’ve tried have been different braids and buns, but just changing from curls or straight has been fun too. I guess the next challenge is to grow it longer, only stylishly. Longer on me usually means flat and dull looking.
Thanks for reading! I hope this helps anyone else who’s considering going red or looking for a natural, safe way to color your hair. 😉
Disclaimer Notice: This post is in no way paid for or sponsored by Henna for Hair, Mehandi.com, Catherine Cartwright-Jones or anyone from the Henna for Hair website. I am simply giving you the names and websites of the products I used and my experiences with them.