My love affair with henna continues!

As you know I’ve talked about hennaing my hair before here and here. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on my hair the past few days so I thought I would take the time to publicly say “Thank you!!” to everyone and to give you an update on my journey with henna, my latest recipe and some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Here’s a before photo…it’s not too bad, but I can tell the color has dulled and my grays are showing. 😉

Outdoors                                                    Indoors

Before Henna  Another before henna indoors

So on MLK day I was off and had the time to henna my hair. I usually try to pick a long weekend so I can henna on Friday night/Saturday morning and then be ready for work on Monday. In the early days this was the case as there are a few days of oxidization and at that time the color isn’t as bright orange. This isn’t the case now that I’ve been hennaing for a few years.

As with any natural product each time I work with henna it’s a little different. Also the henna itself is different with each batch. I always purchase henna from Mehandi.com, this ensures I’m getting 100% pure body art quality henna and there won’t be any funny stuff added. When I began hennaing my hair a couple of years ago, I bought batch of 1000g of henna that had 3.2% lawsone content, now that is a lot of lawsone content, but I was new to henna and I wanted it to cover the gray hair and blonde really well. The 1000g box lasted 18 months and I was thrilled with the results. (I’m not seeing it on the website right now.) When I went back to the website earlier this year to order more henna (also not seeing the latest batch I purchased) I chose a lower dye content and the henna was packaged in 35g packets instead of 100g packets like the original batch.

The Mix: For the current batch of henna I mix two 35g packets in a glass mixing bowl. I then add 3/4cup of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of Paprika, 1 tablespoon of Turmeric and enough “tea”, which consists of 2 individual bags of chamomile tea and 2 cinnamon sticks boiled and then cooled slightly. Mix all these ingredients together with a wooden spoon until the henna mixture resembles the consistency of yogurt. Mixing in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon is critical to having a proper mix. If any metal comes in contact with the henna it essentially kills the henna dye and the previous time I used a metal spoon and got spotty coverage that was very dull.

Henna is so messy attempting to put it into your hair that I have never taken photos during the application process. Maybe I’ll have Caveman attempt that while I do it next time, but the best way is to have straight slightly dirty hair. Part your hair, apply is the roots making sure to saturate them. Next finger comb over a new section and keep going. Now that my hair is red all over, I don’t want to keep dying the ends so much, just give them a gloss. So once my roots are done, then I add in some conditioner – about 1/2 cup and do the remainder of my hair. Then once you have everything soaked, pile hair loosely up on your head and wrap with cling/saran wrap.

During the wait photo – I usually leave the henna on for 3 hours…
IMAG3833

When I’m ready to rinse out, I fill my kitchen sink almost to the top with warm water. Then I lay back over it and dunk my head, using my hands to move the henna out of my hair. I have forgotten to do this important step and went straight to the shower. It is not a pretty sight, let’s just say that and move on. Really henna is a form of mud and you want to get the bulk out before getting into the shower. Once I rinse it as best as I can, I squeeze out the excess water so I can make it to the shower. Then I just shampoo as normal (you’ll be seeing orange water – rinse until clear) and condition heavily. I simply use my normal conditioner and just leave it on for a few minutes. Rinse, dry and style as normal. Adding the conditioner to the ends really helps keep your hair from drying out. The lemon juice is really hard on your hair but a necessary ingredient, so make sure to condition well.

And finally an after…

Me after henna

Another after – outdoors in direct sunlight

IMAG3879-1  IMAG3878-1

This henna experience was great!! The mix was perfect, just enough of all the ingredients and I left it sitting out for almost 24 hours. Henna needs to be left to complete its dye release for at least 8 to 12 hours, however after about 48 it starts to fade. It can be frozen and used later, I’ve had great success with this and that’s probably why the first box lasted so long. I have also heated henna up on the stove over low heat and had great success when I’m in a hurry or forgot to mix up the henna the night before. I’ve seen a YouTube video where the girl boils the henna but I wouldn’t recommend doing this as you might scald yourself.

The most awesome aspect of hennaing your hair is that it leaves your hair silky, shinny and thicker somehow. For me it also helps take the frizz out, when I have about an inch of new growth and my hair is unmanageable I know it’s time to henna again.

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions, I’d love to help out.

Side note: Henna for Hair is now posting a disclaimer that essential oils and spices do not have any effect on the henna process. After hennaing my hair for a few years now, I’ve tried lots of different spices and tea combos. I can honestly say, in my humble opinion, that adding Paprika – spice form and Cinnamon – either in spice or tea form does affect the outcome of the dye. I used cloves once and all it did was gave me a headache even though normally I love the smell of cloves. I have never personally used essential oils so I can’t speak to their effect. People use them to attempt to cover the smell of henna. Because henna is a natural plant it smells like dried grass – almost like hay, so to cover the smell (its strongest when your hair is wet – otherwise you really can’t smell it) I use a conditioner with vanilla and passion flower.

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.

WIWW: Minty Coral

Happy Hump Day!! It seems like Wednesday was here even faster, but that’s just because of the shorter week. I vote for shorter weeks every week!

Blouse & Trouser – Thrifted; Sweater Vest – hand knit by me

I really love this color combo! It seems like I wear it all the time, but I just can’t help it. This is definitely one fashion trend I’ve embraced fully.

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Also I’m not sure if you can really tell in the photos but Caveman has asked me to dye my hair back to blonde, like really light blonde. I have resisted this request for a few months because of the reasons I went red in the first place (Part 1 & Part 2), but Caveman is persistent and I aim to please him. Sooo…..

My first failed attempt happened over the long weekend. Although we choose to look at it in a positive light and say that I was rocking the ombre look – blonde roots fading to a brightened red, it was not exactly what I was going for. Now we all know by now that I’m cheap frugal and I’m doing this at home with drugstore bought hair color. It died my natural dark blonde roots golden blonde, not ash blonde and lightened up the red considerably. I like it so far, although I look pretty stupid with my hair pulled back in a pony-tail or bun now. I’m thinking I’ll give it another go this weekend. If anybody out there has any suggestions I’m completely open to them at this point.

pleated poppy

WIWW: Blue & Green

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Today I treated myself to a much overdue hair cut, well trim actually, with a new stylist/salon here in downtown Knoxville!

Ask for Christina (hi!!), she does a great job and is super nice to chat with while getting your hair styled too!

Sweater & Leopard Tank – Target; Jeans – Thrifted; Sandals – Merrell via Zappos

I know, there really isn’t that much difference, but still…it feels so much better!! I loved it that Christina did exactly what I wanted and said it looked like I had gotten my hair colored in a salon with an ombre effect! Double win for me! Thank you!!

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And just for fun, I kept going with the Blue & Green theme I’ve got going this week! Oddly I don’t think anyone’s noticed yet?

I’m linking up with these lovely ladies this Wednesday!

Work It Wednesday at A Little Bit of Lacquer

pleated poppy

2012 Ultimate Blog Party!!

I just found out about the 2012 Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5MinutesForMom.com and couldn’t resist linking up!

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Hello and Welcome!! I’m Monica, writer of Rubys N Purls, wife to an amazing man, Caveman and busy working Mommy to one very busy toddler, Caveboy.

A little about the name, Rubys N Purls. I originally started this blog in my pursuit of learning to knit (or purl), but my interests and subject matter have shifted somewhat! My birthday is in July, therefore my birthstone is a Ruby and I wanted it to relate back to this great verse, Proverbs 31: 10-31

as I strive to serve God in all I do. Then I started dying my hair with henna just over year ago, so I guess I became “Ruby” in a sense!

This is my Caveman, my best friend and soul-mate. My life didn’t begin until I met him and he has been the best thing to have ever happened to me!

My Caveman!!

This is our little Caveboy! He is into everything, says the cutest things & we love him to pieces!

His shirt says, "Daddy's Little Monster!" So true! 😉

This blog has been a hodge-podge of my life. On any given day you might see posts on crafting/sewing, photography, Mommy attempting fashion/style, Thrifting, gushing about my Cavemen, Christian Living and Home Decor/Improvements as I continue to make our house into our home.

Take a look around, thank you for stopping and I look forward to meeting all of you!

Going Red: One Year Later (Part 2)

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.

Looks really pretty, but it was fried!!

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.

March 2011

February 2012

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.