Sunday, July 18, 2010

henna hair dye, take two

difficulty level: boy scout dropout
so i've been wanting to move away from using chemical hair dye for a long time but when i was going black it wasn't really an option. i've since found out that if you do red henna, followed by indigo you can get a really good pure black but i'm tired of black anyway and slowly growing it out. since i've been going for an auburn lately i decided this would be a good time to try henna again. my only previous experience was disastrous, making a huge mess, not dying my hair at all and being next to impossible to wash out. that was with lush "indigo" and it's the only lush product i've ever really hated. it was hard to mix, hard to apply, hard to get rid of, and did nothing for my hair at all. in take two i'm using body art quality henna powder and mixing up my own brew. i've done lots of research and thought we'd give this another go. so. i started with about 4" of roots that were medium brownish red and the rest dyed black with chemicals. my hair is hip-length and somewhat thick. i mixed:
3 cups henna (i thought this was an enormous amount but it turned out to be JUST enough, word to the wise, make way more then you think you need)
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (acid helps release the dye)
1/4 cup ground cloves (smells nice and supposed to intensify the red)
and let it sit on the top of the fridge for 24 hours.
the next day i added:
1/3 cup plain yogurt (conditioner)
3/4 cup water (could have added another 1/2 maybe for an easier texture to work with)
1/4 tsp lavender oil (smells nice)
2 tsp tea tree oil (terp oil, intensifies pigment with body art so it can't hurt)
2 Tbs olive oil (conditioner)
put the whole mess in a carrot bag, and slathered on generously with the help of a friend. we tried putting it in an old mustard bottle ala regular hair dye but the mix was too thick and it wasn't working very well. this is not at all like working with chemical dye. it's more like working with mud. feels rather primordial and ancient. kinda makes me want to do ritual henna body art by finger painting, ala tribal warrior paint.
i'd heard piling long henna-covered hair on top of your head will lead to a sore neck after a few hours and feeling how heavy it was i believe it, so i wrapped the ponytail in a plastic bag, then attacked with lots of saran wrap (looks like aunt jemima) and covered in a towel. if i was going anywhere i might have tried to find a nice dark coloured scarf to make a prettier turban but this is a good excuse to hang out at home and relax.
i'm glad i took a few min to cover my hairline and ears with some vaseline as it made wiping up drips much easier. i'm also glad we worked outside where there was plenty of room and we didn't care much if we made a mess. in hindsight it would have been easier if i'd worn a long-sleeved shirt as i kept getting drips on my arms. at least two or three changes of gloves per person are mandatory. so are at least three damp washcloths for mess management. only real staining that happened was when elena's glove apparently sprung a leak. she'll have a blotch for a while.
it's been on my head for about two hours now and i'm doing just fine. i expect my head will feel oddly light when i take all this crap off but it's not burning or itching or otherwise annoying me and the wrappings seem to be containing it pretty well. i'm going to leave it on as long as i can stand it and check back later.

well i lasted 7 hours with it on my head. it took almost an hour to wash it all out and i'm still finding the occasional piece of grit (feels like coffee grounds). using an entire bottle of dollar-store conditioner to dilute the mud helped a lot. it was a little scary how little it felt like hair at first. felt like dread locks or felt covered in mud. after three dousings with conditioner it felt like hair again, albi still very gritty hair. one wash and final condition with lush stuff and my hair feels normal again. and very conditioned. it certainly is red! i can see that even while it's still wet. it didn't stick to my scalp as much as i'd feared and seems to blend with the black better then chemical dye. it's supposed to darken over the next few days so maybe we'll go from ginger to cherry. that would be nice. i'm going to see if i can get some pictures going, especially since i have craft projects and decorating to show you too.

in conclusion: it's been a fun experiment. i think i'll do it again sometime. but definitely with proper henna powder and not the pre-packaged lush stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Hi I am a 6o year old male who uses henna to cover my gray. I love the brand Nupur by Godrej, I get it on amazon! I mix mine with black tea, molasses a little amla and hibiscius,let it sit for 12 hour, when I'm ready to apply I mix in indigo, which I separately mix with warm water and salt. I mix the 2 together, and leave on for 3 hours, the first 2 day it looks from Ronald Mc Donald Orange to Blazing Fire, but by the 3rd day it settle to a medium dark reddish chesnut brown! Go to henna for hair site, they have the most information available,Nupur henna I love, because they combine 9 herbs, and it is so easy to rinse out. Joseph Valenti