I’ve been trying really hard to take better care of my hair, ever since it started casually falling out about a year ago. I’ve successfully wrenched myself away from a lifelong heat styling habit and embraced my mad curls, but on further consideration, I decided that dying my hair magenta every month probably isn’t doing it much good either.
Yes, the cat’s out of the bag, I AM NOT A NATURAL REDHEAD.
But I am far too invested in my sexy redheadedness to give it up. This was quite the dilemma. Then, one day, as I was stalking Holly Cassell (one of my favourite bloggers, whose blog you should definitely check out here), I noticed her saying that her badass auburn curls were courtesy of Lush’s Cacoa Rouge henna. Most intriguing indeed. So I did a bit of online research and bought myself a bar.
I was a little intimidated, given the tales of mess and mayhem that I read in the reviews, but the idea of finding a way to get my lovely red colour while actually conditioning and protecting my hair was too good not to take the chance.
Here’s what I started with:
If you want to give this a go, you’ll need:
A bar of Lush Henna
A pair of rubber gloves (or three)
A buttload of newspaper
A tub of Vaseline, or Lush Ultrabalm if the nice saleslady gives you some of that
A roll of clingfilm
A kettle, or alternative means of boiling water
A few hours to kill
A t-shirt you don’t mind ruining
Here’s Fiona, modelling the 2008 German language competition winner look. So sexy.
I also had a grater, because I read that it’s easier to melt the henna if it’s been grated, but my hand got tired after about two minutes, so I just chucked the whole thing in and it worked fine. So good at being a beauty blogger.
You want the henna to go on your head as hot as possible, so get every thing ready beforehand. The henna is nowhere near as messy as the internet would lead you to believe, but it’s still a pretty good idea to cover your bathroom floor in newspaper, as well as any surfaces you’ll be putting the henna on. The henna is also quite thick, so you’ll want to section your hair off to let it get right into the roots. Smear your vaseline around your hairline and on your ears to act as a buffer between the dye and your skin. Unless you want orange ears. You do you.
First, you need to chop up your henna. I have pretty long, thick hair, and three squares of the bar did me perfectly. Cut out the desired number of squares, chop the squares into small sections and put in a bowl. Pour over boiling water, and mix until the henna is completely melted.
It’s cool if you’re jealous of my green kettle. It’s pretty sweet. The consistency of your henna should be like thin yoghurt, so keep adding water until you get that sort of consistency. I used a fork to mix mine, which was pretty good at breaking up any little lumps.
Is that a good enough tip to be a life hack? Probably not.
Put on your rubber gloves and get the henna on your head as quickly as possible. Focus on your roots first, just like you would do with normal hair dye, then pull it through your lengths with your fingers. Henna is a bit of a strange texture, but it does go through your hair easily enough. Accept your new life as a mudperson.
Henna colour takes best to hair when it’s hot, so once you’ve got all your hair covered, pile it up on top of your head and wrap it tight in clingfilm. I also added a hat, for extra warmth and fashionableness. There are no photographs of this stage.
You’ll need to leave the henna on for between one and three hours, depending on how much hair you have and how bright you want your colour. I left mine on for the full three hours. This is an obvious downside when compared with normal hair dye, but to be honest, I just took it as an excuse for a massive pamper session. Light some candles, stick on a facemask, paint your nails, watch Legally Blonde, whatever you fancy.
Then, just wash it out! The gritty texture of the henna makes it a little tough to get out, but two good shampoos got mine out easily enough. I then conditioned my hair, which got rid of any remaining chunks.
This was my final result, and I’m absolutely delighted.
When I did my research, I found a lot of scaremongering on the internet, so I’d like to lay some of that to rest.
Sure, henna is messy. But in my experience, it wasn’t any messier than normal hair dye. I covered up my surfaces with newspaper and any splatters cleaned up easily with a warm, wet cloth.
Also, a lot of people recommended having a friend help you out. This kind of made me panic. But to be honest, I definitely didn’t need another pair of hands. Again, it was the same process as normal hair dye, up until the clingfilm. But if you fancy getting yourself a sexy assistant, please do.
I’d seen a lot of comments from people saying that the texture of the henna made it difficult to spread, or difficult to get out. This is partly true, but I really didn’t find it all that hard. I normally shampoo my hair twice anyway, so it just took a little extra scrubbing.
The smell is quite strong, so if you’re sensitive to smells, you might want to check that out before you buy. It smells a lot like turkish delight, but I could hardly smell it once I had the clingfilm on.
I am seriously impressed with this henna hair dye. It left my hair feeling soft and so, so shiny. It also cost £6 for the bar and I only used half of it, so the value for money is great in comparison to most box dyes. And I’m finding that the fade is so much better and more natural. That photo up there was taken two weeks after I originally dyed it, and I think it still looks amazing. I’m a definite convert.