Many of you know that I grow my hair just to donate it. When you do this you are not supposed to have treated your hair with any form of bleach or permanent dye. Between growing to donate and growing for the wedding I hit a decision point. Chop it. Get bangs. Dye it. The first two were out of the question. I look super cute with bangs but HATE having them 98% of the time. Chopping it was out for obvious reasons. I was left with dying it. I started doing some research. I’d been curious about henna for some time, but the moment had arrived to get serious.
Henna is a natural, semi-permanent dye. It is the same stuff Indian cultures use to dye their skin. If you haven’t ever seen it, it’s beautiful. Henna has a natural brown/red hue to it that Lush has enhanced with some of their bars, or used natural ingredients like indigo to lessen. They also add good stuff like coco butter, coffee, indigo herb, and other natural oils.
I spent hours watching videos and reading reviews of those who tread the henna path before me. Many of them made the experience sound like it was going to be a travesty. Thankfully, I was not swayed by their scary application horror stories. I also decided to go with the color Caca Marron. I LOVE red hair but didn’t have the guts to go all of the way. Caca Brun I thought might be a little too plain for what I was going for and didn’t want to go darker with Caca Noir, so Caca Marron was my happy medium.
The bars themselves are like over sized chocolate bars of 6 sections. I have pretty long hair, but I went with 4 of the blocks. I probably could have used 5, but 4 was sufficient. Once you start “melting” your bar, it does smell herbal, but I did not find that it was overwhelming. My picky dad didn’t comment on the smell either so I didn’t have that issue personally.
To prepare, I wore an old tank, got rubber gloves, a large metal bowl (the henna will dye plastic), made STRONG coffee, and used Ponds moisturizer as a protector along my forehead, ears and neck.
I cut the 4 blocks I was using off of the main block and did a rough chop. This helps them break down much easier. To the bowl of henna, I added my HOT, STRONG, coffee. The directions encourage you to use a double boiler to help break down the blocks. I found that the hot coffee and a spoon worked just fine. If they had not broken down I would have done that step, but I found it unnecessary.
I DID NOT DO THIS PROCESS INSIDE! The weather was nice enough, I didn’t even attempt to tempt fate and do this process inside. My mother would have KILLED me.
After stirring the bowl of slop (it looks like other fun things, I’ll let you make that call) until it was smooth, it was time to apply. Make sure to make the mix pretty runny. People compared it to yogurt consistency, but I went even thinner than that. I didn’t want to have to stop and remix, reheat, etc…
Standing outside, with my rubber gloves on, I flipped my hair upside down and began the application process. My mom grabbed some gloves and helped out a bit as well. I definitely encourage you to find a friend to help with this part. Others bought dye application brushes, and frankly, the mixture is so thick and gritty, it would have taken years to do that to my hair. By applying it with my head upside down, I avoided a lot of issues like the henna falling on to my neck/shoulder and getting on my forehead and ears. Instead of it taking hours to apply like it did for some, it took my mother and I about 15 minutes to coat my hair. I twisted it into a bun on top of my head, and was ready to wait.
I applied it outside but wanted to walk around the house, so I wrapped up in saran wrap and then put a plastic bag on top of that. Something that did align with what I had read was that it gets heavy. As it starts to set and dry, you can feel the weight. I spent some time laying on the tile floor with the dogs to give my neck a break.
The packaging and most of what I read encourages you to wear it as long as you can stand, 2 hours absolute minimum, but you can go as far as sleeping in it over night. The longer you wear it, the longer and brighter your results. I made it past the 3 hour mark and was ready to rinse it out.
For the initial rinse I went back outside and used the garden hose. This was one of the best decisions. The garden hose has a little more pressure than a regular shower head and my my mom was able to help me rinse the majority of it out right then and there. Again, I did this with my head upside down. An issue I read that people had had was specks of henna/coffee flaking out of their hair for a few days. Because I rinsed upside down, the henna came out instead of settling down into my scalp. When I did go to the shower, I did not use shampoo, just lots of conditioner to finish rinsing out until the water ran clear. Again, this was expedited by the fact that 95% of it was already out.
The moisturizer worked great as a dye block. I didn’t get any weird spots. Because I worked so quickly, the bit of henna that got on my arms washed away that evening. I had NO weird henna spots anywhere. I would possibly suggest longer cleaning gloves if you’re worried about it getting on your arms.
Things I noticed right away. My hair was SO soft and smooth. I definitely need a hair trim, my ends are looking a little scary. After using the henna I noticed a visible difference in how they looked AND felt. There is a nice shine and a beautiful red hue. I have some natural red (thank goodness I’m Irish) that I wanted to brighten a bit, and this treatment did JUST that. I’ve got a bit more red without going all out, and it looks natural. I don’t feel like a Crayola crayon was used to dye my hair. I’m a few weeks out at this point and I still love the color. My hair still feels great, and because it’s a semi-perm dye, I don’t really have roots. I’ll probably re-apply towards the end of the summer before the school year starts.
I would absolutely, 100% recommend this product. It’s a bit more labor intensive than box dye, but at about $30 (after tax) it’s cheaper than a salon and you can walk around your house and do things while it sets.
Here are some pics a few weeks after treatment. Please ignore the faces, I have a friend that I snap back and forth with, but we don’t use snapchat, we use messenger, so I have a plethora of goofy pics. Hopefully you can see that the color has settled, there’s just a nice red hue without being super in-your-face, and a healthy shine!
*I was not asked or paid to write this review. I just really enjoyed this product and my experience with it.*