I’ve always enjoyed dying my hair, it’s a fun way to change your appearance that doesn’t require the time and commitment of something like a tattoo or piercing. However I was getting frustrated with how dry my hair was getting from using drug store hair dye. My stylist claimed that professional hair dye was much less harsh and lasted longer so I figured I would give it a shot. I had it done twice and while the color might have lasted longer (I’m still not convinced it really did) it didn’t help with the dry damaged feeling my hair had. It was also about seven times more expensive than dying my own hair so I quickly decided that it simply was not worth it.
I was about to give up, dye my hair back to it’s natural color and just be done with it when I remembered seeing henna based hair dye in one of those all-natural hippie type stores. After doing some online research I decided to order some henna powder and give it a try. Like a lot of herbal products people on the internet were making wild claims about the benefits of using henna in your hair. Some claimed it strengthened your hair, made it softer, was good for your scalp, and could even prevent hair loss! I assumed those were at best exaggerations but clearly henna could color your hair red without the need for harsh chemicals and that was all I really cared about.
I ordered 100% pure henna powder off of amazon and was happy to see it was about half the price of regular hair dye. Eager to see the results I used it right once I got it and followed some basic instructions I found online. I mixed the henna with lemon juice to make it into a thick paste and let it sit covered for a few hours (about 8 hours since I mixed it up before work). I then added a small amount of olive oil and honey and just enough warm water to make it the consistency of yogurt.
While applying it to my hair I found out that the plastic gloves that came with the henna were useless. They ended up ripping so henna got under my nails and stained my fingers a dirty looking reddish brown (I now use latex gloves to avoid this). Due to the thickness of the mix it was also a bit harder to apply than regular hair dye but I managed to work it in and cover all of my hair. I then put on the plastic shower cap that came with it, cleaned up the drips of henna paste that got on my sink and bathroom floor, and forced myself to wait the full 3 hours recommended before washing it out.
It was a pain to wash out and when I went to dry my hair off I made the mistake of using a white towel which is still slightly stained after several washes. This was certainly more involved and messier than chemical hair dye but I was happy with the results. The cheap cost and absence of chemicals was enough motivation for me to keep using henna. At first I didn’t notice a huge improvement in the health and feel of my hair but now after using henna once a month for several months my hair is amazingly soft and has much fewer split ends. I can’t imagine dying my hair any other way and now I don’t look at the henna process as a chore but as a fun beauty ritual that gives me healthy and lovely red hair.