Hair dye was one of the last things I went natural with. Well over a year ago, maybe even two, I had my hair pre lightened (bleach bath) at the hairdressers, which turned it a copper colour, prior to having a pinky red colour applied. As this faded I was really fond of the copperiness and as I had switched to cruelty free, I started to use copper colourants from Superdrug. However this wasn’t lasting well and my dark roots with lots of greys were showing within 3 weeks.
A friend of mine suggested henna as she had used it herself. So I waited 6 weeks after my last Superdrug dye before taking the plunge with henna, and I’ve never looked back.
I should mention here my hair is thick and on the coarse side. It can be wavy and is shoulder length. I still have the lightened parts, about half grown out; my natural colour is dark brown, but I would say I have about 20% grey hair, the most of which is on the top of my head, around my crown, fringe and parting, exactly where I don’t want greys to be!
So this is the brand of henna I use. This came recommend by my friend and I buy it on Ebay for about £5 delivered. Inside the box is a packet of henna powder. The instructions say to apply to clean, dry hair so I always wash and dry my hair first. I use a natural, sulphate free shampoo. I would prefer not to use conditioner prior to colouring in order to get the best result, however I can’t get a brush through my hair without conditioner, so I use a tiny amount of a silicone free natural conditioner.
The instructions say to put the henna powder in a bowl and add at least 100ml of very hot water. I use a lot more than this and add water until I get a smooth, creamy yoghurt like consistency. I then allow the mixture to cool in the glass bowl I mixed it in, then I transfer it to a tint bowl. I use the entire packet of henna powder as I like to pack this stuff on for maximum results. If your hair is longer than mine you will need 2 or more boxes.
Whilst the mixture is cooling I cling film the surfaces in my bathroom like the loo seat lid and the sink as this is where I tend to put my bowl and tools whilst I’m applying it. I put on rubber gloves and I start at my parting and apply the henna paste with a tint brush to my fringe and roots all the way around my head, including around my hairline. I then work the henna through the lengths of my hair and massage in to scalp and hair. I try to comb it through with a wide toothed comb but this is difficult and messy as the henna paste thickens and dries as it soaks into the hair. I cover my head with cling film and I typically leave the henna to work for 5-6 hours. So yes I set aside a full day for henna where I don’t have to go out, and I’ll get on with housework, blogging or do my nails, toenails, brows, face mask etc and turn it into a full blown pamper day.
After this time, I rinse my hair under the shower. As the henna has dried into my hair I also shampoo it thoroughly to remove all the henna and then I condition. I will brush my hair through and add a hair oil and usually allow to mostly air dry before finishing with the hairdryer.
I love the result. The henna is bright copper on the lighter areas of my hair where it was pre-lightened and where my greys are, and blends into a copper auburn brown where my hair is my natural colour. The overall effect looks like I’ve had a root drag and have copper highlights.
The intensity of the copper colour lasts incredibly on my hair, and I don’t see my brown and grey root growth as quickly as with conventional dyes. Besides it also blends in better and is less noticeable because of the effect of the different tones in my hair. Henna works with the variances of tones in your hair, whether that be natural or pre-lightened or coloured. Always make sure that you follow the guidance on your henna packaging about how long to leave your hair following a chemical colour before switching to henna, usually around 4-6 weeks. I can enjoy a couple of months or more without having to colour again, and when I do re-colour I tend to do the whole lot rather than just the roots.
As my lightened areas grow out, or are cut off, I may switch to a darker red henna or even a brown, or a mixture of both, might try to do a home balayage!
Have you tried henna for colouring your hair? Which brands and products do you enjoy? I’d love to hear your stories or see links to photos, share the love!
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