I have been coloring my hair for years. Not because I hated my hair color, but because I started getting gray hair at a young age and as the years have passed I seem to get more and more. At 46 I am pretty sure that if I let my hair grow out I would be completely gray, at least the top and front of my head. I am not quite convinced that I am ready for this, even though the gray in my hair is a beautiful color. The dilemma is that I am #1 tired of coloring it, but moreso, #2 I have been wanting to avoid all the nasty chemicals in commercial hair color. I color it myself because my hair grows so fast I would need to get a 4th job just to pay for my vanity...haha. Not really but I really cannot afford to get this mane professionally colored.
I had been tossing around the idea of the natural hair colors that I had seen in Whole Foods or other "healthy stores" but at $13-$18 a box that wasn't very practical either since I'd probably need two boxes (I have a lot of hair). On a recent trip to New Seasons I was walking down the hair aisle and came across some containers of Henna Haircolor. I thought "hmmm...I wonder if this would work". It was only $7.99. A worker happened to be in the aisle and said it was a great product so I bought it. It sat on my bathroom counter for a few weeks before I got brave enough to try it.
I had posted a picture of it on Instagram and Facebook which was great because I received several valuable tips, but one that had me a little worried was that it is hard to color over with a chemical hair color. Uh oh! What if it didn't work, what if I didn't like it, then what? I have a wedding coming up in December, I can't trash my hair now. So I consulted my hair dresser who consulted another hair dresser who said it would be fine, they could fix it if I didn't like it...okay, that made me feel a little better. Several friends had used the same brand and had great results...that made me feel better. I found some great instructions online...that made me feel better too. Now I had to find a day with a LARGE chunk of free time because this process apparently takes hours! Yep, you heard me right...HOURS..no more done in 35 minutes coloring. But to me, if it worked, it was worth it.
So, on September 3rd I took the plunge (how's that for drama). I set aside the afternoon, told my daughter she had to find a way home from soccer practice and dove in. Dinner may or may not have happened...I really can't remember at this point. Here's how it went down:
1. Rainbow Henna (read, and re-read the instructions)
2. Plastic or glass container
3. A few pairs of hair coloring type gloves
4. Hair coloring brushes
5. Old clothes
6. Lotion or coconut oil
7. Saran wrap, or hair cap (a heated one would be great)
8. optional: cotton band (like hair dressers use)
9. An old towel
- I started out with dry, product-free hair. Here are the instructions I followed. The brand I used was Rainbow Henna in Persian Medium Brown. Place a line of lotion or coconut oil around your hairline and ears (this prevents color from staining your skin...if you're messy like me you might want to coat all exposed areas of skin).
- I used the combination of black coffee and apple cider vinegar because I wanted to tone down the potential red (my end result showed NO red). I did end up adding more liquid (boiling water) because it was a little too thick and was hard to use. You are looking for a creamy soup texture. **Update: I also add 2 Tbs. olive oil to mix, and if I felt it was getting too thick, I added more boiling coffee.
- It doesn't smell good at all...lol...more on that later.
- I found it a little difficult to work with a brush (hair color brush), but used that on the very front of my hair where the most gray is, and the roots...NOTE: I would put it on the gray/roots first and leave on for about 15-30 minutes, at least that is what I'm going to try next time. My roots were noticeably lighter than the rest of my hair.
- For the remainder of my hair, I literally scooped it out with my glove covered hands and spread it through my hair. I went outside to do this to avoid splashing color all over my bathroom and causing a disaster. I did cover my bathroom counter and sink with a large garbage bag...I'm that messy.
- It was hard for me to tell if it was all covered because this is not nice and liquid-y like regular color, it got kind of thick and just had a weird texture to it, kind of like working with loose cement (that doesn't harden), but I eventually felt like I got it all or at least enough of it in there...you just can't really work it through your hair. I used the entire container. As I coated a section I would try to move it out of the way or pile it on my head, though I spent most of the time upside down just rubbing it in.
- Once I was satisfied I had it completely covered I wrapped my hair in plastic wrap as tightly as I could and covered with a towel. I did try running a hot blow dryer on it before putting on the towel just to "heat it up" a bit but that was tedious. Maybe next time I will heat the towel in the dryer first and then add it to my head.
- The instructions said 60-90 minutes without heat. I left it on for 2 hours. I feel like it was adequate for most of my hair, but I do think that I should leave it on the gray a little longer before applying the rest. I might need to look in to that a little more. The instructions say it's not recommended to leave on longer, but we'll see.
- Once the time was up I rinsed with warm water, then with cool water. I didn't shampoo it but did use a bit of conditioner. It is really hard to rinse out and I kept feeling "particles" in my hair throughout the day. I jumped in the shower to get an even better rinse.
My encouragement to you is to give it a shot if you are really trying to get away from chemical based hair color. The before and after's aren't the best, but it might give you an idea.