Red Hair, Don’t Care

This is the most recent image I have of my natural hair color. The roots down to almost my chin show my brown; the lighter bottom half is a faded out dye from last Spring Break.
This is the most recent image I have of my natural hair color. The roots down to almost my chin show my brown; the lighter bottom half is a faded out dye from last Spring Break.

As I’ve stated before, I’m really bad at this whole beauty thing. I don’t have the patience for makeup, I’m getting better at dressing nice, but overall I’m pretty simple. The one thing I will put a lot of time and effort into is my hair. Hair is great because just a few small changes to your normal routine can make it look and feel great, without putting huge amounts of extra effort in on a daily basis!

This hair journey started about a year ago, when I hacked off 8 inches, cried and felt self-conscious for a few months, lathered my hair in oils once every week, and began growing it out all over again. All I want in the world is long, glorious hair. But I want it to be healthy, so that I never feel the need to cut off 8 inches again.

However, I’m not a fan of my natural color. I don’t hate it, I don’t feel ugly when it’s showing, I just don’t feel like light brown suits me. When my hair is it’s natural brown, I feel boring.

When I first began growing out my hair, I was determined not to dye it. I made it about 4 inches before the itch for red hair came back. I ignored it until a long hair blog I was reading suggested henna dye. I did some research and found an awesome vegan, cruelty free, all-natural online shop, Henna Color Lab. So then I did some more research. I researched colors, looked through social media where people had posted photos from/to Henna Color Lab, read about others’ experiences with henna hair dye. And, finally, I purchased their wine red dye, along with a trial size shampoo and conditioner.

I opened this as soon as I got home…at 12:30 in the morning.
I opened this as soon as I got home…at 12:30 in the morning.

My mother helped me, as she has with many box dyes in the past. I washed my hair twice with the Minty Mix Shampoo and, while I towel dried my hair, changed into old clothes, and covered my hairline with Vaseline, Mom mixed the henna with warm water, commenting on how bad it smelled. True to many other reviews, it smelled earthy, similar to wet grass, but not nearly as satisfying.

The worst part was definitely application. Chemical dies are very liquidy – they come in a squirt bottle and are easy to comb through hair. Henna dye is thicker, muddy. Mom had a hard time working it through my hair, and a lot of pulling and apologies happened. We were using medical gloves instead of the flimsy plastic gloves that came with the dye, which definitely didn’t help. Next time, we will buy something protective (my mom is a waitress, having henna stains on her hands would probably cause some concerned customers) but less grippy.

After the application, we piled my squishy hair up into the shower cap that came with the dye. My hair felt heavy at the nape of my neck, which worried me, so we wrapped my head in plastic wrap as an added precaution. I quickly wiped down my ears, hairline, and neck, then settled down for the two hour wait. progress

At the hour and 45 minute mark, things got a little scary. I reached back to rub my neck and pulled out a small piece of hair. With that piece of hair came a chunk of henna, which my mom quickly wiped away. But after that I just couldn’t stop fidgeting – I was worried about staining my skin, dripping henna on furniture, and so on. Finally, after about 5 minutes of suffering and holding a towel tight against my neck, I hopped in the shower.

The henna was globby and it really did feel like I was trying to get mud out of my hair as I stood under the hot water. Once the water began running yellow, rather than bright red-brown, I turned my head upside down or to the side and rinsed more. This process took about 15 minutes (which is a lot when you just want to see your new hair so bad), and, five days later, my hair still rinses a little yellow when I shower. After my scalp felt mostly clean of henna, I used my Minty Mix Conditioner twice, as a final rinse.

Mom blow dried my hair after my shower, and we watched excitedly as my hair dried to a beautiful vibrant red.

A collage of photos, because for the first day my hair looked a little different in every photo I took.
A collage of photos, because for the first day my hair looked a little different in every photo I took.
Mom and I with our new sunglasses - Henna takes about 48 hours to set, and in that time it got a little darker and richer!
Mom and I with our new sunglasses – Henna takes about 48 hours to set, and in that time it got a little darker and richer!

 

Conclusive Review – Store, Henna, and Shampoo/Conditioner

Overall, I was very happy with this product. The day before I made my purchase I emailed in a question, which Henna Color Lab answered quickly. Shipping was fast and my package arrived in good condition. The shampoo and conditioner were both taped shut so they didn’t accidentally open in transit. The packaging was also great – the writing for instructions was humorous and human; I loved that.

While the henna was a little more work than a chemical dye, I feel it was worth it in terms of overall outcome and hair health. My hair feels thicker, stronger, and softer than before, due to henna’s natural deep conditioning qualities. And my hair is an intense shade of red that I have never been able to achieve with box dyes. I also loved that the dye didn’t cover up the differences in my hair color. I don’t have any natural highlights or lowlights – my hair is a very mousy brown – but the faded dye gave my hair an ombre look, which the henna maintained  in a less extreme fashion. Basically, my tips are still lighter than my roots, and I like it.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the shampoo and conditioner. I love the way they smell and how refreshed my hair feels from the mint oils. I also love that they are natural, and sulfate/silicone/paraben free. However, the shampoo feels very heavy and the conditioner is so light that I feel like I need a lot more of it than I probably do. I think once I adjust to the different feel, I will be very happy.

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