Thursday, 26 March 2009

going red

I made a vow a while back to stop dying my hair. It just stank so much - that feeling of fumes up your nose and icky stuff coating your skin - and it always ended up fading and looking skanky - that I decided it wasn't worth it.

The thing is that hair is one of those trivial kind of things that it's nice to idly think about when you've nothing better to put your mind to. Like what shoes you would like for summer, or what colour you could paint the house or whatever. And it's really tempting to think that a new hair cut or colour will vanquish the 'boredom' that's descended in relation to your current style, and it's really tempting to think it'll change the whole way you look...

So every now and then I get this itch to cut or colour or whatever, except now I am old enough to realise that the boredom is normally only vanquished for about three hours before the new look becomes old news too (or worse, just plain awful news) and I started to think that really I should be trying to occupy my mind with more noble ventures than the pruning and primping of stuff that grows on my head...

Anyway, not having enough noble and worthy stuff to think about, I got round to thinking about hair again recently - I can't remember why - and started researching henna. It had rave reviews, and all nice and plant based avoided the issue I had with the dyes which raised bumps on my scalp and the bleaches that burned white dots into my fingertips.

And... I could even convince myself I was doing it in the name of research and public service information, rather than a little vanity project tp fill up a Saturday morning!...

So, I took myself to Lush and bought a block of their Caca Rouge (left) - Lush's seemed to be well recommended on the various sites I read and seemed a bit easier than sourcing and mixing up the powder yourself. It's basically just the henna (which is a plant extract) with some cocoa butter and a bit of perfume. Their other colours include indigo and coffee to give dark or chestnut effects.

You pour boiling water on the block and leave it to soak a little (below right).
After a while (longer than it said) it's achieved the consistency of mud, or fresh cow dung or something and at this stage it looks really gross.
It smells a little weird too. However, smothering my head in warm stinky cow dung was a lot more fun than I thought.
There's a bit of a trick to it, but once some of it's on the rest goes on quite easy.
Then all you have to do is wrap your head up in clingfilm so you look like a freaky alien, and swan around the house doing this and that until enough time has passed (I did three hours, though I think people do anything from 1 to 4) .
And after a little rinsing and shampooing, a head of Very Coppery hair appeared.

For comparison, this was my hair before - it looks nice on the left in the light of the bathroom, but in notmal light looks more mousy like on the right.

And, this was my hair afterwards. Not great photos, but you get the idea - quite RED. Later it turned even more orange, which was a little scary, but it's settled into an auburn-y light brown now, which is nice.

So, all in all, highly recommended, if you're looking for a change with a lower chemical impact than the usual high street brands.
Find good info on henna here:

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