"I used to frequently dye my hair red to give a boost to my mousey blonde hair. I have also tried henna in the past, and I loved it then. I haven't chemically dyed my hair in almost 7 years. I have dark ash blonde/mousey brown hair that reaches to
"I used to frequently dye my hair red to give a boost to my mousey blonde hair. I have also tried henna in the past, and I loved it then. I haven't chemically dyed my hair in almost 7 years. I have dark ash blonde/mousey brown hair that reaches to my hips. For being so long, though, my hair is also pretty thin and frail. I wanted something that would add color and shine to my hair but not completely kill it in the process. Enter henna. I debated on whether to order Marron or Rouge for several weeks, but since I haven't been a redhead in years, I figured a smoother transition would probably be best, so I went with the more subtle Marron. I waited to use it on a Saturday so I would have the whole day to devote to the process. I showered in the morning, adding a handful of seasalt to my tea tree oil shampoo (I think it's Nature's Therapy brand... not sure, it's technically my husband's haha). I added the sea salt as an added detox for my hair and to make sure any product I had used the last week would be removed. I did NOT use conditioner like I usually do. I let my hair dry naturally, but I ended up having to blow it out a little on NO HEAT and LOW. I didn't want the heat to seal up the cuticle. I bought the cheapest bottle of red wine I could find to mix with my henna. To create a double boiler, I put a small saucepan in a larger one that was filled partially with water, but next time I will use the medium saucepan and put it in a Dutch oven. I didn't expect the henna to expand as much as it did! I used the entire block, breaking it into the 6 squares and just tossing them in the pot. I heated the wine separately and then poured it over the blocks and kept heating. I stirred... and stirred... and stirred. Even when I thought it was done, I kept stirring and kept finding clumps that hadn't quite broken up yet. This took about 30 minutes, but I'm glad I went slow because the mixture was very smooth. Follow Lush's directions when they say brownie batter consistency-- this was perfect! I wrapped my pot in a towel to keep the heat in and took it to the bathroom. I was lazy and did not lay down trashbags or newspaper, but next time I will take the advice of another review I read and do this in the bathtub so I can rinse the tub and my body immediately after. Even without those precautions though, there is no staining anywhere in my bathroom. I used a cocoa butter stick around my forehead and on my ears and neck, but next time I probably won't even bother. I think as long as your skin isn't dehydrated it's just fine. WEAR GLOVES though. Lush provides them, so definitely make use! Mine were green by the time I was done. When applying the henna, I really tried to follow a pattern! I started from the back and began working my way forward. It was difficult, and the henna kept getting thicker and thicker as I worked. No biggie, it just didn't go on as smoothly as I was expecting. Once I had done each section, I had a small amount left in the pan, so I scooped it up and smeared it over the rest of my head, sort of like when you condition, to spread the mixture evenly and make sure I didn't miss any roots. I piled my hair on my head in the best bun I could considering how thick my mane was, then I strapped a plastic grocery bag around the whole thing. I pinned that in the back, and then for good measure wrapped a towel over the whole thing. I let this sit for 4 hours. Through the whole application process, I didn't find the henna smell to be gross or overpowering... it sort of smelled like roses, which was definitely unexpected. Yes, it smells like plant... but it's supposed to! I just learned to ignore it by the 4th hour. To rinse, I suggest NOT trying to shampoo immediately. I knelt over the tub and used the faucet (NOT the shower head, I don't think it would've had enough pressure). I started from my scalp and just slowly ruffled through my hair until all the plant matter was gone. I did NOT find it to be too gritty or too difficult to remove, but I was very patient and worked slowly from the top down (gravity, folks) to jostle out all the henna. I was actually at a friend's house and did not have my own shampoo with me, so after rinsing this first time I just stuck it in a towel and dried it as best I could. The cocoa butter left my hair extremely greasy, but the color got to steep a bit longer this way. When I finally got home, I showered and washed my hair twice-- the first time, it foamed green, the second time, everything rinsed clean. My hair felt a little dry and course even wet, so I used extra conditioner and let it sit a few minutes while I finished showering. Once I rinsed and towel dried, my hair felt AMAZING. So soft and luxurious. My favorite aspect of henna is that, because it coats each strand, my hair feels much thicker. Once it dried, there was not a HUGE color difference to me, but my husband and friends say it is much more chestnut than blonde now. I will definitely be using again, probably mixing Marron and Rouge since the red was not as pronounced as I would have liked. I am not enjoying that even now, a week later, my hair still smells like the henna, but if that's the price I have to pay, I'll do it gladly. BOTTOM LINE: I would suggest these DOs: be patient, go slowly, go in sections, think marathon not sprint, plan a whole day around this. I would suggest these DON'Ts: freak out, rush, expect that your application will not be nearly as messy as other reviewers, have evening dinner plans.