Mostly different hues of red.
In college, I started dying my hair black with conventional dye.
My hair is naturally a dark brown, but I like it best when it’s the darkest of the dark browns.
I dyed my hair with regular ole dye for about 5 years.
Then I stopped…
BUT now that I’m getting older and finding more gray hairs than usual, I find the desire to start coloring my hair again.
So, I decided to revisit the henna of my youth.
For some reason, henna tends to get a bad rap.
Like it will alter your hair forever or dye your skin green…which it actually might.
I don’t know too much about how henna actually works, but I do know a thing or two or three about using it.
So here are my Dos and Don’ts of Henna Use:
DO put some thought into choosing your shade of henna. I go with black because it’s supposed to turn my hair Dark Ash Brown (Dark A*s Brown?), and I really don’t like red highlights…
DON’T do anything until you read the directions. Seriously. Read them.
DO wear a tank top from middle school with your name sewn in the back from that time you went to Stagedoor Manor summer theater camp. (aka wear old clothes).
DO play around with adding things like an egg for extra conditioning or spices to bring out highlights. I added one egg and a teaspoon of all spice to this batch.
I also use coffee instead of water to tone down the red highlights…really don’t like those red highlights…
Smearing it on:
DON’T be afraid of making a giant mess. It’s inevitable.
DO start at the roots of the hair on the crown of your head and work outward. I do all of my roots, smoothing the covered hair toward the top of my head. Then, once all the roots are covered, I coat the ends of my hair with henna, creating a henna turban, if you will.
DO wipe down everything that the henna touches immediately. Clumps WILL fall off your head and onto your shoulders, chest, sink, floor. It will dye your skin if you leave it on too long… I have the black stains on my feet to prove it.
DON’T allow your boyfriend/husband/partner to see you once you’ve globbed all the henna on. He’ll think you’re nuts.
Waiting for it to set:
DON’T schedule a group conference call for right after you apply henna for the first time in 10 years. I did this. Henna literally running down my face (I used old lotion instead of Vaseline to protect my hairline) for the entire hour of the call. It’s hard to coach people when you’re worried about dying your entire face green.
DO wrap an old towel around your neck just in case there are some drips.
DO have your foam roller handy. You’re going to want it once you rinse: I always end up sitting straight as a rod for the entire hour that the henna’s setting. It’s impossible to slouch with henna head. Do not forget to brush your hair, good hair brushes make this process easy and comfortable.
DO remind yourself that you’re doing a pretty cool thing for your body by avoiding conventional hair dye.
DON’T worry: it gets easier the second time around.