Be a Bold Red Head, Naturally
Be bold Red Head
Henna will make your hair bright orange. So be forewarned. I tried it first in my 40’s when my son was performing as a clown. His strawberry-blonde hair turned bright orange. So, of course being the clown mother, I had to try it too.
When I was younger it was too bright, but not any more. Its wonderful having total strangers walk up to me, tell me while I’m shopping, even yell across the parking lot -- “I love your hair.” Especially when little kids do it. One time I was lingering in the dollar store when nearby a little girl says to her mother “That lady has pretty hair.”
So, you want to try it. You’re old enough, brave enough, happy enough.
The last box of henna I bought is for dyeing your skin. I’ve bought henna in different places of different kinds. Usually I go for the box that’s obviously from India. Health food stores, import stores, and shops run by foreigners with deep brown eyes are good places to find your supply. You may become a serial user. There are different shades, darker to lighter, but once on, they are within a very similar range. Go for the darker if you can get it.
The box for coloring hair has a pair of thin plastic gloves and a plastic cover for your head. I recommend wearing gloves and having a plastic bag handy for wrapping your head up while your henna sets.
I leave it on for a good hour or longer because I have a lot of white hair and I want to make sure it’s colored.
So - gather up your supplies. If you’re a newbie it sounds like a lot, but you’ll get into the rhythm and keep everything together.
You are going to mix, put it on and leave it on for minimum ½ hour, wash your hair and clean up the traces of your work. So plan on a little time out to do it. I like to make it a rest and rejuvenation time, put on a mud face mask, listen to music, meditate to feel beautiful. But don’t let anyone see you because you definitely won’t look beautiful.
Using a natural hair color
Plastic gloves and a plastic bag with a clip to hold the bag on your head
a bowl to mix in and a spoon and fork for stirring.
Hot water. I read some directions that said to mix use boiling water, then let the mix cool off enough to use. But for the longest time I just used hot tap water and I don’t notice the difference.
An old towel that you don’t mind getting stained.
Another old towel if you want to put one around your neck to catch any drips or stave off neck drafts.
Wear an old shirt that you can get stained around the neck and will protect anything underneath, including your sleeves.
I have learned to wear clothes that I can take off from the bottom, not over my head. Henna stains, so if you have to take a shirt off over your head before your shower, you run the risk of getting it spotted.
I also clear away any cloths or towels that could be tainted and have a roll of tissue handy to catch spots on the floor or counter.
To begin, mix your powdered henna with hot water. Boiling or the hottest tap water. It will be lumpy, so keep stirring. I also add in a dash of white vinegar because I imagine that it will hold the color, since it’s used to set color when you’re dying cloth. Then I also pour in a little olive oil to make a hot oil treatment. And my latest package recommends putting in a teaspoon, or is it a tablespoon, of coffee or black tea to make the color darker.
I use about a fourth of package for my short to medium length hair, about half a cup of powder. Then I add liquid slowly until it’s about the consistency of mayonnaise or pudding or congealed gravy. Once I got it a little too wet and it leaked out the edges of the plastic bag. So I put tissue around the edges, especially behind my ears where it was making a little rivulet down my neck. Have your tissue or cotton balls handy.
I have missed areas on my head that I didn’t know were not covered, so now I make it wet enough so that I can feel the wetness on the scalp to ensure total coverage. This could be fun to do with a friend, or even a hairdresser, or hairdresser/friend.
It will dye your ears, neck and skin on your face. To keep that from happening, you can put soap on these areas before you start. Just don’t get soap on those little hairs around your hairline because you want to color them too.
Put your plastic covered fingers in the goop that you’ve made. It will be a muddy color and have a sandy muddy texture. Glop it on your head in small areas at a time and rub it around and into your head to get those roots. The rest of your hair will get covered as you go. If your hair is longish and you haven’t colored it before then save the hair away from the roots for last, then get it all covered after you do your scalp.
I use henna now, aside from the fun compliments that I get, because I can feel safe and secure about putting this on my head. For years I was putting carcinogens to soak into my brain, or at least into my scalp. But not with henna, no more chemical dyes for me.
Cover your head in plastic and clip it on. Throw away the plastic gloves or wash them out. Leave the bowl, spoon and fork in the sink and wash there with hot water as you wipe out the sink and wipe off the counter and the faucet. I usually manage to get some on the floor too. I take off the ugly dyeing shirt to wash with the dark clothes. Wrap an old towel around my shoulders to take some relax time for an hour with good music. Be careful if you lie down to protect your pillows with another old towel.
Time is up so wash out the plastic head cover if you are as thrifty as me. Gracefully get in the shower and let all this brown stuff run off your head. I shampoo at this time although in the past I’ve only rinsed to make sure the dye set. But your hair won’t look good until you wash it and there will be some gritty stuff left on your head until you wash.
Just when I forget that my hair is an unusual color and think its normal, a total stranger will come up to me smiling and say “I really like your hair.” If they ask if it’s natural, I get to smile back and say, Yes, its natural. Natural henna dye from India.