Around March of last year I began thinking about changing my hair color, using dye from Madison Reed, an alternative dye company. I had heard good things about their products, and because of my interest in all things natural and chemical free, was drawn to the idea of a natural and non-damaging hair dye. Summer came and went in a flurry of busyness and before long it was early fall. With my 20th birthday approaching in October, I again started thinking about dying my hair just for something fun and different.
I was really excited to try the Madison Reed products, and was practically ready to purchase one of their home dying kits. After doing further research though, I discovered that while their dyes are better than solon or drugstore brands, there were still some ingredients contained in them that didn’t quite meet my personal expectations for a truly natural and chemical free product. That is when I began investigating henna dyes. Henna is a flowering plant whose leaves are gathered and ground creating a very effective red dye. Henna can be mixed with other herbs and plants to create different colors of henna hair dye. Some brands include ingredients into their henna dyes that aren’t risk free though, so I kind of had to dig to find one that I fit my my chemical free criteria. I found this one by Light Mountain that has a rating of 1 (on a scale of 1-10 for toxicity, one is the best and ten is the worst) by the EWG’s skin-deep website. The henna mixture I got was “auburn”, a color I wanted to try because I already have golden and auburn highlights in my naturally light brown hair. I found it on Amazon for about $19.00, and when it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised that it actually came with three boxes of the mixture. Score!
Because henna doesn’t penetrate the hair follicle like most commercial dyes, but rather layers on top of your existing hair color, it only stays vibrant for 4-6 weeks. The three boxes have made it possible for me to keep my hair dark starting in late October until the most recent dye wears off completely in about 8 weeks; all for under $25, including the distilled water I had to get from the grocery to mix it up with. The first time I dyed it, my hair came out just slightly darker with a little more auburn tint, this last time though, due to the henna being layered on top of itself, it is a very nice dark auburn color that someone said “matches my fiery personality” . 😉
Just for comparison here is a (very grainy) cell phone picture I dude up from March of last year. It’s a pretty good representation of what my hair would normally look like, color wise, this time of year before the summer sun has lightened it.
Each box came with: the henna mixture, very detailed instructions on the coloration process, two disposable plastic gloves, and a disposable plastic cap to cover your hair with during the curing time. While dying with henna definitely takes a larger chunk of time than conventional dying processes, for me, I felt like the little bit of extra time and involvement was worth it, since I wasn’t applying chemicals to my hair, or inhaling them in the processes.
I’ve been very happy with my first 3 experiences using henna, and in the future if I decide to dye my hair again, I will definitely be purchasing from Light Mountain!
Have you ever used, or considered using henna before?