WHY I DYED MY HAIR
When I was in college, two things that I always wanted to do, but my parents never let me were (1) pierce my nose and (2) dye my hair. Now that I finally moved away from home and pay my own bills (as my mom likes to say), I have a lot more freedom to do things I’ve always wanted to do. Because I feel like I’ve missed the window of opportunity to pierce my nose, I chose to experiment with hair color instead.
I decided that early April was the perfect time to add some blondish-brownish highlights to my hair, since spring was coming and I was bored. I scheduled an appointment with my childhood hair stylist immediately and didn’t do much research beforehand because I knew if I did, I would back out. I have seen/ heard so many color-gone-wrong horror stories on YouTube, so I knew I was not ready to do it myself. The stylist mixed honey blonde and chestnut-brown and applied the dye to my dry, unwashed hair. Since my hair stylist knew there was a chance that I would not like the color, she only highlighted a few pieces in the front instead of my whole head. (I’d say less than 10% of my hair is colored). I sat under the dryer for approximately 15-30 minute to speed up the process and we checked the color every couple of minutes. She thoroughly washed and conditioned my hair after the color treatment. Initially, I hated the color because there was a shocking difference between the dyed color and my natural hair color. I would have preferred if there were a few different shades of brown so that the highlights transitioned into each other. This is how my hair looked like right after she dyed it.
WHY I TRIED HENNA
After realizing that blondish-brownish hair was not for me, I decided to try coloring my hair using natural methods instead. On my visit to Singapore two years ago, I purchased a bag of Shama Dulhan Moghlai Mehendi henna powder from Little India. I never used it due to fear that it could damage my hair (I’m extremely risk averse when it comes to my hair). But after seeing so many YouTubers rave about the color, strength, and conditioning benefits, I finally decided to give it a try. I love using henna as a deep conditioner because from my experience, it leaves my hair feeling soft and strong. A week after dyeing my hair, I treated my hair with henna and fell in love with the results below! 🙂
MIXING THE HENNA/ APPLICATION
The night before I applied the henna to my hair, I mixed the henna powder in a large bowl with a lot of conditioner and water, then added a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and steeped green tea. You want the mixture to have a texture similar to yogurt – not too thick or runny. I let the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight to help release the pigments. The next day I applied it to my freshly washed and de-tangled hair. I wrapped it in Saran wrap and left it on for about 3 hours.
One frustrating aspect of the application process is that applying henna is extremely messy. Be sure to cover your floor with paper, clean up the mess right away, and wear an old t-shirt and disposable gloves to avoid staining issues. (I can attest to red hands and fingernails for weeks). Also, make sure you set aside enough time. I originally planned to henna my hair every week, but the process is so daunting and overwhelming. Now, I do not have a set schedule, but whenever I feel that my hair dye is starting to fade (usually every 1-3 months), I love using henna to give it an extra burst of color. 🙂
Though I love how I look with the new hair color, I do not think sacrificing the health of my hair just to have a certain aesthetic is worth it in the long run. I had a quick stint with Manic Panic Kiss Red temporary hair dye and it left my hair feeling like straw. (I would never use that product again) Hair color is definitely fun, bold and vibrant, but I strongly believe it damages your hair. After dyeing my hair, my hair texture changed and it is very dry in the front area. That said, I am happy I finally tried it, but I do not think I will permanently dye my hair again… at least, not in the near future. Here is a picture of my hair post henna treatment and post manic panic.
ADVICE FOR NATURALS THINKING ABOUT HAIR DYE
For those who are contemplating dyeing their hair, my number one piece of advice is to do your research before hand and assess whether it is something you think you can successfully do alone or if you should seek professional guidance. Unfortunately, salvaging damaged natural hair is difficult, so I recommend weighing the pros/cons to determine if it is worth it. For my risk averse naturalistas, highlighting a few pieces instead of your whole head is also a great way to gauge whether or not color is for you.
What are your experiences with hair color? Comment below! I would love to hear from you.