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Hair Dye & Henna


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.

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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! 🙂

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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.

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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.

Happy growing!


Miss Ije<3

Featured on The Kink and I

Hi loves,

Sorry for the lack of updates 😦 I’ve been so busy with work lately! I will try to post later this week about my hair color and my obsession with henna. On Friday, The Kink and I was kind enough to feature me as the Hairspiration! You can check out the interview here. Thanks Ekene & Mee Mee!


Miss Ije ❤

No Puff September

Hi Loves,

Happy September! I cannot believe that summer is over and we are already three quarters into 2014! I recently decided that this month will be “No Puff September.” Four years into my natural hair journey and I think I finally hit the dreaded “natural hair plateau,” often referred to as “the shoulder-length plateau.” …that point in your hair journey when you reach a standstill and feel like you are no longer retaining length.

At all stages of my natural hair journey, I have worn afro puffs. They are definitely my favorite hairstyle because they are so simple yet versatile. My routine after washing/ conditioning my hair is usually a two strand twist out turned into some variation of a puff. I’ve tried high puffs, medium puffs, half puffs, side puffs, pompadours and puffs… all kinds of puffs.
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I generally do not measure my hair from month to month, or year to year, but I realized that it is finally time for me to part with this hairstyle if I want to continue to reach my natural hair goals (which I will speak about in a later post). While I think puffs are a great style for all naturals, they should be worn with caution due to the following reasons:

The Headache from Hell

If you double/ triple your headbands around your head so that they are extremely tight and hold your hair in place, chances are, after a few hours you will probably develop some discomfort or a headache due to the strain it causes to your scalp. Sadly I am guilty of enduring pain for hours just to achieve a certain sleek style. To avoid this issue, you can use loosely tied scarves instead of elastic bands.

Tension on Edges

The length of your hair partially determines the position where your headband rests. If you have shorter hair, the headband will most likely sit around your temples or closer to your forehead. If you have longer hair, you have more freedom to wear the headband further from your forehead which alleviates the pressure felt on your head. A few months into my natural hair journey I was so eager to wear puffs. But because my hair was pretty short, I wore my headbands right behind my ears. I quickly noticed that this caused bald spots and breakage on the right/ left sides of my temples due to too much pressure on the same location, so I definitely recommend switching up the location of your puffs and wearing them occasionally if you must.

Hand in Hair Syndrome/ Tangles

If you are like me and sit at a desk all day, you will probably find yourself randomly playing in your hair. Since the tips are the oldest, weakest parts along the hair shaft, constantly touching them can cause breakage. And when you wear your hair freely in styles that permit the hair strands to coil around each other, you will encounter a mass of tangles/ single strand knots on wash day. Instead of wearing puffs every day, wearing your hair in two strand twists during the week and freely the last few days before wash day can help minimize these issues.

These are some of the challenges I have faced lately with afro puffs, so I am going to see if I can survive a month without them. Though this information is not new, sometimes you need a friendly reminder to break bad habits. If you have any tips for how to balance wearing puffs, leave them below!

Happy growing!


Miss Ije ❤

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