Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Hairy Adventure

 I have never colored my hair. I am a big chicken! Well, there was that time in high school when I doused my hair in lemons. But purchase at the store or pay someone for hair coloring!? I just couldn't justify it. Also, coloring your hair comes with a complication – you must continue coloring it FOREVER or you get that weird band where natural hair color meets dyed hair color. Keeping up with hair, make-up, or fashions really don’t fall under one of my ‘strengths.’ “So, why,” I asked myself, “would I begin coloring my hair when I would have to re-color it every four weeks for the rest of my ENTIRE life???”
One day, it all changed.  I was innocently sitting at a basketball game, one row higher than another mom. From my vantage point, I could see the most gorgeous color of copper in her hair. She had mostly dark hair except for the stunning copper highlights. I just had to know! So I asked.
Now, I am not always aware of crossing social boundaries. I sometimes ask people how old they are. Sometimes I ask if they are pregnant (not too often anymore though. Once a lady replied, “I know it looks like I am pregnant, but I have a tumor.” Egads). And apparently, sometimes I ask if their hair color is natural. Fortunately, she was not offended. She replied that the dark is her hair color, but the copper is there because of treating it with henna.
Fast forward 8 months. I could not erase that beautiful copper color out of my mind. I began asking around about hair coloring, and henna. It seems that in the 70’s, henna was frequently used to color hair. Nowadays, I think only the Indian women and alternative/punk-rockers use henna.  I have two friends trained in cosmetology. I asked each friend (they do not know each other) what they knew about henna for hair. Both of them shrieked, “DON’T USE HENNA!!” I asked them, “Why not?” They both dropped their jaw, shook their head, and said, “That is what they taught us at school – NEVER use Henna.”
Sorry, that is just not enough reason for me. I did some research. I believe the beauty schools don't want Henna used because the results vary, so there is a lack of control. Also, you cannot use chemicals to correct or cover up Henna-dyed hair. After all this research, I decided I really wanted to try it. Yes, I was willing to change my life for those beautiful copper-colored strands.
I asked my friend to take me to an Indian grocery store and I bought the Henna dye. It was a green powder that smelled like alfalfa - fresh alfalfa. I glopped it onto my head, shirt and countertop, waited the prescribed time, and spent at least 20 minutes trying to rinse it out of my hair.  But at last, I was finished.
I am fairly happy with the results. I will say that I had MUCH more gray hair than I thought! My gray didn't turn the smashing copper that started this whole quest, but it isn't gray. My hair does have natural-looking reddish highlights. I read that as you repeat the process, the color actually deepens.

After Henna treatment
Before Henna treatment
Left side Before

Left Side After
Right Side Before
Right Side After

Top Before

Top After
I know the pictures are lame, sorry. The lighting wasn't good, but I figured I should take Afters in the same place I took the Befores. Really though, my hair does look different in different lighting. Here is a picture I took outside. 
After; Outside


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