The Ultimate Granola Move: Hennaing my Hair

henna_for_hair.jpg

As someone who prefers to take matters into her own hands when it comes to hair, I tend to shy away from the hair salon.  Nothing against it, but I like to change things up so often that it would make it a very expensive habit, and I also have a passionate hatred for small talk.  None of my friends seem to share the fear I have of being chained to a salon chair for an hour, inventing travel plans I will never make in order to avoid the awkward silence that will eventually come with a stylist who likes to chat it up, so I might be in the minority here. 

Anyways, the point of the matter is that I have been dyeing my own hair for the past 9 years, ever since I discovered my sophomore year of college the joys of changing your entire look with $7 and 30 minutes.  Since then, I have had

numerous shades of blonde, red, and brown,

and I can honestly say that I have been pretty lucky that I even still have hair, as there have been times when I hated it immediately, ran to the rite-aid and dyed it again that same night.  I got into a chemical-free obsession a few years ago and started reading up on Henna, which would still let me change up my hair color without having to deal with the feeling of dissolving scalp that one gets with typical hair colors. Every few months or so, I would go through a pro-henna phase where I would read every article I could on it, then read some horror story about a woman with bright orange hair that had to grow it out and immediately talk myself out of it.  Fast forward to a year ago, when I decided to get drunk and order a henna kit.

If you're not familiar with henna, you might be wondering why this is a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't. There are a lot more pressing issues to be thinking about than hair color, but here you are, reading this blog that has so far been pretty much useless in terms of world-changing content.  So I assume that if you are still reading, you are saying "OK" to hearing about the logistics of spreading dirty goop on your hair and the resulting tantrum I threw when I saw the result.

Back to the matter, henna is a bigger deal than store bought because it is extremely permanent.  Those "permanent" haircolors you can buy at walgreens? Not permanent.  If you truly eff it up, it will fade or you can redye, but with henna, this shit ain't coming out.  Hence why I had to resort to liquid courage to even place an order.  Once it is in your hair, you can't use normal hair colors anymore (I have heard either your hair will fall out or it just won't work, but the worst case scenario is bad enough to scare me into making it a no-no.) So if you hate it, your option is either to grow it out or shave your head, or dye it black(with henna) to cover it up.  Needless to say, I was well-informed of these warnings before hennaing my hair, but I think that information went back to hang out in the happy part of my brain that likes to pretend that what I'm about to do isn't a terrible decision.  Instead, it focused on the pros, which is that I was embracing nature and my hair would be super soft and natural.

Another warning is that you have to buy body art quality henna instead of henna that has been mixed with metallic compounds.  Why? Oh, because your hair might literally melt off your head.  Seriously.  So after this oh so inspiring post don't just run to Whole Foods and grab the first henna kit you see. I got mine from this site

http://www.mehandi.com/

and found out a lot of information from

http://www.hennaforhair.com/.

  Anyways, this post is getting to be way longer than I expected, so I'm going to try to speed it up to the good freak out part, but if anyone really wants me to expand on the whole process of mixing the henna and whatnot, let me know and I will add it in.

What the mixture looks like

So, I mix up the batch of henna, and you have to wait for a day to make it all good and ready to make things orange, and then you have to test it on something to see if the dye will release or something like that.  So I waited a day, and I tested it, and said tester did not come out orange.  I wasn't sure what was going on, but I'm impatient and decided to go for it anyways.  On the poor advice of a blogger, I thought I needed to leave it in for at least an hour to make sure the color sets.  Since I did not see any color on the tester thing (a piece of paper) I was like, oh, well I'll just leave it in for 2 hours, just to make sure, which I would determine later to be the worst idea ever.

During said two hours, I had random panic attacks that I was making a serious mistake which I decided to quiet down with wine, which turned out to be bad idea as wine tends to make people klutzy, which isn't the best when you have white furniture and a head full of drippy, bad-smelling crap that will dye anything it touches.  I managed to make it out of the shower with only minor offenses to the apartment that were henceforth covered up with whiteout, and took off the towel to reveal sideshow-bob colored hair.

Hair before Henna

This picture does not even do it justice

This was a costume party, I don't normally dress like a gothic renaissance hooker.   

Unless its a Saturday.

After screaming at my boyfriend for laughing, then screaming at him for not stopping my destructive, impetuous decision, I rekindled my love for hats.  I tried to find some pictures that show the atrocity that was my hair, but I didn't let a camera near me for about a month.  Luckily, henna fades verrrrry slowly so the two pictures above show it almost at its glory, so just picture this but with jazz hands.  Picture below is after almost a year of fading.

A bit less cartoonish

In the end, it has since faded to a nice normalish color that I have actually gotten a lot of compliments on, so I guess I'm happy except that it would be nice to be able to change it.  It is also ridiculously soft and healthy and I rarely get split ends. However, I can already feel myself itching for a change from red hair but seeing as I am unlikely to shave my head, I'm not quite sure when that will happen.  Would I recommend henna?  I think very few people would be able to deal with the inconsistency, time, and radioactive hair, but seriously, this is some soft hair people.  I would imagine it's what unicorn hair feels like.