I love colouring my hair – it usually gives it shine and a difference to my look that I don’t mind seeing look back at me from the mirror… oh, and DH is a fan as well.
The problem with dyeing my hair with chemicals is (a) the smell and (b) the orange-y look that results after a couple of months, meaning that I have to go back and colour it again. It also seems to get drier with every colour, and I have to keep dyeing it to stop it from looking dry (I don’t think I’m the only one who sees the irony in that).
Fortunately, living in Singapore, there are cheap alternatives – namely in Henna. There are Indian-run salons that will dye your hair with Henna, and while it takes some time, the results are definitely worth it. I have taken to buying henna at a place called Mustafa’s in Little India (a 24-hour department store here in Singapore that has just about anything you could want to buy, from cotton tip buds to wedding rings), and mixing my own.
While there are a lot of websites that will go into much detail about Henna mixing, I thought I would add my own tips here.
- Henna takes a little while – allow 30 minutes for application (depending on hair length – long hair can take an hour), and 2-6 hours to sit with it on your hair. I found that I like to use a salon near home, wrap a scarf around my head, then go home for the waiting period and rinse it out myself in the shower later in the day/evening.
- You can add things to Henna to change the colour – natural things. Mine is a wine/mahogany colour (I love it), and you can experiment with red wine, lemon, paprika to get interesting red effects (check out the beauty secrets site for some recipes). I’m not going to recommend a recipe here, as colour varies alot depending on original hair colour and condition, and time exposed on hair. (more henna mixing information here).
- You can use some pre-mixed henna packs, but they usually have things like peroxide in it to lighten the hair. I have used Diamond brand as I find it the least damaging and the most natural pre-coloured package mix (the mahogany is really nice). It doesn’t have ammonia in it, and the chemical composition is very low. It is great if I don’t have time to mix my own.
- Rather than using 100% water to mix the henna paste,try throwing in a couple of egg-yolks to moisturise the hair and give it shine. I separate the yolks and whites, put the yolks in the henna mix, and the whites on my face as a toning face-mask. A complete beauty treatment.
My hair has been healthier and shinier than it has been in years, and the time spent every 1.5 to 2 months in doing this has been well worth it. Note that you should normally apply monthly, especially when you first start, as henna has a cumulative effect and by applying additional ‘coats’ every 1-2 months you deepen the colour.
Also note, when you dye your hair with henna, you have to wait for about 6-8 months before using a chemical dye. Henna coats your hair, and if you do dye it with chemicals within this period, you will not get the full effect of the chemical colour, and will probably just be wasting your money.