For the first time in my adult life I have let my own hair colour grow out. I also chopped off my previously dyed ends. The result was seeing my natural hair colour for the first time since I was 14! One thing I noticed about my new all natural hair was that it seemed thicker and stronger than it used to be. It is all around much healthier looking than ever before so I really didn’t want to ruin that with a harsh dye. But at the same time I cannot handle having medium brown hair until I turn grey.
I have always liked to switch it up, going from blonde to jet black and back again. So it was time to find an alternative. One day I was in Lush buying my all time favourite shampoo and I saw the blocks of henna in an alluring, earthy display. It caught my eye and I thought about it for a few weeks, initially wanting to dip dye my hair with the caca rouge, but after looking online for more information I decided against the red as I didn’t want it to come out coppery. Then I came across Noir. It was described as raven black with blue undertones. I was sold.
I picked up a brick for £9.95 from Lush Oxford Street and spoke with a very helpful member of staff who recommended putting vaseline around my hairline. I told her I was vegan and she showed me Lush’s Vegelene! This stuff is great! Not only did she enlighten me about this great product, she also gave it to me for free as a sample! I really could not ask for more. I was also told that if it doesn’t go well for any reason I should come back in and they can fix it in their own salon area. Although a nice offer, I’m not sure I could handle getting on the central line back to East London with my head covered in a henna helmet.
I ended up doing the henna treatment twice in 2 days as the results from the first time were not dramatic enough for my liking. The second time around I made some small changes and I believe they helped me achieve a better result. Here’s what I learned:
The process: I have medium thickness, just above the shoulder hair, so I decided to use 2 of the 6 squares. It ended up being just the right amount, without any wastage. I used a large knife to break the squares into smaller bits. I put the cut up bits into a pot, and turned it to low heat. I boiled the kettle then poured in hot water one splash at a time, while mixing the melting henna. I would estimate that I used about 1 cup of water but really I just eyed it bit by bit until it turned to a brownie batter consistency and there was no more chunks. I should say, before I melted the henna, I put a garbage bag over myself and the bathroom sink for protection. I applied the vegelene to my hairline and all over my ears and put on the gloves that were provided with the henna.
I don’t have a double boiler so I got a large pot of hot, almost boiled water and put that pot in the bathroom sink, then I transferred the melted henna into a bowl that would float on top of the hot water. The first time around I applied the henna without keeping it warm and after reading more about how to best use henna, I believe this was key in not achieving a dramatic result.
I used my gloved hands to apply the henna to my hair from root to tip. I didn’t bother sectioning my hair as there is not a whole lot of it anyways. Once one chunk was done I found it helpful to twist my hair and wrap it into a little bun/bee hive on the top of my head, adding the newly henna-ed bits as they were done.
This really was not as messy as I thought it would be. The henna did not stain the bowl, pot or any part of my skin. The vegeline defiantly helped with cleaning up around my hairline though.
I didn’t wrap my hair because I was looking for more of an inky black result opposed to bringing out red tones. I went about my business making dinner and doing a few things around the house. After about 5 hours I rinsed my hair. Luckily I have an extendable shower head and could spray my hair directly and the entire shower area afterwards. This was the most difficult and messiest part of the process by far. Once the grainy bits were all washed away, I used a small amount of shampoo on my scalp and rinsed.
The result: The next day my hair was a greasy mess, I guess I should have used more shampoo but I just pinned it back and went to work – I am not a morning shower-er. Later I washed my hair as normal and some more colour washed out. Once it was clean it looked great, lots of shine and volume. The colour did not turn out to be as inky black as I was hoping for and I really don’t see any blue tones at all. But over all I am very happy with the way it turned out. My hair colour now looks so much more natural than it did when I had previously dyed it jet black.
The colour seemed to darken over the next few days. Below is a photo from 2 days later.
I still have 2 squares left in the block and will give it another treatment in a month or so and will post an update. You are not required to wait but I do want to see what my root situation will be looking like and how it will do covering them.
Overall I really like this product and will continue to use it. It is so great to have a natural, vegan option so readily available. It left my hair feeling and looking healthy. Though I would say that if you are after a dramatic change, maybe lower your expectations and prepare to do several applications.
I hope this account of my experience with Lush henna will help decide whether or not it is right for you, and how to go about using it!