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I have been going grey since my mid twenties and at 30 have a noticeable amount of grey. Premature greying runs in my dad's side of the family so there isn't much I can do to avoid it. I want to disguise the greys without using commercial chemical dyes if I can help it. Internet research suggested various natural plant based DIY solutions for me. Turmeric was a disaster turning me clown yellow but I loved henna.
Mine cost £1.50 a packet from Morrison's supermarket so was much less than hairdye. The powder is yellowish with a very strong grassy smell. My research told me various conflicting ways of making it up for use. I tried using white vinegar and cold coffee mixed with the powder and some cinnamon till the thickness of custard and then leaving it overnight to brew. The grassy vinegar smell was a bit much for me, going through the whole house until I put a plate over the bowl.
Next day I put it on dry hair left for two hours and shampooed out. I had to shampoo twice to get it all out. No smell lingered on my hair. My grey's were a golden copper and the rest of my light gingery brown hair was darker copper. Leaving henna on four hours makes hair darker and redder. As I am naturally gingery this suits my complection and for others like me I recommend it. The colour does not fade so you just have to touch up nee hair growth at the roots when needed.
I had heard henna can make hair shinier but that didn't happen to me. My hair was much fuller as an unexpected bonus and I was asked what I had done to make it so nice. My natural hair is very thin. Others might not notice such an affect.
I've got brown-going-grey hair that could do with a bit of rejuvenation, but it starts falling out the instant I put dye on it, even the mahogany- and chestnut-style coloured hennas with added ingredients. So I've been using regular henna for a while now and my hair likes it much better.
When you buy it look out for one that only contains henna (Lawsonia Inermis), the brighter green the better. Avoid old henna that's gone greyish. My health food shop sells it loose for about £1.20 a bag which does two applications.
You begin by putting the henna in a jug and adding boiling water to make a runny paste, then leaving it (for a few hours if necessary) until the red dye starts to come out.
I always smear my ears and hairline with Vaseline to keep the dye off them, and use lots of old towels, and use plastic gloves to apply the henna.
It's mucky, gloopy stuff that looks like wet mud and smells like swan poo, and applying it is a messy, splattery business. I usually heap it on and work it into my hair as best I can with my fingers, then run it through with a wet brush.
I then wrap my head in a carrier bag and then a towel to keep it warm (henna makes the best colour when warm) and leave it for an hour or so before rinsing out.
It comes out pretty easily and providing you clean the bath, floor and towels fairly quickly it doesn't leave a lasting stain. Even staining to the scalp disappears a day or two later - as does the smell, which really lingers!
The henna leaves the hair in lovely condition and also works against dandruff, which is just as well because you can't use it with dandruff shampoos as the high sodium content in them can apparently turn your hair green!
After the first use the colour is rather weak and coppery, but with successive uses the colour builds up to a nice deep red. As henna contains nothing harmful it's fine to keep applying it to the whole head of hair, not just the roots.
If I'm honest I'd rather have a much darker colour ideally, but my hair just won't stand for it so henna is a very acceptable second best and the lack of nasty chemicals and the ease of being able to keep slapping it on make up for a lot.
Henna! Brilliant stuff. It's a semi-permanent, all-natural colourant for your hair that disguises the greying bits very effectively (admittedly though, by dyeing them bright orange) and best of all it doesn't (to the best my knowledge and unlike a lot of the synthetic hair dyes currently available on the market) increase your risk of developing bladder cancer on account of all the noxious chemicals it has in it.
So henna, which is a shrubby plant from the privet family that grows in warmer parts of the world, has been used historically as a dye for skin and hair for thousands of years. (The ancient Egyptians for example, were quite partial to it.) These days it's mainly popular in Middle-eastern and Asian communities in Britain - and specialist shops catering for / run by people from these communities tend to be the best places to buy 'the good stuff'.
Good henna being freshly ground, finely-powdered, pure leaf material from the henna plant. For dyeing purposes, it comes in the form of a pale-green powder and has a weird and very distinctive smell. I noticed when I used to buy mine in little plain cellophane packets from the famous 'TFC' (=Turkish Food Centre) shop in East London that henna powder is considered to have a sell-by date; this fits in with the idea that the fresher-ground leaves are best for dyeing purposes. Dyeing one's hair with it is quite simple: the henna powder should be mixed in just-boiled water to make a smooth, slurry-like paste ('like wet cow pats' is a good description of the ideal consistency it should be.) Other supposed natural colourants can also be added at this stage; I was told by one hair-dresser to boil up the henna paste for minutes is strong black tea before applying it; she also said a spoonful of instant coffee would also improve the colour, but as the colour you get from henna tends to be quite variable in any case depending on how much paste you've used, as well as how hot your head got while the dye was left to 'work' and how long you left it on your hair for (either way it's all various shades from orangey to mahogany-red you might get) I can't really vouch for the addition of hot beverages into the mix being a good idea or not.
Once cool enough not to burn your scalp on contact, you spread the henna paste on to your hair (wearing rubber gloves, as it very effectively dyes exposed skin bright orange also), taking care to work it well down to the roots and to get a good, thick coverage all over. (How much henna paste you'll need depends on how long your hair is, obviously.) It should then be left for at least an hour to 'set'. (If you buy henna powder in one of those little cardboard boxes which come with instructions they say not to leave it on for more than an hour at this stage; however I've left it on a couple of hours with no ill effects). The colour in natural henna dye appears to be 'fixed' by being heat-activated; I find the best hair-dyeing results are obtained when the stuff in contact with your head gets a chance to get quite hot - within the limits of normal body-temperature, that is. There's no point trying to 'activate' the henna eg. by using a hair dryer as that'll just dry the stuff out quicker, and without it being wet, the colour won't transfer to your hair as effectively. The made-up paste is just like mud and it does make a horrendous mess, so it's best to wrap you hair in cling-film - which will keep the henna in place and also make your head heat up; also wearing a woolly hat can help with the heating process.
Henna does have a few disadvantages. It's best to rinse the paste off your hair into a bucket so that the henna powder doesn't go down the drain in your bath and block it. This is a slight pain as it makes a mess in the bath / shower. Also, the stuff has a weird, very characteristic smell that lasts and lasts on your scalp no matter how many times you wash your hair to get the initial dye paste off. (This odd odour usually wears off after about a week). Similarly you often get a bit of 'henna bleed' from your head onto pillowcases and bedding during the first week or so. And of course even if you're using it to 'cover a bit of grey' it does dye ALL of your hair - not just the grey parts. As I have dark hair this is OK for me as it only shows up orange on the grey parts, but if your hair was lighter in colour you might get some seriously odd bright orange effects - particularly when the hennaed hair begins grow out and you get grey roots showing / a two-toned grey-and-orange hair effect. This isn't a problem if you intend to re-henna your hair regularly but if you want to dye it another colour entirely, I don't know how henna interacts with other hair colourants.
Still, I'd count these as minor problems. The trickiest thing about dyeing your hair with henna, I find, is getting hold of a decent supply of the raw powder in the first place; the little cardboard boxes of so-called henna dye you can buy in certain health-food shops are simply not as good. I've even resorted to buying henna that was being sold for soap-making over the internet in the past; and even though this wasn't powdered as fine as the hair-dye stuff usually is and had bits of twig and fibre in, it still did an approximately all-right job of colouring my hair. So in terms of dyeing your hair with a natural product, and if you like the colour orange, henna's nearly idiot-proof, really.
Henna from a bottle not powder !
I attempted to use Henna powder on my hair a couple of years ago and the results were disastrous! Without going into to much detail, the colour was nothing like what I thought it would be (looked like I had been in a mud slinging contest), and the mess that it made when I was mixing it up and the applying was horrendous. Needless to say, I did not try henna on my hair again until a friend recommended Surya henna hair products to me. You have to order the product online- just Google Surya Henna- it is sold by various online companies.
The price varies depending on the retailer (average is about £8.50 for 70ml bottle or £16.99 for 200ml); it is more expensive that buying powder your have to mix, but I think that the extra money spent is worth it just for the "less hassle" factor.
Now I do have short hair, so I appreciate the fact that it will take me less time to colour my hair, but it only takes me 5mins to mix into my hair and then another 45 mins or so with a shower cap on my hair before I rinse it off. Don't panic if you get any bathroom fittings a bit messy when applying or rinsing, my experience is that if you wash it off as soon as you can, then no damage is done. Don't forget to wear gloves when applying it though!
Finally, the colour results for me have always been fantastic. I have naturally dark brown hair so I go with Chocolate or Mahogany colours. This henna won't lighten your hair or let you move from brunette to blonde, but it does give it a lovely shine, has no chemicals to speak of and covers grey completely. As good as anything I have paid for at the hairdressers.
Henna! This is a plant extract which is dried and ground to a powder form. It is more common in Asian/African/Middle East areas and can be used as a hair dye or to decorate the body in the form of a temporary tattoo.
The powder itself is green. When mixed with water and left preferably overnight, a reaction takes place. This is what turns the green powder into a beautiful red/orange dye. For more intense colour and vibrancy, it is better to mix the henna powder with a mild acid, usually lemon juice. Because lemon juice is mild, it will not harm your skin if using henna paste on the body. Use the lemon juice mix of henna with caution on the hair. It may react adversely on lighter hair. (and I don't want to be responsible for that!!!)
To apply on the hair, treat it as you would any other hair dye, taking all the precautions as you would take on a professional hair dye. Results vary depending on original hair colour and types of henna and how it is made up. It definitely leaves hair silky and soft.
For henna art, the paste can be applied using a cocktail stick ( if you have patience) or can be put into a cone type plastic bag ( like a plastic icing bag). These are usually provided with the henna, in the box if bought from authentic Asian shops/cash and carries. Once the cone is sealed, a tiny incision is made at the tip of the cone. With a little pressure, and some artistic flair, you are ready to doodle away!
For best results on the body, leave to dry and it will flake off itself. Can be washed off, but the colour may not be as intense. Lasts about 2/3 weeks depending on the darkness of the colour, and how often the area is washed.
As with any new product used, if in doubt, test a small area. If there is a tingling or burning sensation, wash off immediately and do not use.
This natural henna differs from the pre-packed henna cones which are readily available. Those contain chemicals and may not be suitable for everyone. Another type of henna to avoid is black henna. many people have reacted badly and ended with burnt skin.
~What is Henna~
Henna is a plant that is dried, ground into powder, and under most circumstances can release a reddish ginger dye useful for dyeing skin, hair and textiles like leather and materials like linen or cotton.
A complete biological explanation of henna can be seen at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henna
~What is the difference between Henna, Black Henna (Indigo) and Black Henna that has appeared in the news causing damage to people~
Henna itself has been described above, however, traditionally, Black Henna is not Henna at all, it's another plant called Indigo. Always check the box before using; if it doesn't say "100% crushed indigo leaves" you could be in for a horrible shock. Indigo doesn't dye black but blue, and can only dye black after or mixed in with a normal henna dye. Black Henna that isn't labelled 100% indigo runs the risk of containing the chemical Para-phenylenediamine and can cause nasty horrible disfiguring damage. It is specifically this black henna that is causing all the damage you hear in the news. If you can't see the henna packet, don't trust the person doing the tattoo!!!!!!
Once you have had one reaction to Para-phenylenediamine, the chances of you having another, more severe reaction increases.
For the purposes of this review I will call the 100% Indigo black henna "Black Henna (Indigo)"
Henna and Black Henna (Indigo) are useful for temporary tattooing most parts of the body, however it seems the ears and the nape of the neck don't seem to dye well. May also be used as a material or hair dye as an alternative to chemicals.
~places to obtain Henna and Black Henna (Indigo)~
Ebay searches can come up with various results at varying prices. Just placing the word 'henna' can view some rather lovely henna tattoo kits for the beginner, however, place 'henna powder' in a search if you wish to dye your hair with henna.
Akash (http://www.akash.de) is an online store selling normal henna powder at £2.10 per 40g (unknown postage)
Get looking! I happen to be in a high Asian population town, and happen to have a family run minimarket down the road. They stocked both the Henna and Black Henna (Indigo) for traditional hand tattooing/hair dying reasons (e.g. weddings etc) and sold me a box of 100g for a shade under 70p. It was imported from Pakistan, and was rather excellent quality. I suggest searching 'ethnic' bias stores!
~websites and downloadable eBooks~
http://hennapage.com is an American website packed full of great information plus if you go to 'freebies' there are numeral PDF eBooks, movies and slide shows. It also has some recipes for all sorts of beauty aids using henna and indigo!
~my venture into dying my hair with Henna~
Well, my journey actually started on Friday 21st. Mixing 3 boxes (300g) of Henna powder with a cup of lemon juice and enough water to create a yogurt style paste. It looked disgusting! However, I wrapped it up and left the dye to 'release' overnight.
I opted to mix so much of the mix as I have fairly long hair (3 inches past my shoulders if not 5" in places) and henna mix does not saturate or drip through your hair like normal chemical dyes, meaning I needed to plaster it over everywhere.
Starting at my crown I used gloves to thickly spread the mix over the roots, eventually ending up with a thick gooey mass of hair and goo on my head. It kind of reminded me of mottle and daub houses from the middle ages with the mud and straw! I carefully wiped any henna mix of any areas I didn't want dyeing like my forehead, ears and nape of my neck. Wrapping in cling film (just my hair not my face!) and then a towel (in case of any runniness) I then left the gloop to do its work for 4 hours. I proceeded to clean up the bathroom at this stage as the stuff splodges EVERYWHERE. I even found a bit this morning (Tuesday 25th) on the lino I missed and it dyed the linoleum underneath it green!
My real horror came at actually rinsing the stuff out. It took ages. It took so long I wished I had got a shower. The smell is like wet wood chips and it was really like getting mud out. I honestly haven't seen so much black brown water since all 5 kids played rugby in the garden in the rain! It took about an hour of washing to get out, and my hair didn't feel nice at all, prompting me to quickly wash it with baby shampoo and some mild conditioner.
I had pre-bleached then red (scarlet) dyed hair that had faded to pale ginger/strawberry blond, after the henna I am now a flaming red head with very dark ginger hair. It has got richer in colour and texture over the last 2 days, which the henna page eBook said would happen anyway.
It's messy, time consuming, and just a little bit smelly. You can add things to the mix to change the smelly part though. The bath after cleaning wasn't so hard to clean out, just took a lot of rinsing.
I am definitely going to try it again, but once I have a shower to hand! I may actually try the tattooing too. My mother has shown a interest in having her hair dyed this way, however her hair is a lot shorter!
Me hair was in very bad condition from the ridiculous amounts of DIY permanent hair colours i had put on i could esily have used 3 in a month. I always got bored with my hair easily - as you can probably tell. I decided to go for a colour that would be more gentle on my hair. A magazine recomended Henna as a gentiler approach to hair colouring so off i went to the body shop to buy myself some. when i got home i rushed to bathroom and prepared to get shiny silky hair. When i took the henna out of the packet there was a strong odour but that at first didnt put me off until it came to mixing it with warm water - thats when the smell really kicked in anyway i put the green warm paste (poo) on my head and left it to develop. the end result which was supposed to be a rich warm red was unoticable the only thing it did for my hair was make it a bit shinier. I could have used a semi perminent for that anyway why put green poo in your hair? i still dont know the answer to that one!!!
I made a big mistake last week and I urge anyone else who reads this to take heed and listen to my advice. I have fairly dark brown hair, but it gets very dry at the ends and consequently has a nasty habit of turning a subtle ginger colour - not a good look in my opinion. Because my ends are so dry though, I am loathed to use normal chemical hair dyes with ammonia and peroxide, as this just finishes my ends off and leaves me with a head full of split ends. Ever on the lookout for a natural(ish) alternative that won't damage my hair, I happened upon a pack of henna in the Body Shop which promised to coat my hair with a lovely chocolate brown glow. I was a little suspicious intitially, knowing that henna generally produces a very definite red effect, but given that there were other packs in the range which promised the red colours and another pack which was for black tones, I thought their may be some grain of truth in the claims of brown-ness. I am a fool - of course henna turns your head red - no matter how they package it or what they claim - i now look like anne of green gables - sigh. And to heap insult on injury I have been told by hairdressers specialising in vegetable colours, that they cannot put these colours over henna-ed hair and so I will have to wait at least 6 weeks before I can correct the damage - groan.
In the January sales I found myself in Lush in Birmingham, a place I had never shopped in before. I wanted to brighten my hair up a bit and make it nice and shiny. I lingered in the hair care section and eventually asked an assistant for some much needed assistance. She was very helpful and answered all the questions I wanted to know. Being in a Lush store can be a bit disconcerting, as your senses are bombarded with all the fabulous smells and sights. All of the products are set out in baskets and it seems more like a food market than a cosmetic company. The chalkboard above the Les Cacas Henna blocks promised "No sh*t hair colour and shine" and I wanted to know how these strange looking green blocks would make my hair a luscious mane. There are 4 different colours of Lush Henna available to buy: Caca Rouge- traditional bright red Caca Marron- chestnut Caca Brun- glossy brown Caca Noir- shiny black I have used traditional henna before (Body Shop) and did not really like the red colour so I bought the Caca Brun. The ends of my hair are lighter than the roots from the sun and I prefer an all over colour so I hoped this would do the trick, as well as making my hair nice and soft. For all of the types, you can either buy it in bebe (175g) or mama (325). Bebe works out at 3 blocks, and Mama at 6. Bebe costs £2.95 Mama costs £4.95 If you want to use a credit card, there is a minimum charge of £5 (Grrrr) but you can use that as a good excuse to treat yourself to some bathroom goodies! The assistant told me that due to the length and thickness of my hair (medium length, thick) I would probably need 2-3 blocks for one application, so I bought a mama sized portion so that I would do repeat applications without having to go back to the shop. You can buy the henna from any Lush store, or from their web site at www.lush.co.uk The site also lists all the store
locations, ingredients and instructions for applying the henna. The block will be served to you wrapped in a plastic bag and if you buy it from a store you will usually get some free samples of Lush products. I got two free products! I was also given a sheet containing the instructions. The blocks are a dark green colour and smell very strong (so don't keep them in your knicker drawer unless you want to smell like you have been rolling around in the bushes!) They can crumble a bit if they get crushed in your bag so be careful. Each colour of Caca Henna contains specially selected ingredients to enhance the effect upon your hair. Caca Brun contains these special ingredients: Ground coffee- to enhance and deepen the brown colour Nettle Powder- helps to condition the scalp I will not go into too much detail over the instructions, just give some hints that are not mentioned by Lush. - Pour Boiling water over the blocks in a pan or bowl, then mash the blocks with a spoon so they break up a bit - I heated the henna up on the hob on a low heat (although this is not recommended, I do not have a bain-marie as suggested on the web site) and kept stirring it until there are no lumps - Make sure the consistency is fairly thick or else the mixture will not stick to your head, it will just drip off - Be warned, it smells very strong (a natural smell of plants and herbs which some find unpleasant) so do not do this at the same time as there is any food cooking in the kitchen! - Apply the henna to your hair whilst standing in the bath as it will drip onto your carpet/furniture otherwise - Make sure you apply it to all of your hair, not just the top parts - If you have long hair, use an old clip to pile all your hair on your head out of the way for the time you have to leave it on - Wrap your hair up in cling film to get a red tinge or leave it o
pen for a browner colour - Leave it for at least an hour, longer for a more intense colour. About the reference to baby poo, well the first time I went through the necessary steps to make the henna mixture, my boyfriend was disgusted at the sight and smell of the stuff. Now it does not *smell* of poo by any means, but after mixing it, it is thick and green, so make your own conclusion. One of my flatmates came into the kitchen while I was heating it up and she believed me when I told her it was spinach soup-it's a good job she has not annoyed me recently or I would have served some up to her in a bowl! Wipe your ears and neck after applying the henna- my back was covered in the stuff! It is suggested that you wear rubber gloves for the application but I didn't as I find this difficult (another reason is that I don't think my flat mates would be too happy if the rubber gloves were covered in henna!) I scrubbed my hands after and the henna mostly came off apart from a brown tinge underneath my fingernails (which has now gone, the day after). As the hour passes, the henna will go hard- resist the temptation to pick at it like I did as you will leave crumbs of henna everywhere! I still have them on my bed as I type! When it comes to rinsing off time, USE A SHOWER. In fact, I would even say don't henna your hair if you don't have a shower. Using a shower head is the only way that you will rinse all of the henna out of your hair. I did the henna at home once, where we do not have a shower, and could not get all of the bits out. Make sure you have rinsed it all out thoroughly (until the water runs completely clear), and then shampoo and condition it as normal. Ok, so results time...unless you have used the Caca Rouge, or if you started out with mousey hair, do not expect drastic results. As I already have dark hair in a fairly good condition, using henna does not make a
drastic difference. It does however, even out my hair colour and add extra shine and softness. My hair feels a lot smoother when I run my hands down the length of it and is much easier to brush after henna-ing it. Unlike some dyes which contain peroxide, Lush Henna does not leave a strong smell on your hair, just a delicate plant-type smell. When you apply Henna you know it is a natural product that will not ruin your hair. Lush Henna is made from completely Vegan products, and as with all of their products, is not tested on animals or made from any ingredients tested on animals. Henna is only suitable for people with mousy-dark hair and not blondes. It will not lighten hair, and can be used on grey hair but it is recommended to do a strand test before hand. Overall, I recommend this product even though it does not create a stunning difference and my boyfriend hates the smell! He will have to suffer for my never ending quest to get an ultra glossy barnet! Oh, and who ever said I, or any other female was sane? Women do all sorts of mad things for vanity, having pubic hair ripped out is an extreme example. So I think in contrast to that, sitting with a green poo on your head is nothing really!
Most people would chose not to have hair that is in any way, orange, so why do people use henna to dye their hair? When I was young, I dyed my mid-brown hair with henna. It was a really messy business, involving vaseline to avoid dying your face orange too, and a really really, to be frank, manky bowl of henna. You mix the henna powder into a paste with a little conditioner to make the consistency a bit better, and hot water to release the dye. It looks like green-ish poo (I jest not), and it smells just as bad. So I'd recommend a clothes peg for your nose. Oh, and don't forget plastic gloves because henna will dye your hands orange and it'll last about 2 weeks like that. You can leave it on for however long you like, I chose about an hour, but I know people who have left it on overnight, and slept with a plastic bag over their head. The length of time you leave it on for imfluences the end colour result, of course. Rinsing the henna out is a really tricky business. It's not like a normal hair dye, where you just rinse with water and after about 5 minutes it's gone. It took me about an hour to get rid of the grains i my mid-length hair, and of course you can't stand in the shower and do it, or sit in a bath, because you'll come out orange too! All in all, you have to have time, patience, and a commitment to being natural to use henna. After all that, my hair did look nice, shiny, with a natural auburn glow. That was until the sun came out and I realised that my hair was ORANGE. I don't know why but I've always hated my hair looking even the slightest bit orangy, so maybe henna wasn't the best thing to use on it. Also, when I got tired of my hair being such an orangy colour, I decided to use wella toners on it, to make it purple, just for about 3 washes. It stayed. I may as well have used a permanent dye on my hair, as the henna had made it so porous that the non-permanent dye stayed permanently.
All in all, I like henna, and the way it makes other peoples hair looks. If you've got dark hair, it'll increase shine and give it an auburn tint, but if you've got mousy hair, you'll find a very marked change with henna. Personally, I don't like it because I don't like orangy hair, but it's a personal choice. After all, it is natural, which has to be better than plastering your scapl in nasty chemicals every 6 weeks!
‘I’ve got a cow pat on my head I’ve got a cow pat on my head I’ve got a cow pat on my head I’ve got a cow pat on my head’ …I sung as I waited for the henna paste to transform my mousy, shaggy locks. I have been addicted to hair dye for the past 1O years, due to the fact I was unfortunate to be born with dull, mousy brown hair. In the past few years I have been using various types of permanent red hair colour so much I thought my hair needed a break from chemicals, so I opted for the natural choice instead, HENNA! The Lush henna range ‘Les Cacas’ consists of four different varieties of solid hair colours. There is ‘Caca Rouge’, for red hair, ‘Caca Marron’, for chestnut hair, ‘Caca Brun’ for brown hair and ‘Caca Noir’ for black hair. They also do four sizes of solid henna. There is bebe caca, supposedly for one application, mama caca for two, papa caca for three and party caca for four applications. Bebe caca=175g £2.95 Mama caca=325g £4.95 Papa caca= 725g £9.95 Party caca= 1500g £19.95 I purchased the bebe caca rouge as I have very short, cropped hair. I, however, ONLY needed one third of the bar, mixed with water, to completely cover my head. Henna is not the most attractive product. I say it’s a bit like having a cow pat on your head. Some henna smells bad, but this variety has quite a nice aromatherapy smell. It is a nice change from normal permanent, chemical dyes which smell like urine (and made my cat follow me around the house). For OPERATION COW PAT you will need: - For short hair you will need one third of a block of henna Enough clingfilm to cover your head or a dodgy shower cap Vaseline A kettle full of boiling water Conditioner-to help make the consistency of
the henna right Shampoo to wash off the henna A wide tooth comb A Pyrex bowl or a dish to mix henna in Rubber gloves for use while handling henna Old towels you don’t mind getting dirty Old clothes/dressing gown to wear while using henna Cream cleaner for the bath- to mop up any accidental spillages OH AND DON’T FORGET A MATE to help you out. You can henna your hair on your own, but I know from personal experience that using henna is messy and an extra pair of hands makes it much easier. INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPERATION COW PAT: - 1. Change into old clothes. Henna is very messy and stains very easily. 2.Slather Vaseline all around your hairline, including your ears and the back of your neck to avoid staining on the face and your friends wondering if you have been TANGOED! 3.Crumble one third of the henna into the Pyrex bowl. Boil the kettle. Add a little of the water to the henna in the Pyrex bowl until the henna is the consistency of unwhipped double cream (conditioner may help you get the consistency you want). Place the bowl into a saucepan of boiling water and heat until the henna becomes bearable to the touch. 4. Put on your rubber gloves. Apply the henna to dry hair in sections, the back first to the front. Use a comb to work the henna through your hair. If you have short hair you can generally just bung it all on, and there you have it. You now have a cow pat on your head! 5. Wrap in clingfilm. STAY in the bathroom! You don’t want to frighten any unsuspecting callers, the window cleaner or even your cat! Do this for approximately half an hour. You can leave the hair for longer if you want. The longer you leave the hair the redder it will become. 6.Wash off the henna (over the bath or in the shower is best). Wash and condition your hair and then prepare to be SHOCKED. Dry your hair with an old towel. This colour is not for the faint-hearted. Although this prod
uct is natural it is PERMANENT and the colour is very strong. You hair will glow and you can be spotted miles away. If you aren’t that brave or a bit mad do a strand test on your hair so you can see how the henna will react to your hair. The colour is stronger if your have a sprinkling of grey hairs or if you, like me, have bleached hair. This colour is not for you if you have more than 40% grey or you want something subtle.
I love henna as I wish that I had been born a redhead instead of a mouse! Anyone who has ever used henna will know that it is very messy and takes ages. I think Lush hennas are even worse than other brands I've tried, but the end result is worth it. If you are lucky enough to live near a Lush shop you can buy it ready mixed, but the rest of us have to get the powder via mail order. The henna needs to be mixed with water in a bain marie (sorry if that is spelt wrong!) or over a saucepan of simmering water. You have to get the henna as hot as possible and it took ages for it to heat up. You then have to bung it on your head as quickly as possible and wrap your head in cling film (very attractive!). On the packet you are told to keep it on for an hour or two. I'd recommend four hours though if you want a really rich colour. By this time your bathroom and every towel in your house will be completely ruined. Your forehead and scalp will also be stained a most attractive yellow colour. BUT you won't care because you will be too busy admiring your lovely, shiny bonce. What is great about this henna is that it doesn't turn your hair that 'could not possibly be found in nature' kind of colour. I used the capella file d'oro henna and my hair was chestnut with golden-brown streaks through it. I have had loads of compliments and I only ruined one towel in the process. Excellent!