August 03, 2019

That Time I Dyed My Hair...

For Plastic Free July I wanted to try Henna dye for my hair. Let's just move past the fact that I've been living a lie about the quantity of gray hair I already have. #24forever.
This is actually "Indigo," the Henna is mixed with water on the right.
I decided to try it with low expectations. I would still be using hair dye that comes in plastic, but now it comes in plastic that's recyclable and not metal tubes that are trash. And I won't need special shampoo and conditioner that also come in plastic...

The article on My Plastic Free Life goes over using two types of henna. She used a powder that does come in plastic but bought it in bulk so that it's less plastic. And she used a solid bar, that she chopped up and melted in water, which was packaged in paper. She reported that the solid had too strong of a smell to buy again, so I tried the powder. 

So I didn't really know what I was doing, and I tried to find answers online to little avail. The only thing that was consistent was that I needed both Henna and Indigo to get brown and that I had to add water to the Henna way in advance of the actual dying. 

My Plastic Free life used a powder that was already dark brown, and there's a website with instructions for the dye she has, which I disregarded because I don't have the one she has. But I now see that the liquid addition instructions would have been helpful. 

I couldn't find a ratio of Henna to Indigo to get dark brown and I couldn't find a ratio of powder to water. The directions on the bottle itself just says "add enough to get a thick paste." I love instructions that are subjective.  

Before I talk about how much I winged this... I just now Googled "Henna hair recipe" and found exactly what I needed except for how to mix Henna and Indigo which was probably what I was previously searching. 

So I found a small-bulk combo pack of Henna and Indigo on Amazon to start me out. And then I kind of made it up. 

I decided to do 3 parts henna and 2 parts indigo. I was weirdly afraid of it being too dark even though my hair is very dark brown. I forget how much water I used. I measured it out and intended to remember, but didn't write it down. 

Also, I used cold water and other instructions say to use hot. Oops. I looked up Zenia's instructions online... and yeah I should have read them all the way through. Next time. 

I mixed the water into my Henna and waited just over two hours.
Then I mixed water into my Indigo powder and waited another 45 minutes.
This was what I remembered as being how I was supposed to mix each powder. After the fact, I read the instructions on the Indigo powder and discovered that I was only supposed to let the Indigo sit for 20 minutes... Not sure in what way letting it sit longer affected it. 

Then I mixed both together. 
Everything I read online was saying to do Henna first and then separately dye with Indigo. Nobody got time for that. 

The directions of the bottle said to use my hands to apply it. I already had a little brush thing, so I used that instead. 
I did also use gloves. They are plastic, but I reuse them!

And then I did it. 

And did it more.

My hair looked ridiculous so I decided to comb thought it because I have some friends staying with me for the next two weeks and wanted to look a little less crazy because I thought it might help with coverage.

I used my comb with huge teeth because probably no other comb would work with all the gunk in my hair. 
Also because it would be easier to clean than my brush.

And I looked slightly less crazy.

I let it sit for the full three hours. Then washed it out. I was already in the shower when I realized that I didn't remember if I was supposed to shampoo or not. I felt like probably I wasn't, but I didn't want to chance it. I figured that worst-case, it wouldn't work as well as it could have. 

And then it didn't work all that well. It did leave some color but I can definitely still see grays. I also felt like it didn't work that well because it dried out. I decided that next time I will use a shower cap (one I already own and will reuse) to keep it moist. The article that I found today confirmed that I should do that. 

I'm also going to try following the instruction to only let the Indigo sit for 20 minutes before mixing it into the Henna and using a 1-to-1 ratio of water to powder per new instructions I now have. 

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