On hair colouring, hair length, and henna

I didn’t start growing my hair long until about 1991. Prior to that, it never really reached my shoulders even. I only recently started letting it go even longer…

Okay, here’s the story. 🙂

I had my hair between shoulder to, say, 4-6" below shoulder length from 1992-ish until a year or so ago. Because I coloured my hair (whites to cover combined with love for red hair), and my hair is thick enough that, until 4" below shoulders, it takes two boxes of hair dye. Past that, it becomes 3 boxes. And I’m cheap. So I kept my hair at that length or shorter to save money on hair colouring.

Because red hair colour bleeds so much that you can’t do just the roots – you wind up with stripes and it’s just not a great look, so you have to do the whole head. And that’s assuming you use the same colour every single time.

Or maybe my hair is just particularly bad at that.

But then a couple of years ago, I switched to henna. The reason? Red hair colour was becoming more and more difficult to find in Sri Lanka. Black is available everywhere, as is black-brown, neither of which is a good look for me. I’m too pale. It would be months sometimes between when I’d be able to find red hair colour. My roots were… embarrassing.

The last time I bought the boxed hair dye, it was a dark red – as in, very nearly black but with red undertones. It looked awful. It was just too dark.

I don’t remember how or why, but somehow, I started reading up about henna. Fahim’s mother uses henna to cover her roots and gets a nice red colour, so perhaps that was it. At any rate, from what I learned about henna, I decided to make the switch.

Henna powder is mixed with water and then appl...

Image via Wikipedia

Henna is permanent. Henna doesn’t bleed, nor does it fade at all. With henna, I can do just the roots, not everything. Henna doesn’t damage my hair, nor does it have the same potential for health damage as boxed hair colours do. And henna is cheap. So I no longer had to worry about 2 box limits. And that’s why I’m now sort of growing my hair. 😀

Except the chemically coloured hair is dry and damaged – no surprise – so I’ve been cutting it off as it grows. But I’m finally at the point of no more damaged hair left, so now I really can let it grow with abandon. 🙂

Henna covers my whites perfectly. 100% coverage every single time with zero fade. It’s lovely lovely stuff!

These pictures are from June 2007, the first time I henna’d my hair. Before applying henna:

white roots, hair, before applying henna, Sri Lanka white roots, hair, before applying henna, Sri Lanka

After applying henna:

henna'd hair after applying henna, Sri Lanka henna'd hair after applying henna, Sri Lanka

Want to learn more about henna? Go to Henna For Hair, where you’ll find everything from the recipes that hundreds of people use to get their particular shade (strawberry blonde to orange to red to brown and even black, using henna, indigo, and other ingredients), FAQs, a free ebook on how to henna hair, a forum, the science behind henna, a forum, price listing for henna and indigo, and so much more. This is the BEST place for information on henna on the Internet.

Edited to add:

One thing I forgot to mention about those hair pictures – they’re all taken in the same room with the exact same lighting, no colour corrections/changes of any kind were made to the photos. That’s the real deal. 🙂

Author: LMAshton

5 thoughts on “On hair colouring, hair length, and henna

  1. I looked at the henna at Arpico, and it wasn’t suitable for my hair.

    Dreamron brand, for example, says on their website (or, at least, did at the time I looked it up) that they use harmless metallic salts in their henna, but this was not disclosed on their packaging. Metallic salts aren’t necessarily harmless. If henna with metallic salts is applied to hair that was previously coloured using chemical dyes, then that hair can turn green, smoke, or break off. But metallic salts are sometimes added to henna to make the henna look fresher than it actually is. That’s its only function – to make the henna look fresher. It doesn’t improve the function of henna in any way.

    Given the lack of labelling laws in Sri Lanka, how do I know if anything I’m getting has metallic salts in it?

    I ended up getting henna from Dubai, which came from India/Pakistan, which is labelled as being suitable for body art. Body art quality henna never has metallic salts added, so it’s safe for me to use. I tried finding body art quality henna here, but other than stuff that came already-mixed-up (which could contain turpenes and other things not good for hair), I couldn’t find any, hence the Dubai body art quality henna.

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