Last time, I discussed why a natural redhead whose color is fading might consider using henna. Now that I’ve been through the process, I can say that I greatly prefer it over chemical dyes! Henna has left my hair softer, smoother, and thicker. I’ve found that you can easily customize the color based on your preferences and your starting hair color.
I’ve broken this into two posts: first, how I prepared and planned, and secondly, how I actually did it + results. Let’s dive in!
I will say this for henna: the most time-consuming part will be the research. I refused to consider it for a long time because I absolutely did not want to totally mess it up and then have it stuck on my head forever and ever. After so much frustration with chemical dyes, however, I decided to start looking into it.
Yes, henna is permanent. But it’s less unforgiving than you’d think. You just need to plan – and we live in a world where all the information we need is already here on the internet! Here’s a step-by-step to guide you along in your research. I’ll be continuing this series with in-depth information on all of these steps. (Follow the blog so you don’t miss a post!)
After literally hours of research (because I’m obsessive, plus I love to learn) I decided on my personal plan. You can see my thinking process in that top photo. I had a really nice copper color when I was a teenager, which then faded quite a bit as shown in the middle photo. My goal was to achieve that color again. Long story short, you can see from the last photo that I came pretty close! My hair has been chemically treated a lot so it’s not nearly as shiny or healthy as my virgin hair. It’ll get back there though!
Determine your current hair color level
Mine was mostly blonde – the roots were my natural color of light blonde, the length was auburn dye that had faded to light reddish-blonde (crazy how much chemical red dye fades!), and I had some bleached highlights throughout. It landed somewhere between levels 7-9.
What is your intended final result?
My goal was to achieve a bright-yet-believable copper hue, like my old natural color. Other non-myself reference photos helped me form the concept in my mind.
Take into account previous hair treatments
Since it had been a month since I’d done any dyeing or bleaching, it was safe to use henna over all that. However, there were multiple shades in my hair. I had to recognize that the bleached bits might come out a bit orange, the darker auburn streaks might get darker than I wanted, etc.
Alert: if you have gray/white/light blonde hair, and you use 100% straight henna, you will end up with burgundy. Many of you might want that! And many of you aren’t starting at such light shades. But this is important to know before you decide how exactly to mix up your shade.
This is because henna is red-red. Cassia is a plant that will impart golden-wheat tones to light-to-medium blonde or gray hair. (It doesn’t lighten hair though, only adds color.) When mixed with henna, it can create a lovely strawberry blonde to medium copper, depending on your starting color and the percentages. I used 75% henna and 25% cassia, in order to get the copper I wanted. (I’ll be posting more about plants to mix with henna soon.)
So how did I mix and apply it? What’s the process? And of course – how did it turn out? Check out Part 2 here!