Hair Dye Project

I've decided to dye my hair for the first time during Labor Day weekend. Several reasons drove me to attempt this project: I received a box of 100% natural henna from my sister, I had tons of white and gray hair, my sister and friends claimed henna is great for hair coloring, and I could go to the hair dresser to fix my hair if I did an unpleasant job.

I watched several YouTube videos leading to the day I executed my plan.

Here's the list of things I've gotten that I found extremely helpful:

- a small bucket that you don't mind getting stained

- a pair of long and thick rubber gloves

- a bottle of Vaseline or petroleum jelly safe for skin

- a plastic spoon

- lots of used newspapers

- large garbage bag to put over your shirt- cut a hole at the bottom, large enough to slip your head through but small to prevent any drips

- large mirror

- plenty of light

- shower cap or plastic wrap

- towel and clothes that you don't mind staining

- music to entertain you

My hair was shoulder length and not too thick. I used 100 grams of 100% natural henna powder and followed the directions of the box. In the bucket, I mixed the powder with boiling water, carefully alternating between pouring and stirring until I achieved a creamy and grainy texture. I think I used about 1 cup of water. I then squeezed and stirred in 2 tbs of lemon juice. I covered the bucket by making sure the plastic was touching the mixture to prevent the top from crusting. And set aside in a warm area for at least 4 hours or overnight (I did the earlier).

Initially I thought of dyeing my hair in the garden but I decided against it and moved to the bathroom. I carefully covered all surrounding surfaces: cupboards, sink, and floor with used newspapers.

I wore my old clothes that I didn't mind staining, brushed my hair to remove tangles, and smeared Vaseline all around my hairline, ears, neck, forehead, and eyes. The Vaseline helped to remove stains after dyeing process. I donned on rubber gloves and modified garbage bag before removing the plastic from the henna mixture (darker in color) and giving a stir. I steeled myself and got to work.

I picked up about an inch of hair from the crown of my head and held it with my left hand. My right hand (dominant hand) scooped up about 0.5 tbs of henna. Starting from the roots, I spread the henna all the way to the ends of my hair. I gently rubbed the henna into the hair and removed the excess back into the bucket. I then twisted the inch of hair covered in henna and made a little bun on the top of my head. I repeated this process by slowly building the bun on the crown of my head, alternating between the sides of my head, making my way towards to the forehead, and ending at the bottom of my head. I had some leftover henna which I patted into the huge, turban-like hair bun. I secured the entire bun in a shower cap and wiped off stains and henna mixture on my hairline, face, and ears. If I left them there, it would eventually stain my skin. The whole dyeing process took me an hour, which I could shorten if I used more hair per segment.

All I had to do after the dyeing was waiting for at least 2 hours. It was not itchy but the henna did have a smell similar to chemical hair dyes. Two hours were up and I stepped into the shower. All the users on YouTube advised not to shampoo the hair for several days. So I rinsed my hair a few times to remove all the crust. The wet hair still stained so really there was no point washing until the water ran clear. I used some natural hair conditioner for a few minutes, rinsed it off, and then dried my hair.

Immediately, I saw all my former white hair turned copper-ish. I had a fantastic copper hue in my hair and got quite excited. The smell still lingered but it went away the next day. I slept on a pillow and saw light water stains.

It has been 5 days since the dye project. I love it and my hair feels soft. I never really tested the theories but apparently, the color would turn deeper red if more lemon juice was used and if I left the dye in my hair longer than two hours. I've read that other people have mixed tea and instant coffee to achieve different shades while the rest mixed in scents like lavender oils to give a more pleasing aroma.

Overall, my experience had been good. The time it took was long but the outcome was worth it. I probably dye my hair in the next 3 to 6 months.

Modified on September 9, 2015

(Top) I used gooday natural brand henna powder. The mixture consisting of henna, water, and lemon juice. (Bottom) Pink, long, and thick rubber gloves with the covered work surface

After an hour of dye application. The crusts on my hairline were easily removed, thanks to Vaseline!

Pictures of my hair before (top) and after (bottom) dyeing