After ten years of using chemical hair dyes to cover my gray roots, I decided to switch to henna. With all of the harmful chemicals in hair dyes, it made sense to me to use a plant-based product instead. A few years ago, I tried using a ‘natural’ hair dye from the health food store, but it made my hair feel dry and straw-like. The ingredients list included many chemicals, and I suspect that it was anything but natural. Henna, on the other hand, is a straight-up plant material with no harmful synthetic ingredients. Additionally, henna conditions the hair instead of damaging it.
I was hesitant to try henna because my skin is very pale. However, I heard a lot of good things about this dye and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised with the results – my skin looked brighter and more vibrant!
I want to keep my hair’s current color of medium to dark brown, so I researched henna products and found one that uses plant dyes to create different shades of brown. This product also covers gray hair and doesn’t require me to experiment with different colors.
After buying a packet of Light Mountain Natural Hair Color from the local health food store, I started my henna journey. The packet contained lots of colors, from light red to shades of brown and black. I learned that you can get various shades by mixing henna (for reds) with other plant dyes like indigo (for black) and senna (for light browns). The Light Mountain products come premixed for specific shades. I chose the Dark Brown option and the results were great. My hair turned dark brown. However, since this product doesn’t cover grey, I was left with shiny silver roots.
I ordered Color the Gray by Light Mountain online because it wasn’t available locally. It took a while to ship, so in the meantime, I applied Dark Brown to my roots (I only used half the package). It gave a little more coverage for gray hair, but some stubborn silver remained.
If you want to lighten your brown hair color, you can get a package of henna, a package of indigo, instructions, a plastic cap, and plastic gloves.
Without further ado, here are the facts about my “Journey Into the World of Henna”…
- Subject: 46-year-old female
- Hair status: Baby fine, naturally curly/wavy texture, chin length bob. Starting to get dryer (whether from age or from chemicals is unknown).
- Hair history: Final chemical hair dye application November 1
- Applications of Light Mountain Natural Hair Color in Dark Brown: December 10 (waited 4-6 weeks after last application of chemical hair dye as recommended) and January 2
- Application of Light Mountain Color the Gray: January 11
It took about 4.5 hours total for the Color the Gray procedure – including 2 showers and cleanup. As with all natural methods it takes longer than any procedures that use chemicals for convenience.
After reading a number of reviews of Color the Gray on Amazon, I choose to leave the product on longer than the instructions recommend – a lot of reviewers said they got better results this way. I also left the mixed products to cure longer than recommended. Its important to follow all the other directions correctly, such as never to use metal bowls, utensils, or hair pins because metal may cause the product to turn your hair green. An allergy test and a strand test are also recommended.
First I mixed the henna powder with water and left it for 1 hour. Then after mixing the henna I mixed the indigo powder right away and it was left to cure in the bowl for about 2.5 hours while I applied then rinsed out the henna.
Covering the gray is a 2 step process: 1) apply henna, rinse 2) apply indigo, rinse. The henna adheres to the gray hair then the indigo adheres to the henna. The company recommends leaving the henna on for 5-15 minutes. I left it on for 45 minutes. Its okay to leave henna on a long time because it smooths out the hair cuticle rather than burning it out with chemicals. Then after rinsing out the henna I applied the indigo and left it for 45 minutes.
Some people have complained that henna is messy and it stains your house and your skin. I didn’t find it that messy. I put the product in a plastic mustard bottle, parted a small section of hair at a time with a comb, squeezed a line of henna in the part, mashed the henna into the hair on both sides of the part, and went all around my head this way until the roots were all done. Then I applied henna to the rest of my hair and mashed it around to get complete coverage. The same method was used with the indigo. I wore gloves and an old t-shirt. Drips were wiped off my skin and the floor right away to prevent staining. Both products take a while to rinse out but conditioner helps with that by giving it a ‘slip-factor’. Some of the ‘grit’ splashed around the shower but it rinses right off.
Some have complained about the smell of henna. However, IMHO, the smell is better than eye-burning chemicals. Its reminiscent of wheat-grass juice or wet grass rotting in the sun. The indigo smells kind of smoky.
I’d highly recommend that anyone considering this product go on Amazon and read lots of reviews so you’ll get an idea of others’ experiences and learn from their tips and tricks.
Henna is a keeper for me. No more chemical dyes. These products left my hair feeling soft and after the third application of henna, my hair is more glossy. Hopefully, my hair condition will continue to improve with each use. Meanwhile, I feel better about what I’m rinsing down the drain and into the eco-system.