A few weeks ago, I was contemplating cutting my hair up to my shoulders. After years of having the same long hairstyle, I was itching for a change. But my nagging hesitation made me realize that I was not ready to give up years of patience and tender loving care to my long locks.
Plus, I know myself very well: the excitement of plunging into such a bold change might have worn off, and I would inevitably miss the comfort and warmth of my long hair. I guess deep down, I just knew I would regret it.
So, I decided NOT to cut off my mermaid length hair…but I still wanted a change.
Although I said no to scissors, I decided to say yes to colour.
A Little History on my Hair Journey
My hair colour has stayed the same chestnut brown hair for most of my life. In high school, I dyed my hair black (didn’t we all?) and throughout university I maintained my dark hair with an at-home semi-permanent dark brown hair dye. I just really loved dark, sultry hair back then.
Over time, I stopped keeping up with the dark colour mainly because I got lazy, and the constant use of chemical hair dye started damaging my hair. So I just stopped dyeing my hair since 2011. With time and through really awkward hair root phases, my natural chestnut brown hair finally came back to life, and the overall health and length of my hair was in a good place. Since then, I’ve kept my hair colour au naturelle.
My Journey Towards Henna
Now that it was time for a colour change, I wanted to do it as naturally, and as low-maintenance as I could. I did not want to go back to chemical dye, and this time I wanted a warmer colour. My hair often gets compared to Ariel’s, so I thought of leaning towards a shade of red. That’s when I decided to give Lush’s Caca Rouge (haha, “Red Poo”) a try.
Henna has been used as a natural hair dye for thousands of years in Arabian, Indian, Persian and North African cultures. Not only does it give hair a nice touch of red colour, it has a lot of nourishing properties and makes your hair shiny, soft and just overall stronger.
I followed the steps of this YouTube tutorial from Lush. It’s a pretty easy prep and application process. The only “warning” I will give is that applying henna to your hair is a very messy application. Just imagine putting wet mud on your hair. Yeah.
But I promise you, it’s worth it!!
Here are a few tips on the application:
- Wear gloves!!! Henna will stain your skin!
- Apply Vaseline around your hairline, your neck and your ears so that the henna doesn’t stain
- Wear a dark old t-shirt and use dark towels to dry your hair afterwards
- Put newspaper or old towels on the floor/sink so that it catches any fallout.
(Good news: although the application is messy, the clean up is actually pretty easy. Henna washes off easily on sinks with warm water and your regular bathroom cleaning product).
The application took about an hour (keep in mind I have very long hair). After the application was done, I twisted my hair up and wrapped my hair/head in Saran Wrap (this is a must-do trick to keep the henna in place), I put on a plastic shower cap for extra leak-proof protection, and I kept the henna in my hair for a total of 6 hours.
My advice? Leave it on overnight, and the next morning you can wash off the henna and be rewarded with beautiful, amber hair.
(Disclaimer: on the Caca Rouge label it says you can keep it in for 3-4 hours, but because my hair is long and dark (i.e. not blonde), the team I consulted with at Lush said I was fine to leave it in longer for a more vibrant effect. They were right!)
Tips on how to wash off the henna:
1. Wash it very thoroughly with warm water. Be patient with this! You may have to wash your hair twice, or until your shower water runs clear.
2. DEEP CONDITION! Your hair will feel a little coarse once you rinse off the henna, but don’t worry! After you apply your conditioner, your hair will be super soft.
And there you have it!
I absolutely love the way the red colour turned out. It gave that noticeable change I wanted, and it kept my hair healthy and shiny. In the sunlight and certain angles in daylight, I just love the way my hair shines into a rich red glow.
When I leave my hair curly, I feel like a mermaid-esque Rose Dawson. I am very happy with the result, and I am 10000% on board with using henna as a natural, healthy way to add a bit of vibrancy to my hair.
I’m so happy I followed my gut and decided to keep my length, and give henna a try.
1. Please keep in mind that the colour will turn out differently for everyone, especially if you have chemically dyed hair, OR, if you decide to bleach or chemically dye your hair after using henna. I would highly recommend reading this article if you want to try henna for the first time.
2. Since henna is natural, it will have a rather…earthy smell. To me, this smelled like a mixture of tomato paste and wet earth. I know that doesn’t sound very pleasing but the scent does fade over time. You may just have to deal with the earthy smell for about a week.
3. For me, it wasn’t until 3-4 months that my chestnut roots started to show, and I felt like I needed to touch up. So I would say the reddish hue lasts quite well!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. If you’ve also tried Caca Rouge, I’d love to see your results too!