I was actually going to wait to put this review up since I reviewed as LUSH product not too long ago, but thanks to the snow, I didn’t have to go to work, and I don’t really feel like doing anything school-related, so I figured today is as good as any other.
I came across the henna hair dyes a few weeks back while perusing the Lush website for new products. I’ve never completely dyed my hair or done an at-home dye job, so I wasn’t initially interested. Plus, reading some of the reviews put me off a bit, as it sounded too complicated and messy. But last weekend at the mall, I decided to just give it a whirl. I was looking for a bit of a different look, since I’m still deciding if I want to keep my hair short or grow it out. And what would a review site be if I didn’t take some risks once in a while?
Lush’s henna hair dyes come in 4 colors: Rouge Mama, which provides a red color; Brun Mama which gives a darker brown color; Marron Mama, a reddish-brown blend, and Noir Mama, for dark black color. The dyes are a blend of natural henna and cocoa butter. No synthetic colors or chemicals to be found, which is what really intrigued me. I’ve had highlights done, and I’ve always felt bad about how the chemicals would strip my hair. The clerk at the store suggested I try Marron Mama since it would complement my naturally brown color while adding some red to it. The dyes come in a block of 6 squares, and are meant to be cut so you can use only what you need for your hair length and type. The clerk said that I would probably only need 2 or 3 squares since my hair is so short. Unfortunately, you have to buy the whole block, which costs $24.95. That seemed a bit steep initially, especially given I had no idea how well it would work, but compared to a salon dye job which can cost twice as much, I think that’s fairly comparable.
The directions for prepping and applying the dye are as follows (taken from the LUSH website):
1. Cut henna up into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl.
2. Add hot water and let steep. Mix to a yogurt-like consistency.
3. Put on gloves and apply from back to front, coating hair thoroughly.
4. Cover in cling wrap for a more vibrant red. Leave on for one to six hours.
5. Rinse, shampoo, and condition hair.
Tips: Always do a strand test first. Use face cream (or Ultra Bland) around your hairline and ears to protect skin. Wrap hair in cling film for a redder color. For darker, richer colors, leave on longer (up to six hours).
However, the directions that come with the actual block of dye differ a bit. They call for using a double boiler to melt the dye and adding water as hot as you can stand and to keep it warm over the boiler while applying. They also suggest laying newspaper down on the floor before applying, and also have all kinds of suggestions as what you can add to enhance the color (coffee, cinnamon, etc). I used the directions from the website and just added boiling water to a bowl to mix, then took that into the bathroom to apply. I used 3 blocks, but it turns out I probably only needed 2. I also did not do the strand test, because I figured in for a penny, in for a pound, right?
I do highly suggest the newspaper, as the mixture will begin to pebble up and little balls will drop on the floor the more you add to your hair. This might have something to do with not keeping the mixture over the boiler to keep it warm; next time I will probably try that. It wasn’t a huge mess to clean up so it wasn’t a big deal. I wrapped my head in saran wrap (which I also suggest to keep any of the dye from falling off onto your couch or clothes) and let it sit for 3 hours. This is a time intensive process, so if you don’t have at least the hour suggested to let the dye sit, it probably won’t work out well. The smell—well, that took some getting used to. To me, it smelled a lot like really bitter, burnt coffee. Some other reviews said strong green tea. It wasn’t horrible, especially compared to chemical hair dyes, but it doesn’t smell like roses either.
Finally, it was time to wash out. I got in the shower, stood under the water and began running my hands through my hair. And it made an unholy mess. Next time, I will just stand under the faucet and let the water get as much out as possible before I begin using my hands. I mean it was really messy, all over the walls and shower curtain. And it took a good 5 minutes or so before I finally got all the particles out. Once done, I decided to blow dry my hair to see what the color looked like…and wow, was I surprised! I loved how it was the perfect blend of red and brown and it made my hair super soft too. I got a ton of compliments on it at work the next day, and it actually looked like the color had deepened a bit. I will definitely be using this again. I don’t know how long it will last; some reviews said anywhere from 3-6 months. It probably just depends on how much you use and how well your hair holds color. Below are the before and after pics of my hair; I don’t think it does justice for how vibrant the color turned out, but you get the idea.
You can find the henna hair dye at lushusa.com and in their stores as well. If you are interested in trying, you might want to email them or visit a store and see if they would be willing to give you a small sample piece of the color you want to try a strand test first before committing to a whole block. Or, you can just throw caution to the wind like me and just see what happens!