Saturday, 9 June 2012

Menopause & chemical free hair colour enhancement

Summary: Indian herbs are a wonderful way to hide silver highlights in dark hair. Silver hairs become copper coloured and hairs with faded dark pigment become darker and light up with reflected light! It’s WIN-WIN!!

One of the deteriorations in my looks that happened in the last couple of years is an overall reduction in the natural pigment of my hair coupled with loss of shine and bonus silver highlights and silver hairs that are dry and spiral into the air so as to be super prominent. NOT A GOOD LOOK!

Coincident with the pigment issue was a chorus of advice to CUT MY HAIR. I guess the advisors pictured a short elegant cut, wonderfully styled and beautifully coloured.  I’d of course make good use of a straightening iron to put in the right flatness and waves!   

Look around – you’ll see short, boring utilitarian cuts on 50+ ladies. That is all I can afford. Those lovely hairstyles are the result of paying lots of money very frequently to a stylist and taking the time to maintain the style at home. I’d rather be a greying lady with a bun than a “I’ve given up on looking sexy lady” with a short cut. NO. NO. NO.

Also, the chemicals involved in colouring hair would likely give me a nasty rash….

THERE IS ALWAYS A SOLUTION. This is what Awesome says. I started researching colouring hair naturally. There are heaps of methods, but I can only tell you of my <successful> journey so far!

I naturally have dark brown hair and wanted to at least get back to shiny dark brown hair.

I started with henna because it’s the easiest to buy. I purchased the best and freshest pure body art henna I could find (Premium quality indian henna powder from Ravi Imports in a silver foil 100 g pack) – at All India Foods Woolloongabba. Those guys are wholesalers, so I expected their goods to be freshest (and cheapest).

I mixed the henna with generic brand lemon juice to a soft paste – after about 1.5 days at room temperature I could see the orange dye seeping out and tried it on a washcloth and then on a sample of hair from my hair brush.

WARNING: Try any thing you use out first on a sample of hair rather than on all your hair!

WARNING: Commercial hair dyes combined with commercial herbal/chemical mixtures can cause nasty hair destroying reactions. Always check the ingredients and preferably use pure herbal mixtures, even if you have to mix them yourself.

Note: Don’t use henna for hair because it has less dye. Only use pure body art henna powder.

Note: You must see the orange dye coming out of the leaves. It will not colour the hair if it has not soaked out of the leaves.

I used 50 g henna plus 20 g amla for my long and somewhat thin hair. I cut it with 1/3 cup hair conditioner to get extra volume. The cost of the materials was therefore about a dollar.

NOTE: Henna stains material, so wear old clothes and use an old towel. Also, use gloves to make sure your hands don’t end up orange for days!

It was easier than I thought to apply the ground leaf “mud” to my hair. I hung my head with moistened hair over the bath. Henna is sticky so it clung to the hair. I pushed the mud in at the front, lifted the back third to access the middle and then covered the back bit from the back. Finally I covered the remaining long hair to the tips.  The sticky henna ensured I could arrange the hair on my head and easily encase it in a plastic shower cap and old towel. After that I did household tasks for 4 hours before washing it out in the shower using warm water only.

As indicated by my test, I ended up with orange highlights and red-brown hair which deepened in colour over the next few days. It looked heaps better than before and I noticed a lot of other ladies had achieved similar effects, probably with chemical dyes. Further dying intensified the colour and made my hair more red/orange. Now my task was to achieve a darker brown!

To darken my hair I’ve been doing the same as I did with the henna but using a combination of henna (red & conditioning), amla (conditioning), skikakai (cleansing) and brahmi (darkening). The henna is steeped separately with lemon juice and the others made up with warm water. They are all left to soak and extract the active ingredients for a couple of days, then mixed together with hair conditioner. I leave them on my hair for 30 minutes and do so twice a week instead of shampooing.

I seem to be achieving darker hair with more true red highlights! Nobody mentions cutting hair anymore!


First dying trial with henna mixture only - after (left) and before (right) - flash used to take photograph, note it's really hard to get true colours so I settled for same lighting conditions