From the very early day when I dabbled with colour mousse in the shade Chilli to a disastrous year or so that I call my Sun In period, to proper salon dye jobs, my hair colouring journey has been an interesting but not always successful ride.
I think the main reason that I started colouring my hair was boredom, my own natural mousy brown shade isn't the most exciting colour that you'll ever see, and my experiments with red shades, and dark mahogany browns gave my hair the depth and richness that it naturally lacks. Nowadays I colour my hair to hide the greys, or should I say silvers in my case. For a few years blonde highlights did their thing, the silvery strands blended in nicely with the blonde and you could barely distinguish the two. All that bleach isn't good for your hair though, and when my hair started to thin and fall out I knew I needed a better, kinder solution.
After a bit of deliberation I decided to have a go at something I'd used sporadically during my university and college years, - Henna. You've all probably heard of Henna tattoos but people have been using this natural plant extract to colour their skin and hair since ancient times. You can buy a lot of liquids that include Henna but if you want the real deal, you going to have to get messy.
The first Henna product that I ever bought was from The Body Shop, it was a powder that you mixed with water and it was super easy to use but like a lot of their original products, it was discontinued. I tried a few different ones from various health food stores but the best alternative for me came from Lush. So late last year when I fancied trying Henna again this was my brand of choice.
Unlike a lot of the Henna products that are available on the high street, you aren't just limited to that traditional red shade, Lush produce a range of 4 different colours depending on what shade you want to achieve. Rouge, is the traditional red Henna colour, Brun is a beautiful brunette shade, Noir is for those who want a very dark or black shade and Marron, gives the hair a beautiful chestnut sheen.
I've used Rouge in the past but this time round I went for Marron, to give my hair a richer, autumnal tone. Normally Henna colours just contains Henna, but Lush take it a step further and to create different shades they use a wide variety of herbal and plant ingredients, as well as ingredients to condition and care for the hair and scalp. As well as the finest quality Persian Red Henna, Marron also contains cocoa butter, organic lemon juice, ground coffee, Irish moss powder, a herb called Indigo, sea salt, and clove bud oil to give it a spicy scent.
The majority of Henna products on the market either come in a liquid or a powder form but this offering from Lush is quite different. When I first saw it, I have to say that I thought it was some sort of exfoliating soap. It comes in a solid, brick like shape, that seems to be full of green leaves, and twigs but you have to trust them and me, that this is indeed a hair colourant. You can pick up an instruction leaflet in store and your friendly Lush staff will usually give you some plastic gloves, which to be honest you really need!
So how do you use it? Well first of all you need to prepare yourself and your surroundings. protect the floor you're standing on, wear old clothes, wear rubber or plastic gloves, and spread moisturiser or cleansing balm, around your ears and your hair line to avoid staining. I would also advise that you have a comb or tinting brush, a damp cloth, some cling film, a shower cap and / or some carrier bags at the ready. If you can do I would also rope in a helper, although it's possible to do it on your own, it's easier to get some one else to apply it for you - cheers Mummy Lou x
The first thing you need to do is prepare the Henna, every block is divided into 6, and how many blocks you use depends on the thickness and length of your hair, when I took these pictures back in December my hair was pretty long, so I used the whole block. What you need to do is break up the blocks into s, this isn't the easiest thing to do as it's quite hard, so you can either use a knife or even a hammer or you could even grate it or put it in the food processor. Don't worry if you pieces are still quite large they will still melt down.
Then put your broken up Henna into a large mixing bowl, and add enough boiling water to cover the henna, then pop your bowl over a pan of boiling water to keep it warm. Keep stirring it to break it up, adding more water as you need it and gradually the cocoa butter will melt and your henna will reach the consistency of slightly gritty, leafy melted chocolate. Check the temperature isn't too hot and then it's time to get messy.
Basically what you want is to do is get the henna mixture all over your hair - so section your hair out, and apply it section via section, massaging it in to your hair. It will drip, it will run, and lumps might fall off but just do your best to get it on your hair. If it feels as though it's drying out add a bit more water, and use your gloves to massage it in to your hair, using your damp cloth to mop up drips as you go.
When your done, you have two options if you want you hair to have darker tones leave it uncovered and if like me you want some red tones, cover it up - here I used a shower cap, and a couple of carrier bags but you can use cling film, bin liners or anything you like.
Then all you do is leave it for between 1 and 3 hours depending on how rich you want your colour to be Cover your shoulders, your body, and anywhere that your going to sit or stand because as you head starts to get hotter it will start to run and drip.
When your times up, the hard work begins you need to wash, and rinse all of this powdery, leafy, gritty substance out of your hair. It takes time, but you need to get it all out, just sit in the shower and have patience, work your hands through your hair and gradually the water will start to run clear, and your hair won't feel as gritty. Then all you need to do is wash your hair like you normally would and rinse out the shower!!
The initial colour will be apparent pretty much straight away but the colour will continue to develop over the next day or so. Whilst the final colour isn't visible straight away the condition and gloss to your hair is almost instantaneous. As well as the obvious colour change this stuff leaves my hair looks super shiny and healthy, and with a spicy, aromatherapy scent
As well as the colour difference I hope you can see just how shiny and healthy this product has left my hair. It feels super soft, and the gloss speaks for itself. The colour seems to have taken more on the lighter parts of my hair but that is only to be expected, and I love the multi tonal look.
You can use this product on pretty much any hair colour, but the lighter the hair the more vibrant the result. Lush advise that you do a strand test to make sure your going to like the colour because once it's done your stuck with it. You can't bleach it out, Henna either fades or grows out over time , but you can alter it by applying different shades of Henna on top. These pictures were taken just before Christmas and I'm just starting to think that my colour needs a top up but this time I think I'm going to go all out red and go for Rouge!
I'm not going to lie, real Henna like this is messy, it looks like horse manure, it's messy to apply, it takes a while to work, and washing it out is a seemingly never ending process, but for me it's well worth it. I love the colour tones that it produces, and if your hair isn't in the best of condition like mine, Lush Henna leaves your hair looking and feeling shiny and healthy, and smelling fabulous. It isn't for everyone but if you want to add some red or deep autumnal tones to your hair, and you want to avoid things like ammonia and peroxide, get yourself down to Lush and give this a go. Lush Hair Colours come in 4 shades, and retail at £9.75 for a 325g block x Have you tried Lush Henna before? Let me know your thoughts x