Sunday, August 17, 2008

Converting Silver into Gold & Bronze: My Frugal Olympic Hair Event

I've converted silver into gold and bronze, with henna: a frugal and safe hair coloring. It's part of my ongoing effort to cope with the widening silver band in the middle of my dark hair.

My silver streak -- the main one -- is like a fat, silver ribbon through my hair. I've been told that it looks pretty. I've been told that it's a witch's streak. (Something like Lily Monster.) I've been told to just deal with it or make peace with being middle-aged. Apart from my hair, I look as if I'm in my 30s, but I just turned 50. Clearly, I'm conflicted about my hair and my age. "You're obviously having trouble with the aging process," my 10-year-old daughter told me last night. She disapproves of my efforts to color my hair.

But I'm just not feeling the salt-and-pepper hair (on me). All-dark hair is fine; all-silver hair would be cool. I'm just not there yet. But I'm not willing to submit to the health risk or the high-costs of commercial hair dyes.

So henna treatments --all natural vegetable dye without additives or preservatives -- are my solution. Last month, I applied a dark -- almost black henna -- to my hair. Great results with one problem: When the dark henna faded, my silver streak looked green. (The black dye is really dark green plant leaves). So my hair faded into salt-pepper & mint-green shades. No, thanks!

Today, I gave myself highlights for a total cost of about $5. My technique: I applied Rainbow's "Persian Light Brown" to the fat gray streak near my temple. Mixed with hot brewed coffee and assorted brown herbal teas, the light brown henna covered the silver streak.

The winning hues: Gold and bronze ribbons through my dark hair. When I grow up, I'll aim for the silver. I'm just not there yet.

In the meantime, here are a few more tips for anyone using all-natural henna to color hair:

How to Color Hair with Henna:

1. Blend carefully. Mix the henna with hot teas, coffees and other natural ingredients for extra color, shine and conditioning.

2. Experiment with color. The all-black henna was a little to "goth" for me and I wasn't fond of the mint-green highlights when the black henna faded from my gray hair. Solution: Apply a light brown color for highlights and also mix that shade into the dark henna for more depth and tones. I will experiment with more custom colors. Next time, I'll add a warm red and a dark brown to the henna mix. Each container costs $$6.99 and is good for a few applications.

3. Be neat. Major disclaimer: Applying henna is a messy, messy job. It's like taking a mud bath. Cover surfaces and clean as you go. Place the mixing bowl in the bathtub or cover the sink area with plastic or newspaper. Wear a tee-shirt that you hate.

4. Keep the gloves on. Henna stains hands and nails. Therefore, until you have washed the last little bit of henna out of your hair, the gloves should stay on. Otherwise, your hands and nails will look as if you have not had a bath in two years. In fact, my hands are quite stained and untidy as I type this. My manicure is ruined and my nails look very dirty because I took the gloves off too soon.

5. Protect your face and hair line. Coat your face, ears, neck and shoulders with olive oil and Vaseline. Green, black or metallic henna-colored-skin is not so pretty when it's not by design.

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1 comment:

Father Sez said...

My wife also uses Henna to dye her hair. Yes, its a little messy alright.