Henna: The Affordable All-Natural Secret to Red Hair

Jillian Kern is the recent recipient of a B. A. in English from the University of California, Davis. She loves to read and write and owns far too many pairs of shoes.

If you’re sick of literally washing your money down the drain and applying strange expensive chemicals to your hair, consider dyeing your hair with henna. Flaming locks are one easy way to make a sizzling statement. They exude confidence and can make you stand out in a crowd. However, chemical red dyes are a notorious pain. The DIY versions are tricky to apply correctly, and salon dye jobs are expensive. Worst of all, red dye fades quicker than any other shade.

Henna is relatively cheap. For a starving college student, spending hundreds of dollars at the salon is just not an option. After all, that’s the cost of a textbook. Or six pizzas. Or Fridays out for a month. You get the picture. But henna only costs around $8 per 100 grams, meaning most girls can dye their hair for less than $16. Even better, it lasts 2-3 months instead of the measly 3-4 weeks of red box dye!

Henna is all natural. There are no caustic chemicals in body-art quality henna powder, just a ground up plant native to India. Indian women have been dying their hair with henna for hundreds and hundreds of years. The only additions you’ll need to make to the henna powder are lemon juice and water – it couldn’t be safer. Instead of weakening your hair like chemical dyes, henna works as a strengthening deep conditioner!

Henna will preserve your natural highlights and lowlights. Because the henna proteins bind to your natural hair strand, it modifies the color that you already have. White and blonde hair become bright orangey red. Darker blonde and light brown become copper. Medium brown turns auburn, and very dark brown acquires cherry tones.

If you’re ready to make the plunge and switch to henna, you’ll need to find 100% pure body art quality. Henna can only dye your hair red (although cassia will give golden tones on light hair and indigo with henna can make brown or black), so if your henna dye comes in shades it is not natural henna! When you have your product, try having a hair-dyeing party with your roommate – you’ll need someone to help apply the henna paste and to keep you company for two to four hours while it absorbs. When you’re done, rinse out with conditioner, and enjoy your new luscious red hair.



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