Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Again

Random person: Were you born with that red hair?
Me: No, I finally went gray enough I could be any color I wanted.

Believe it of not, some people are surprised when I say that. I don't know why. Is changing one's hair color that big of a secret? I like what Stephanie Hodge said about the stupidity of bleaching her hair blonde, after her mother insisted it would help her "get" a man. She said if you're just doing it to get a man, as soon as he gets your pants off, he's gonna know you're lyin'.

I figure, why lie?

No, I wasn't born a redhead. I was, and in my heart, always will be a brunette. I have been known to look around when someone mentions "the redhead." The moment I realize that the individual being discussed is yours-truly is priceless.

The process, however, is less than appealing.

I opted out of the box-color method a few years back when my dear friend Karina told me about using henna. Given that:

  1. I can't afford a professional colorist,

  2. I prefer to do as little damage to my hair as possible and

  3. Henna is remarkably inexpensive, considering the results, so...

I went with it. Cost, color and reduced damage. Those are the upsides.


It takes me 24 hours to prepare the henna for dyeing. The formula's simple enough. Packet of green stuff that looks like ground marjoram that's been in the cupboard for twenty years + slightly acidic liquid, like very strong black tea + ginger, cloves, cinnamon and honey = activated henna, ready to be glopped on my head.

And "glopped" is the most accurate verb available.

It smells like goose poop. It looks a little like goose poop. Here's a picture I found online of someone using the same method of hair coloring: No. Not me. Because I would then have to kill the photographer.

Anyway. After glopping my head with this aromatic adventure, I wrap my head in plastic--not over the face; too fond of breathing for that--and stay like that for...

...Four to twelve hours. Yeah.

But I end up with this: Yes. That's my red. Not bad, huh?

Anyway. I don't love the time or the smell, but these are bearable. And I like the end result, far more than the box color. I was reminded of this just recently when I had to resort to that chemical experience.

I had mixed up my last package of henna and let it sit on the stove before heading out for an evening. Roommate and I were meeting friends at a local dive to hear a band. It was fun and we had a good time, but we left a bit early. Not sure why; I may have had to work in the morning, or maybe Roommate was tired. Maybe I was being a big poopoohead and whined until I got my way. Regardless, we left the dive and went home to discover that before leaving the house, I had bumped the burner control and the glass bowl containing the henna...shattered. The henna itself? Burned to a crisp. The stench? Magnified and hideously pervasive. After cleaning up the mess and calculating how long it might take to receive new henna, I settled for the box stuff.

When will I learn? I should NEVER SETTLE.

New henna arrived. And once again, all's red in the world.


  1. nice. x

    p.s. I'm having a giveaway from This Is Transition if you'd like to check it out. :)

  2. It is a very pretty red! Do we call you red now?