Real Red Hair How To's with Henna

Lush Henna

Lush henna

I used to have the kind of hair that women have nightmares about. Thin, frizzy, oily at the roots and damaged at the ends. I fought it for years, trying to tame it with one product after another while simultaneously making it worse with chemical hair dye. That’s right, I’ll admit that I’m not a natural redhead. My natural shade is a dank dishwater blond – the sort of nondescript mousy ‘color’ that doesn’t complement any skin tone.

Three years ago, I decided to take a chance on henna, even though I’d heard from various friends and hairdressers that it was a big no-no. They claimed that it was all too easy to fry your hair or get a frightening frog-green with it, but I’d heard on the LUSH forum that it just depended on the kind of henna you used (you need body art quality henna, not the stuff you see at health food stores). So, I went for the LUSH Caca Rouge Mama, the reddest shade they have.

Hennaed Hair

My hair after henna: huge improvement!

Holy goddesses of shining beautiful hair, this stuff has been a miracle for me. Not only did it impart upon my woebegone tresses a sparkling, natural looking shade of auburn, it also totally transformed it after about six months of use. Maybe it’s just that I don’t torture my hair anymore with chemicals, but it’s now growing longer and stronger than ever and I can just let it air-dry with soft, voluminous, sleek results. That’s not to say that my hair is perfect – just a huge improvement over what I used to deal with.

The best part? It’s totally eco-chic. Henna is about as natural as you can get for hair color, short of sorta tinting it with some berries (good luck getting that to stick around longer than a few days!). Once I started using henna I breathed a sigh of relief that dozens of unpronounceable chemicals weren’t leaching into my scalp every month. Plus, you’re not supporting the animal testing that goes on at some big corporations’ hair dye labs.

LUSH isn’t the only source of top quality henna; you can also find it (plus TONS of great info about using henna) at Henna for Hair. Henna isn’t just for redheads either; you can get a wide range of shades using various formulations – check out the Personal Mixes page on Henna for Hair to learn more.

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.