It’s difficult to find a good hair dye. Most dyes contain chemicals that damage and dry your hair. It’s even more difficult to find a good vegan hair dye. Because of the harsh chemicals, most hair dyes are tested on animals before moving to the human side. So we were excited when a friend, who always has great hair, told us her favorite dye is vegan. We used the Burgundy Colora Henna Hair Dye, which was a total of seven (yes, only seven) dollars, plus six dollars for shipping. None of us have ever bought a dye that inexpensive before, which initially made us nervous.
What is henna?
Natural henna is a plant that looks like this. The leaves contain a compound called lawsone, which is a natural red dye. When it’s processed, dried, and broken into a powder, it can be sold as a completely organic, natural, and, of course, entirely vegan and cruelty free, powdered dye. People have been using the Henna plant for at least a thousand years, and it’s still a popular product today.
The brewing process
We’re calling this a brewing process because we felt like witches while we made it. Seriously. The powder flew up in our faces when we poured it into a ceramic bowl (don’t use metal), and bubbled up when we added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. We then added warm water, a little at a time, until the mixture was smooth, the consistency of a thick soup. This whole process took about twenty minutes. Some people prefer to add lemon juice or coconut oil, so it may take a few tries to find your perfect mixture.
This is very messy. If you have gloves, wear them! We used combs to apply the dye, but if you have a hair color brush, that would work better. We applied liberally, until a thick, gritty-looking layer was visibly clinging to all hair, and sat in bathtubs with a few inches of water in them, to make sure we didn’t stain anything. One of the most inconvenient things about henna is the activation time. The dye needs to be left on for at least an hour, but it works better if you leave it on for longer, up to six hours. We left it on for about two hours.
Henna powder becomes gritty and sticky when wet, so it’s not a surprise that it took forever to get it out of our hair. The package said that conditioner helps, and it did, but it took over forty minutes to get all the dye out. That being said, we really liked the result. We wanted to use henna because it can help protect damaged hair, and some of us had bleached, dried-out hair before this product. While not really burgundy, the color came out to be an ombre between dark red/brown and strawberry blonde. It also looks so much healthier.
Henna dye doesn’t last forever unfortunately. If you like the result you get, you’ll have to redo the whole process about every two to four months, depending on your natural hair color and texture. But we liked this product. It was a hassle, but our poor hair, which we have tortured with bleach and color, has been much happier since we started using this product. We would absolutely recommend it.