I’ve been dying my hair chocolate brown with a packet dye for around seven years now, but with my transition towards a more zero waste/low impact lifestyle, I decided this habit had to come to an end.
The chemicals in the conventional hair dye, the plastic packaging, and the resources wasted to create what is, essentially, a product for my vanity, was not worth it anymore, in my humble opinion.
So I stopped dying my hair approximately five or six months ago, when I figured my roots were a colour I could deal with and would let grow out.
However, now that the colour in my hair has faded, I’ve been left with a brassy, almost red, browny colour that does not cause me to look in the mirror and think happy thoughts.
I’m sorry, earth, but I just couldn’t deal with it.
So I looked for a solution.
I’d heard about LUSH’s henna before, a natural hair dye made from Persian henna, cocoa butter and essential oils, but had never tried it myself.
I’d watched some YouTube videos online of some people trying them, and read some reviews, which were quite varied in nature.
Some people raved about the henna, some said it didn’t make any difference to the colour of their hair, and some said it turned their hair red instead of the shade they were looking for.
Despite the mixed reviews, I decided it was worth it to give this eco-friendly, zero waste, and low impact hair dye a shot.
I went with LUSH’s Caca Brun shade, which was meant to turn my hair into a chocolate brown colour, exactly what I wanted.
To use the henna, you have to chop the large block up into smaller pieces, (Depending on how much you want to use – this will vary due to an individual’s hair length and thickness), and then melt the chunks with hot water over a double boiler or saucepan.
Make sure to wear some old clothes and rubber gloves, lay some old towels on the floor, line the skin around your hair and ears with a balm like LUSH’s Ultrabalm to stop your skin getting stained, and open the window (This part isn’t part of the official instructions, but damn the henna smells bad so you’ll want to air the room, trust me).
Once the henna has melted into a smooth consistency, like hot chocolate, and is still warm, apply the henna all over your hair, smoothing it between the strands.
The hotter the henna, the better the result, apparently.
Once you’re adequately covered, leave it in for 1-3 hours (you can leave it in for up to 5 hours, but I went with the most popular time I read from reviews: a bit over 2 hours).
If you want a more red shade, pop on a shower cap (zero waste option) or some cling wrap (not-so-zero-waste-option) whilst waiting those couple of hours.
I wanted to rid my hair of the redness, so I kept my hair out in the open.
After the a couple of hours has passed and your hair feels like you’ve dumped a pot of hair gel on it and left it to dry (the crunchiness brought back memories of childhood dance eisteddfods and the days I’d spend afterwards trying to brush out glitter and clumps of that horrid gel), you can wash it out and shampoo it.
Be warned: This is going to make an exceptional mess in your shower.
For me, it took around 40 minutes in the shower and 4 shampoos to get the henna out, and even then I could still feel little clumps, like sand in there.
Once dry, they brushed out easily though, so don’t fret.
And the mess, oh my!
Like I said, I’ve been dying my hair for YEARS and have never seen a shower in such a state.
The greeny-brown colouring gets EVERYWHERE.
Luckily it all came off fairly easily with a spray of cleaner and a wipe down, but for a moment I thought I’d just stained the recently renovated bathroom in my sharehouse (Whoops).
So, after all that, how did it turn out?
Well, my friends: Not that different to when I started.
Nope, no massive change (apart from my hair feeling wonderfully conditioned thanks to the cocoa butter in the henna), but I do think my hair is a touch darker.
Once my hair was dry, it did look very red, but as the henna continues to develop the colour over 24-72 hours, I waited to pass judgement until then, and the redness did go down a lot.
In the end I think I needed to use more of the henna. I only used two squares but with the length and thickness of my hair I think I should have used double that.
I can’t quite judge this as a pass or fail yet, until I try it again with a larger amount of the henna, in my opinion, so I will give that a shot and get back to you.
But all in all, it was a really fun experience, and much easier than I thought to use. I’d definitely recommend the henna to others wanting to give it a try, but keep in mind I think it will be a very individual result based on each person’s hair.
Given that fact though, I feel it’s something those wanting to change their hair dye routine to something more zero waste, should definitely give a try to see if it works for them.
Have you tried LUSH’s henna? Let me know how you went!
Books about Zero Waste that I love:
Note: Some of these are affiliate links. I only ever affiliate myself with products and companies that I believe in and either use, or would use, myself.
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
Plastic-Free by Beth Terry