Why you should dye your hair with henna

Photo of Henna
Kalechnizar/Creative Commons

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My dad told me recently about how my aunts in Cyprus used to dye their hair with henna all the time, laughing about how crazy they looked with their red-stained hands and red-stained hairlines. My sister also dyed her hair with henna right before her high school graduation, but it turned her hair orange, and my mom has never let her hear the end of how she ruined her graduation pictures. 

Recently, I’ve desperately needed a change from the monotony of the semester and the stay-at-home order, so I decided to try it out for myself. I thought that if it looked bad, at least no one would see it. I could quickly redye it to my normal color and forget about the failed experiment. 

The adventure began. I ordered burgundy red henna dye online and waited 10 nail-biting days for it to arrive in the mail. I made sure that the henna I ordered didn’t have any harmful ingredients — just henna, indigo and red kaolinite clay. 

When the henna finally arrived, I prepared the dye by mixing it with water and some lemon juice. I let it sit in a dark corner of my bathroom for 12 hours. The henna concoction doesn’t smell like roses, but it doesn’t smell horrible, either. The next day, I put my gloves on and slathered my hair in the thick henna paste. For the last step, I wrapped a shower cap tightly around my hair. 

I planned a fun day of cleaning my bathroom so I could be productive while the dye sat in my hair for three hours. You could also watch TV, do some homework or read a book while you wait for your dye to settle in. 

When my timer went off, I ran to my shower and washed it off with cold water. I was shivering, but that very well could’ve been less due to the temperature of the water and more due to my excitement to see the results. I had never dyed my hair before, so I didn’t understand the hype until I looked in the mirror. My hair is normally medium brown, but now it’s this beautiful, subtle purplish-reddish color. 

I was obsessed. The best part is that the henna made my hair the softest it’s ever been. I dyed my hair a month ago, and I’ve stopped using conditioner since — I just don’t need it anymore. 

Henna is natural, so it doesn’t damage your hair as normal hair dye does. In fact, it’s actually good for your hair in that it promotes hair growth while making it shiny and soft. I was surprised at how vibrant the color was since this was a natural dye. It is permanent, but it fades over time to a more orange color. Not to worry, though, you can just dye your hair to your normal color if you get sick of it. 

The place I got my henna from had a lot of color options, including wine red, dark brown and even jet black. I’ve gotten so many compliments on my hair since I dyed it. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll stop dying my hair with henna because it’s fun, simple and rewarding. So if any of you are looking to switch up your look without damaging your hair or to relieve some stress during finals, I hope you try out dying your hair with henna! 

Contact Özge Terzioğlu at [email protected].