GOD's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
(Psa 32:7 MSG)


heavenly henna

i've been slowly gravitating to more natural alternatives. fewer harsh chemicals is good to my way of thinking! i've recently purchased a couple of sulfate and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners to try. they work great, smell good, and my hubby doesn't have any allergic reaction to the natural fragrances (a definite plus!) i'm especially thrilled that wal-mart is selling these more natural products now! i use baking soda instead of bleach to remove stains from my countertops and sink. i prefer organic foods, but find it hard to find good quality organic here at a decent price. our feeble attempts at gardening helps a little too. and so i continue in my quest of learning more ways to reduce my own (& my family's) exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

for the past few years, i had been occasionally using do-it-yourself 'permanent' hair dyes to change my hair color and/or cover the few white hairs that have invaded my normally medium-brown tresses. however, i've never been 100% comfortable or happy with using chemical-based hair dyes. first of all, they smell awful. they also don't always cover my gray hairs well. and to top it off, it is necessary to use them about every 6 weeks in order to keep my roots from showing. ugh! that's expensive!!!! i'm much too frugal to go to a salon for hair colorings, so i can only imagine how pricey it can be.

anyways, one of my friends from college blogged about henna-ing her hair a few months ago. that was yet another nudge in the chemical-free direction for me! i already knew that henna is a plant that can be ground up and used to color hair a reddish color. i remembered using a henna-based hair color a couple times when i was in college. but where would i get henna now? we live in a relatively small town and there are no large cities nearby where specialty items like this can be easily found, so i'm pretty much forced to look for an online source for anything even remotely unusual. henna definitely falls into the "unusual" category! so i began to research. and boy have i learned a lot! if you're interested, here is a site with a lot of great info--there's even info about the science of how henna works! eventually, i purchased some henna and indigo powders (indigo is another plant used for its dye) that seemed to be good quality from a seller on ebay. i did a couple tests with these, in different combination, on hairs harvested from my hairbrush. (i surely didn't want to end up with green hair!) my test results were good. the henna and indigo seemed to work fine. so it was finally time to use it on my hair!

i finally decided to go with a combination of henna and indigo. indigo is used to create anywhere from deep auburn to black colored hair depending on how much you use and how you apply it. for my hair i used 3 parts henna and 1 part indigo. next time i will probably try 2 parts henna and 1 part indigo for a little more brown/less red color. i added some cinnamon powder to help with the smell. it really didn't help though!

the smell of henna is very different from the nasty nose-burning ammonia and peroxide fumes of chemical dyes. it's earthy. very earthy. but it still has a pretty strong odor. and since you leave it in your hair for a few hours, it can get kind of annoying. the above-mentioned friend of mine says it smells like caterpillar poop. with the indigo added, i think it smells even worse than that! but it's a natural dead plant kind of stink, not a chemical one. so i can deal with it. also, my hubby, who has an extremely sensitive sense of smell said {after i had rinsed it out} that it's not as bad as the hair dyes i've used in the past!

here are my before and after pics!

as you can see, i already have a lot of red 'highlights' from using chemical hair dyes.

roots are quite a bit darker with a few white hairs hiding in there.

the lighting isn't the best for these pics, but you can see
the red is deeper now and my roots are blended in nicely.
i understand that the color will darken/deepen over the next few days.

my hair is more of an auburn in real life. the pictures aren't the best for showing it off. in a couple days when the color has 'settled' i'll try taking some more pics.

the other thing henna is used for is body art. i suppose it was inevitable with all the pretty pictures i saw of gorgeous hennaed hands and feet that i would have to try it myself. :-)

not too bad for a first try!

i practiced henna design elements for a few days with pen and paper. it was such a good feeling drawing again! i can't believe how long it has been since i've done anything like this. and i'm so glad to have found a new artistic outlet! it was interesting watching the henna stain change. as you can see in the pics, it was really orange-ish at first, but darkened within a day to brown. now it's a lovely dark brazil nut brown. i expect it to last at least a week, maybe longer. it's not nearly as intricate in design as most of what i saw pictured on henna artists' webpages, but i like how it turned out and that's what matters to me!

the funniest part of having this henna body art is seeing what kinds of reactions i get. *wicked grin* i do enjoy shocking people once in a while! and for those folks who don't know about henna, it's fun to enlighten them a little about this wonderful plant God created that can be used to enhance one's beauty in so many ways!


  1. I've only ever colored my hair once (right before thanksgiving last year), so I don't know tons about hair coloring, but I do know a thing or two about other types of chemicals. We don't really use any around here anymore and haven't for a while.

    Jacob had to use his inhaler almost every single time we ran the dishwasher because he couldn't breathe, (due, we assume, to all the chemical that are in traditional dishwasher detergent) but we don't have that problem anymore.

    I do lots of my cleaning with products from a company called Norwex. The short version is that they make special microfiber clothes that have strands of sliver woven into them (silver has antibacterial properties so it kills surface germs without any "product" at all), so I do tons of my cleaning with nothing more than water and a Norwex cloth (windows, counter tops, dusting, kitchen table, stove top and stuff like that). Norwex is a European based company, but they have a Canadian department that does business in the US (it's a home based, party-type business). I just discovered them more recently, but really like their stuff. They have some other products too, but at this point I only have a few of their cloths (but want to get more as the budget will allow).

    For things I need an actual product for (laundry, dishes, toilets!) as well as for all personal care products (shampoos, deodorant, lotion, cosmetics, etc.) we use Melaleuca products. I don't know if you've heard of them, but they have some good, chemical-free stuff. It's similar to Shaklee or other companies in that you have to be a member to buy from them. Anyhow, that's what we do and we love it. (Except for our bar soap, we get that from the goat milk people and really like it!)

    I really like having less chemical stuff around for so many reasons. It has lots of perks. Glad you are finding some nice clemical-less choices up your way too. They are becoming more widespread which is helpful. They have TONS of good stuff at Target too, but I know you don't have one of those real close by.

    Have a great week!

  2. yay! henna! I remember those college days of henna'd hair. It's been a long time since I've gone red-headed.

  3. I prefer your natural color...what is it now? :)


Comments make me happy!