Which kind of hair dye should I use?
December 2, 2012 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Would you do Naturtint or henna? I have never died my blonde and white long wavy, healthy, happy hair. The problem is, I'm tired of my face being framed in white, while the backside is honey gold. I'd like to get some of the gold back in front again. But the question is how?

With henna, it seems like you've got to have a degree in chemistry to approximate blonde. You add a little cassia, a dash of amla, a teaspoon of indigo, maybe yogurt, lemon, chamomile and whatever the heck else in mix 'n match proportions to achieve, in the end, a dubious or lustrously beautiful but always unpredictable result. And yet, henna devotees seem to love the effort and result. My only problem is trying to figure out how to replicate a henna elixer to touch up those fast-growing roots.

With Naturtint, which people seem to love, you've got a chemical product that proclaims to be natural that's permanent. By permanent, I guess this means you're stuck with the color whether you like it or not. The only way to get back to your real hair again is to grow it out and cut off the died ends.

With Naturtint I'm afraid of committing to a permanent hair color. With henna, I'm afraid of being able to match my roots to the rest of my hair when it comes time to touch up.

I'm wondering what experiences other ladies have had. Would those of you who have experienced either product please weigh in with opinions and likes/dislikes? I have read through the previous posts on the subject. I still want fresh opinions.
posted by zagyzebra to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have dyed my white-blonde hair with henna many, many times and I love the result. But be aware: that result is ORANGE. I like orange red hair, and think it looks awesome, but I think that it will be very, very difficult with any sort of henna mixture to avoid that distinctive orange-red that henna on blonde hair creates. If that's not what you're looking for, you may be very disappointed.
posted by jennyjenny at 4:14 PM on December 2, 2012

With henna you're getting a permanent result, too. It'll fade a bit, but NEVER all the way back to your natural color, and henna DOES NOT bleach out.
posted by mollymayhem at 4:23 PM on December 2, 2012

Please please please go to a salon and get highlights that approximate the back color. You will be so very sad if you mess up your pretty blond hair at home. If you want something natural-ish, find an Aveda salon in your area. To actually answer your question: I used henna on my dark hair in college and it always came out orangey-red. I look back on this and deeply regret it.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 4:23 PM on December 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

Salon! Salon! Salon! Have them do the henna if you must have henna, but it's SO easy to fuck up color at home, I would never try it every again.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:36 PM on December 2, 2012

Response by poster: Money is an issue since I have been without income for a year now. For this reason, I thought I should attempt to do it myself at home.
posted by zagyzebra at 4:53 PM on December 2, 2012

Not doing it at all is preferable to a bad home dye job. Wait till you can pay for a colorist. It's worth avoiding ruining your hair, which you have to wear every day.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 5:04 PM on December 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm by no means a dye expert, having only occasionally done a hendigo/cassia gloss (mostly conditioner) on my dark brown hair. But to get golden blond, wouldn't you go with straight cassia, no henna?

Or if you want a pro job, I think I've read that you can ask your stylist for the proper mix, and do the actual dye job at home.
posted by instamatic at 5:24 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to use henna on my medium-blond/light brown hair and liked the results, but it is not going to give you blonde, maybe strawberry blond at best. Instamatic is right that cassia will give you the benefits of henna dye (the glossiness etc.) but if I remember right it doesn't give off much of a color.. though if you have very whitish hair it might show.

Also I would definitely not add indigo to a blond mix unless you want green. :) You also don't have to worry too much about roots showing, as henna will fade with washing and isn't too extreme of a value shift (it will make your blond hair redder but will not make it significantly darker, if that makes sense).

I read quite a lot on this site before deciding to use it, because as others said, it will NOT bleach out and it is not safe to dye over it as there is a risk of a chemical reaction that will give you a chemical haircut (i.e. all your hair will break off where the henna and dye interact).

This page (from the site above) has lots of people showing before-and-after pics and sharing their recipes. I never found that what you mix the henna with made much of a difference - I usually used hot black tea as it helped with the smell... henna smells pretty much like damp hay.
posted by jorlyfish at 5:28 PM on December 2, 2012

Well, there is this new service I have been reading about, http://www.esalon.com/ I haven't tried it myself, but I have read good things.
posted by michellenoel at 5:44 PM on December 2, 2012

Response by poster: Jorlyfish - If you're no longer using henna, why not? If I may ask?

Also, since the time I posted this question, I just found a product on Etsy called Blonde/Colorless Devas Fairy Herbal Hair Color and Conditioner. It's a mouthful, I know (very Etsy-esque), but the pre-mixed ingredients sound wonderful: cassia, ginger, chamomile, horsetail, yellow dock, nettle, aloe, marshmallow root, yellow dock, hibiscus. I might try it. It doesn't lighten your hair. It "imparts transparent tones to your natural color." Yet, there is a color chart showing white to blonde, and ashen blonde to blonder blonde. It looks like it could be a perfect product for those of us who have that natural platinum blonde thing going on when the white comes in but the golden blonde is still there, too.
posted by zagyzebra at 5:46 PM on December 2, 2012

There are also various shampoos you can buy that slowly build up on your hair, intensifying or darkening the color a bit. I wonder if this might be helpful in your case rather than a dramatic color job? I don't have any specific brands to recommend but any store with a large beauty/hair department might be able to be more specific?
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 6:01 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you're not opposed to using something more mainstream try L'Oreal Healthy Look. It's cheap and lasts up to a couple of months if you don't wash it daily. My hair is mostly medium dark brown but I have white right around my face and in one spot at the back of my head. This stuff works great for me. The color fades out gradually. My hair has retained its normal texture and shine, and I've heard numerous horror stories about henna messing that up.
posted by mareli at 6:01 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing the advice that if you put henna on blonde hair you will get red or reddish hair. I have chestnut brown hair and I use dark brown henna on mine, it makes my hair a bit darker brown, but also gives me reddish highlights. In natural light or under indoors light it looks like I have deep brown hair with chestnut tones, but in sunlight it can sometimes look like I have a muddy/reddish color, which I dislike.
posted by matrushka at 7:34 PM on December 2, 2012

Mehandi.com sells cassia (scroll down to see swatches), and offers a help desk.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:24 PM on December 2, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone, for valuable input. It's good to know about that L'Oreal Healthy Look because I looked around for a temporary hair color that would work with grey hair and couldn't find one. In the end, I think I'll go the cassia route, just because the product seems like it would be perfect for my hair. Will order some and keep my fingers crossed for good results.
posted by zagyzebra at 8:43 PM on December 2, 2012

I stopped doing it because I got sick of being a redhead... I had black hair for about 2 years after that, and now I'm platinum blond. It was also kind of a pain to do, but just being bored with the color was the main reason.
posted by jorlyfish at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2012

matrushka, I'm not sure what you mean by dark brown henna; do you mean henna mixed with indigo? If not, I'd try that to tone down the muddy red highlights. I got the sparkly red highlights in sunshine when using a cassia + henna mix, and when I added a bit of indigo to it, it moved to a rich deep brown without that bit of sunny henna glow. (I haven't done henna in ages; now I want to try it again!)
posted by instamatic at 11:47 AM on December 3, 2012

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