I bought a block of Caca Rouge Henna from Lush a couple of months ago, and have been putting off using it because I wanted to write a post on it. I finally used it, so here is my review of a this vegan friendly hair dye!
First, a little bit about henna: Henna, technically ‘Lawsonia inermis’ (thank you, wikipedia!), is a shrub native to parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Lush claims that the highest quality henna, which offers the most vibrant red dye, comes from Iran. The colour comes from henna leaf, and commercially available henna powder is dried, crushed leaves. Henna has been used for centuries for traditional skin designs and to dye hair, but has only recently gained popularity in western culture. Henna stains the skin reddish-brown, and dyes hair a coppery red. The colour of henna dyed hair varies depending on the colour of hair it’s used on – if applied to white/grey hair, it will leave bright, coppery red hair. An auburn colour hair can be achieved by dying brown hair, and if you use henna on black hair, the strands will glint red in the sun. Neat, right? More recently, henna has gained a bad rap in salons, because some companies produce dyes that are not pure henna, but market it as such – for example ‘black henna’, to achieve black hair, often contains unlisted chemicals. There can be nasty side effects to using these crummy dyes, including hair loss, skin rashes, green hair, and long term health problems caused by harsh chemicals. In addition, people seeking semi-permanent dyes should look elsewhere. Although henna does fade over time it doesn’t wash out completely, and a progressively stronger base colour will be achieved with each time you dye.
Ok, so onto the Lush Henna product: Lush offers 4 colours of henna. As discussed above, this wouldn’t be possible using the traditional henna plant, but Lush uses something they call ‘indigo henna’. Considering Lush’s commitment to chemical free products, this is likely mislabeled indigo dye. If it were actually a henna compound, it would contain toxic chemicals. In any case, the block I used, ‘Caca Rouge’, contains only the traditional henna plant – labeled by Lush as red henna. Lush makes blocks by adding in cocoa butter and spice oils, so I found that the block of dye was incredibly pleasant smelling. Apparently plain henna has a grassy smell, and I did find that my clean, freshly dyed hair smelled a bit like hay, but nothing strong at all. The blocks are also quite simple to use – basically, you shave chunks off the block into a bowl, mix it up into a thick paste with boiling water, apply, and wait!
If you’ve read my ramblings up to this point, you’re probably eager for me to get on to the results! Please excuse my horrible DIY mirror photos. It was either that, or nothing! 🙂
Here is my before shot, fresh out of a ponytail:
Full disclosure: this isn’t quite my natural hair colour – the darker roots are un-dyed. Up until a year ago, I had never dyed my hair. Last fall, I went from my ho-hum medium brown long hair to a coppery bob, and loved it! When I dyed my hair last – about 4 months ago – I got it dyed a shade lighter than it had been. Not a good plan! Thankfully, it was pretty subtle, so my darker roots don’t really show unless you’re looking! I was a bit concerned that the lighter ends + darker roots would be exaggerated with the henna, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I used 2/3 of the Lush block (but I could have used less, I think), wrapped my hair in saran wrap, and left it in overnight. The next morning, this was the result:
Like my shower curtain? 😀
OK, for comparisons sake, I cropped an old photo to show you the salon colour I had in my hair this winter:
I think the results are pretty comparable! If anything, I think I prefer the henna colour – more of a bright copper, and less red. Keep in mind also that this is freshly dyed – as with all colour, henna loses it’s initial intensity after a couple of days. That said, I still don’t think that this will be a particularly subtle colour (fine by me!). I think if your hair was any lighter than mine to begin with, you would fast be approaching orange hair. But for darker hair? Gorgeous!
-Fantastic results! I don’t think my photos do the richness of the colour justice. I’m excited that just one dye job yielded such intense results.
-Price. One bar of Lush henna costs 18.95 in Canada. I know I’ve payed upwards of $60 for a solid colour at a salon. Ridiculous, right?
-Henna is also a natural conditioner, and my hair does look slightly more shiny than it did before.
-No toxic chemicals! Obviously, I don’t think I would want this stuff in my eyes, as it is a potent plant product. That said, I don’t think it’s going to give me cancer either, which is a lot more than you can say about chemical hair dyes, which apparently are laden with carcinogens.
-Mess! This stuff was ridiculous. Despite my best efforts, I had a pretty significant clean up job post-dye – most of my bathroom was splattered with brownish green goo ! (goose poop, anyone?). Fortunately, henna doesn’t stain ceramic surfaces, but be sure to wear old clothes and remove good towels from the washroom. Since I slept with it overnight, I carefully covered my pillows with old towels, but was dismayed to find that my saran wrapping leaked, and it soaked through and stained my sheets anyways. Oops.
-No other negatives!
In conclusion, my experience with henna was super, and the Lush bars are very affordable and worked really nicely. Since I love red hair almost as much as I love red shoes, I’ll definitely be using this stuff again! 🙂