Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am officially hennaed

Okay, so no new posts for a month? As a friend of a friend's little boy says it, "That's just part of life." First, our laptop went on the blitz from a nasty virus, and the other computer is tucked away in the drafty, cobwebby basement. Not conducive quarters for my baby to hang out in as I type. Then, there's the everyday tasks of making meals, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning up after a husband and baby, personal hygiene, sleeping...and this list, of course, is not exhaustive. I also am easily distracted from household tasks to play with Shiloh and get together with friends. Finally, we went out of town for a few days and arrived back home at 1:30 a.m. today. Yawn. (So if this isn't totally coherent, I have a strong excuse, er, reason.)

Enough of that; I have fun to share! I hennaed my hair (pronounced "henna-ed" for those unfamiliar with the plant) a few weeks ago and what a process it was! My hair is naturally blonde, but with time and aging hair shafts, that color is fading into what I like to call a "special" color of dishwater blonde. It looks blonde at the ends when it grows out, but the roots (actually more than just the roots, most of the trunk) stay brownish. This is special because it looks like a bad dye job. But I am the foremost authority on my hair, and I have never, yes, NEVER, dyed it prior to now. Talk about the worst of both worlds! I am shunned by the posey mods who have perfectly coiffed hair because my ROOTS are SHOWING! But then, the au naturel community that I am partial to would be miffed that I am not a true granola girl if my golden locks were fake. Oh, the travesty.

What is going on with the companies that use before-and-after pictures in their advertisements? These are truly an anomaly to the way ads should be. The basic premise is full of ridiculosity. Come now, the person in the "before" picture doesn't even look like the one in the "after" picture! They haven't pulled the wool over my eyes. Also, it is unfortunate how sad the "before" person is. I want to give a bear hug to that person and say, "Chin up, Charlie." And the "after" person is so excited I think he or she must have won the Lottery! Surely the product being advertised isn't that superb. Besides the misleading natures and emotional baggage of these ads, I also am not akin to the way they tout the importance of image: "Buy this or do this, and you'll look like this!" Hogwash.

On to the henna concoction itself. Did you ever make mud pies as a child? Mixing body-art quality henna is like making a quaggy mud pie, except it carries the distinct smell of earth in a way I never knew possible. Pungent, yet nectary. I like it. I added cassia to it in order to make it more blonde, which didn't work, but it still looked cool. My mix was 25g henna, 200g cassia, lots of lemon juice, and some delicious Orange Peach Mango juice from Trader Joe's. Adding OPM juice almost tempted me to eat some of the mix. Almost.

While I fed the baby, Mike mixed up the stuff with gloves until it had a mashed potatoes consistency. I let it sit for a day plus some extra at room temperature so that it could be at the perfect absorbency level for my hair. I gathered old, raggedy towels around my feet and one on my shoulders, poured more lemon juice on the henna mix until it was like yogurt, and went to work. Here is the mix right before I put it on my hair:

(Btw, my baby, who is exclusively breastfed, creates a similar brew in her diaper. I'm sure you wanted to picture that.)

As I gooped the stuff in my hair, I felt this ethereal connection with the ancients, who undoubtedly used this earth goodness to dye their own hair naturally. Gloves were in place on my hands, but I am serious, it was so thick I felt like I should wash my hands off afterwards. It took a good 30 minutes to completely cover my head well. And I looked like a Ken Doll look-alike when it was all on. Then, I grabbed the plastic wrap and sealed it all in for about 2-3 hours.

A hot shower washed it all out, and that was it! I was hennaed! Afterwards, (especially along my hair line) I had a quite rubicund complexion, as my skin is sensitive to about any product, natural or not.

That, my friends, is my first experience with henna. I fervently encourage you to order some henna and try it out yourself. As the Reading Rainbow guy says it, "But don't take my word for it!"

Here's a pic of Shiloh and me soon after I hennaed (the hat covers some of my hair, but I think you can still see the redness.)

1 comment:

andrea said...

Allison, beautiful picture of you!