Keeping up my Ramona Flowers hair style… with henna! A How-To

Ramona Flowers

(This blog post is the first How-To in my new Geek Chic: Fashion & Beauty category. Previous posts on geek fashion, etc, have been added to this category too.)

So, I haven’t got loads of pink or blue hair dye in, but the cut is very similar. Since deciding to change my hairstyle back in October last year, I’ve been going in for “regular” cuts to The Comfort Zone in Truro since then.

This month’s trim was especially important as I wanted to be ready for attending Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo – y’know, wanted to look my best. Also, this meant re-dying my hair with henna in order to hide the greys that are trying to assert themselves on my head.

The hair cut was the “easy” part. The henna, that’s something else. Now, before I go any further, I’d like to explain why I use henna and still call it a Ramona Flowers’s style:

  1. My hair has been shaped in a way similar to what is featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (the film).
  2. Ramona, if you wanted hair coloured that exact way, would have to be redyed each week – not healthy.
  3. Conventional shop bought dyes – the cheaper option – are full of lots of nasty stuff.
  4. Getting your hair dyed at the salon each week would be very expensive.
  5. I don’t actually get on with conventional shop bought dyes or salon ones, they irritate my scalp.

So, how does one go about dying one’s hair with henna? First off, I’ve only ever used henna from Lush. Previously I used Caca Noir, but this time I’ve gone with Caca Rouge. I bought my block of Caca from Lush Truro. And now, here’s a suggestion on how to go about using the stuff on hair that is of Ramona Flowers length (and in general):

NOTE: Either do this when you have a lot of free time one day or leave it on over night. And if you’re doing it during the day, make sure that you plenty to keep yourself entertained, and make sure that wherever you sit is covered in towels where your head will rest.

Step 1

After buying your henna colour of choice, how many blocks should you use? Well, Lush provide six blocks of the stuff. However, if you’ve got Ramona Flowers length hair i.e. short – then you would be far better off using just three, four at most. If you have medium to long hair, you’ll need all of them.

You need clean dry hair in order to dye it. If you don’t already – get it sorted. Also, make sure that you’re wearing some old clothes that you don’t mind getting messy.

Clean hair, before henna

Step 2

Make sure that you have the following items to hand: at least one pair of latex gloves (or protective gloves of a different material if allergic), a heat proof plastic mixing bowl, a heat proof mixing spoon, some newspaper, access to a kettle and water, shampoo and conditioner, an old brush or big toothed comb, Vaseline or a similar sort of substance that’s safe on skin , a working shower, bathroom sink with plug, old towels (at least two), a small rubbish bag, an old winter hat (only for short haired peeps), a hair clip (long haired peeps) and finally – cling film.

It’s best to apply this stuff in your bathroom or kitchen, put your newspaper down on the floor in front of the sink there. Make sure that your Vaseline, gloves, towels, rubbish bag, cling film and hat/hair clip are in here, ready to hand in your bathroom or kitchen.

Step 3

Boil your kettle. Even if you are using the entire henna block, break all the squares off into the heat proof bowl. Breaking them up like this gives them a larger surface area to then absorb the boiling water from the kettle. So, put the bowl down on a flat surface and pour over enough hot water so that the blocks are covered as seen below.

Don't add too much water at first

The consistency with the henna that we’re aiming for is like really thick cream or a good mousse. It should not be runny like single cream. With the first bit of hot water on your henna, start moving the blocks around with the spoon and using it to break them up. Continue doing this, mixing it as you go and adding hot water until you have a mixture that’s as thick as extra thick cream.

Eventually, it should look something like that

Step 4

Once the mixture is of a heat that you can stand having it on your skin, it’s time to take the mixture into your bathroom or kitchen. Fill the sink part way with hot water and place the bowl of henna mixture in there so that it floats. Put one of the towels around your shoulders. Next, apply Vaseline to your hairline and ears, but try not to get it in your hair – this is to stop the henna from dying them.

Step 5

Time to apply the stuff to your hair. Snap on those gloves and begin applying it to the roots of your hair first. Slowly build up the mixture so that it covers your hair from root to tip. If you have short hair, you’ll be able to gather your hair up easily on top of your head as if you were styling it with wax. Longer hair may need to be held on top of the head using a hair clip. Don’t stop applying until you’ve used up all the henna in your bowl.

Step 6

Remove the gloves and dispose of them in the bag. Now it’s time to wrap your head in cling film. You’ll be using quite a bit. Start with going all the way round (avoiding your face of course), making sure that you get as far down the back of your head as possible. Use some shorter sheets and end end with another wrap round. Cover your ears in the cling film from the start, as it’s painful to have them sticking out with all that cling film behind them – this is why you have Vaseline on your ears. Once you’ve got it all cling filmed up, time to put on the hat (short hair) or wrap another towel around your head (long hair).

It's an old hat.

Step 7

Unless you plan to go to sleep with the henna in and wash it out in the morning, normally it’s best to keep it in for four to six hours. If you want a less intense colour, take the hat/towel and cling film off after two hours (not if you’re sleeping with it in, the mess will be bad), otherwise keep your hair covered the entire time.

Remember to keep yourself amused if awake. I opted for starting to re-watch The X-Files.

Step 8

Once you’ve had the henna in for the desired time, rinse it out in the shower. Due to how messy things can get, you may be better off just actually taking a shower. Start off just using the water to get the worst of the henna out, then use your brush or comb to get some more chunks out. After that, wash your hair with shampoo, rinse and repeat until it’s all out (hardly any dye will come out and no more little henna bits will appear). Then condition you hair and rinse that out.

Step 9

Blow dry your hair and you will see just how intense the colour really is. If you really want a super, super intense colour (but it won’t be as bright as chemically intensive treatments), you can always try dying your hair using henna several days in a row.

Much redder now.

And that’s it. If you want to get a Ramona style hair cut from your local hair dresser, make sure you take in a couple of reference images of the character that gets a front view of her hairstyle, plus a side on look too. Also, the hair dresser will need to use a razor (not electric) to get a lot of it right.

Any further questions, just ask them in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Keeping up my Ramona Flowers hair style… with henna! A How-To

  1. I was looking up ideas of what abnormal dye colours I could use to dye my hair and I thought of Ramona, of being one who in both comics and the movie has had many colours in her hair, to be inspiration which is how I came to see this website with this how to do. I normally never leave posts on peoples’ blogs or anything like that but I was curious to find out how this really works.

    I was hoping you can answer a few questions for me:

    1. When you mean henna do you mean the type people use (mostly in asian culture) for drawing semi permanent patterns on their hands? (it may sound silly but I like to be sure)

    2. How many colours do henna come in? (I thought it was only in brown and black. Black henna being known for leaving scars in peoples skin of the image they were given)

    3. How long will it last? (to be precise how long will it stay in my hair before it fades away to nothing)

    4. How safe is it? (will it leave stain my skin if I do it wrong or hurt it)

    5. How cost effective is it?

    I hope you won’t find answering the questions a chore and I apologize for the number of questions I have given you but I was interested in doing this perhaps (I am unsure whether to dye my hair or not) as a long term solution rather than going to the hairdressers everytime.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!

    Miss Curious

    • Alright, I will try to answer your questions.

      1. I do not mean the kind of henna you can pick up Asian interest stores or alternative culture stores. I specifically mean the kind of henna sold by the company Lush who are based in many countries see: http://www.lush.com/ I would also like to add that I only ever buy henna hair dye from Lush as it’s the only one I feel safe using.
      2. It is mainly browns and black, but Lush do a really good red one called Caca Rogue.
      3. Henna can last up to three months, however you can use it for several weeks in a row to build up a deep, rich colour.
      4. Lush’s henna can stain the skin, but it’s not permanent and is easy to avoid when used correctly. As to whether it will hurt you, in theory it shouldn’t but if your skin is sensitive then you’d should talk with your GP first and wherever you go to buy it from. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not use henna on bleached hair, your hair will go green (unless that’s what you’re after).
      5. It’s a lot more cost effective than regular dyes either shop bought or done in the salon. Lush sells theirs in six block chunks (£7.75 a chunk in the UK) and that’s enough to cover really long hair and half is enough for short hair like mine. Personally, I like to buy two blocks at a time, usually a brown and/red colours and use three red to one brown these days. It also covers grey hairs effectively.

      I hope my answers help and please feel free to ask more questions if you need to.

      Emily

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