(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:
- My hair has been shaped in a way similar to what is featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (the film).
- Ramona, if you wanted hair coloured that exact way, would have to be redyed each week – not healthy.
- Conventional shop bought dyes – the cheaper option – are full of lots of nasty stuff.
- Getting your hair dyed at the salon each week would be very expensive.
- 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.