My red hair story PART 1: From Henna to True red and ombre

"I saw a girl with big red hair and I knew it was you!" This is what I hear often from my friends, and I LOVE IT. Standing out from the crowd, making a lasting first impression and being remembered is important to me and a big part of that is achieved thanks to my "big red hair".
And it's been a journey to get here.

My henna-ed hair
After I came back from my Erasmus exchange experience in the Netherlands in summer 2010 I decided it was time for a change, but didn't want to ruin my really long and thick hair with cheap chemical dyes from the drugstore so I did some research and opted for Henna and started my adventure!
Henna (Lawsonia Inermis) is a natural dye used since ancient times for body decoration and hair coloring. The molecule responsible for the color is the Lawsone and it has to be released from the henna leaves before you can dye anything (this is important!). This can be achieved using an acidic liquid of any form.
Having read this and many tips from those who had already tried it on their own hair, I went looking for the product. I visited my local herbal shop and asked for henna. There are a few different powders you can get: neutral henna (which is not really henna but Cassia obovata), black henna (which is actually Indigo), red henna (Lawsonia Inermis) or any mixture of the above to get the desired color. Since I was going for red, I chose to buy 100% Lawsonia.
Next step was to pick a "recipe" for the mixture. Since I started out with medium-brown hair and wanted to go towards an auburn-red color, I decided to mix the following: 100gr Lawsonia Inermis, 125gr white yogurt (acidic for dye release and moisturizing for the hair), warm red wine (enough to reach a yogurt-like consistency of the mixture) and a few drops of lavender essential oil (to cover the smell of hay that stick to your hair).
I prepared the mixture in the evening and let it develop overnight in a warm place like close to a heater. The morning after I would apply the mixture from the roots to the tips of my hair, let it sit 3-5 hours (yes THAT long) and then rinse off.
My crazy idea
The final result after my first application was amazing! I had achieved a very natural-looking auburn color with bronzy reflections. I was very happy and continued dying my hair this way every 2 months for about 2 years. It was not necessary to dye it more often because the re-growth was not very noticeable. However, after all this time, my hair color was getting darker and darker and it wasn't as red as I liked.
Dark red
So one day I went to a hairdresser and, together with my crazy choice to shave off a side of my head, I asked her to dye my hair bright red! I literally went to her with the picture here on the right. She told me that unfortunately it was too risky to lift the hair color so much having henna on and that I had to wait to outgrow it. So I went only for the hair cut and came back another day to get a dark shade of red that didn't need any bleaching. And I loved it!
Since then I have kept my hair red and only added ombre toward lighter red on the ends. This last choice I regret a bit because since they had to bleach my ends, they have become dry and brittle and it takes a lot of work to keep them healthy.

The most important thing to remember about red hair: it bleeds! A LOT! So you will need to maintain it, but I'll tell you about it in another post :)

My hair now: Red Ombre
So to all you girls who want to stand out I would say: go for it! All the way! Chemical dyes are the easiest way to reach the bright reds and the quality of the dyes you can find at the salons are high and don't damage the hair too much. Always bare in mind that if you go to lighter shades, there will be some bleaching involved and you will need to take care of your hair to keep it shiny and healthy and maintain your red vibrant.

I hope this post will help some of you in your choices.
Keep rocking!


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