I have bored many friends with my search for the henna hair dye that I used to buy in Melbourne, and it continues to this day.
The reasons why I use henna
- it turns my grey hairs golden (or bright red with redder dyes)
- it usually costs about $3 a packet and you get 3-4 dyes from that
- it makes my hair really shiny
- no chemically smell
My preferred brand is/was Uttam Herbal Henna, and I was able to buy it at the indian grocery store in Malvern for about $2.75 a box. This henna is a greenish colour powder, and I actually let it soak for 24 hrs beforehand, then left it on my head for about 2 hrs.
Up here in Brisbane, I have found quite a variety of henna dyes, but was led astray by labelling – it said natural brown, but I spent a good 6 weeks with vivid red hair. I should mention that they also had mahogany and apple red colour options available. If you’re interested in the redder henna dyes, these were a few dollars at 7 Hills Spice Store on Marshall Lane, Kenmore, which coincidentally was where as kids we all used to walk to buy lollies when it was just a boring corner store.
These redder hennas are brownish coloured powder and smell slightly like tobacco, but don’t freak out, this is normal. Like most hair henna dyes, make up a paste and apply to clean hair.
At Woolongabba I struck gold – this place has the equivalent of a full height bookcase full of henna hair dyes. The one that dyes brown for me is in this silver packet. The powder is greenish. I just mix it up with hot water to a yoghurty consistency, then leave it for 24 hrs, apply, put a shower cap over the top and wash out 2 hrs later. In Melbourne I would wrap my head in cling wrap to try to harness the heat from my head – the theory that heat helps henna develop better. I’ve also heard of people using a hairdryer to heat their hair as the dye sets.
Coopers Plains, Brisbane
Neha Herbal Mendhi – This is another one I’ve found that dyes brown for me – at Reliance Fresh grocery store on Orange Grove Road, Coopers Plains. I found this one by accident when waiting for takeaway from Lily’s Kitchen one time. This is a jumbo packet – 500g, and can’t quite remember how much it was – $5 or $7, I think. Update for Feb 2014: it was $7.99 yesterday.
Another store for Coopers Plains – Indian Grocery and Spice Store on Boundary Rd – I came across this store on the way back from the train station. There’s not much english on the packet, but it was $3 and probably 200g. It comes as green powder which I make up to a gloopy consistency using hot water. I then leave this to sit overnight. The last photo here is a shot of my hair before dying, so probably about 6-8 weeks after the last time. The colour holds really well, my only problem is all the grey hairs that creep out after a while!
I should mention that I first started using henna from Lush – where they sold big blocks of it for about $25. I soon found this a big pain, because you have to grate these blocks down before you can add water, then you need to leave them on your hair for 6-8hrs. I used to wrap my head in cling wrap and towels and go to bed with the alarm set for 2am to have the shower to wash out my hair. Too expensive and too much effort, also I found the end result a bit disappointing – the colour was quite weak. I’m not even sure that they sell these anymore.