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October, 2005:

So many compliments!

So yesterday I got like fifteen compliments on my hair in less than two hours as I was running around town doing work stuff. I figured I should include a pic of how it’s looking, since it’s apparently so stellar!

Ringhair

It’s not a week and a half since application, but it’s getting pretty mellow. When I lather up in the shower, though, I still get orangey suds.

As much as I love the softer, thicker hair and groovy red tones, I think I’m happiest that I have a unique hair color now. People no longer confuse me with my coworker Loren (though I always take that as a compliment, because she’s cool and hot), more security guards remember my name and where I’m from, and more receptionists open up to me via comments like, "Wow, I love your hair color — it’s so rich!"

Also, I had to include a pic of my new piercings. 😉 It’s a long story, but I’m extremely proud of them, and highly recommend Braindrops for piercing, antique/tribal pierced jewelry, and as far as I know, tattoos as well (though I don’t have any of those… yet).

Peak color

Out and about this morning, I must have gotten a dozen compliments on my hair in less than two hours. I guess it’s at its peak color — just four or so days after reapplying it!

It’s weird, I’ve never gotten so many comments on my appearance before. Sure, one or two people usually tell me they like my jewelry, but every single receptionist and security guard I’ve spoken to today?

It actually makes me pretty happy, because nobody’s mistaking me for my coworker anymore. ("You’re… Loren, right?" Wrong! Though I usually take that as a compliment, because Loren is cool and hot.)

I’ll see if I can add a photo to this post later today.

Fire-engine red!

So last night I decided to henna my hair again, because the roots were starting to show. As reported by other henna heads, the second application layers over the red tones and turns out absolutely gorgeous. Not a hint of orange to be seen! It is pretty bright — almost fire-engine red — but that will mellow out, and for the next few days, I think it’s going to be pretty fun!

Click here for the results of my first henna application, as well as a photo of my natural hair color for comparison’s sake.

This is my hair immediately before my second application:
Before2nd

Aaaand here’s my hair immedately after washing it out and blowdrying it!
After2nd

Damn, I love it. And while last time it was orange on washing it out, this time there’s hardly any orange to be seen — just a groovy, groovy red.

The mix this time was slightly different because my yogurt went bad and I was too lazy to get more. I used:

  • 100 g henna
    (my hair has gotten longer — and I was running out of henna in my last batch, which was only 80 g — and I didn’t add any yogurt, which adds volume to the mix, making it so that you can use less henna)
  • 2 T lemon juice
    (for highlights and what-have-you)
  • About 1.75 c double-strength chamomile
    (I made two cups, but didn’t need to use all of it)
  • 1 drop lavendar essential oil
    (I used several last time and the strength of the smell almost made me woozy)

I mixed the chamomile in while it was hot, and left the henna out to cool for about an hour and a half, instead of overnight. I still had dye release — must’ve been the heat. (Though I hear that henna dyes hair so well that you don’t even need to wait for dye release.) I left it on for just shy of four hours and washed it out by combing generous amounts of conditioner through (but no shampoo). Blowdried it, and I’m not going to wash it until tomorrow morning.

I forgot to put veggie/olive oil around my hairline, so I ended up with a little bit of an orange halo, but it was mostly gone by this morning.

And my hair is oh-so-silky once again, which is amazing, because it was pretty darn silky before.

I’ll post another photo of the mellowed-out color in around a week and a half, and I’ll probably do this experiement one more time to see how three layers of hair henna look as compared to one (or none!).

New photos in gallery

Don’t forget to check out the gallery — I’ve been a busy bee this week, but haven’t felt the need to dedicate a post to each piece!

Best One Yet!

Orchid2

This is the best henna I’ve done to date!

The design is from Darcy‘s book. The paste is the one I made the other night. The sealer was Maxx’s fabulous half-glue, half-lemon juice mix with some glitter thrown in, generously dabbed on with two Q-tips. I blowdried it, and it was so well-protected and flexible that I didn’t even cover it when I went to bed. Peeled it off in the morning after 8 hours, covered my hand with a plastic glove while I showered and got ready, and went to work.

Now, 20 hours after application, and 12 hours after paste removal, I have a gorgeous, deeper-than-redweld-colored stain! And such crisp lines as I have never seen myself do.

w00t -> me 🙂

Oh, and the reason for the orchid is twofold. First of all, I just bloomed on Sunday! Isn’t it pretty? Secondly, it seems that there is a rule somewhere about obligatory henna-and-a-pretty-flower photos. So this is my contribution. Ideally, I want to get some black drapery so I can have henna photos on a black background with minimal Photoshopping.

November is National Novel Writing Month

For more details, go to www.nanowrimo.org.

Paste Consistency = O

After working with Darcy’s great mix all weekend, I finally had a pretty decent idea of what a good paste consistency is. I mixed some up last night, adding more and more and more lemon juice (but only a small bit of sugar and honey, and not too many essential oils), stirring the hell out of it with a spoon. I let it sit on top of the fridge loosely covered with saran wrap all of last night and until I got home from work today. I think it thickened up a little as it sat out, so I mixed in another generous splash of lemon juice before loading my cones.

I also had a better idea of what kinds of cones I like after working with Darcy. First of all, I’d been folding the tops over and taping them down, which works horribly. Darcy twists the tops and secures them with little rubber bands.

Funny story — I’d been saving like five little baggies of those tiny, multicolored orthodontic rubber bands since I was an awkward teen with braces, with the idea that someday they would be useful. This summer, I finally tossed them out, thinking that if I hadn’t used them yet, I never would. Stupid me! I totally could have used them to secure the tops of my cones! Oh well — I made do with a spool of hemp I have on hand for macrame.

Even though the Walgreens near work didn’t have mylar gift wrap (like Darcy’s usually does — lucky her :P), I still had some cello I bought from Mehandi.com. So this is what I ended up with:

Cones

I have three more in the freezer, after seeing how quick the things thawed out at the school fair on Sunday.

Anyway, I clipped a cone for a very, very fine line and went at it. Get this — no clogs, and perfect control! I think the key to nice, smooth lines is being able to drape lines of henna across the skin. This seems to work more or less with any design, from straight lines to circles, as long as you sling it right.

The worst problem I had when I was doing a few of Darcy’s designs on my feet was the fact that I’m not quite flexible enough to get my foot right in front of my nose, where I can see everything well enough to henna accurately. The lighting in my apartment sucks, too, making it even harder. But, I managed to bust out some of the finest designs I’ve done yet! They’re not perfect, obviously, but I’m totally pleased with the paste. Tomorrow I’m going to work on my technique on my hand, which should be easier to reach and see.

Better

I also finally got the right stuff for Maxx’s sealant that I’ve been dying to get straight. Plain old Elmer’s school glue (not the gel glue), mixed equal parts with lemon juice. I added some fine glitter I had lying around, but I don’t think I dumped enough in for it to show. It was thin enough to dab on, getting it nice and covered and moist, but not running — a huge problem I was having with my sealers before. (Another thing I learned from Darcy this weekend: When you seal something with lemon sugar, you don’t glob the stuff on! You gently dab it just enough to moisten the design. You shouldn’t even be able to see wetness on the skin, really.)

I’m going to seal each design at least three times so it’s well protected while I sleep tonight. I want good stains to show off my hard weekend of learning. 🙂

I hope this mix does stain well. I also need to figure out an easier way to load my cones. It was really annoying, even though I was trying to do it the "easy" way by loading a ziploc baggie with the henna, clipping the corner off of it, and squirting it in the cones, which I placed in a mug to keep them upright for me. I should find one of those plastic syringes they use for giving medicine to dogs and cats and babies. That would probably work a lot better.

Oww

After doing henna all weekend… my butt hurts! It’s pretty sad when you get sore muscles from doing something where you’re sitting down the entire time. 😛

Fabulous weekend

This weekend rocked! I did henna with Darcy at a bat mitzvah and a school fair. It was kind of freaky just jumping in and doing it, but I had so much fun that I completely lost track of the time both days.

I was too busy to take photos, which is probably a good thing. My designs are passable, but I see infinite room for improvement. Maybe after I’ve been doing this for ten years, I’ll effortlessly squeeze out gorgeous stuff on wiggly kids like Darcy does. 🙂

My overall opinion? Doing henna kicks ass!

My goals for the next few weeks include using this weekend’s proceeds to start a more appropriate henna wardrobe (how fun!) and practicing henna, especially "five-minute designs" to bust out on kids. My linework needs to be thinner, smoother, and faster. And I need to figure out how to strengthen or steady my hand. I had shaky fingers syndrome bad this weekend. Maybe that’s a good excuse to pick up yoga again — after a few days of yoga, I see boundless improvement in hand flexibility and strength.

On a side note, it’s cool that so many people in the Bay Area are knowledgeable of or interested in henna. I had the range of people, from moms and dads who’d never heard of it before but wanted to give it a try to this awesome little guy, probably five years old, that tested me on whether or not we were doing so-called "black henna," a very dangerous chemical passed off as a henna variant by shady temp tatoo artists in some places. What a pro!

And, of course, many thanks go out to Darcy for being willing to try me out. I considered it a huge gamble on her part, but it seems to have worked out! I totally look forward to more weekends and evenings of henna.

Final Hair Results

I realized that I never posted all of my hair photos. Now that it’s nice and mellowed out, in its final color, I think I can! I hear that repeated applications deepen and darken the red color, but if you’re a blonde (like me) and you henna with chamomile and a bit of lavendar (like I did) this is what you can expect!

BEFORE

Hairbefore2_1

IMMEDIATELY AFTER WASHING OUT

Oompaloompa

COLOR AFTER A WEEK AND A HALF

Final

I love the final color, and I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on it! Now, almost a month later, I’m starting to see my roots, so I might reapply in the next week or two. I want to add one to three more photos to this log — the color a week and a half after the second application, and the third, etc., to see what kind of color buildup I get using this mix.

I guess I should also note — even though I’m a blonde, reddish hair runs in my family (from my maternal grandma), so I’ve been told numerous times that red hair really compliments my skin tone. In fact, my closest friends have historically described me as a natural redhead, even though from my photo it’s pretty obvious that I’m totally not. 😛

I originally didn’t notice much of a change in my hair texture, but now that I’ve been living with it for a month, I can say that it’s made my hair thicker. I used to cut down on the conditioner in the shower so it wouldn’t weigh my fine hair down, then spritz it with a light leave-in conditioner and a thickening spray. Now all I do is comb through a slightly more generous amount of my "heavy" conditioner and let it air dry! It’s never been softer, and I have no issues with it being too fine. I think it’s a little less wavy now too, but I bet I could still emphasize the wave with some hairspray and a diffuser if I wanted to glam up.

And the shine? Amazing! I actually have friends asking to touch my hair after seeing the sunshine play through it. As for me, I really have to cut the habit of feeling my hair up throughout the day (it’s just so soft! :P) and checking out my reflection in car and shop windows as I pass. Geez, you’d think I’m self-absorbed or something! ("Aren’t most bloggers?" Touche, touche.)

In conclusion, this experiment has been a roaring success! I may never want to go blonde again. 🙂