I didn’t start growing my hair long until about 1991. Prior to that, it never really reached my shoulders even. I only recently started letting it go even longer…
Okay, here’s the story.
I had my hair between shoulder to, say, 4-6" below shoulder length from 1992-ish until a year or so ago. Because I coloured my hair (whites to cover combined with love for red hair), and my hair is thick enough that, until 4" below shoulders, it takes two boxes of hair dye. Past that, it becomes 3 boxes. And I’m cheap. So I kept my hair at that length or shorter to save money on hair colouring.
Because red hair colour bleeds so much that you can’t do just the roots – you wind up with stripes and it’s just not a great look, so you have to do the whole head. And that’s assuming you use the same colour every single time.
Or maybe my hair is just particularly bad at that.
But then a couple of years ago, I switched to henna. The reason? Red hair colour was becoming more and more difficult to find in Sri Lanka. Black is available everywhere, as is black-brown, neither of which is a good look for me. I’m too pale. It would be months sometimes between when I’d be able to find red hair colour. My roots were… embarrassing.
The last time I bought the boxed hair dye, it was a dark red – as in, very nearly black but with red undertones. It looked awful. It was just too dark.
I don’t remember how or why, but somehow, I started reading up about henna. Fahim’s mother uses henna to cover her roots and gets a nice red colour, so perhaps that was it. At any rate, from what I learned about henna, I decided to make the switch.
Image via Wikipedia
Henna is permanent. Henna doesn’t bleed, nor does it fade at all. With henna, I can do just the roots, not everything. Henna doesn’t damage my hair, nor does it have the same potential for health damage as boxed hair colours do. And henna is cheap. So I no longer had to worry about 2 box limits. And that’s why I’m now sort of growing my hair.
Except the chemically coloured hair is dry and damaged – no surprise – so I’ve been cutting it off as it grows. But I’m finally at the point of no more damaged hair left, so now I really can let it grow with abandon.
Henna covers my whites perfectly. 100% coverage every single time with zero fade. It’s lovely lovely stuff!
These pictures are from June 2007, the first time I henna’d my hair. Before applying henna:
After applying henna:
Want to learn more about henna? Go to Henna For Hair, where you’ll find everything from the recipes that hundreds of people use to get their particular shade (strawberry blonde to orange to red to brown and even black, using henna, indigo, and other ingredients), FAQs, a free ebook on how to henna hair, a forum, the science behind henna, a forum, price listing for henna and indigo, and so much more. This is the BEST place for information on henna on the Internet.
Edited to add:
One thing I forgot to mention about those hair pictures – they’re all taken in the same room with the exact same lighting, no colour corrections/changes of any kind were made to the photos. That’s the real deal.