My Henna Adventure (Follow-up)

As the Henna for Hair girls suggested, after three washes and going swimming, my color did fade to a warm strawberry blonde.

I do like this color, however, I still have as much henna left as I used the first time, so I might have to go even redder sometime this summer. What can I say? I got a taste and I’m craving more. Thankfully, henna is actually good for my hair so I won’t feel bad mixing up the paste again in a week or so!

My Henna Adventure (Part II)

I let my henna sit for a total of 4.75 hours. As I am prone to do, I got impatient, so I did some research on what the most-anticipated “dye release” looks like. I found this page, a sister of the very informative Henna for Hair I used to mix my henna. I never saw the actual dye “release” as that page says, but in all honesty, I think I waited too long.

After your henna releases dye, it is in contact with oxygen (unless you have a way to inert the paste).  If oxygen combines with the dye, it won’t bind with the keratin in your skin, and you’ll get a poor stain.  This is “demise“, when henna stains poorly because you have waited too long to use it. 

I’m pretty sure that’s what my dye did, because it looked like this:

 I think I never saw the dye because I stirred it too much, but it was also really hot that day so I’m not sure if my dye was as potent as it could have been, but because I’m me, I went ahead with the dyeing procedure.
First, I mixed the henna paste with a moisturizing conditioner, using three times as much conditioner as henna paste as per Kris’s suggestion which used up about half of the paste and ended up looking like this:
Next I put the paste all over my head. Oh yes. 
And then I saran-wrapped my head. 
 After an hour of letting this soak in, I got in the shower and rinsed it all away. It was then I decided to nix the chamomile next time, because the smell was getting to be too much and the tea leaves were very difficult to rinse out of my hair. 
When it dried, my hair looked like this: 
I liked it at first, but no one in my family could tell the difference. My mom said she could a bit, but I’m pretty sure she was lying. It’s a REALLY pretty color, but like I said, I had half of my henna paste left and a new penchant for natural hair dyeing. So I repeated the entire process, using the same technique, leaving it in for about an hour and a half this time, however. 
Now, in bright fluorescent lighting, I’m a regular carrot-top!
Don’t worry, it doesn’t look that bright all the time. It is, however, definitely strawberry blonde! I’m not sure if it will rinse out any, many Henna for Hair writers suggested it did wear off some during the first few washes, but I washed mine this morning and it hasn’t seemed to. I’m excited to be a redhead for summer!

My Henna Adventure (Part I)

As I mentioned in my last Friday Five, I am going to henna my hair. My reasons are three-fold:

1) Recently, my hair has been drier and less lustrous than I remember it, and it’s been short for so long that I think this change may have crept up on me because I lacked the length to really notice it. When my hair was long, I never blow-dried it and rarely straightened it, but when it was short it required much more fuss so it doesn’t flip out funky, and it’s my belief that all of this damage compounded and ruined my once-beautiful hair. Now that I want to grow my hair long again it’s come to my attention my hair needs revitalization. I’ve read in several forums that henna is an excellent conditioner and promises to make my hair glossy and lustrous again.

2) My hair, because it has so many tones, is always in-between a hair color. Is it brunette? Is it blonde? Is it strawberry? The world will never know, because it only takes subtle lighting changes for my hair to appear a different color. I keep having people ask me why I ‘went blonde’ after they see my driver’s license, because the photo makes my hair appear almost black. This is obnoxious.

3) I just have always wanted more red in my hair. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit scared because I know natural redheads can be sensitive about unnatural redheads, and I don’t want to be that girl, but I’ve resolved that if the color does come out very red that I will just be up-front about my henna usage, and proclaim that it’s more for the conditioning benefits than the color.

I did a lot of extensive internet research after deciding I want to henna my hair and found a plethora of henna-hair-dyeing information at this site, aptly named Henna for Hair.

The most useful information I found on this site was all of the reader-submitted mixes (scroll down) and Fia’s page. Fia provides a recipe for a ‘henna gloss’ which is supposed to subtly tint hair and deep condition.

Fia’s Henna gloss – for minimal color change and deep conditioning
– 2-3 tablespoons henna powder
– Enough lemon/lime juice to mix a smooth paste
– Your favorite conditioner or plain, unsweetened yoghurt
Mix the henna powder with lemon/lime juice to a smooth paste and let this stand until you see dye release. Mix the henna paste with either your favorite conditioner or plain yoghurt. Apply to dry or damp hair and leave on for as long as you wish. Rinse as you’d rinse out a regular conditioner.

This one is easy to apply and rinse, as it’s basically conditioner or yoghurt with just a hint of henna dye in it. It’s good as either a color refresher in between regular henna applications or if you only wish to have a very subtle color change. It will give reddish hints on blonde and light brown hair. You may see some reddish highlights on medium brown, but probably not too much. On dark brown/black hair you’ll only get the conditioning benefits from the conditioner/henna.

Luckily for me, making your own henna mix is not an exact science. On other pages, I found that the color of henna can be influenced by other natural additives, like cassia or chamomile, to make the end result more blonde. 

So, today I went down to a local herb store and picked up 4 oz of henna (roughly 100 grams).

It’s a lovely green color.

Then I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some cheap chamomile tea.

Versana sounds kinda Indian, so that means it must be good, right?

In a bowl, I mixed 3 1/2 tablespoons of the henna (I’d like a little more than a subtle color change), 4 teabags of chamomile and enough lemon juice to form a smooth paste. The end result looked something like goat turd. I covered it and set it outside in the sun for and hour and a half then realized it was a bad idea, because all of the lemon juice was evaporating. After I added more lemon juice, it looked something like this:

Goat turd.

Now it’s sitting, covered, in my kitchen, where it will probably stay until tomorrow. I am awful at waiting, so I decided to write this blog post. More tomorrow.

Friday Five: Things I Want To Do This Summer

Okay, so my fun vacation’s over, work doesn’t start until June,  and I have nothing to do between then and now. It’s really quite sad. I haven’t posted at all this week, and that’s because when I have nothing to do I become a grade-A lazy-ass. No joke. I sit here at home, doing nothing, thinking about the things I want to do, not getting out and doing them because “it’s too hot,” “it’s not worth the gas,” or some other equally lame excuse. I did, however, check out Wifey from the local library yesterday and as soon as I finish my current read, a Joyce Carol Oates book, I plan to devour it. Maybe I’ll even write a book review about each one of these books, just to keep my mind sharp. Anyways, I discovered that blogging about the books I want to read is keeping me semi-accountable, so I thought it’d be a good idea to blog about the things I want to do as well, so I’ll actually get off my ass and do them.

5) Buy a new cell phone.


My cell phones have always been sub-par, and that’s putting it gently. I had my first phone, a Nokia brick, for 3 years, and then I bought my current phone, a cheap Motorola Razr knockoff, if it’s possible to have knockoffs within the same brand. The reason I’ve always had crap-tastic phones is because my mom decided early on that cell phone plans were not for us. We had Tracfone (minute-by-minute prepaid), then I got annoyed and jumped to Straighttalk (unlimited prepaid), and now we’re all scattered across the board and I’m considering switching to Virgin Mobile so I can actually use the unlimited data I’m paying for. I could rant for forever about how much the Straighttalk phones suck, but I won’t. I like Virgin Mobile’s phone selection because it’s closer to what big-name providers like Sprint and T-mobile offer. I have yet to decide on a phone, it’s difficult because in the back of my mind I know that what I’m really shooting for is an iPhone.

4) Take my younger sister out for sushi.


After I raved to my little sister about eating sushi with my cousin in DC, she admitted to me that she wanted to try it. This is a huge step for us, because we were raised in a household of bland tastes. My dad appreciates more exotic flavors, but he was rarely the dinnertime cook. Before becoming more health-conscious, my mom was known on my dad’s side of the family for being the queen of casseroles. Mango is too exotic for her to handle. When I took her to an awesome Thai hole-in-the-wall in my college town she complained the place was too “sketchy.” So, now, my timid sister admitting she wants to sample sushi is a huge step in culinary awakening, and I want to foster that as much as possible even if she does only start out with a Cali roll. Plus, I haven’t tried any sushi places in my hometown area yet (most of them are kind of expensive) and I’m really excited to have an excuse.

3) Sew a skirt. 


While visiting my cousin I got to spend some time in Old Town Alexandria, an adorable district right over the water, and I stumbled into a vintage clothing store. There, I purchased a really cute rose-print skirt from the seventies for about $20, and upon close examination later that day I decided it had been handmade, and pretty simply, too. I’ve never been much of a seamstress — for some reason I just can’t handle a sewing machine very well — but I’m pretty good at designing patterns that work well and I’d like the opportunity to practice. So, sooner or later I’m going to trot down to Hancock fabrics, pick out a pretty print and sew myself a flouncy skirt.

2) Henna-rinse my hair.


My hair has always been an awesome dirty blonde with natural highlights that are almost platinum and and underside that is almost brunette, so I’ve always been wary of dying my hair. Recently I’ve started noticing some really awesome strawberry tones as well, and so I started looking into henna as a conditioner and a way to bring the strawberry out of my strawberry blonde. I’m not going for Lucille Ball red, but I’ve found several recipes for a henna rinse or gloss that will only tint my hair instead of full-on dye it, so this summer I plan to get a girlfriend and some henna and test it out!

1) Get a manicure.


 Never before in my life have I gotten a manicure. I guess it’s not that unusual, especially since I bite my nails, but I would really like to have french tips at least once in my life. Before the end of summer I’m going to try and let my nails grow just a bit and, if I can do that, I’ll reward myself with a $20 mani.

Friday Five: Books I Want to Read this Summer

Before college, I was an avid reader. During my first year of college I think I may have read one book for fun, and it wasn’t a very long book, either.  I just know my soul shriveled a little as a result, so, this summer I’m going to hit up my local library (and Amazon, because my local library is NOT the best around) and read until I’ve soothed my aching mind. Here’s the list of my top five most anticipated reads:

5) In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan


If you’ve read more than two of my blog posts, you’ve probably come across some reference to Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. We read it in my Comp II class and I loved it. Pollan is a wonderful journalist (I had outbursts in class because I was so thrilled by the way he handled his subject matter) and he writes about one of my favorite subjects in the world. In my mind, food could probably only be eclipsed by music. I can’t imagine that a world exists in which I would hate this book.

4) Naked by David Sedaris


Me Talk Pretty One Day was a book of much acclaim while I was in high school, and although I’ve never read it, I’m excited to read this book because I’ve heard it’s better. I love books which are collections of essays because I don’t swallow them whole, so hopefully this one will last me at least a week.

3) Corked: A Memoir by Kathryn Borel


I came across this book in the public library in my college town the day I went back to return my books for the semester. Unfortunately, it’s not in my hometown library, but I really want to read this book because it’s about how wine helped this woman develop her relationship with her father, an experience to which I can relate (see my April post entitled A Couple Scholarship Essays).

2) Wifey by Judy Blume


Over the past few days I’ve been reading Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, which is odd for me because I never actually read much Judy Blume as a kid. I read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, but beyond that I didn’t touch on much. It was in this book that I first heard Judy Blume wrote books for adults, books that are horrifically raunchy and incredibly entertaining (such as this one), and to me that just sounds like the perfect poolside read.

1) Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us by Joel Palca, Flora Lichtman


 I came across this book on NPR (apparently the writers are NPR journalists, so they get to have their book spotlighted. Jealous.) and it sounds right up my alley. I’ve been really big into the popular adult nonfiction books lately (Omnivore’s Dilemma, Switch, Blink, etc.), so I am really excited to delve into this one. The only problem will be getting my hands on it because it is so new!

The Future Dreamed of in the Fifties is Nigh

Very few people in Western society deal directly with the animals their food comes from. At the dinner table a few days ago, my family and I were discussing the benefits of raising your own cattle. My dad said he would really like to get a heifer and raise it to eat, just because he can, and the suggestion left my fourteen-year-old sister appalled. “But what if we name it?” she asked, wide-eyed.

If there’s one thing I took away from Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma it was how far removed our society is from the food we eat. Because my generation has grown up with it, we accept this as the way things are. I remember being 12 and absolutely shell-shocked when my father killed a rooster and cooked it for dinner. I remember abhorring the thought of killing a living thing and eating it, an ideology Michael Pollan acknowledges as commonplace in America but inherently absurd. So many people feel this way and don’t even realize it. Due to recent advances in science, however, this ideology is about to become a hot topic.

We’ve all heard it’s coming down the pipe, but a recent NPR article claims that before too long ‘in-vitro meat’ could be available in a grocery store near you.

It sounds so sci-fi but it’s incredibly real and it’s going to wreak all sorts of havoc on our already unstable Western diet. There will be those who embrace it happily for its benefits — feeding more people sustainably with less resources and less space, ending the animal abuse which currently brings us cheap meat — and there will be those who are stalwartly against it — some because of their morals, and some who are just plain stubborn.

Personally, I’m not sure how I feel. One scientist said in the article, “‘This isn’t synthetic. It’s organic. It’s meat. It’s two meat cells growing to become more meat cells.'” That’s all fine and dandy, but what about the flavor? The article claims “there will be no taste differential,” but as a food lover I know that can’t be true, simply because there are already “taste differentials” in traditionally grown meat cells. Grass-fed meat has a different taste than grain-fed meat, sirloin steak has a different taste than ribs, and you damned well better believe Angus beef has a different taste than Kobe. This is a whole new industry they’re opening up. I can see the packaging now: “100% imitation grass-fed Angus beef!” Will meat from real animals become a luxury, destined for the kitchens of the rich and famous?

The process of making laboratory meat, although it is definitely happening, is far from mass-production. Currently scientists zap the muscle cells with electricity to stimulate growth and keep them from atrophying, a process that would be very costly on a large scale. But if the problem is in sight, the solution isn’t far off. Brace yourselves, we’re in for a wild ride.

New Design

So this morning I was killing time and I decided to change up my blog a bit. The length of the title has always bugged me as has my use of someone else’s photo for my background. The photograph I picked for my current background I’m pretty proud of — I took it with the Rebel during the Antiques Mall photo shoot. Plus, I think the pale blue just looks awesome with the B&W. Don’t hesitate to provide feedback, but if you don’t like it don’t expect me to change it back. What can I say? I happen to think it’s adorable. I know you’re all afraid that the goofy posts about Star Wars will go away because now my blog looks all sophisticate, but don’t worry, a girl can be indie and sexy while retaining her inner nerd!