Zero shades of grey

I’m not referring to the notorious book, although I have read 50 or so pages of that book and it was 50 pages of dreadful drivel. Instead, I’m referring to my hair and the increasing number of grey strands I keep finding. Do I keep them and pretend to be proud of them or should I yank them out or colour them up?

It’s not so easy because while I’m very comfortable with my appearance overall, I’m only 36 and not quite ready to sport the grey look, even though grey hair is becoming somewhat of a fashion statement. I don’t have quite enough of it yet to make that statement anyway. But on the other hand, for a decade or so of my life, I was a bleached blonde and coloured my hair religiously (myself) every 6 weeks or so. When I became pregnant with Daniel more than 6 years ago, I stopped and spent the next few years painfully growing out the blonde and enduring a two-tone colour scheme throughout the process. By the time Elizabeth came along, all my hair was my own and I liked the colour and especially enjoyed not having to colour it. I don’t want to go back to those bleached blonde days.

The commitment to having to redo roots regularly is only half my complaint. The other half is smelling the awful chemicals that go into hair colour – the peroxide and ammonia that go into every colour, not just blonde. I started looking around for some natural alternatives and there are practically none. Even the so-called herbal colours contain peroxide, albeit a smaller amount. I eventually discovered one peroxide/ammonia-free colour but was still reluctant to commit to having to redo roots.

Then I discovered Henna. Henna is a plant which, according to Wikipedia, has been used since the Bronze Age to colour skin, hair, fingernails, leather, silk and wool. It can be bought at health shops and some chemists. I bought some from the Lush chain of handmade cosmetics. It looks like a block of chocolate.

You grate the required amount, which in my case was about two squares, then dissolve it in hot water and you end up with this green, sticky concoction that resembles dog poo (from a sick dog with diarrhoea) but smells much nicer. Then you smear it all over your head and leave it for 1-6 hours.

I left it for the minimum amount of 1 hour because I only wanted a subtle change. In fact, I’ve barely noticed any difference to the colour other than perhaps a slightly richer gloss but it has covered the grey, hence my zero shades of grey. So it’s exactly what I wanted and I’m not locked into having to redo it whenever my natural colour grows through because it is so close to my natural colour. Here’s the result.

The ingredients on the packet, if anyone is interested, are: cocoa butter, indigo herb, red henna (lawsonia inermis), ground coffee, nettle powder, irish moss powder, clove bud oil, essential oils (citral, eugenol, geraniol, citronellol, limonene, linalool, perfume).