Wednesday, February 26, 2014

For the Ladies - Frugal Hair Colour

Today's post is really for the ladies and particularly those of a certain age. Ahem, the age where you must decide to colour your hair or go au naturel (grey).

I never coloured my hair as a younger woman. Instead I would have it permed on a regular basis whenever I had a shorter "do".  Eventually I gave that up and grew my hair out.  That's when my hairdresser talked me into getting highlights. I really liked the highlights but after years of getting them done and starting to go gray, I needed touch ups more often than I wanted.  This was not only costly but not good for my hair which tends to need a permanent dye to address it's colour resistancy.

I searched in health stores for a more natural alternative.  However these proved unsatisfactory when I discovered that most of them also contained chemicals.  After looking on line for a solution, I reluctantly decided to experiment with henna. This wasn't an easy decision because henna tends to colour the hair red which is not my colour of choice.  Also henna does "take" on dark hair too well and my hair is naturally dark brown.  Nonetheless I decided to give it a try.  I debated about whether to order from an on line company but my then hairdresser told me that some of her clients bought their henna locally.  After hearing that I went to the local Punjabi market to look for henna.

I found a few different brands bags at a store which isn't terribly far from my neighbourhood. Both brands were similar in price and cost approximately $10.00 (Canadian dollars) for 1 kilogram of  henna powder.  I purchased 2 bags about one and a half years ago and am now half way through the second bag of powder.  For me a 1 kilogram bag lasts for at least a year doing root touch ups and one or two whole head applications. I have a lot of hair compared to most women so I also use more powder than many women would need.

Top of my head after henna and light blow dry.

Before I can colour my hair, I first have to mix the powder.  I do this by putting some henna powder in a plastic or glass container to which I add a liberal helping of cinnamon powder.  I then add some warm (not hot) coffee and stir well until all the lumps come out.  I tend to like my henna mix on the thicker side so it doesn't run down my face and neck after application and while waiting for the colour to take. Sometimes I add plain yogurt or olive oil to the mixture so condition the hair.  I am usually only colouring the roots so I do not add the yogurt or oil very often.

My hair is quite thick and long so requires a lot of henna or colour.

I do my own application and then wrap my head in plastic or with an old towel.  After that I go about doing my daily chores or will sit down and read a book.  I make sure not to get chilled and to keep my head warm.  Some people use a hair blower to heat up the hair after it is wrapped in the plastic.  I leave the henna on anywhere from 2 - 6 hours then hop in the shower and wash it all off.

Once the henna sets it gets quite hard and crusty.  You really need to scrub it and rinse it well. Once I towel dry my hair, I add some oil to the hair ends and blow dry my hair.  This is generally the only time I use the blow dryer.  To keep the henna colour fresh, do not wash your hair too often.  A few times a week is enough. Daily washing will deplete the colour more quickly. 

This pic is a little blurred but you can see the henna is reflected throughout the length of my hair though I only do the whole head of hair about twice a year.

On average, I colour my hair at the roots every 2-3.5 weeks. I don't have a lot of gray hair but those I do have are very strong and colour resistant.  To make matters worse they mainly come out around my hair line at the temples and crown so they show quite readily.

My former hairdresser charged me $60.00 (Canadian dollars) to apply henna that I pre-mixed and to give me a cut and/or blow dry. If I went to the hairdresser every 3 weeks at $60 a visit, this would cost $1020 plus tax (Canadian dollars) a year. When I was getting highlights it cost more like $80 a month ($1160 annually for highlights and hair condition every 3 months).  Even that was a good deal compared to most salons in town where women I know pay at least double ($160) and more.  The price is probably even higher now but I haven't checked since I never go to a high end salon.

It's been about 6 months since I've had a trim.

Now I go to a completely different hair dresser.  She gives me a super deal and only charges $40.00 (Canadian dollars) to apply the henna and cut and blow dry my hair.  Even at these wonderful prices, I only go about twice a year to get my entire head of hair coloured and to get a cut and blow dry.  Sometimes I splurge and get a hair conditioning.  I can condition my own hair too but I seldom do. Sometimes it is nice just to have someone else do it for you, isn't it?

Altogether I would tally my hair grooming costs (cost of henna, cost of hairdresser) at about $90.00 (Canadian dollars)  annually.  This is a huge savings from a few years ago when I was going to the salon every month and spending $1070 more annually ($1160 - $90 = $1070).  My pocket book is healthier and my hair is healthier too.

I'm not sure how long I will continue to apply henna to my hair. It is quite a lot of work to apply even though I only colour the top and sides of my head.  The job is quite messy and my gray hair grows out very quickly. For the time being I am enjoying the savings I get from doing my own hair. Surprisingly I also like the (copper) colour and shine I get.

The colour in natural light is not quite as bright as you see in the photos.  The hair has a different tone when the camera flash is on it.  Another bonus of doing my own hair is that I don't have to spend hours at a salon.  I can do other chores around the house while I wait for my colour to set or read a book or watch television.

What about you dear reader? 
Have any of you given up on fancy hair salons? 
Do you colour your own hair or perhaps barter with someone to do your hair for you?  
I'd love to know. 
Perhaps you've given up on hair colour altogether and gone natural. 


aspiritofsimplicity said...

I have experimented only once with henna. It didn't take very well and was a bit too red for my liking.

Cynthia said...

I am in the "considering options" stage. I wish it would all go white at once. It's the weird stages inbetween that keep me spending money! Your hair looks beautiful!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I do the high light thing too, but only a half head the underneath hair is a darker brown, it works quite well... for now :)

PerthDailyPhoto said...

P.s. Your hair looks fabulous with the red through it..

Saucy Siciliana said...

I did a permanent and highlights many years ago in Rome and it looked beautiful for about a month...then my hair started falling, so I never did a permanent again. My hair is very thin so I can't even curl it with rollers, I would love to have curly hair.

Joy said...

Your hair looks lovely Joyful, and you've certainly managed to cut down on costs by doing a lot of the work yourself, so well done to you! I used to colour my hair but for a lot of years now have not - I am fortunate in that my grey hair progressed in an 'orderly' fashion ( from quite a premature age too!) into a colour that I like and that others admire, (please don't think I am being arrogant!), so I am happy with it, but I know a lot of women who are reluctant to let go of the colouring because their grey is a bit harsh looking.
I'm so glad yours is working out so beautifully! Hugs, Joy xo

Denise said...

Your hair is very beautiful.

africanaussie said...

Oh you have such beautiful thick hair, and it does look lovely with the red highlights. I have very thin fine hair and it actually looks best when it is cut very short. I bought a set of clippers and have been cutting my own hair! Saves a bunch of money, and everyone says it looks good. I still only have a few strands of grey at 59, so think I will not mess with dye, but if I did definitely henna would be an option..

jabbott said...

You have lovely hair and the colour is gorgeous, I too can not tolerate grey hairs I pull the few I see out.When they become more it will henna all the way for sure x

Mereknits said...

YOur hair is gorgeous, coming from someone who has pretty grossly thin hair, I am a bit hair jealous right now. I used to get my hair highlighted, then low lighted and now I have been two years wihout color and I am loving in, let the gray reign!
Meredith said...

I go to a salon to color mine.I can` do it myself like I once did.I love the henna color.Your hair is BEAUTIFUL,& you use everything that is natural & good for your hair.phyllis

jack smith said...

Hair color is also not an easy job which is why people get into these schools and learn the art and become licensed hairdressers or even cosmetologist. Hairdressing Careers

Gigi Styling Studio said...

Looooooooove it!! I love colour but I'm not brave enough to get me some.....I struggle with my hair!
Best Men's Haircut NEW YORK

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