I had been interested in henna for a long time, and it seemed perfect for my hair. A strengthening coat on top of the shaft that enhances reds. The permanent nature of henna didn't scare me; I had been a redhead for a long time and believed that I intended to be one until I cut all my hair off. I chose Light Mountain brand and dove in. My hair looked and felt great.
The thing is, my hair got long. Way long. I hadn't had a haircut since my wedding, and I was very happy with how Shea Moisture (my shampoo/conditioner/everything of choice) was treating my hair. And I was a little, well, bored of my color. I hadn't henna'd my hair for several months (about four inches), but I knew that henna was widely regarded as permanent and impossible or even dangerous to dye over.
Many hairstylists will not dye over henna because of horror stories of hair falling out or turning green because of reactions between the metallic salts some manufacturers use to alter the red shade henna comes in. Even if you promise the henna you used did not have that in it, they will refuse (with good reason-- people are liars, and sometimes people are just wrong.)
I was sure that the henna I had used was good quality, pure henna, so I decided to take a risk and attempt to dye a streak of my hair pink.
This would require "removing" the henna, bleaching my natural color, and then dyeing my hair. Reading online there were lots of recommendations of color oops to shrink the dye molecules of henna, and then to bleach afterwards.
In my experience, color oops does NOTHING to henna. It makes your hair smell awful and does nothing to "shrink the dye molecules." If you read the instructions on color oops, it makes it very clear that it is not for natural permanent dyes, it is for artificial dyes only.
The only thing that had any effect on henna was bleach. Unfortunately the bleach also had effects on my hair texture and health, but more on that later.
For my streak I used color oops, manic panic's bleach kit, and manic panic in cotton candy pink.
The color came out great where there was no henna (The top of my bangs) but the streak going through my braid was more of an orangey-red than pink. Once the manic panic faded, as manic panic is wont to do, I went ahead and bleached the streak again, this time finishing with Wella's T18 (Also known as White Lady or Lightest Ash Blonde) toner to get it as white as possible.
This worked out rather nicely, and I had discovered the rather inelegant secret to making henna disappear: bleach the hell out of it.
So after my streak had grown out a bit, I made a decision. I wanted pink hair, and I was determined to get it. Somewhere around that decision I was fantasizing about undercuts, and I decided I was gonna get that too.
So I got a haircut to trim off the split ends, and asked the stylist to shave one side of my head. She had me repeat myself a couple times before she agreed.
Then I bleached my hair. Twice.
Mostly because I suck at application of bleach, the henna was still a bit orangey, so I decided to cover it up with purple to give my hair a rest and just pink the top.
The purple and pink were both manic panic, and faded rather quickly with the hot oil treatments I did to help my poor bleached hair.
A few weeks later at Target I saw L'oreal's Smoky Pink Pastel Dye. I thought it couldn't hurt my hair more than another bleach, and I had never disliked the L'oreal dye before, so I decided to give it a try.
It didn't pink my hair, but it did tone a lot of the orange out. Manic panic on top of it, and my hair currently looks like the picture below:
The henna is a lovely peach pink color, and I'm sure if I bleached my hair one more time I could go blonde, but I think I'm happy where it's at right now.
I don't recommend treating your hair like I've treated mine. Let's be realistic: once henna's in your hair, it's not coming out. You can either cut your hair or bleach it and hope for the best. And as I've told many people, I care a lot about my hair, but in the end, it's just hair. It grows back.
PS: I highly recommend an Olaplex treatment for people who have treated their hair as badly as I've treated mine. It's pretty much the only thing that can actually restore hair strength, and many salons offer it as a treatment on its own.
I also recommend hot oil treatments for anyone who wants to soften and moisturize their hair. I use a mix of coconut oil, Jamaican black castor oil, and a few drops of lavender essential oil (for scent) in mine.
Shea Moisture products are also fantastic. My hair is quickly recovering from my abuse to it because of that and regular hot oil treatments.
Thanks for getting this far, please share and leave a comment below!
Have you done anything to henna'd hair? Are you happy with your results like me, or are you regretting it?
A Head Full of Ghosts
Everyone can agree that Merry's sister Marjorie was very disturbed, but was she suffering from schizophrenia, possessed by demons, faking for the eventual attention that her family received, or some mixture of all three?
A Head Full of Ghosts is a story told fifteen years after the events occured, by the younger sister of the girl who was deemed possessed by a priest, the man who subsequently invited a film crew into their home and lives.
The distance from the action is exacerbated by Merry's online blogger persona, analyzing the reality show that starred her family purely as a work of fiction.
It's not surprising that this book is most commonly compared to House of Leaves, which uses a simlar technique of an academic analysis of a movie to reveal what most consider the main story of the convuluted book. While I do enjoy the mixed-media, twisty-turny approach of House of Leaves, there's something to be said about the simplicity of Tremblay's novel when you compare the two.
Even though the novel is written through two frames, Merry telling her (sister's) story to a bestselling novelist intending to write a book from Merry's perspective, and the literary analysis of Merry's hyperactive online alter-ego, we're really only getting the one (admittedly dissociative) narration from Merry.
The framing of the story is what really attracted me to this book. Another book about the possession of a teenage girl by demons? Meh. A book about the writing of a book about the younger sister's perspective on the reality show that covered her sister's supposed possession? Sign me up.
This was a fast read; I finished it in a day, but it was an extremely satisfying page turner of a novel. I found it on a list of books that supposedly scared Stephen King, and though I can't say this book really scared me, I'm not going to say I'm braver than the master of horror-- I'm assuming he has an addiction to horror that leaves him as dead inside as I am and simply gave this list as books that gave him a good fix, which A Head Full of Ghosts certainly is.
Has anyone read any of the other books from the list? I'd love to see feedback about those! I'm probably going to choose another from the list the next time I need a fix.
In Louisville we have this little party to celebrate the beginning of a two-week long party to celebrate a horse race.
Most people in Louisville aren't really that excited about that horse race, though if you don't live in Louisville it's probably one of the first things you associate with our city.
What we like here in Louisville is the Derby Festival, especially Thunder Over Louisville, which is a bigger fireworks show than you've ever been to. Unless you've been to Louisville, that is.
This year, I spent my time volunteering for The Kentucky Science Center's ThunderBlast event so I could enjoy the rest of the event there after my hours were over. I was there with my sister, who used to work for the Science Center, and she babysat me and made sure everyone knew that I wasn't being lazy when I went to sit down somewhere to breathe, I was just Very Ill. Ill enough that I honestly shouldn't have been there, and certainly shouldn't have been working, but I love Thunder and I especially love not paying for a great view, so there we were.
As I write this, two days later, I have menthol burns on my tongue from cough drops and I'm still coughing up mucus that's really gross but also kinda cool in a twelve year old boy sort of way. Did I mention that besides this I require an inhaler when the pollen count gets high around here? Also that I didn't bring said inhaler along to this event?
We worked Noodle Ages, where I found my place as Ye Olde Blacksmith, repairing the cardboard and duct tape shields as fast as I could. This was an incredibly popular station, as could be easily predicted because who doesn't want to beat the crap out of their friends with noodle swords and cardboard shields?
After we were released from service by our kind Lords, we did a lot of resting.
Cause I was sick. Like, seriously.
We also stopped by 21c to see what was in the gallery right now. (For you non-Louisvillians, this is possible because Louisville has this clever thing called Museum Row. While at the Science Center, two art museums, a history museum and a museum about making baseball bats (cooler than it sounds) are all within walking distance.)
I was also fascinated by Dawn Chorus by Marcus Coates, and many other things that I didn't get pictures of. You should definitely check it out if you're in Louisville, touring the galleries is free.
So of course the culmination of the night is fireworks. I didn't take pictures with my piddly iphone because I know better, but some other people nearby were not so wise.
After the fireworks, it's time for clean up. My sister had volunteered to help, but I was far too gone at this point to do anything besides sit and cough. So while she worked, I spent some time with Neil.
Somewhere around this time I ran my hand through my hair and pulled out a piece of presumed fuzz.
Who knows how long that caterpillar had been hitching a ride on my head. I certainly wasn't sitting under a tree at the time that I found it. Little sucker was lucky I didn't accidentally squish it.
After that I went home and slept for a really long time.
And coughed. A lot.
Happy Derby Festival, everyone!
Full time Library Assistant & nerd, part time writer & blogger.