I used this for the first time about 2 weeks ago. I was very nervous about trying it and read every single review beforehand. I naturally have strawberry blonde hair that absorbs color easily. My usual experience with red hair color, even tints, is my hair taking on a shade reminiscent of Ronald McDonald's. I was annoyed to learn that it would take so long for the color to develop, but I was pretty sick on this particular day, thought I could quickly get it in my hair, wrap it up and lie down for a while. I broke off three cubes, sliced them into little bits and poured boiled water over them until I achieved a slightly runny, muddy texture that felt like it contained bits of sand (yuck). I made my mixture a little thinner in consistency than most people have mentioned so it would be easier to apply. I let the mixture sit for a while, then applied to dry hair. It took FOREVER to coat my slightly-past-my-shoulder length hair, but that wasn't the annoying part. No matter how carefully I tried to apply, little bits of it went EVERYWHERE. When I finally had my entire head covered, I had the task of cleaning my entire bathroom. It was so disgusting, tiny little bits of dry henna everywhere that would practically explode when I wiped them up. It took longer cleaning my bathroom than it did applying the product. Also, I just have to mention something else. This is totally my fault, but since everyone mentioned that it took around 3-6 hours for the color develop, I didn't even think about wearing gloves. BIG mistake! My hands were orange for days!!!
Aside from the horror of the application process, the color turned out nicely. It's much darker and brighter than I'd anticipated. It was actually the exact shade of a penny, a rich, rusty-orangey red. Some people mentioned that the full color developed over a few days, but mine was the exact opposite. It was intense at first, but it seems to fade a little every time I wash it. I can't see it lasting several months as some have mentioned. All in all, I do actually like how henna looks in my hair. It's much more natural looking than conventional hair dye and I will absolutely use it again....just not by this brand.
Click on "Continued" below to see a Before & After photo!
Here's an older pic of me to show my natural hair color:
And here's the color after I used the henna (I also had my hair cut recently):
UPDATE 4/10/09 I can't believe how many compliments I've received on my hair!! Perfect strangers stop me in the mall and comment on it. I'm definitely a convert to henna!! =)
I really love my henna. The colour suits my complexion and when I mix it with a little black henna it makes a fabulous shiny tint to a mane of lush hair!
Seriously, if you are after something that brings out your natural highlights (I have light strawberry/sandy blonde/brown hair naturally, so not overly exciting) and gives fantastic shine and a lovely scent for days, go for this product. Also it isn't a chemical dye which is an added bonus I think. It also doesn't whitewash your hair into a uniform color which some other dyes do: it brings out the natural highlights and low lights.
I'm not sure about the packaging or lack of it: I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I like the way it's solid and easy to store. I break pieces off as I need for touch ups every so often, so a block of 6 can last me several months. On the other hand, I don't like the fact that you have to grate it or let it sit for about an hour to get it to dissolve out of its solid form:-| But I've tried other hennas and I love this one because of the scent it leaves and the color seems to last longer....maybe it is letting it sit for so long and then leaving it in my hair for an hour or more. This stuff is an integral part of who I am: I've been a redhead for over a decade now and won't be turning anytime soon (see my profile pic to believe it).
This product smells yummy and conditions beautifully, hence the high rating.
However, it's a pain to grind into a fine powder, considering that most hennas in Arab/Indian/Pakistani/etc. stores are already powdered. All you need to do with the typical henna product is add hot water and some lemon. With Lush Hair Caca, it took about an hour to grind 1 and a half cubes into powder.
I left the henna in my hair overnight, for 6 hours.
The conditioning effects last for ages--I used this product LAST YEAR, and recently noticed that the hair was getting dry--so I used it last week...and it's back to being soft, shiny & glorious!
If you have dark brown hair like me, you will not experience a noticeable difference in hair colour. There IS a red tint when I go out in the sun, but that's about it. This product has actually darkened my hair to a deeper, richer brown.
According to my mother (an expert in the world of henna), with frequent applications (i.e. hours spent grinding the cubes), my hair will gradually turn that nice reddish colour I absolutely covet.
I, however, am not that patient.
I have been dying my hair for years, switching from blonde highlights about a year ago to single process light auburn. While I love the look of my red hair, I am trying to get rid of the chemical treatments before I jump on the baby train in the next few months. I am also trying to eliminate animal-tested products from my routine. Enter caca rouge.
I was incredibly nervous to try this, even after doing two strand tests with hair pulled from my brush (as suggested by a previous reviewer). Here's what I did:
1. grated two squares from the block (I have shoulder length, fine hair)
2. boiled water with a couple of splashes of coffee thrown in
3. mixed to brownie mix texture
4. smeared on the goop and left it on for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. I did not cover with saran wrap. My mixture was pretty thick (in retrospect, probably too thick) so it did not run at all.
After washing hair twice, I was left with soft and lovely medium auburn hair, with some highlights where the sun had bleached my hair at the crown throughout the summer. It is not at all bright or Lucille Ball-ish as I had feared, and in fact I will probably use less coffee next time and cling wrap my head to brighten it just a bit.
Overall a very good product that I will continue to experiment with. UPDATE: Two weeks later, and my hair has never looked shinier. The color has, as other readers noted, intensified a bit. My husband says my hair has never looked healthier or more natural. I think this one's a winner!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Caca'd again last night, and paid a bit more attention to my exact mixture. I boiled about 2 cups water with three tablespoons of prepared coffee, but I only used just over 1/2 cup for 2 blocks of henna. I left on for 3.5 hours and cling wrapped, and it looks fabulous and 100 percent natural! I also tried another reviewer's trick of hitting with a hammer rather than grating, and it worked great.
PLEASE NOTE: Several reviewers have talked (complained) about having to grate this product up before they use it. I have NEVER done this. I roughly chop it up into quarter inch thick slices with a bread knife, then pour boiling water on it, leave for a few minutes and stir. That is all. Please don't waste your time grating the stuff - it is completely unnecessary!
I have been using this product on my hair for about 5 years now. I dropped 2 stars because of the price, then gave one back because it is so much more conditioning than powdered henna. I use it every couple of months, and find that while it does fade to some extent, the repeated layers have built up what I can only describe as a patina. I love how my hair looks. A friend described it to me as a cross between a chestnut horse, and a red setter. My hair is mid back, wavy and never looks as good as the first few days after a henna treatment. The stuff is magic.
There are some great reviews on this product, which means that I don't have to repeat what they say! But I do have a few extra comments:
1 The warmer you are able to keep your head (wrap it in clingfilm then a THICK towel), the brighter your colour will be.
2 Adding lemon juice to the mix will also intensify the colour - but be aware that excess lemon juice (there is some in the product already) is not good for hair. It weakens it over time, so bear this in mind! Vinegar can be used for the same effect, but has the same consequences. If you use either, then try to wash them out very thoroughly, but the weakening process continues long after the hair is dry.
3 Henna acts as a VARNISH on the surface of the hair. It fills the cracks and under the edges of the scales of the hair shaft. This makes it very different from normal dyes which penetrate and change the colour of the actual shaft.
The result of it being a varnish are various i) it coats the hair in a conditioning protective layer, ii) if you henna your hair after a haircut, it will actually help to seal the hair ends (unlike normal hair dyes where you cut the hair AFTER dyeing), iii) after repeated hennaing (like mine), hair can actually feel a little thicker due to the build up of layers, iv) the natural colour of your hair under the henna remails unchanged. v) if you put oil on your dry hair (jojoba or extra virgin olive oil) just BEFORE you henna, you actually seal that conditioned effect under the henna, and that has got to be good, hasn't it?
4 You CANNOT dye your hair after you have used henna on it. It will go HORRIBLY wrong due to chemical nastiness. There are mythic stories flying the internet that treating hennad hair with a certain oil will remove the henna and allow you to dye safely. I have no idea if this oil exists (and would love to hear if it does!), but personally that is not a risk I am going to take. In 20 years or so, when I want my long wavy hair to go gracefully white, I will cut it short and chop all the henna out. That is better than it dissolving off my head due to chemical reactions, isn't it?
5 I use the Caca Rouge, which is the pure red one. This gives me strawberry blonde streaks where I am grey, and chestnut hair everywhere else (my natural colour is lightish red-brown). I tried using the darker Lush henna and found it had an unpleasant blue-red tone which did NOT go with my skintone (golden toned). Of course this would probably look lovely on someone with a cooler skintone. I follow the pack instructions, mix it to the constistency of a thick custard, slap it on, leave it for 1 hour, which gives me a beautiful intense warm red, rinse, shampoo, repeat, and then spend an hour cleaning the bathroom and bleaching the grout between the tiles in the shower. Grin.
And I love it!
Caca is an adventure! The long journey of henna-ing one's hair and waiting...waiting...waiting to see what color you end up with is not for the timid or faint of heart. Especially when you're dealing with some serious RED. I find it to be well-worth the trip. Here's what I do: (for the record, my hair is naturally a boring, dirty blond with some gray) I throw a few red tea bags and some lemon juice along with 3 squares of henna into a disposible plastic mxing bowl (available at Sally's Beauty supply, for example), place the mixing bowl into a cast-iron pot (holds in the heat very well) and pour boiling water over the henna/teabags/juice and then into the pot surrounding the bowl. I slap the lid on, leave it for about 10 minutes, then return to mix it up with a plastic fork (good for smashing lumps). The Caca turns into a nice, thick yougurt-y paste which I then smash onto my head while wearing disposible gloves. I saran-wrap my head and cover the wrap with a disposible shower cap and go about my business for about 4 hours. I rinse my head in the kitchen sink with that little hose-sprayer thingie until it's clear, then go upstairs, shampoo and condition and voila! gorgeous red hair that will continue to evolve over the next few days, then gradually fade to strawberry blonde. Ok, it does smell a little like wet hay, and it does linger a day or two, but regular dye STINKS, especially if there's ammonia and any regular red dye i have used fades within a week. Not this stuff, baby! Caca - for the outrageous daring redhead that lives in your soul.
ADD: I have never grated or smashed up the block prior to adding the boiling water and it has always melted just fine - just give it 10 minutes or so to soften, then use a plastic fork to mash and mix.
Oh I really hate to bring down the ratings of this wonderful product, the results are certainly excellent, however for me it just can't compare to my usual powdered henna. I'll tell you why, first off the pros of this very nice henna. It certainly does give me very soft, shiny, beautiful hair. The colour is superb, a deep auburn burgundy, and I have black hair too. I often use henna so I already had some red in it, however it's been a few months since I last used henna so the colour was getting sort of washed out, pale and rusty. However now with Lush henna I got a gorgeous auburn that is deep, fresh and vibrant and you can even see it indoors at night with artificial lights, no need for sunlight or natural light. However, I don't believe I would buy this henna again, because: 1. This henna is just too expensive, compared to my usual henna powder which is very cheap, it cost 11€ for the block of 6 portions and even so it came out to be a smaller quantity than the amount I usually use in powder for a fraction of the price of Lush's henna block, since I have long, thick wavy (almost waist-length) hair I need a lot of henna. 2. This henna with its enormous amount of cocoa butter was just so much more difficult to prepare than powder henna, I like my mixture to be thick (so it won't drip as much and for a more intense colour) so I couldn't pour in a lot of water, so I ended up with COUNTLESS INNUMERABLE lumps and clots of unmelted henna+cocoa butter, no matter how much I pounded I just couldn't get them to melt, I must have spent half the night pounding away and I still had lumps, so I had to put lumpy henna into my hair. Ugh! Pity Lush's henna had so many inconveniences, since otherwise it is such a great idea which I hope would encourage more people to try henna and give up chemicals, also it smells better than my usual henna and that big bar of chocolate-looking henna just looks good enough to eat!
I have used henna powders and Lush Caca rouge. I was sceptical about that this product would work fine becuase I have heard some had problems preparing this and working it on the hair. If you have never used henna before, you will think it is hard and time consuming because it is much harder than using a chemical haircolor. It is more messy and requires more of your time. I left mine in my hair for 3 hours. I have however found that it is worth the extra effort. My hair is more healthy, and the henna red color sticks to my hair lot better than chemical dyes. I had no problems preparing this. I just took my big kitchen knive, chopped it in pieces. Added it in a bowl and poored some boiling water on it. I never make henna straight in a casserole. Because then might burn it. You make a yogurt like pasta of it. I had no problems with product not melting. It melted just fine. I left it cooling for about an hour, but then it was a little bit too cool, I think. So shorter cooling time would have been sufficient. I had 1/3 still left from the hennawhen I had applied on my shortish hair. I wrapped a plastic film all over it, and then I used a warm fleece hat. I also did some running with my crosstrainer while I had it in my hair so that might have helped with the color cause I got pretty hot with the plastic and the fleece hat on my head. LOL. Ended up with gorgeous deep red color! My hair was red before but now it is super shiny and much deeper!
I have dark brown hair that I like to have a reddish tint to it. I have used other hennas before, of the powdered variety, so LUSH's solid block of henna was a little different.
Let me start off by saying the following:
1)Henna can not lighten your hair. Can not. Don't expect it to. It is a stain only. And quite a permanent stain at that.
2)Henna is translucent. Meaning, with my dark brown hair, I will get a reddish tint from henna, but not have flaming red hair. A blonde, however, WOULD be able to obtain a carrotty orange color.
3)Henna is messy, looks like duck poo, and smells like hay. You need gloves and plenty of time to prepare the henna, apply the henna, and clean up after the henna.
4)Henna takes DAYS for the color to oxidize and develop. So if you use Rouge Caca and only have a faint orange tint, give it a few days. It will deepen.
Okay, having given my quickie henna lecture, now I will move on to how to mix and apply.
IGNORE the directions that tell you to mix and apply it immediately. If you do that, your henna will not have time to release the dye. And you won't get much color. Instead, 12 hours before you plan to apply, crumble your Caca Rouge blocks into a glass bowl, add hot water and stir to melt. No metal utensils or metal bowls either.Once your mix is melted and the texture of cake batter, cover it with plastic wrap and walk away. 12 hours later, you should notice your henna is brown, not green. Add a little more hot water into the henna, and stir until is a yogurt consistency.
Apply generously to dry hair. I have thick hair that hits mid-back and I use the whole 6 cube block on my hair. Don't be stingy. If you make too much, you can freeze it. Your head should look like it is caked in mud if you did it right. Cover the henna mud mess in a disposable shower cap from Sally Beauty, then a Turbie twist towel on top of that. Clean the henna off your hairline and ears. The shower cap/Turbie twist combo means you can move around the house with no drips. Leave the henna on for 5-8 hours. Yes, you read that right. 6 is optimal for me, people with stubborn grays might want to go 8. Some people cover their pillows with a towel and sleep in their henna.
Fill the bathtub with water. You can hang your head over the side, or just get right in the tub(naked of course). Swish your hair around, loosening the henna mud. Wash.Rinse. Wash again.Rinse again. Deep condition, since henna acts similiar to a protein pack.
Allow a few days for your color to develop and deepen.The Caca Rouge is pretty straightforward a typical henna application. Caca Brun, Marron, and Noir all integrate indigo. I was very happy with the customer service I received from LUSH as well. Due to Fedex problems, they quickly, at no cost to me, overnighted me a replacement package. They also include samples in your order.
I really wanted to give my hair a little boost of colour, but sadly this product let me down. I followed the directions to a t, but my medium brown/auburn hair basically looks exactly the same. My friends weren't able to tell a difference. I could see slight highlights in one 1-inch strand of hair, but otherwise no difference. Weird! I really don't know what I did wrong. Any thoughts? I used 3 squares and left it in for 3 hours. I'll use the remaining squares just to use it up, but definitely won't repurchase because it's not worth the hassle & price. EDIT: I ended up throwing out the rest, because I couldn't be bothered using it up & frankly I don't think it's good enough to even give away.