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.
Okay, a lot of people are misguided when it comes to henna.
While I don't doubt that the LUSH bars work well, this is not the optimal method of henna. Why? Whilst the quality of LUSH henna is excellent, the added ingredients have the effect of "watering down" the henna, meaning you will get a less vibrant result.
I urge everyone to read this large, informative henna thread:
After learning about your other options, if you are still hellbent on trying LUSH henna, here is my advice.
I did try it despite knowing it wasn't the best kind of henna out there because:
a) My hair is dyed blue-black save for 4 inches of virgin roots...so I desired the conditioning effects more than a vibrant red colour
b) LUSH henna is far easier to locate than BAQ (Body Art Quality, which is the best kind) henna...which one generally has to order online. A simple trip to my local LUSH shop and I had my Caca Rouge.
I recommend grating the henna. Once you have mixed the water/henna mixture, it's important to keep it away from metals (pot, bowl, spoon, etc.) as it can lessen the effects.
Leave it on for at least 6 hours. Leave it on for at least 6 hours. Leave it on for at least 6 hours.
Make sure all your hair is coated evenly. It should look like a greenish paste on your head. You can kind of sculpt and conform it to your head when you're done, then wrap it up in cling wrap.
My roots took on reddish tones, almost a carroty colour in the places where my hair was lighter brown. It will get darker with increased applications.
Also...henna is a STAIN. It cannot lighten, it can only add colour to your existing hair tone.
I was pretty disppointed, I love LUSH but this didn't work for me at all, maybe like a very mild tinge. The woman in the shop said for me to leave it on for 1.5 hours which reading this board, I suspect was wrong. Anyway for the record 1.5hours does absolutely nothing. It does condition your hair, but I found it kinda greasy, not really what I like in my hair...It cost me more to do less than a box dye. I know it would've worked if I'd left it in for longer, but I don't think it's worth it seeing as a box dye will do the same in 30 minutes...
*UPDATE* left it in for 4.5 hours. still disappointing, I know it was only meant to be a red varnish/tint but the tint can only be seen in certain lights which is pathetic for 6 hours of work. i'd definitely go salon or box over this.
I've used the Rouge and Marron colors a couple of times now. I think I like Rouge a little better, but they're both ok. I've got very dark, very thick brown hair with chemical highlights and it makes my hair look shiny, and it's red in the sun (it still looks very dark in dark light, and photos, this doesn't lighten your hair at all). If you have very dark hair and want a brighter red, you have to lighten your hair with chemical dye first (better to use the low or no peroxide, no ammonia kind) and then wait a month or two to do the henna. I think this is still better than using the red chemical dye alone, at least this fixes some of the dye damage, and it's a lasting red that does not fade, the red-in-a-box always faded in 2 weeks for me, no matter what brand of dye I used.
Unlike most people, I find this very easy to mix and use, but I'm used to mixing several bottles of commercial dye from Sally and double-process, etc. However, this is so much better for the hair, my split ends have just about disappeared. I find that right after dying with henna, it can feel a little coated for a week or two, and the results adapt over that time, but later it on it looks and feels very healthy, I only have to dye every 3-4 months.
I always leave the henna in for at least 10 HOURS, the longer the better, you get better results that way. You are not going to be able to do this in an hour! I'm still experimenting with mix-ins, I've tried coffee and paprika, but I'm planning on trying merlot wine next to see if I can get a different shade of red.
I haven't tried Henna dyes before, so I can't speak to how it works compared with that type of dye in particular, but compared to chemical dyes? Hot Hair Henna *rocks*.
First off - do not expect to get cherry-red hair if your hair is dark brown. I made the mistake of chemically dying mine a super dark (almost black) brown and I hated the result. Even though the girl at Lush advised against it (becaue she didn't think I would see any result), I bought Rouge Mama. First off - 18.50 Canadian for what ended up being three uses is pretty good when compared with most boxed dyes, so I'd say it's on par with the average L'Oreal concoction on price when you consider how many times you can use it.
The first time I did this, I left it in for probably about 4-5 hours. Now my hair is naturally a medium brown, and auburn in summer, so I think the only reason that it colored over the very dark brown was because of my natural shade. The color wasn't a huge difference, but in direct sunlight it had a nice red sheen.
The second use - a month later - I left in again for about 4-5 hours. Now this isn't something that they necessarily say is a must, but I think that if you're attempting to dye darker hair, you really should consider the long haul.
This second attempt came out with a lighter, brighter red.
The final time I have pretty much auburn hair again, and you can tell it's red in dark or light areas.
I only recently realized I never fully followed the directions, but rather just stirred in the boiling water rather than then covering it and letting it sit and/or double-boiling it afterwards.
Here is why Hot Hair is great, though - yes, the conditioning properties are obviously a plus for those of us who've wrecked our hair with chemicals, but also the color really does look natural. If you're trying to color hair that's just too dark and the dye won't take, chances are it just won't look that good on your skin tone, either.
I saw a woman recently who had dyed over strawberry-blonde hair with it, and had gotten a really gorgeous, vibrant carroty-rouge color that looked completely natural.
So that's my big prop for Hot Hair Henna - it's the foolproof red that is subtle or vibrant, depending on what your skin can handle.