CaresforHairs Life's too short for bad hair! Tue, 05 May 2015 13:22:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Henna and other plant dyes, get some color! Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:30:14 +0000 Henna is a great natural dye and is also probably the most famous plant dye out there. There are however many plant dyes out there as well!

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Get some color!

Henna is a great natural dye and is also probably the most famous plant dye out there. There are however many other plant dyes out there as well! Combining these with henna gives you a wide variety of colors you can experiment with yourself.

Henna contains lawsone which can bind to the keratin molecule. By pulverizing or acidifying the leaves of henna, this molecule is released. Applying it to your hair results in a nice reddish stain. But what about other colors? Well despite what you might have heard, it is not possible to get other colors with henna! Wait a minute, you say, I’ve seen things like black henna and blonde henna? Well, hate to break it to you, but that’s not ‘real henna’. They probably contain henna, but also other chemicals or other plant dyes. In the following paragraph you can see which plant dyes you need for your ultimate color! Just remember, much depends on your base color, so check out our color chart as well.

Red/Brown Plant Dyes

  • Brown Plant DyesHenna (Lawsonia inermis) is probably the most famous and popular natural hair dye out there. Not only does it dye your hair but it has a lot of other benefits as well! Henna can be combined with other colors and is often used as the primary binding agent to your hair, due to the presence of lawsone.
  • Walnut (Juglans regia) has a hard outer shell which gives a particularly strong dark brown color. Crushing the walnut shells and then immersing them in boiling water for about half an hour to release the dye. Now let the liquid cool and let it soak in into a cotton ball to make it easy to apply it to your hair. Or even better, add it to your paste, making your own color! Make sure you cover up everything you don’t want stained, cause trust me, this one stains a lot! Gloves and old towels will come in handy. Also, as always, try to avoid (too) hot water, since this will reduce the dye effect because this dye stains less deep than henna. Of course, if you have a nut allergy, stay clear of this!
  • Catechu (Acacia catechu) is the dark brown variant of the Catechu (the other one, Ourouparia gambia, is a yellow dye). This dye is actually tannin dyes, but is often added to henna to create variations on the standard henna color, achieving brown and dark brown shades.

Blonde/Yellow Plant Dyes

  • Blonde Plant DyesCassia obovata, also known as neutral henna, looks a lot like henna powder, but generally does not stain. That makes it a perfect conditioner for your hair, resulting in thicker and shinier hair while also improving the health of your scalp!
  • Catechu (Ourouparia gambir) is the yellow variant of the Catechu (remember the dark brown variant, Acacia catechu, from above?). This dye is a tannin dye as well, and can be used to achieve lighter, blonde-like variations.
  • Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is another dye that can be used to create blonde hair dyes. You might know this herb from your spice rack since this is often used in cookery to flavor aperitiv beverages or to color foods such as butter, rice, sauces, cheese and soups!
  • Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), although not very effective, can be used to accomplish blonder dye colors. Also, as you might remember from a previous post, can chamomile tea be used to bring out highlights in your hair, effectively giving you a lighter look!
  • Rhubarb Root (Rheum rhapoticum) can be used to create blonder tones, although it’s not often used!

Blue Plant Dyes (often very dark so it looks black)

  • Black Plant DyesIndigo (Indigofera tinctoria) produces a dark violet blue dye and is probably the most popular one amongst the non-henna plant dyes. It is even used to dye jeans blue! When mixed with henna, you can get a hair color varying from brown to pitch black, all depending on the ratio of henna and indigo.
  • Woad (Isatis tinctoria) is also a plant that has a blue dye. Although it does not create the vivid blue-black as indigo does, woad is more dye-fast in the hair.

Black Plant Dyes

  • Vashma is actually partially fermented indigo from the “real” indigo leaves, Indigofera tinctoria. Indigo can be acquired from other plants such as Baphicacanthus cusia or Persicaria tinctoria, but these contain much less dye compared to the true indigo plant!
  • Karchak (castor bean) comes from the castor oil plant and has also been used for textile dyeing and making printing inks.

Other plant dyes you should try

Amla is another great plant dye. It does not actually dye your hair, but it is able to tone down the red or brown color of the henna-indigo combination. It’s also great in adding some natural shine to your hair. If you add amla to your henna mixture, remember to add it last into the paste! Amla also works great to get rid of dandruff or reducing hair loss.

Great combinations

In case you are not really someone fond of experimenting until you get the dye you like best, you can always get a pre-mixed package. Be sure to check the list of ingredients to ensure you’re not buying something containing metallic salts or other nasty chemicals but something purely consisting out of natural plant dyes!

However, if you still want to have full control over the ingredients, but do not want to go through a trial and error process, the list of ‘golden combinations’ below is for you! That way you are sure that the particular combination of ingredients gives you the color you want. The intensity will still depend on the ratios you use, allowing you to achieve different shades for each color! Keep in mind that these colors can also be achieved with combinations from other plant dyes, so don’t be scared to experiment on some hair strands from your brush if you have a bit left over!


  • Natural red hair: henna
  • Brown hair: henna and woad
  • Dark, warm brown hair: karchak and vashma
  • Golden hair: henna and saffron
  • Black hair: karchak, vashma and indigo

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Remove henna from hair, your options! Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:48:14 +0000 You have tried henna and are not pleased with the results. Don't worry, in this post I collected the options you have to get the best possible result!

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Uh oh… You have tried henna and are not pleased with the results. It can happen. And now you want it gone. You have probably already read everywhere that henna is a permanent dye, that you should have done a strand test, and more. That’s all great advice, but not really helpful now, right? Don’t worry, in this post I collected the options you have and described them in the best possible way to give you the best possible tips to get the best possible result!

To dye or not to dye?

Remove henna from hair

There are quite some options to remove henna from hair!

The main reason why people do not recommend you doing this is because they do not know what the result will be. Chemicals can interact with the henna in your hair, which might result in even stranger colors or even worse: unrepairable damage. Nobody wants to have that on their conscious.

Now several things need to be taken into account. Dyeing on hair treated with PURE henna is possible but the dye will behave differently on the henna-dyed hair. Usually this will result in a darker color then expected, because henna does not lift easily. The chemical dye will also fade faster than usual since henna-treatments will make your hair less porous, meaning the chemical dyes won’t attach as well resulting in a faster wash out. So if you want to dye your hair and you have used pure henna, go for a darker chemical dye! Lighter dyes require heavy bleaching to lift the henna which will result in your hair being unable to hold the chemical dye as well (plus heavy damage to your hair!). Remember, like always, do a strand test first!

If you have used “compound henna“, henna mixed with other stuff, things get a bit trickier. Everything discussed above still applies, but there are a few extra thing to be taken into account. All that is not pure henna is called compound henna. This other stuff can be “good”, like other plant dyes such as indigo and amla, or “bad”, like metallic salts. If you are in the second category, do NOT use dye or bleach. Seriously! This can damage your hair, scalp, health and more. Also stop using that kind of henna, since you are going to regret it eventually. If you are in the first category, mixing henna with plant dyes, you can dye your hair without worrying too much as long as you don’t use bleach. If you have been using indigo (or a lot of buxus) the peroxides in bleach will remove most of the plant dyes, except for indigo, leaving you with a greenish tint. Going darker than the color you have now is again the way to go.

Remove henna from hair naturally


Always go for the natural options first!

Now, truly removing henna is a near-impossible job. Let’s get that straight. Henna binds to your hair. This is why they call it a permanent dye. What you CAN do however, is fade the henna! The best way to try accomplishing this is by combining certain heavy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. Also argan oil can be added to this mixture. Make sure you have enough to cover all of your hair and apply the mixture starting from the roots working towards the ends. Tie up a towel around your head and leave the oil in it for the night (up to 12 hours). In the morning, shampoo the oil out. It’s best to first apply the shampoo before wetting the hair, since oil and water don’t mix that well. After that rinse it out and shampoo one more time.

Although this process will fade the henna, you might need multiple reapplications in order to achieve the desired effect, so don’t get discouraged! The rate of effect will depend on how old the henna in your hair is, what hair type you have and what color your original color is.

Remove henna from hair less naturally

Another oil you could give a shot is mineral oil, which is a by product of petroleum. This might be able to lift the henna enough for the hair, so that you can use a chemical dye to achieve the color you want. Keep in mind that this could be a damaging process and should thus not be your first choice!

Step 1: First saturate the hair with a mixture of 70% alcohol. Try to avoid touching the scalp and use sterile cotton balls to apply the alcohol.

Step 2: After about 5-10 minutes apply the mineral oil on top of the alcohol, while avoiding the scalp area.

Step 3: Use some clingfilm to cover your hair (or a shower cap if you ran out of clingfilm)

Step 4: Use a blowdryer for about 30 to 45 minutes to heat the hair up. Keep in mind that heating the hair is actually never a good thing to do since it will remove the essential oils from your hair. In this case however, you are trying to lift the henna from the hair, meaning that is a side-effect you have to deal with.

Step 5: Again, for the same reason as above, apply the shampoo first before using any water! Rinse out and shampoo again until all the oil (and hopefully henna) has come out.

Step 6: Since this procedure will seriously dry your hair out, be sure to do a few deep conditioning treatments to restore the hair’s moisture balance. Also an extra moisturizer wouldn’t harm!


If all else fails, visit your hair specialist!

You expected more fading? There are still several things you can try to speed up this process as well. Our recent posts on lightening your natural hair might work very well for fading henna as well. Take a look at this four part series and use a combination of these methods (sun, honey, tea and lemon) to achieve an even better result. Also some people achieve good effects using color removers such as ColorOops or Color B4. Keep in mind that these are not natural products! If all of this still not helps you achieving the desired faded color, a final thing you could try is teeth-whitening toothpaste. Yes, teeth-whitening toothpaste.


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Lightening your hair part 4 – Buying a lemon Tue, 10 Mar 2015 14:12:14 +0000 Did you know you could lighten your hair using lemon juice? Well, you do know. In this post I show you exactly how (and why) you should give it a try!

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In part three I’ve showed you how to dye your hair naturally by making a nice cup of tea for it. Now in this final part, I will show you how you can use the magic of a lemon to do a similar thing! Never will the saying ‘buying a lemon’ have the same meaning!

Lemon anyone?

A good diet will not only improve your skin, but will also have many beneficial effects on your hair! If you want to get a healthy mane, you need to eat healthy food. Makes sense right?

It has long been known that you need to include fresh plant food in diets to prevent disease. Vitamin C, being an antioxidant, plays an important role in this!Certain foods contain much more vitamin C compared to others. Sailors, for example, stashed a substantial amount of citrus fruits (which are rich in vitamin C!) in order to prevent scurvy. This was back then one of the leading causes of death among men who lived on the sea. Nowadays, vitamin C might well be the most familiar of all nutrients and its widespread use as a dietary supplement. It is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in our body. Furthermore, since vitamin C can’t be stored in tissue it needs to be consumed on a regular basis!

Citrus Fruit

Sailors stashed citrus fruits to prevent scurvy on long trips on the sea!


Benefits of vitamin C for your hair

Also for your hair, vitamin C is a vital factor. In order to make collagen, which plays a major role in hair growth, the body needs vitamin C. Not only that, collagen helps to support your tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and keeps your skin and organs together! Yikes! No wonder that collagen pills sell like sweet candy! Here are just a few of the benefits vitamin C can offer to your hair:


Hair growth:

Yep, let that sink in. A number of hair related problems resulting in less hair growth find their origins in a low intake of vitamin C. Deficiencies in vitamin C even result in dryer hair and split ends. Not what you want when you want to grow your hair right?

Main reason for this is that our body forms free radicals when our food is converted to energy. These free radicals can be pretty damaging (not only to your hair!), leaving your hair brittle, weak and thin. Like I said earlier, vitamin C is an antioxidant and is capable of reducing the formation of these free radicals thereby minimizing their effects! Keep this in mind when you’re chewing on a sour lemon: you want healthy, thick and strong hair, right?


Dandruff and flaky skin can damage the hair follicles by clogging them up. Vitamin C is a natural anti-viral agent, combatting bacteria and warding off dandruff! No more itchy or dry scalps!

Reduces hair loss:

Vitamin C has an important role in stopping hair loss by reversing something called adrenal gland fatigue. This gland is key in regulating the hormonal balance and our favorite vitamin is thus a crucial factor in maintaining this balance!

Prevents graying of the hair:

Not only hair loss, but also premature aging of the hair is something that can be reduced with healthy dosages of vitamin C.

Results in thicker hair:

Because vitamin C improves the blood circulation and repairs and strengthens the capillaries as well, a well-maintained supply of vitamin C in your body will result in stronger and thicker hair.

Why lighten your hair using lemon?

Basically, lemon is a great natural bleaching agent. It is able to bleach your hair ever so slightly to keep it looking totally natural. Whether you’re just looking for some highlights while you’re hanging out in the sun, or want to lighten your overall color, lemon is a great, easy and completely natural way. And to top it all off: it’s cheap!

But doesn’t bleach damage your hair, you say? You are completely right! Every bleaching agent in fact damages your hair. Lemon however is a natural bleaching agent, meaning damage will be minimal compared to the high concentrations in chemical bleaching agents.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a great drink, but did you know you could also lighten your hair using lemon juice?


How to lighten your hair using lemon?

Step 1: Get a lemon. In case you have really long hair you might want to go with two lemons, however one should be fine for most hair lengths!

Step 2: Cut it in half. If you are only looking to do some highlights use the half cut lemon and rub it on the crown area of your hair. Try to get as much lemon juice out of it as you can and you can skip to step 4! If however you are looking to achieve a more overall lighter color, squeeze the juice out and into a cup, then proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Get a hairbrush and dip it into the lemon juice. Now apply it to your hair as evenly as possible so that your hair is soaked with lemon juice.

Step 4: Remember part one of this series? Get out in the sun! This will activate the lemon juice, resulting in a better effect. The longer you stay in the sun, the lighter it will get. After 20 minutes you should be able to tell the difference, however I do suggest to try to experiment a bit with this yourself.

Some final words!

There you have it! Four great ways to bring out the highlights in your hair in a completely natural (and cheap!!!) way. I hope you enjoyed this series and are ready for the summer! Final words would not be final if there were not a few tips tucked away in it so here you go:

  • Although I am a fan of completely natural products, you could also use vitamin C tablets to achieve similar results!
  • If you have dyed your hair and it turned out a bit too dark, lemon juice (or vitamin C tablets) are a great option to take care of this!
  • Some people have a few unwanted (often darker) colors in their natural hair. By applying lemon juice to those areas you can reduce this effect!

Let me know what you think and don’t forget to show me some results!


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Lightening your hair part 3 – A hot drink, anyone? Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:16:42 +0000 Lightening hair with chamomile tea (and others!) might be the best method to achieve natural highlights. In this post you learn how to do it yourself!

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In the previous post I introduced you to a completely natural way of making your hair lighter for the upcoming summer months. A few posts ago, I showed you a completely free way of lightening your hair as well! So what else can there still be that could possibly top that? Well, take a seat and make yourself a cup of tea!

A cup of chamomile tea?

Yes, just like me, your hair probably likes a cup of tea from time to time! And you know what? Tea is also a great lightening agent! Especially chamomile tea has a number of different properties that will not only lighten your hair but will also keep it sleek and healthy. Not only is tea great for your hair, but it has a number of other healthy side-effects, almost forcing you to use it!

Step 1: You will have to leave the bag in your boiling water a
while longer (for about 10 – 30 minutes) as you would normally drink your tea. Unless you like it bitter. If you want even stronger tea, keep the pot on a medium heat while the tea is brewing. That way even more of the tea will get into your water.

Step 2: When the tea is cooled down – boiling water on your hair is not a good idea in case you wonder – spray it on your hair with a regular spraying bottle and let it soak in for about 30 minutes.

Step 3: Repeat this for 2 or 3 times to get a better lightening effect.

Step 4: After you’re all done shampoo your hair and rinse out and enjoy a lighter hair color!

Lightening hair with chamomile tea

Lightening hair with chamomile tea is a cheap and healthy way of achieving highlights!

Into the wild

No, I’m not talking about the book or the movie. I’m still talking about tea. The shops are closed and you ran out of tea! It can happen to the best of us… However, tea is basically just dried flowers! So your best option might be to do some forest-hunting (or buy it in advance if you feel less adventures) and get those flowers yourself! Keep an eye out for chamomile flowers, but also marigolds. Similarly to chamomile flowers, marigolds can give you the golden highlights you’ve always dreamed of. A bit more work, but a lot more satisfaction!


Step 1: Put 1 cup of water, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar, and some dried marigold flowers in a pot and bring it to a boil.

Step 2: Strain out the flowers and let the liquid cool completely.

Step 3: Put it into a spray bottle, spritz it on dry hair and massage it into the scalp

Step 4: Let the hair air-dry.

Marigold flowers can lighten your hair too

Except for chamomile flowers, marigold flowers can also lighten your hair!

Tea Tips

  • Experiment with longer soaking times to achieve a better effect, one step at a time!
  • Lightening hair with chamomile tea is a great method to achieve some highlights in your hair, but you can also use other teas for other effects! Use for example red tea to bring out red highlights. You can use a variety of red teas such as raspberry, pomegranate, blackberry, … Make sure you use enough teabags so that the tea is nicely red. You can use the same application method as the one you use for your chamomille tea. Experiment with the soaking times (minimum = 30 minutes) and the number of applications to achieve the effect that you want.
  • No chamomile tea? Black tea is also capable of making your hair lighter! Black tea contains tannic acid which is also capable of bringing out the highlights in your hair over time. The amounts of tannic acid (which is a flavoring agent) that are found in food, are perfectly safe to be used on hair or skin. Larger amounts however can cause stomach irritation, nausea and vomiting. So stick to the tea!
  • Coffee is also a great option to bring out natural highlights if you have brown hair. True, it won’t make your hair lighter, but see it as a little extra. Just make a pot of really strong coffee and let it cool down completely. Pour the coffee in the spray bottle and spritzle it all over your hair. Is the sun shining as well? Head on out then for an even better effect.
  • Always remember you can add your favorite ingredients to all of these natural products! Add some honey, or some of your preferred natural shampoo or conditioner, and enjoy the awesome result! Remember to shake, shake, shake!

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Lightening your hair part 2 – Sweetening it up! Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:38:55 +0000 There are a variety of chemical lighteners, but the number of harsher side-effects might tell you to stay clear of them. However, with honey you can lighten your hair naturally and cheaper!

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In the last post we introduced you to a completely free way of lightening your hair naturally: by using the sun and the sea (or swimming pool). However, there were a few downsides with these methods… No worries, there are a number of even better methods for lightening your hair in a cheap but very effective way that will be shown throughout this series of posts. Let’s get started with something sweet, honey!

Sweet as honey

Did you know that a lot of chemical lighteners are actually based on many of the products you already have in your kitchen closet? Raw honey is probably one of them! Honey is a great natural ingredient that not only nourishes and moisturizes your hair, but can also function as a natural lightener! This sweet substance is capable of producing small amounts of hydrogen peroxide (by an enzyme called glucose oxidase), what you might recognize from your regular bleaching product. It should thus not come as a surprise that honey can actually make your hair lighter. Since hydrogen peroxide is antibacterial, honey is also often used for cleaning wounds! All in all, it is a great product to be used on your hair and skin. One of the easiest way to apply it to your hair is by making a honey mask. And that is exactly what this post is all about!

Honey Hair Lightening Mask

When you’re not really fond of experimenting with dosages and prefer some sort of a cooking manual you should give the following recipe a try. Keep in mind that this is not a fixed set of ingredients! You can add as much as you want to it and modify it in any extent. See it as the ideal step to get started in the DIY business of lightening your hair naturally! Here’s what you need (click the link to see which product it is on Amazon):

Step 1: Mix it all up! Raw honey is often a bit stiff and therefore it might be a good idea to add a bit of water to it. This will make it a bit looser and therefore easier to spread later on. Minerals in tap water or bottled water however, might interfere with the hydrogen peroxide, thereby reducing its effect! Distilled water does not have this problem. So if you want to go all-out, use some distilled water since this will make your homemade honey hair lightener the most potent.  For every unit of honey, add about 4 units of water. Leave the entire mixture for about an hour at room temperature. This will give the honey ample time to reduce the peroxides.

Step 2: Apply it to your damp hair and massage it well in with your fingers. Make sure your hair is completely covered! Don’t miss a spot!

Step 3: Now cover it up with a plastic shower cap. If your hair is really long, twist it up before putting the shower cap on. There is no need to be adding heat with a blowdryer, since honey works well enough on room temperature!

Step 4: Rinse the honey out after about 30 to 40 minutes with water (and maybe a bit of shampoo if it stays sticky). Dry it with a towel and enjoy the result!

Honey Tips

After a first treatment, the lightening effect might be very subtle. If you don’t find the effect noticeable enough, do not be afraid to reapply! Honey is a natural product (you normally eat), meaning you’re not dealing with large amounts of dangerous chemicals! If you want, you can leave it in for longer than 40 minutes, but this depends on the color of your hair and how much of the lightening effect you actually want. Some people achieve their desired effect by leaving it in overnight!

By the way, this honey masks also functions as a great deep conditioner that nourishes your hair. If you really want to go for it, combining it with other natural parts such as other oils or a mashed banana can be a great addition to your hair care routine! One thing I can tell you, it smells great!

Cardamom is always a great addition to you honey hair lightener because they boost the lightening effect. If you want a more reddish hue as a result, add some henna hair powder to your mixture.

Sweet laziness

If all of that is too much work for you, no worries! Honey can be used together with a variety of products so you can still benefit from it. One option is to add some of it to your regular conditioner! Shake the bottle well in order to combine everything and use it after you’re done shampooing! Remember to let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to let the honey actually do its magic. If your hair feels a bit sticky you might have used too much honey. A good way to prevent this is to keep your empty conditioner bottles and fill them with part conditioner and part honey. That way you have more control over the concentrations and can adjust accordingly!

And if even that is too much trouble for you, there are also a variety of products available using honey as a base. One of my personal favorites is this honey hair mask!

Stay tuned for part 3!

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Lightening your hair part 1 – Get busy! Tue, 10 Feb 2015 20:01:56 +0000 There are a variety of chemical lighteners, but the number of harsher side-effects might tell you to stay clear of them. However, not to worry, there are a variety of completely natural things you can try that work just as well or even better!

The post Lightening your hair part 1 – Get busy! appeared first on CaresforHairs.

Spring is coming soon, meaning winter will soon be forgotten. A lot of people would like to have some lighter hair when that time is finally here. A lighter look often looks nicer in the warmer months, but unfortunately not everyone is gifted with such a nice set of highlights. There are a variety of chemical lighteners, but the number of harsher side-effects might tell you to stay clear of them. However, not to worry, there are a variety of completely natural things you can try that work just as well or even better! Often, these natural varieties are also less expensive than buying products from stores and you can also do it more often than once since it’s completely chemical free! In the first post of this series you don’t even need to bring out your wallet!

The good old sun!

Head outdoors and do stuff! That way you are not only being active, but the rays of the sun will actually have a natural bleaching effect on you hair! It seems weird that the sun bleaches your hair, but darkens your skin, doesn’t it? This is mostly because your hair is actually dead, and your skin is alive. The sun destroys the melanin in your hair, resulting in a lighter color. Because your hair is “dead”, that color will stay until new hair comes in! Blond hair for example, is actually hair with already very little melanin in it! When the sun is shining on your skin, melanin is destroyed as well. But your skin, being “alive” can respond to the damage caused by the sun resulting in more melanin, thereby giving your skin a darker tint.

Not only will you be improving your cardio, you’ll actually be working on your hair highlights as well. Even more important, it works on all hairtypes!  You could start for example by letting your hair dry outside, blowdryers are no good anyway!

So wait for a sunny day, head outside and let the sun do its magic. Right? Well… The sun is not exactly all do-good… First of all, remember to wear sunscreen (natural of course!) to prevent sunburn. Secondly, other proteins in your hair are being attacked by the sun as well, which could result in tangling that is not repairable! For that reason, use the sun with moderation!

Taking a splash

Another great thing you can do is swimming. The ocean contains salt which is a natural lightener and a swimming pool contains chlorine which also has a lightening effect on your hair. True, chlorine is not natural, but hey, if you like swimming, it’s nice to know that your hair is getting lighter as well! So head on out there and take a dive in your local swimming pool, bay, river or ocean!

surfer hair

Surfer Hair

But again, moderation is the keyword here! Remember how puffy your hair looks when you come out of the sea? Salt can dry out your hair, which is probably not the effect you’re looking for. That’s why you should use the right moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners! A while ago, that puffy, bleached hair, caused by exposure to sun and salt, was actually quite popular and was termed “surfer hair“!

Chlorine on the other hand forms certain chemical reactions with your hair, actually changing the chemical composition in your hair. The reaction of chlorine with the melanin pigments results in changing your hair color to a lighter version of it. However, chlorine also removes natural oils covering your hair, that might result in a loss of hair shine and flexibility as well as making them more susceptible to mechanical damage. Furthermore the reaction of chlorine with keratin creates water-soluble chemicals, weakening the chemical bonds between the fibres forming the hair shaft. Chlorine can also separate the hair fibres thereby disrupting the structure of the hair shaft. This then results in a split end. Even the hair cuticle is not safe from chlorine. This is the outer layer of the hair containing very hard, dead cells. Chlorine however can get between the scales and push them up, making them rough and prone to damage or breakage. This also makes the cuticles reflect light poorly thereby making your hair dull, dry and feeling rough to the touch. But don’t think of all this when you’re swimming! Take care of your hair and don’t overdo!

Stay tuned for the next post on making your hair lighter, the all-natural way!


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6 reasons to try henna hair dyes Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:07:19 +0000 Ever wondered why people even start with henna hair dyeing? In this post you'll find 6 reasons to try henna hair dye that make sure you won't regret it!

The post 6 reasons to try henna hair dyes appeared first on CaresforHairs.

There are so many reasons why people like to dye their hair. Some like to get rid of those grays that start to sprout, others just want a new start – and their hair is part of that – and still others are just not pleased with their own color. Trust me, I know!

A natural way of dyeing your hair is using henna. Already since ancient times, this plant has been used as a hair dye. Through the years, the process of applying it has been wonderfully optimized. Although there are plenty of tips available online, it is still a messy process, and can be quite confusing to start with (check out our recent application method for beginners!).

“These reasons to try henna hair dyes will make you wonder why you haven’t tried it before!”

But with so many non-natural hair dyes available, why should you even consider going through the trouble of dyeing your hair with henna if you could just slap on a chemical dye and be done with it? And I bet you all heard about the “awful” things of henna, like  “it smells bad” or “it’s sooooo hard to remove”… That probably makes you wonder why people even start using it. Well, in this post you’ll get 6 reasons to try henna hair dyes, making you wonder why you haven’t done it before!

Reason 1 – Chemical-free

Yes, this is a big thing and a definitive number one of the reasons to try henna hair dyes. More and more research is pointing towards the dangers of several chemicals used in hair dyes and their possible carcinogenic effects. Natural henna however, is a completely chemical-free natural alternative. Be careful though! Some shady retailers do add certain chemicals to their henna dye, defeating the actual purpose! Although henna is naturally red, you can achieve other colors by mixing it with other plant dyes, all the chemical-free way! How about that for a reason?

Reason 2 – Maintains natural balance

In contrast to chemical dyes, henna helps to maintain the natural acid-alkaline balance on your scalp, thereby cleansing it of dirt without altering your natural balance. By doing so, you can rest assure that you’re not damaging your precious hair or scalp.

Reason 3 – Natural conditioner

You read that right. Henna is a great natural conditioner! It adds wonderful shine and volume, resulting in silky soft and strong hair. Furthermore, since it actually stains the hair – it does not penetrate it – it forms a small layer of protection around it, shielding the hair from a number of environmental effects. Mixing it with other products such as yoghurt or olive oil will result in possibly the best DIY natural conditioner you could get!

Reason 4 – Treats dandruff

If you have a bad case of dandruff, henna might be an even better option for you. Henna contains a number of properties that are very effective to ward off any bacteria or germs. Even some anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients from henna in order to treat dandruff. By adding other natural ingredients, such as lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or tea tree essential oil, you can even improve the treatment further.

Reason 5 – Promotes hair growth

If your hair is healthy and well maintained, hair growth is a logical consequence. Henna, with its balance-maintaining, anti-dandruff and conditioning effects, keeps your hair in an optimal state, promoting hair growth altogether. Additionally, because it makes your hair stronger, you will also start to find less hair in your brush. In fact, people suffering from acute hair loss often use henna to reduce the loss naturally.

Reason 6 – Natural color

And a really nice finisher to these reasons to try henna hair dyes: Henna hair dye is a transparent dye. This means that your original color will be maintained and receives an extra shade, resulting in a very natural looking color. This makes it the perfect – if not the best – option for getting rid of grey hairs. This also means that henna cannot dye your hair lighter! People with black hair will thus receive all the advantages displayed above, but will not achieve a lighter color… However! When sunlight hits black hair, colored with pure henna, it will give the most mysterious looking dark red shine, which is a true sight for sore eyes.

Completely convinced with these 6 reasons to try henna hair dyes? Or need a bit more info? Let us know what made you a convert and spread the word to make this world a better place (for hair)!


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Find out your hair type – an infographic! Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:26:00 +0000 With so many different people, you get a lot of different hair types, which can be confusing. That’s why in this post you’ll find an infographic with tips and tricks that will help you to find out your hair type!

The post Find out your hair type – an infographic! appeared first on CaresforHairs.

With so many different people, you get a lot of different hair types. That can make it hard to get the right product for your specific type of hair. Knowing how to find out your hair type can help you tremendously in your quest to wonderful hair! That’s why we made the infographic below, including tips and tricks that will help you to find out your hair type! But first a word of info!

Patterns and more…

As you probably know, your hair has a specific pattern. Hair patterns in general can be divided in four major groups. It can be straight, wavy, curly or coily. Within these major groups, other subtypes exist (to make it more complex). These subtypes describe your hair more specifically and actually form a low, medium and high category. It can be hard to know which subtype you exactly are, since some of them are quite alike. Therefore it is best to take a look at some pictures of a specific hair pattern to compare it to yours.

Except for the pattern your hair has, also the porosity of your hair plays a major role. Porosity determines how well your hair can absorb and hold moisture. This tells you how easily the flexible outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, lets moisture and oils pass in and out of your hair. Porosity is mostly determined by genetics, although chemical processing and extensive use of heat treatments can certainly affect it!

The width of your hair varies from person to person and tells you how thick your individual hair strands actually are. This is a genetic factor, but can hugely determine the strength of your hair. Therefore this can be an important factor in determining how long you can have your hair.

Also the density of your hair is a very personal characteristic of your hair. This tells you how closely (dense) your hair strands are placed together on your scalp. Although this factor is determined by genetics, the porosity, width and pattern can have an influence on it!

Find out your hair type!

And here you get it! By the way, by clicking on the infographic on the “product of choice”-buttons or the bottles, you can see my recommendation (how about that for useful). Hope this helps you to find out your hair type! Let me know what you think of it!



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P-Phenylenediamine and the “dangers” of henna Sun, 18 Jan 2015 09:56:58 +0000 Henna is safe right? No? PPD or p-phenylenediamine is the little devil some shady sellers put in our beloved henna!

The post P-Phenylenediamine and the “dangers” of henna appeared first on CaresforHairs.

Danger, Danger!


Whoa! Wait a minute! You’re telling everyone henna’s safe and then all of a sudden there’s a post on the dangers of it? Yes and no. Henna, as I talked about in earlier posts is perfectly safe, no question about it. What I’m talking about now is something else called ‘black henna’ (and now I’m not talking about the indigo-variant). Some sellers experiment with henna by adding chemicals too it, in an effort to quickly make jet black temporary body art and calling it black henna. One of those chemicals is p-phenylenediamine, or PPD! The downside of this little devil is that it can also cause severe allergic reactions, blisters, intense itching, permanent scarring and permanent chemical sensitivities, such as against coal tar derivatives. In between 3 to 15% of people have these allergic reactions, so it’s pretty much a no go. A lot of people, however only find that out when it’s too late. Since p-Phenylenediamine is also often used in permanent hair dyes, now is a better time than ever to switch to henna! Let’s keep in mind that henna does not cause these adverse reactions, it is the PPD that does!

There are also other forms of so called ‘black henna’ made with gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner, benzene and lighter fluid. Just to give you an idea what kind of nasty stuff they’re trying to mix in it. These substances have even been linked to adult leukemia, so stay away from it! There is no such thing as ‘black henna’ for body art!

Other places you can find p-Phenylenediamine

At work, PPD can be found in:

  • Printing inks
  • Photographic developers
  • Dyes and coloring agents for textiles, furs and other products
  • Permanent and some semipermanent hair dyes
  • Black rubber products and equipment parts

At home, you could find PPD in:

  • Printing inks
  • Permanent and some semipermanent hair coloring products
  • Textile and fur dyes
  • Coloring agents for facial hair

How to avoid p-Phenylenediamine?

Since p-Phenylenediamine can be found in a lot of products it can be quite tough to deal with an allergy to it. I thought it’d be best to give you some tips on how to avoid it all together.

  • The first one is obvious: only use products without PPD or related chemicals! If no information is given (I would already find that very suspicious), speak to your local pharmacist or doctor.
  • Tell everyone that needs to do something or prepare something for you (hairdresser, physician, pharmacist, dentist, beautician, veterinarian, …) that you’re allergic to PPD and should take this into account.
  • If you still want to use chemical dyes, test them on a small patch of skin first, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Being PPD-allergic means that you could also react to certain textile dyes. Therefore ask your physician which clothes, fabrics and furs you should avoid.
  • If for some reason you have got to come into contact with PPD, use protective gloves, preferably disposable gloves made of natural or synthetic rubber or vinyl.
  • Speak to your employer if you come into contact with PPD at your work. If this is indeed the case, ask if it’s possible to use another product or consider wearing gloves.

Last word of advice

If you’ve come into contact with p-Phenylenediamine and start to notice any swelling, itchiness, redness, blistering or abnormal reaction, immediately contact your physician to get proper treatment! So keep in mind that Henna is a healthy way to color hair, as long as no metallic salts are used!


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How to dye your hair with henna Sat, 10 Jan 2015 17:06:41 +0000 Wondering how to dye your hair with henna? Everything you need to know to make it through your first henna hair dye session safe and sound, all in one post!

The post How to dye your hair with henna appeared first on CaresforHairs.

After the last post showing an infographic on henna hair dyeing, I probably got you all fired up! Now the next step is, how do I actually get to it? Well, as you probably know by now, dyeing your hair with henna is different from dyeing your hair with a chemical dye. Henna does not damage your hair and has a conditioning effect on it. So how do you do it? Well that’s where this post is for! After this, you too will know how to dye your hair with henna!

First things first

Because henna actually doesn’t dye your hair but stains it by binding with the keratin in your hair, it is a safe alternative to other forms of dyeing. This binding results in a transparant color, not changing the color of your hair, but just coating it with an extra layer of color. It is for this reason that black hair cannot color lighter. It can have a reddish shine, because of the coating, which comes truly forward in sunlight. A lovely effect! Blond or gray hair will become brilliantly orange while brown hair will more go to the auburn side. You can find your color and figure out to how it will look with different kind of organic dyes by taking a look at our color chart!

There are several methods to dye your hair with henna, and it even kind of depends on the color your hair has. You need to find your own personal method that works best for you (and then share it here, so other people with your color and hair can benefit from it!). But don’t worry, there are quite a few guidelines that can ensure you end up with not only the result you want, but also the method that works best for you.

First of all a few rules of thumb:

  • Use gloves when working with henna
  • Cover surfaces that can’t stain
  • Use towels that can get dirty
  • Pluck hair out your hairbrush to have some strands to test on before applying it to your hair! Mix a small amount of the product and apply it to a strand of hair. Wait for the appropriate transition period (like indicated on the package) to see the best results.
  • If you’re unsure about the quality of the henna, do a skin test first. Use a ‘safe’ spot on your skin, like your forearm, and apply some of the mixed paste to the skin. If, after about ten minutes, any form of skin irritation occurs, do not continue with the dye and look for other higher quality, or better branded, henna.

Too little or too much?

Some people have long hair, others have short hair. Some have thin hair, others have thick hair. So how do you know what amount of henna you should use to achieve the color as it is advertised? Honestly, you should just try it to see what works best for you. You can however use this as a guideline:

  • Above ear length: 50-75 grams + 50 grams*
  • Shoulder length: 100-125 grams + 100 grams*
  • Mid-back length: 150-175 grams + 125 grams*
  • Lower back (above hips): 200 to 225 grams +150 grams*
  • Hip/Waist length: 250 to 300 grams +175 grams*

*If you have very curly thick hair, it’s best to through something extra in there (hence the cursive numbers)

Making a dye 101

The method for making the henna dye depends on the brand you’ve chosen. Some brands supply ‘blocks’ that you need to melt, others simply require adding hot water while still others use lemon juice, or tea or coffee. Getting confused already? Understandable. Don’t worry, as good as every package comes with a list of steps you need to do in order to successfully dye your hair with henna. But why are there such different processes, you ask? Well, actually all of them work… Much more depends on the color of your original hair, since the henna dye is a transparant stain.

There are however a few similarities among those methods. To explain this, we require a bit more background information! As you remember from our infographic, henna contains lawsone, which is a molecule that can bind with the proteins in your skin or hair. Because henna is a plant this lawsone is contained within cellulose walls, which is a pretty tough structure. If those walls stay intact, no lawsone, and thus no dye will be released. So all of these techniques have a certain way of breaking down those cellulose walls, releasing the lawsone:

  • Mashing in some water: by mashing you actually break down some cellulose! This however is often not effective enough to get the result you want…
  • Mixing henna with hot water: this breaks down the cellulose walls, but you have to be careful! By boiling the henna, the lawsone will lose its ability to bind to the keratin in your hair. My advice: use warm/hot water but not boiling hot!
  • Mixing henna with a sour substance: this is another very popular method. Any sour substance will break down cellulose as well. Anything that is slightly sour to very sour (pH below 5.5), will break down cellulose. That means that lemon juice, coffee, vinegar or even Coca Cola would be able to release the dye (although I don’t recommend coffee, cola, or vinegar because of the smell of all of them). You can also use acidic juices other than lemon juice!

Most, if not all, combine a mix of these methods to achieve the most optimal results. You can however try out whatever method works best on you (on strands of your hair of course!). When do you know that it’s ready to be applied? That of course depends on the method you used. The question you should ask is HOW do you know that it’s ready? Well, when the mixture achieves a yoghurt-like consistency (cellulose breakdown), you’re good to go! The following graph gives you an estimate of what time this could take when using lemon juice and heating!

Dye release

Dye release at different temperatures when using lemon juice.

Get clean

Now that your henna dye is getting ready, it’s time to get clean ourselves! Get into the shower, and start using your favorite shampoo. In order for the dye to stain your hair nicely you need to get rid of any excess dirt and grease so wash thoroughly and this time, do not use conditioner! After your hair is all washed up, towel-dry it and get excited! Now you’re ready to learn how to dye with henna!

Get messy: how to dye your hair with henna

Now that you’re completely clean, it’s time to get dirty again (figuratively of course). Divide your hair into a front, left, right and back section and put on your plastic gloves. Scoop up some yoghurt-like paste and start applying it to the back section first. Start at the base of the hair, and work your way up to the hair tip. Take your time for this and make sure you get a complete and even coverage as is possible, this will result in a much nicer color! Massage everything well into your hair. Most beginners make the mistake of being too hasty, so don’t be one of them!

When finished with the back section slowly work your way up to the front section. When you’re sure you’ve covered every strand of hair, put on a plastic cap for about an hour to 2. If you wish, you can leave it on for up to five hours to achieve a deeper color (remember what I said about doing a strand test first).

Get clean… again

Yep, get back in that shower and rinse everything out with water. Just water, no shampooing here! Don’t worry about all of the stuff coming off of it, remember that henna only binds to proteins (like in the skin or in the hair). When you’re satisfied, you can still use a conditioner to get clean and fresh or to get rid of some parts that might dried together. I know henna has a particular earthy scent. You might like it, you might not. Either way, it won’t last for longer than a few days. In case it really bothers you, it might be best to use some scented tea next time you’re using henna, to reduce the smell! To accelerate the coloring process a bit, you could use the blow-dryer for 10-15 minutes.

A few final words

Don’t shampoo for at least 24 hours and don’t use a leave-in conditioner for at least a week. It will take about 48 hours to achieve your final color, so don’t panic if it not right away looks like you expected it to be. The color could even look a bit too reddish, or even blueish or greenish, but don’t worry! This is perfectly normal and will disappear within a few hours. If you’re really not pleased with the final color, you can still reapply it as many times as you want.

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve just finished dyeing your hair with henna! Go ahead, pat yourself on the back, and share the result here! Now you too know how to dye your hair with henna! Wanna see it live? Check out the following video which shows the entire process!


How to dye your hair with henna.

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