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Monday, 7 April 2014

Les Cacas (photo heavy)

Hello Ladies! (And Gents)

This post is going to be a little bit longer than my usual posts because it is half a tutorial and half a review.

You may also have noticed my warning in the title "photo heavy". Now this may seem strange to any readers who are not in South Africa, but those who are will know how slow and frustrating our internet can be. So I thought that I would warn people so that anyone struggling with their internet can avoid these posts.

On to the good stuff!
I LOVE dying my hair. I really do. I think that the first time that I dyed my hair I was eleven. I have tried many many colours, a few are : red, purple, blue, brown, black, pink and green.
One thing that I have never tried before is Henna. But now I have. I started by asking loads of friends what colour they thought that I should go, I wanted to try Henna red but I also wanted to see what other people thought. Happily, most of my friends thought that I should try red. Then a day or two later a friend of mine told me that she had seen Henna bars at Lush, so I went and did some research. I browsed Lush's website and watched a bunch of videos on Youtube.

The information that I had at the beginning was; Lush's range is called Les Cacas. The "Cacas" come in different colours, I decided that the colour I would try was Caca Rouge. Lush only uses Vegetarian ingredients and they are against animal testing, this was a big bonus for me. The blocks of Henna are actually a mixture of herbs, henna and Cocoa Butter. You need to use gloves because the henna will stain your hands as well as your hair, this is pretty standard for all hair dyes in my experience. It is easier to apply it with a hair paint brush (thingy). You do not need to grate the blocks of Henna, you can just melt them as is. It is good to keep it wrapped in Glad Wrap while you wait for four hours if you want a darker colour. This stops the Henna from drying out and allows to activate longer. The website also advises using some of their shampoo to maintain the colour. "Try to avoid shampoos that contain a lot of chemicals, or ones that have a high concentration of fruity citrus enzymes which can strip colour. Cynthia Sylvia Stout is good (the effect of the lemon juice it contains is offset by the dark, yeasty stout!) and most of our solid shampoos work well with Les Cacas too. " (Lush ; accessed on  04 April 2014)

On Sunday, the day that I chose to colour my hair, I went to buy an extra pair of gloves and the hair paint brush. I also decided to stop past the Lush and see about getting some of their shampoo. Well I was in for a little surprise. When I got there the shop assistant started advising me to try their Blousey or Fairly Traded Honey as a gentle shampoo. He said that the cleaning agents in the solid shampoo's are harsher than the ones in the two above mentioned liquid ones. Apparently the Blousey is made for coloured hair. This made sense to me ... except that the Lush website said different, refer to the above quote. The Blousey was also fairly expensive. So I was rather confused as to what I should do. I just decided that I would wait and save up some more money to buy their shampoo later. Sensing my hesitations and in response to my proposal to return later, the very kind assistant gave me a little tester for free. I really appreciated it because now without spending so much money I could see whether the assistant or the website was correct.

The tools that we used, except we didn't land up using the comb.
 So here are all my tools. I like to get everything ready before I start so that there is no mad dashing around making a mess everywhere. I had the Caca Rouge, a comb (which I landed up not using), the hair paint brush thingy which was very useful, 2 pairs of gloves, and the shampoo tester for after.

Sheep and I both had old shirts on which we did not mind getting messy, because this stuff is MESSY!
We also used a double boiler to melt the henna blocks in.

Poured Boiling water over the blocks.
Okay so here I am going to give you a little tip. Hind sight is always 20/20 isn't it? Although the instructional video showed that it takes way longer to grate the whole block than to just melt it... I discovered smashing can't hurt. The first lot, 3 blocks, took quite a while to melt. But then near the end of the process Sheep realised that because my hair is so thick we did not have enough mixture, so we made another quarter of a block. This time we put it in a packet and smashed it a little, not much but just a little. And then we poured the boiling water. Obviously with the increased surface area it melted much quicker this time.

This stuff is actually as dark as the above photo but the camera flash made it lighter.
A nice creamy liquid.

My natural colour, except that the ends are slightly lighter from previous dying.
Just a quick before photo. I also applied some conditioner around my face and neckline to try and avoid staining my skin.Yes we applied the henna in my garden. As I said before, MESSY!

Sheep diligently applying the "Caca"
The process of applying the henna took quite a while but I think that that was party to do with my hair and partly to do with inexperience. My hair is deceptively thick! The other thing is that sheep is used to helping me with gentian violet or normal hair dye, those ones are really runny and a lot of it runs through from where you apply it to other areas... this stuff not so much. At one point Sheep said to me it was like putting mud in my hair, it is really thick and you have to put it where you want it. It is by no means bad, but I think that Sheep feels that he will use another application strategy next time.  But there is always a first time. :)
My head all nicely wrapped up in plastic
I obviously wanted my colour to come out as dark as possible so I wrapped mine up and left it in for three hours. I would have left it for four but I was going out to see the new Captain America movie (Which I really enjoyed) so I had to wash it out sooner.

Sunday Evening
So the washing out process..
For starters I stood on garden chair and used the hose on my head for about 5 minuets, just rinsing the grainy mud like stuff out. But a lot of the residual colour was still there. When I felt that I had got most of the mess out, which I was worried would stain my bathroom, I went to have a shower and give Blousey a try.

For starters I just want to say that Blousey smells AMAZING! I am not a huge fan of bananas so I suppose although made with banana the smell is not really banana. For some people that might be a negative but for me that was a positive. So application of Blousey was a little confusing. Because it does not foam like regular shampoo it is quite difficult to gauge how much you need to use. But also remember that my hair was super duper greasy from the cocoa butter. I landed up using about 1/2 the tester. I usually only wash the top of my head. My hair is long and the tips are dry while the roots can get very oily. But in this case my whole head was like an oil spill so I used the shampoo all over it. It worked pretty well but my hair was still a bit greasy once it dried.

Now the colour. At first I was a little disappointed because my hair still looked rather blonde, Sheep said it looked slightly Strawberry Blonde. I even went to the movie with one of my friends who had been very keen on me colouring my hair and she couldn't notice the difference.
 I was not too disheartened though because one of the best descriptions of henna that I have heard is that it is like varnish. Apparently it covers the strand of hair and the base colour shines through, it also tends to deepen and darken over a little time and also after every application of Henna. So the next time that I use the henna to cover my regrowth the whole head will get coloured and an extra layer of Henna will be there so it will be slightly darker red. 
Monday morning.
The next morning! (Today) I woke up to a wonderful surprise! Over night the henna had darkened considerably. Oh I also used the other half of the Blousey tester and this time it cleaned out all the leftover grease. I definitely think that I am going to save a little and buy the blousey. Obviously I would like it to be even darker and I can't wait to do the second application, but for the next few weeks I am very content with the colour it is now. I am really enjoying it.

So that is my very long post/walkthrough/review of Les Cacas and Blousey. I hope that you enjoyed reading this post and that if you are planning to Henna your hair you find this useful.
Keep drinking tea!


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