Dying white Wensleydale locks with henna

I was curious if I could dye the white Wensleydale locks I want to use for a wig with henna. And it worked just fine. If you want to try it, there are a couple of things that are important to get good results.
I wanted a light brown colour with a reddish tinge and in different shades of intensity. The locks had to be separated very carefully, and since I didn’t want the same colour for all strands I had to dye them before I start making the wig.

It’s important to dye the hair red before you work with dye that contains indigo, like brown or black, otherwise the colour will have a green tinge.

If you want a rich brown you need to dye the hair in steps. Red comes first, and it is important to mix red henna with boiling water. If the mixture has cooled down to a temperature around 50°C you can apply it. I put the hair into plastic bags, poured the mixture in and squeezed the bag to soak all the hair.

You need to keep it warm, if it’s in a bag you can just put the sealed bag into hot water. The longer you let it soak the more intense the colour will be, but it’s still just a kind of strawberry blonde (see 1).

Once you’ve rinsed the dye out, you’d want to let them dry and just leave them for a day before you dye them again. The colour will change slightly with exposure to air. After the basic red dye you can dye them brown, again, colour and intensity will differ according to time. (Sample 2)

I wanted different shades, so I took a couple of strands and dyed them with red henna again after the brown dye (see 3). Just for the fun of it, if you use a mixture of red an brown for the third round you’ll get sample 4.

I really like the colours, but it’ll be a lot of work to comb them out. All the dying and rinsing really matted the hair.

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