Sometimes you think about doing things but never take the time to actually do them, until one day when (as we say in French) une mouche vous pique and you decide to go for it. That’s exactly what happened to me last Saturday, not once, but twice.
Last year I was given a lovely cotton cropped jacket with scalloped edges which I would say is from the late 80s/ early 90s. I thought it would look great with my scalloped waist skirt but the jacket is pale yellow and this is not the sort of colour I wear. It also has slightly padded shoulders so the combination of colour and shape screams 80s- and not in a good way. Up until now it was in storage, in my pile of “clothes I need to do something with, but don’t know what just yet” when I realised I could dye it black, which would tone it down and make it easier to wear.
I noticed that Dylon had some Wash and Dye products in their range of home dyes. For £5.99 salt and dye are already pre-mixed, all you have to do is chuck the content in your washing machine, add the dry garment and run a 40° programme, then re-run a 40° programme with your normal detergent. The process seemed easy enough, and it promised to dye up to 500g of garment, so I bought a pack of black dye and tried it on the same evening.
The process was as easy as they said, but I would heartly recommend anyone to wear a pair of washing-up gloves. Even if the mix is a powder, it is easily spilt and as soon as a bit of water comes near it will stain anything. After the first wash the washing machine looked really messy and by the end of the second wash I was getting a little nervous...
When time came to take the jacket out, I was disappointed. The colour was faded grey; which made sense as my original garment was yellow and the instructions said that the dye will mix with the original colour (I realised this before picking the navy blue pack, which would have turned my jacket green). The real problem was that the colour didn’t get on the jacket in a uniform way. Instead I’m left with this greyish jacket with lots of small irregular speckles of dye. I looked on the internet to see if anybody else experienced this but no luck. I have bought another pack of Dylon Wash and Dye in the same colour and I’m hoping that a second go will make the jacket darker and most importantly cover the speckles. But this was a huge initial disappointment.
· Ease of use
· Clear instructions
· Value for money as you don’t need to buy anything else
· Results can really vary- don’t expect colours as vibrant as described on the box!
· Leaves a right mess in the washing machine. I scrapped as much dye as I could out of the rubber joint but it is still black. It didn’t have any effect on following loads though- I put one with only black stuff the day after to be on the safe side, then a wash of colours, then a wash of white and there were no disasters.
· Protect everything around your washing machine as this stuff stains.
· You have to run 2 loads at 40° which isn’t as energy efficient as washing at 30.
On the same day I also decided to treat myself to a new hair colour. 2 years ago I had an extremely bad experience with hair dye. At the time, my hair was very long and wanting to save costs, went for the cheapest hair dye I could get as I needed 2 packs. Because I had used hair dyes before I didn’t bother with the skin test either...
This was one of the most stupid thing I ever did- the colour was lovely but the dye was so aggressive it burnt my scalp. After a few days my skin looked red, was flaking off and was itchy like mad. 2 years down the line and my scalp is still very sensitive. I can’t use a lot of shampoos, and since then a hair colour has been out of the question.
So I decided to get a Caca from Lush as I know this is made from Henna and marketed as a natural alternative to chemical hair dyes. Plus, the name always made me giggle. The girl in the shop was extremely helpful and gave me lots of tips to make sure I had the best result. On Sunday, after my little trip to Hobbycraft I decided to give this a go...
First, find a person kind enough to help. Boyfriend politely declined and suggested his brother as aforementioned kind person. For his defence, he used to dye my hair when it was long and now he’s a bit traumatised. His brother was quite curious about the whole process and offered to help.
After putting on an old t-shirt I decide to start preparing the caca (giggle). For £7.25 you get 6 blocks of caca which you need to melt in hot, but not boiling water in order to create a creamy paste which will stick to your hair. My hair is quite short now so I only needed 2 blocks- much cheaper than a quality pack of hair dye, but the result, I was told in the shop, won’t be as noticeable. Rather than covering your hair with chemicals a caca (giggle) will condition it while giving it subtle-but visible- hues. To enhance the darkening properties of the caca I used strong, French-pressed coffee instead of plain water.
It smells. My mum used to put henna on her hair (until it stopped working) and I vaguely remembered an organic, herby smell. But this smelt more like cow poo. After making sure that my helper still wanted to help me I sat down and waited for him to cover my hair with this smelly, gross looking paste.
Putting it on was quite easy, and far less messy than what we expected. At first I made the paste a bit too thick, so it was making blobs which weren’t sticking to the hair. A bit of coffee was added, and the texture was perfect. It even allowed the boys to have a bit of fun shaping my hair as antlers and giving me a mowhak.
Once the paste is all spread on your hair, you can either leave it like this or wrap it in foil/ cling film. I chose the later as I didn’t want any henna to fall everywhere. You have to leave the henna for around 4 hours for maximum effect (after 4 hours it won’t have any effect anymore). It was funny walking around with my head wrapped in clingfilm. I looked like a synchronised swimmer! The only downside was that after a while I started to have a really bad headache, but I don’t know if it was related or not.
After 2 hours, I was a bit bored, and the headache didn’t help. But I left it on for the full 4 hours and then, remove my clingfilm helmet and rinsed my hair, then wash with my normal shampoo ( a solid one also from Lush). It took only a bit longer than I usually take to rinse my hair but the bath was very messy. Thank goodness for Stardrop, my friend in a bottle. It gets rid of everything- I love this stuff!
It was now time to see if my hair looked any different... or did it catch a hint of green, as this can happen sometimes?
Brushing my hair I noticed it looked darker but also it felt very smooth and easy to comb through. When I went to bed my hair wasn’t completely dry so I put a towel on my pillow just in case. My hair didn’t stain the towel or the pillow, but the day after felt a bit heavy and greasy, so I washed it again. Since then a few people have commented how shiny and healthy my hair looks like, and I do feel as if I have just stepped out of the hairdresser. The colour has not really changed although I think it is a bit darker, and after the second shampoo I haven’t had this feeling of heaviness anymore.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have healed my scalp but I would definitely use the remaining blocks for a bit of hair pampering.
· Much easier to use than expected
· Good value for money if you have short hair
· Conditions your hair in a natural way
· A bit messy to rinse – expect a full bathroom cleaning
· The smell is not very nice, and stayed on my hair a couple of days. I still get a whiff when my hair has just been washed and is still wet, but it disappears.
· Will not colour your hair the way hair dyes.
So There you go, you know more about what I have been up to last week-end. Sometimes it's nice to try on new things, especially when you've been wondering about them for a long time (like I did with the caca from Lush- giiiiiggggglle).