My 11-year-old kiddo had decided she wanted a red streak in her hair. This shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, and honestly I think I had seen it coming for a while.

  1. Fact – Her Rockband avatar has a pretty dramatic haircut with bright red streaks in it.
  2. Fact – Most of the characters in her fictional writing are of the fire elemental variety.
  3. Fact – She is a highly creative tween who recently decided to cut her fairly long curly hair quite short.

So, now we had a real problem…hair dye!  You see, investing and committing to this organic, all natural, healthy habits lifestyle doesn’t stop at the food we eat or the medicine we take. This commitment seems to be taking us farther and farther down a path towards “who knows what”. I honestly don’t know where it will lead us, but in my attempt to live in the moment, I am going to just not worry about that right now.   —  So, back to our little problem, the hair dye.  Hannah has medium brown hair with some natural reddish undertones (she can thank her dad for those lovely locks), and the vibrant red color that I am pretty sure she is envisioning can only be achieved with a good old-fashioned bleaching. So, the fact that there is no quick and effective “organic, all natural, chemical free” way to strip color from your hair meant she would have to settle for more of a natural red and less of a neon red. She is a reasonable child (young adult) and realized that her desire for red had to sync up with her need to maintain her ban on chemical laden personal care products. So, armed with the above knowledge, she researched hair colors, and then chose and bought an organic, pure botanical, chemical free henna colorant. (of course she had to research the ingredients as well as the company ethics) It did not take her long to narrow it down to this winning choice.

Well, over the weekend, the products arrived, and she spent some time reviewing all the directions and suggestions. She then laid out a plan:

Monday: Wash hair and do not use conditioner or styling products.

Apply fresh squeezed lemon juice (and a little lemon essential oil) to portions of her hair.

Sit out in the sun for a couple of hours to help lighten her hair naturally.

Mix up henna color and let it set-up for 24 hours

Tuesday: Wash hair and do not use conditioner.

Pull segments of hair through a cap and apply henna

Cover hair with plastic wrap and apply heat on and off for 3 hours

Rinse out hair and stand back to see what the heck she did to herself.

With the plan laid out, we proceeded. Take a look.

She thoroughly researched this product. Only one ingredient : henna. I do think the wolf on the package was a sign, it is her spirit animal after all.
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A before picture of her natural color & her curls :)
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Natural lightening process: the lemon juice only works in sunlight. Math class was held outside.
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Adding allspice and paprika were suggested to help keep hair healthy. Mixing it up and letting it cure for 24 hours.
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We pulled segments of hair through our make shift hair cap. We will go buy one next time :)
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Henna was applied and then hair was wrapped with Saran wrap to keep the heat and moisture in.
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Our first look after 3 hours of processing, we rinsed the henna out and the reddish tint is apparent
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Need to see it in natural light. Yep, the henna did it's job...we have red
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As it dried it became richer...and we could see the individual red curls
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3.5 hours after rinsing, and the color is now matching what she had in mind.
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When all the henna was washed away, and all the hair was dry we noticed that over time the color continued to get more red. It had started out (when wet) looking like a shiny copper penny, and as it dries it has begun to darken up and show more contrast with her natural color. She is really liking it, and has already mentioned that she may want to do her entire head next time. :)

On a personal note: This (Hannah coloring her hair) was not my idea, nor was it really my story to tell. I am posting this with Hannah’s full permission. From a parenting point of view, what I really wanted to share is as follows:

Hannah wants to dye her hair, and what struck me the most today was the “why”.

Why does she want a streaks of red in her hair?

Why does she feel the need to alter her appearance?

My first thought was (in my opinion) the most logical thought…she wants to make a statement, stand out, be different. But honestly, that reasoning just doesn’t hold water. She is barely eleven and half years old, is already finishing up 9th grade, has several college credits under her belt, is a blogger, a website designer, a business-woman, and so much more…so, she in her own way (with natural hair) is already making a statement, standing out, and very different than the norm.

So, today she searched a little deeper as to what her motives could be. This is the realization that we came to:

My kiddo’s need to express her uniqueness and individuality is a need that she meets daily. I’m serious, she expresses her uniqueness every single day…her personality and fire and intensities are definitely not squelched or hidden under a barrel. So, this desire for her to alter her outward appearance isn’t “for shock value” or “to stand out”, or even “to attract attention” as many would think.

So as she searched deeper she discovered this:

This desire is driven by her need for her outer image to match that of the image her inner world has crafted of her. In other words, she is doing this to get synchronized. (Something these highly asynchronous kiddos do not always have much control over.) I am proud that she is honoring herself, and I am extremely proud that she is digging deeper and really thinking about the “why”.

Now, I would have been totally fine all along if her entire reason for wanting her hair dyed was, “it’s cool”, or “I want to try something new”. She did not have to have a deeper reason; she did not have to read more into it. However, I am glad that she did; I am glad that she was not driven by an impulse. I am glad that she is learning the skill of listening to her inner voice, and not just following it blindly, but instead taking the time to sit down with that inner voice and truly understand what it is saying, and more importantly “why” it is saying it.

BTW – my kid has fiery red curls popping out of her head; they bring such a smile to my face and great peace to my heart!