The latest chapter in my henna story
Despite my long history of widespread #vitiligo, I consider myself lucky in that I have never developed random clumps of #whitehair. But I did start to grey quite prematurely in the areas that most people eventually do – i.e. around the temples and at the front hairline – which may or may not have something to do with carrying the vitiligo gene.
It's no secret that life can be unfair. It is a well known fact that some men start to look distinguished with a few flecks of silver in their mane (if they are lucky enough not to go bald first) and some women also manage to carry off that stately, elegant look that can result from strands of platinum streaking artistically through their coiffure. I, on the other hand, do not belong to that happy group of people who grey gracefully. In fact, I belong to that other group that just looks tired, like a drab and faded shadow of their former self! As a result, the past couple of decades have found me either sitting in the salon on a regular basis, having my head plastered with an evil-smelling concoction of hazardous chemicals, or reaching for equally noxious over-the-counter dyes every time those white roots threatened to make a re-appearance.
It wasn't until a gradual increase in scalp irritation prompted me to read up on the ingredients contained in commercial #hair-dyes (even in most of the so-called “natural” hair colourants) that I realised what I was doing to my already vitiligo-compromised skin amounted to madness. Repeatedly dying my hair was exposing my scalp, and my entire system, to an unacceptable and unnecessary toxic load and might be causing more of my hair to lose natural pigment by aggravating vitiligo. So I vowed never to go anywhere near chemical dyes again. Which is how I became a devotee of pure henna powder as the best safe and non-irritant alternative available.
My first experience of henna had pros & cons
I have been using henna bricks from Lush for the last couple of years and been relatively happy with the results. From the moment I stopped using chemical dyes I had absolutely no more scalp irritation whatsoever and, better still, I had peace of mind, knowing that colouring my hair was no longer bringing me into contact with any substances that might trigger new areas of vitiligo. Compared to these benefits, the fact that the grey coverage was not always 100% and the process of applying pure henna was time consuming and very, very messy seemed unimportant and well worth the trade-off. But I have to admit that the palaver of melting and mixing the henna with water in a Bain Marie on the stove, until it was just the right consistency, was a bit of a chore. Trying to get the gritty mixture to cover every individual strand of hair - especially the problem white ones - was tricky and messy too. I then used to have to leave the henna on for nearly 3 hours to stand a chance of getting a dark enough shade on the greys. And, then rinsing it off was a bit like trying to wash clods of dried mud out of my hair, to say nothing of the mess it left behind in the shower.
So my latest henna discovery has come as a welcome relief and something of a godsend to me, which is why I want to share it with you, and why I have added it to the tried and tested solutions available at VitiligoStore.com. Not only is the Surya Brasil range of henna and hair care free from all the nasty chemicals usually found in hair products, but it is quick and easy to use at home, it is inexpensive AND it has actually given my hair superior colour, shine and grey coverage compared to the professional salon permanent colours I used to use.
My latest henna discovery
I found this range when I was researching natural products for inclusion in Vitiligo Store. I was a bit skeptical at first because all the products I had found previously that claimed to be "more natural" than salon dyes whilst delivering similar results did not stand up to scrutiny. These were usually marginally better than most hair dyes, in that they did not contain ammonia and boasted a bunch of natural sounding plant extracts, but they still contained hydrogen peroxide (which is the very last thing anyone with vitiligo needs to apply to their skin) and Paraphenylenediamine (PPD: the same chemical as used for dying fabrics and carpets - and the main cause, in hair colourants, of irritation, allergic reaction and even, occasionally, anaphylactic attacks). So I had more or less given up on finding anything that would improve on the slightly disappointing performance of pure henna without compromising on safety. But then I came across Surya Brasil.
I won't go into all the background on Surya Brasil (green credentials, awards, ingredients, etc.) because I have put all this information on Vitiligo Store so that anyone wanting to do research can find everything there. But what is worth mentioning here is the reaction of my hairdresser the first time I went to him for a cut after using my new hair colour. A very chilled and normally laid back man, not given to being easily impressed, he went into ecstasies over the condition of my hair and couldn't get over the rich tones (I use Chocolate, which really lives up to its name) and the fact that there was no sign of my stubborn greys (and this was at least 2 weeks after I had applied the colour). He even asked me to write down the product details for him so that he could pass them on to his wife who also prefers to use natural products.
I am delighted - as I'm sure you can tell - with the ease of use and the lovely results from using this henna product. But the main thing for me is that it allows me to continue to use an alternative, henna-based hair colour that significantly reduces the risk of my suffering any reversal of my vitiligo recovery as a result of coming into contact with harmful chemicals that might cause skin to depigment.
A vitiligo blogger since 2011. My name is Caroline. I had vitiligo for nearly 50 years before finding an effective treatment. I created this blog to share my experiences with others affected by this skin condition.