The Dish: To answer the question no one is asking themselves: No, I'm not a natural redhead. Dishwater blonde was my genetic disposition, but after years of experimenting in chemical dye territory (gross), I have discovered that redheads have more fun—and by fun, I mean trouble with clothes colors clashing.
Before going veg, I didn't give much thought to the chemicals I slathered on my head or the animals on whom they were cruelly tested. Once I wised up and read about the nasty ingredients in over-the-counter formulas, I stumbled upon something even worse—photos of allergic reactions to the dyes. I claim zero responsibility for your personal reaction or retinal scarring if you choose to Google that.
But with my chronic case of beauty boredom, I still wanted a change of hair-color scenery. Enter: henna. Yes, it sounds a bit hippy, and yes, it can involve essentially covering your head in mud, but there are so many pros that make it worth the effort. It's completely plant-based and vegan-friendly, and because it lacks unpronounceable chemicals, I have fewer panic attacks thinking my face is going to swell to the size of a basketball. Also, it covers and colors beautifully.
Light Mountain was my first foray into at-home dyeing, and while the color was fantastic, it required a three- to five-hour adventure (a few of those spent waiting for the mixture to "cure," aka sit on the counter). Surya in red is my current brand and shade of choice and has changed my henna life. Premixed in a bottle applicator similar to mainstream brands, this color cream works in only 30 minutes, rinses out easily, and doesn't dry out strands as much as the mud mixture. Oh, and it's only $10 at my local co-op, which is a helluvah lot cheaper than going to a salon.
The Final Word: Henna only deposits color, so take your starting shade into consideration, and always do a test strand before attempting a whole-head makeover. I can't speak to the success of the other shades sold, but as for being an honorary ginger, henna is the way to go.