Mariia blogs on Sumilayi's blog about curly hair methods, care, products and experiences, sharing her best tips.
Hair dyes have been a part of my life for decades, although in recent years very rarely. A couple of years ago, before the beginning of my curly journey, I was in such a conflicting situation with myself that on the one hand it seemed a bit challenging to be "gray" (and inevitably the amount of gray in the middle of the head had started to stabilize), on the other hand the idea of using chemicals for vanity also fought against my world of thought.
So I continued my curly girl everyday life, looking at myself in the mirror, mostly accepting aging and thanking that I have plenty of hair and beautiful curls, and sometimes with a "crying for lost youth" mood, feeling how the years are whizzing past me. Jeez, what a waste of time to complain about this 😄😄😄Since natural products in the care of myself and my hair had already become a part of my routine in many respects even before my curly journey, choosing them was also a clear direction for the care of my curls. However, I haven't been and I don't think I will be fanatical about this matter, so you can occasionally find something synthetic in the products. I forgive myself for that.
In any case, my attention had begun to be drawn to the exciting world of vegetable dyes and I found myself repeatedly browsing related discussions and Googling product options. The idea of using vegetable dyes got stronger to the point that I decided to try it. From that moment, I think almost a year has passed because I didn't dare to make a color choice decision. It's unfathomable how many big decisions I've made in the course of my life in an instant and now I let something like this delay dyeing for so long! The perfectionist in me comes out in the most wonderful contexts, haha!
I did the first coloring before Christmas 2020 and my intention was to do the second almost after, but Christmas, work and moving to the country got in the way and the coloring was postponed.
Cultivators was selected as a brand back then in December due to the positive feedback it received, but it is of course not the only brand. Other brands are e.g. Radico, Khadi, Sante and Ekopharma as a hair salon line. I can't say anything about these others due to lack of personal experience, but somewhere I came across some experiences about Khadi's greater gray-covering ability. I don't know if it was caused by a certain shade or a wider difference between the brands. I therefore recommend doing your own background work if you plan to dye with something other than Cultivators, as my writing focuses only on the user experience of this brand.
If hair coloring is new to you, your hair has been dyed strongly and for a long time with synthetic substances, or you are otherwise sensitive about your hair, you should book an appointment with a competent hairdresser. I'm a "fire or clay" kind of person myself, since I've decided that I'm going to do it now. So, even though my decision to start took almost a year, after that I no longer thought about the success of the end result or whether I would be able to dye mine at all, I just got down to business. Funny in itself!
In the end, I ended up getting two different shades, walnut and caramel, because my goal was to get a shade almost matching my own darkness (walnut) and a warm sheen that would not be red but more golden brown (caramel). The red pigment in my hair is quite strong, so it was assumed that redness would come out anyway. I knew from December's experience (and having already read about it before) that at least these shades of mine wouldn't cover my grays, and that actually wasn't even the goal, but to make the grays blend in with the rest of my hair, which is, however, quite dark. The picture below shows the amount of gray in my hair. I don't cry for my lost youth, but if I get a little softer contrast like that, that's nice 😉😃
One big difference between vegetable dyes and conventional dyes is that they do not "fill" the hair but remain on the surface of the hair. Thus, intensity can be achieved with more coloring layers as the color is layered. This also makes the hair thicker. Not bad! What else will I get to when I really get excited.On coloring night, I started my project by reading the instructions carefully and a couple of times. I washed my hair with conditioner and trusted that it was enough because I use so few products that my hair doesn't accumulate product residues particularly strongly. However, a stronger wash could be in order if your own hair is more prone to "build-up", i.e. the layering of products on the surface of the hair.
After washing, I towel-dried, or t-shirt-dried my hair well and mixed the color bags - 2x walnut and 1x caramel - with warm water. I carefully applied the color starting from the base and moving towards the ends.
Picture: left . gray in the middle of the head, upper right color shade in hair before dyeing, bottom right. washed (co-wash) towel-dried hair
Photo: left powders in a porcelain container, I stirred with a plastic spoon. right upper ready-made open-source "porridge". bottom right "dyeing station" readyIt takes time to apply the color porridge on long hair, but I had already learned from the first time that it is better not to rush, but to proceed as smoothly as possible. The mass quickly became very hard and rough in the hair and it was not possible to separate the hair from each other. Going calmly from the base to the top and keeping the movements in the same direction, the application was still successful and I felt that I also got the color in all the hair.
The man commented on the pictures below while lightly catching 😅 a grassy smell in the bathroom. Hey - straight from nature, what else could you imagine the smell to be.
Image: colors successfully applied! Then wait.
In vegetable dyeing, the effect time is longer than in conventional colors, and you can let the color take effect without any worries, so you get a more intense result.
Plant dyes from which the shades are created are e.g. indigo, henna, hibiscus, saffron and Cassia (which mostly gives shine when colorless). For me, the thought that I can really feel the closeness of nature while coloring is a smiley pleasure.
There are also products on the market disguised as vegetable dyes, which however contain synthetic ingredients, so you should be careful!
So - I put on the disposable hat that comes in the package, wrapped a thin trash bag over it and wrapped the whole handsome thing in a t-shirt so that the color was very warm. 1.5 hours passed easily watching the movie. With these colors 60-90 min. was the recommended time according to the instructions, but I think even two hours is fine, especially if you have a history with colors that don't stick well.
By the way, I had consciously chosen the time of the dyeing for that particular day. The more I have focused on the subject, the better I notice and believe in the effects of the moon phase in relation to different things and in this case the durability of color. The day was the last days of the upper moon, i.e. the rising moon, before the full moon, which is the best time. I myself would no longer dye during the waning moon. It might sound funny, but if you start to think about it, you might remember situations when cuts, dyes and washes have turned out strangely well - or badly. What if there has always been a moon behind everything??!!
After the exposure time, I rinsed the hair carefully (I didn't wash it) and applied a generous amount of conditioner, which I "squished" as usual, i.e. pressed into very wet hair. After I rinsed, I put the familiar small drop of leave-in and a little shaping foam. My hair felt great even when it was wet, and once it dried, I was also very happy with the end result.
Picture: rinsed, treated hair
In the pictures below, the hair on the night of dyeing and the next day in daylight. The color is said to deepen after a couple of days of dyeing, so you shouldn't make conclusions too hastily, but let the result develop in peace.
However, I saw right away that same evening that the color was exactly what I was aiming for, and even if it deepened, the tone was pleasing anyway. Yes, it was worth it!
Advantages of vegetable dyeing:
- 100% natural products
- Vegan products
- Treats and strengthens hair
- Add shine that lasts
- They do not leave behind such a clear growth line as, for example, a conventional permanent color
- Shades can be mixed
- The shades are beautifully natural
- They do not cause allergies in the same way as synthetic colors
- Can be used even on consecutive days again to guarantee the strength of the tone or to better cover grays
Possible disadvantages (I haven't had any myself):
- Applying color can be challenging on your own
- In some hair (processed?), certain shades can turn green
- It is challenging to remove the color if you want to change the tone to a different one
- Achieving cool tones without darkness can be difficult
- Bleaching is not successful
- Completely covering the grays can be difficult depending on the chosen shade
Pictures: above you can see what happened to the grays, i.e. they got a gold coating and they shine beautifully (the shade in the picture is slightly distorted) Below, side by side, the hair before dyeing and after dyeing.
The experience of these two times has opened up a new wonderful world for me, and it's funny in itself, I, who have always avoided red, am no longer so anti-red after these experiences. However, this golden blush might be enough, and at least next time I'm not going to put just henna on my head. I fancy……..
Here's another picture four days after dyeing (without washing) Beautiful shine and deep color without being too dark. I like it!
I hope my experience encouraged you to try vegetable dyes, either by applying them yourself or having them done by a hairdresser.Until next time, stay tuned ❤️