Beauty and De-Nile

I pasted my head yesterday. And no, that's not some euphemism that would make your granny blush, or anything. I was trying to color my hair using henna for the first time, and I can only effectively describe the process to you as follows:

  • You decide to bake cookies. So first you add the flour and sugar. Then you add the egg and butter. Then you stir and stir and stir.
  • Then you go away and forget about the batter for about eight hours.
  • But then, when you're confronted with the batter in the bowl the next morning, you think, "Ya know, I wasn't so excited about making cookies in the first place."
  • So you mush it all through your hair.
  • Top off your new look with a Saran Wrap turban, a dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry!

That's pretty much what it was like.

Sundae toppings optional.

But we do strange things for beauty, don't we?-- among them pasting our heads. I mean, the efforts themselves look so ridiculous, it's a wonder we even bother. We rip out hair by the roots here but plant new ones there. We buff and peel and polish. And highlights-- we pull teeny strands of hair through a plastic cap so we look like some sort of dish scrubber.

This is fashion.

Still, the henna promises to keep my hair a non-mouse-brown while simultaneously not turning it the consistency of an overused Brillo pad. So it seems worth the effort. Plus, you know, ancient Egyptians supposedly used it to go glam for their big pyramid openings and barge-rides and stuff.

I mean, if Cleopatra could hang out on the boat, head covered in a neck-straining 10 pounds of paste and whatever ye olde Saran there was back then-- ("Use PapyrWrap-- seals extracted organs and keeps 'em fresh for the Afterlife!")-- I suppose I'm certainly not above it.

Anyway, it's not like I've got Mark Antony watching the whole thing and saying:

"Blechius, Cleo! Pro plurrimi decorus mulier en Egypt, vos certus es grotesqueus en solarius!"

(Translation: "Damn, Cleo! For the most beautiful woman in Egypt, you sure are ugly in the morning.")

Of course, Cleo would also have been likely to respond:

(Loosely translated: "Talk to the hand, you backside of a horse.")

I like to look on the bright side of these things.

So, folks, I've shared my hair-dough tale-- tell this noggin-paster-- what have you done for the sake of looks or fashion that you find yourself chuckling at?



Da Old Man said...

Do we get to see a picture of the henna headed results?
Must be some hair stuff going on. Yesterday, I asked Mrs. to take out the old Wahl, and have at my hair.
It's a unique style now, I'll tell you that.

Unknown said...

Da Old Man- Erm... no.

See, here at Cabbages, we try to keep the photos of me to a minimum. This is a G-PG blog, and I don't want any kids who might stumble by having the same kind of life-affecting nightmares, as I had in watching "Poltergeist."

I do it for the love of the kids, really. :)

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

My beauty secret? = Woolite

(And avoid hot dryers at all costs!)

Unknown said...

Olga- Well, absolutely-- a bra needs to take care of herself properly, doesn't she? And a dryer can be a life-or-death situation!

Anonymous said...

Very impressive, Latin...

but that's a horse? It looks more like a dog. Hey, I'm not a great drawer either. I'm just sayin'. ;)

Unknown said...

Unfinished Dude- Those are ANCIENT Egyptian hieroglyphs (drawn fresh this morning)! Horses LOOKED like dogs then... And were drawn in MSWord.... And,um, had no manes or hooves.

Plus, the Egyptians had a LOT of other more important things to do with their time -- like hefting giant blocks into place, and pulling people's brains out through their nostrils-- than to be worried about their horse art quality! :)

As an educated man, one would think you would KNOW this. (snicker)

Anonymous said...

There's a first time for everything !

Henna is extremely popular among Indians. Besides colouring their hair, they do it because it's cooling and the left overs can be a great excuse for tattooing hands and feet - and that is always fun if you have a henna party !

So find your self a south-asian friend who's into henna tattooing, you won't regret it - Where else can you get your hair coloured, get tattooed and gossip at the same time ?

My parents have been pasting their hair - and dad his beard too - with henna ever since I can remember.
Now that Dad's got a lot more white hair, the red immediately shows. We still call him "Cartoon" (out of habit maybe) whenever he pastes himself !

I did it too once and slept with it overnight !

The thing I hate about henna is it flakes off so you gotta be still. And then there's the washing off !

I used to put purple on my hair back in college - trying to be funky. But because I've dark air, it only shone under certain light - which I thought was so cool !

Anonymous said...

Jaffer- It was actually a nice lady I know who was originally from India who'd suggested it. I wouldn't have thought to try it if it weren't for her.

As for washing it out, it really wasn't any more difficult than regular hair dye-- just a bit... planty. :)

I think you need to show us pics of you with the purple hair! :)

Shieldmaiden96 said...

My favorite part of the henna experience is how your hair smells like, to use a British term, 'fag ends' for a week. Fag ends and teabags. Perhaps damp teabags stored in a used ashtray.

I had hair halfway down my back when I used this stuff. It was a science project, lemme tell ya.

Unknown said...

ShieldMaiden- Heh, there is a sort of smoky-leafy-tea smell to it, though I've washed it so many times at this point, it doesn't bother me.

With waist-long hair, though, I can't imagine how difficult that had to have been to do. I still could have done a better job and mine is only a little longer than shoulder length.

ReformingGeek said...

Wow! Good Luck! I don't think I'm brave enough to try the henna!

My hairstylist recently got carried away with her thinning shears but my hair usually has a wavy life of its on with lots of frizz and sticks out all over the place. So I don't go anywhere without my ceramic curling irons (yes, more than one).

Check out my poop/pop quiz today and win fabulous prizes! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Definitely one of the more interesting accounts of Henna-ing which I've read.

Really, that was a horse? I had no idea they were so doggy back in ancient Egypt. Funny what they don't teach you in school...or Bugs Bunny cartoons.

I'm sure you look lovely now.

Unknown said...

Reforming Geek- A good curling iron can be worth its weight in gold, that's fer sure. :)

Greg- Heh, yes-- didn't you know about the tiny dog-horses of Alexandria? Gosh, and you call yourself educated! (snicker)

Unknown said...

My mother always used henna (before she went blond). I can remember her doing it :O) I also used it once, but only as a conditioner really. It came in a tub ready made, for this purpose. It's a great conditioner!

The worst thing I've done (which was quite normal back in the sixties) was to sleep every night in rollers. I would wake up in agony, with dents in my head and sometimes the pins all but went right through my scalp!

Babs (Beetle) said...

Sorry, Sukie is me really :O)

Unknown said...

Sukie/Babs- Heh- Always good to keep me on my toes. :)

Ah, the rollers and pins-- yes! One of my friend's moms STILL sleeps on those rollers. I remember doing those foam ones as a kid myself, and not sleeping very well on them. Or waking up to find one roller unrolled and in my bed. Meaning one big section of hair NOT curly, on an otherwise curly -do.

Anonymous said...

Oh I wish I had even "taken" pictures of my purplish hair ! But I don't think it'd be noticable - unless it was a very good camera and the lighting was just right !

Oh and I looked very very different back then - here's a picture.

Unknown said...

Jaffer- Great pic--you look like you all are up to something and having a great time!

Chaotically Calm said...

I learn something new everyday. Never knew you could use henna to color your hair. My hair stylist said I'm not allowed to do anything outside of wash and blow dry my own tresses so I can't try this. Also I am a total goof when it comes to beauty rituals and nearly took my eye out this weekend tweezing my eyebrows.

Unknown said...

ChaoticallyCalm- Oh MY-- well, then put the tweezers down, Faith-- step AWAY from the tweezers!

Based on that, I guess you might end up inadvertently very orange-stained from the henna-- and we wouldn't want that. :)

Melanie said...

Well, I've always wanted to try henna, but after reading this my enthusiasm has sort of--- dyed.

I had my hair colored at the beauty shop years ago, two shade of red and one shade of blonde and hundreds of little sheets of tinfoil weighting down my head. I'm sure I could have picked up signals from distant satellites if they'd have stood me out on the sidewalk.

My current beautician is a beauty school student and I'm letting her have a go at coloring my hair over Thanksgiving break. Hopefully no tin foil will be harmed!

Karin Mitchell said...

Anyone know what henna does to blonde hair?
I think eye lash curling is pretty f-ed up. I do it most days when I put mascara on. I had dream once that the eyelash curler congealed to my eyelashes and pulled them all out. I stopped for a few years. But now I'm back on the self-torture.

Erika Jean said...

never knew about henna for hair coloring but it makes sense! I want to see a before/after picture!!

Unknown said...

Melanie- Well, sounds like you should be getting in the Thanksgiving Day parade-- and, you know, any local TV stations-- really well. So that's something to look forward to.

SwedishSkier- Those things do kind of HURT don't they? And for me, I never saw a difference in the curl of my eyelashes afterwards-- though maybe my eyes were watering too much from the pain to notice. Henna's supposed to make blond hair (or gray hair) a lighter red. Lucille Ball, for instance, was originally a blond, apparently.

Erika- We'll see if I'm brave enough to do that. I try to keep pics of me to a minimum on here, though. I only look halfway decent in photos when all the planets are in alignment and, I don't know, the seventh son of the seventh son goes out for General Tsos or something. :)

Karen said...

do you remember a number of years ago, there was this Henna Shampoo that supposedly made your brown hair explode with gorgeous hightlights? I used that stuff for MONTHS with never a highlight to be seen. I get my eyebrows waxed, because it would take me 3 days of non-stop plucking to tame the hairy beasties!

Unknown said...

Karen- You know, I was thinking about that shampoo just yesterday and for the life of me I CANNOT remember its name. I used it, too. And my hair never did get gorgeous red highlights, just split ends.

But seeing as you seem to have to keep henna on for 2-4 hours or more, there's no way that shampoo ever would have worked. We were gypped, Karen. Totally gypped. :)

Le-Chat said...

Hey Jenn, believe it or not, a while ago I found two unused packs in the t... you know where. One purple, one brown/red. Still have one chemical treatment left, so I haven't tried yet, but I'm scared of colouring my face and neck too! I remember a friend in school always coming with red hands after she caked her hair. I have such short hair it would be impossible to hide!

Anonymous said...

I've thought about using henna, but in the end the only hair dye I've used is the temporary 'wash in, wash out' sort.

Other than that, I go to the hairdressers to get it coloured. That way I have someone to blame if it goes wrong! ;)

So. How did it turn out?

Unknown said...

Le-Chat- The trick is to wear gloves when you do it. It stains the hands really easily, though not other areas of the skin so quickly. I wore gloves and I'm not stained from it. You just have to wipe off the areas it touches, and you'll be okay.

Jay- It's pretty good-- I like the shade and how my hair feels, I just think I need to do my roots better. It's a little different process, so I got confused and wasn't as thorough as I normally am. But apparently you can do it as often as you like-- unlike regular dye-- so that's a plus.

Sujatha said...

Glad to see you took my advice, after was my advice, wasn't it?

The roots are the most difficult part, definitely. I'd try mixing up a tiny batch with a little extra water (a watery paint like consistency) and 'painting' it on the roots to see if it catches.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:

"We rip out hair by the roots here but plant new ones there..."

I am, for no personal reason whatsoever, mildly interested in how one goes about planting new ones... you feel a draft, or is it just me?

Anonymous said...

Sujatha- Heh, yes, it was you. Quite a while back in the life of this blog, when I was lamenting some gray. :) I will give it a second shot-- thanks.

DeadRooster- Well, um, maybe that draft is just from the Flo-Bee-- what do you think? :)

eve cleveland said...

Bein' a practically natural redhead my own self, I will say that henna, messy as it is...lasts the longest.

Unknown said...

Eve- I look forward to it! We'll see if I freak out my hairdresser. :)