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July 17, 2006



Well Ruby, just when I have decided to let my hair continue with its greyness, you up and talk about henna. Although I have never used henna, I have had red highlights professionally put into my hair. But with the cost and upkeep, and with wanting to simplify my life, I am becoming a grey kind of gal, not in spirit, just in hair color! How does henna grow out? Any noticeable roots?

[RUBY REPLIES: Sorry, Marti--roots are roots, regardless of henna. You'll probably want to henna your roots every couple of months, depending on your "real" hair color. I do an all-over henna a couple of times a year. I wouldn't call it high maintenance.]

On another note, I have lots of sunflowers and wondered if you, China or the Merryweathers had any craft ideas for the large sunflower heads. I have several drying out and have left a few on our patio table for the squirrels to enjoy.

Formerly red headed Marti

[CHINA SAYS: I love to display dried sunflowers in the shop--those big, bright heads make a splash in a dark corner. To dry, cut (with a nice long stem) before the petals start to curl, and hang upside down in a dark place, dry and well-ventilated. The drier the better, to keep from molding. Of course, you can always roast the seeds, too.]


I loved Mistletoe Man and sure would like to hear how Aunt Velda is doing. Please keep us posted as to the birthday celebration plans for Beatrix Potter.

[CHINA SAYS: Donna brought Aunt Velda into the shop the other day. She was wearing her "I Am a Klingon" teeshirt. But ever since she found the Newton Boys' treasure in the cave--and the Indian skulls after that--Aunt Velda's been more interested in archaeology than intergalactic travel. Still, she says she's been on a couple of spaceship rides. If you ask, she'll tell you more than you want to know about it.]


Hi, Ruby! I'm a big fan of the Bayles books and your character in particular.

I use neutral henna, mixed with concentrated chamomile tea and a little plain yougurt, to tint my blonde/grey hair about every two months. I buy the henna in bulk and the chamomile in teabags from my local heath food store. I make up the tea in advance by letting the bags soak overnight (starting with boiling water, of course); I make a few cups at a time and freeze it in ice cube trays for future use.

When I'm ready for a treatment, I shampoo and rinse with plain water. I mix some thawed chamomile with henna powder and yogurt to produce a moderately thick mix. I slather it on my still-damp hair and scalp, comb it through to get thorough coverage, and add a paper-towel headband to catch drips. Then I use plastic wrap or a disposable shower cap, plus foil and/or a towel, to keep everything moist and warm.

I've kept it on as long as three hours when I've been working outside with no appreciable difference in effects from the "recommended" 45 minutes. It's much easier to wash out if it doesn't dry! I prefer yogurt as a moisturizing ingredient to olive oil because I found the oil a little too clingy, but people with dry hair and scalps may need that.

The nicest thing about the neutral henna is it's subtlety -- nobody's ever noticed that I've tinted my hair, it's just blonder and a little thicker, and a little more protected from sun and wind.

Dani G.

Okay,so I've heard that the red henna over gray can be rather, um..... surprising sometimes. The last time I tried a red anything on my about-half gray hair, I ended up looking like Ronald MacDonald's older sister. It was very scary. Still, all this talk makes me want to have a Henna Party. That's what Rosemary Gladstar does with her girlfriends and they just hook up the garden hose to the kitchen sink, then rinse their hair right outside in the garden! No mess in the bathroom.... a brilliant idea, no?


I have never used henna on my hair, but that might be an alternative to coloring my hair, if I ever get that gray!!*S* I just have a stray gray hair every now and then at this point. I like to perm my hair, so I have had to choose which I wanted in the past.

As for the henna body art, I have had that done on my hand. I think it is awesome. It stayed on for a couple of weeks, depending on how much you wash your hands I guess. My husband wasn't very happy with me for getting it done, but I thought it was awesome. I could be a tattoed freak if it weren't for my hubby and family!!!

Thanks for the great writing about the henna.

Liz Pudas

My mother was blonde. As a young girl in the 1930's & 40's, the Minnesota summer sun would bring out strawberry blonde highlights. Unfortunately, her father did not understand, since "Only women of ill repute henna their hair!"


I've used Henna off & on for several years, & love it! My hairdresser complains, but I don't notice a lot of difference between the colours she choses & the henna, & I enjoy using henna more! As Ruby says, 'roots are roots,' so I re-do my roots more frequently.
I really liked the link to the henna site - I just got my hair cut REALLY short -'Gamine' & mixed neutral & dark brown henna with lemon juice & a bit of honey, which I let set overnight. In the morning I added a few drops of lavender, palmarosa & hyssop Essential Oils, applied the blend, wrapped my hair with saran wrap (I've usually used large veggie bags) & left it on for ~ 3 hours, then washed out & conditioned.

Nice. A bit of colour & more shine :)

Thanks for the tips!

Kay Pruden

I'm finding the discussion of henna for the hair very interesting. Back in the 30's (I was a kid) my mother was one of those who really put down any woman that used henna on her hair---called them hussies.

At 84, I doubt I should even consider trying it, besides my husband would object mightily. When I was working, a big party was coming up so I had my hairdresser put a dark auburn rinse on my hair--looked more like henna--I loved it and had oodles of fun. Hubby sulked the whole time. TeeHee.

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