hair color- the 50’s style!

If you are a Kurdish girl reading this blog you probably think I am out of my mind. If you are someone from any other part of the world please take note that this entry does not in any way reflect the ideas, values or beliefs of all Kurdish girls (It sounds like a big warning, but this is just a kind note for you to keep in mind).

I am not a girl who has a new-look 12 times a year, once every four weeks, as a matter of fact I do not have a new-look even once a year, so the idea of changing my hair colour – a single tone – was a revolution to me.

You see, modern day Kurdish girls, in particular those living in the cities have a passion for beautifying themselves (first on the list is hair-color and makeup!). A close female friend* kindly noted to me “since the first day of Uni up to graduation day you looked exactly the same,” I must say she was right.

Once, not too long ago, I visited a village in Mergasoor – I was amazed by the long, healthy and beautiful coloured hair of the stunning girls in the village. With my infinite complements they insisted to give me the magic- Khana! (Or Henna in Arabic)

Traditionally, (like in the era of my grand parents) Khana was probably the only thing they had to color their hair with at the time. It is all natural. So I went under their hands [my new friends in the village] in less than 30 minutes my head was tied with a few plastic bags and a scarf and I was told to sleep with it till the next morning. The next day they washed it off over the sink and I was ‘ready to go.’

I must say I liked the result – because there was not much of a difference to how it originally was.

Hence, months later, after the very positive complement of the good friend! I decided to put Khana on at home.

So here is how it went:

WARNING: Please do not try this at home (unless you have an expert) it can otherwise be dangerous, smelly, dirty and suicidal. It is best if these procedures were not undertaken in the presence of a mother who nags over a speck of dust on the table.

Make sure you save the entire week’s newspapers to spread on the bathroom floors, have plenty of plastic bags at hand and Good-Luck!

I remember the girl in the village mixed water with the sand-like Khana until it became almost like runny mud, so I did the same, except it was too hard, so I added more water – a little more than more – so it became too runny (of course you must knead it like dough). Wearing gloves is a MUST – unless you are looking for a bright orange hand.

Another good advice from the experienced (that’s me!): normal plastic gloves you find in hair dye packages will not work. So I went for the tough plastic gloves that are designed for dishwashing.

Kneading is the fun part, the difficulty is when you must rub or put the chunks of runny mud-like Khana onto your hair. I made my attempt.

It is best to wear the oldest shirt you have, because the chances are that you won’t be able to wear it again. It is difficult if you do not have a volunteer to help. As one strand of hair is put up another goes down, I still have not figured out how the girl did it the first time.

You are supposed to sleep with the Khana on your head overnight. Put it on, then put lots of plastic bags around your head, then cover it up with a scarf (tightly!) then … just…. Try to sleep!

As for the smell – I do not think any 21st Century girl would think it is a complement if her father asked her to sit next to him because she smells like his mother back in the day.

Just for your information among the new generation Khana is considered so not cool that even if you request from some of the hair salons they will not agree to put it on your hair.

What happened to natural remedies? natural beauty care? but saying it to my senseless self – what happened to having natural hair color? I guess peer-pressure works, even when you are almost 21.

The point of this blog is that sometimes we ‘develop’ and ‘modernize’ in ways that are not necessarily beneficial. So what if Khana is an old way of changing your hair color? So what if your grandmother used it? So what if it gets you down and dirty? It is best if certain things are just left the traditional way.

If you wish to give Khana a go, please do not hesitate to write a comment or inbox me… because trust me “let experience speak!”

I did take SO MANY pictures, I knew I had to write about it, but because of the flash the color was just not right for this blog – I am sure you would not want to see it –

* Yes you know who you are!! S.I.

4 thoughts on “hair color- the 50’s style!

Add yours

  1. I used henne and boy it will not go out of the hair and for improved structure and added shine that the established henna users have to make atleast 10 applications, Its alot of work and the smell and headache due to the heavy dough is wow, hope it goes better for you then me..Good Luck!


  2. is strange that in kurdistan it is seen as undesirable to dye your hair with henna while in the west, it has become fashionable to dye it brown to black with khana. u can buy it ready made in a box and simply apply the instructions or you just purchase henna from asian or arabic market and do it yourself. in oder to make your hair black you have to add indigo to the mix. however Khanna does DRY OUT your hair, so i would advise apply some mostorizing cure on your hair atleast once a month, so it doesnt dry out and become broken.
    and if you want blond hair, you just dye your hair with the sister plant of khana, the cassia (?) (i think thats how its spelt).
    i dont think henna is more complicated then the modern hair dyes. there too one must watch out that you dont get it on your tshirt. the shirt will be ruined as well!
    so Really i think it is strange that kurdish girls would rather dye their hair with the chemicals taht are produced in the labortory then the natural way. is there any reason for that???


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