Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Iyarri Chronicles.

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees. You can check out and support her creative works on Patreon.

MY HAIR JOURNEY

Sometimes disaster is what leads us down new paths.

I wanted red hair from the moment I knew people could have red hair. While many little girls had legions of blonde dolls, mine, to a one, were gingers.

The first time I dyed my hair, its boring-seeming brown was transformed into something bright and fiery. I was in love, and hopelessly hooked. But, as I learned, nothing fades like red dye. By the time my roots needed touching up the length was faded, so I’d pull the dye through the length to refresh the patchy color.

Soon enough, the hair I had fallen in love with was no longer the hair attached to my head. After years of aggressive styling and dyeing, my hair broke off, inch by inch, from my hips all the way up to my shoulder blades. I developed a sensitivity to the chemical dyes, and each touch-up left my scalp red, irritated, and peeling. At its worst, my hair was a faded, patchy, straw-like broken mass of split ends, and my scalp was tender and red.

Distraught and despairing, I looked for a better way. Over the course of this journey I researched an immense amount about the structure of hair, how conventional treatments damage it, and how natural ingredients and unconventional care can offset that damage. I traded salon cuts for microtrimming, began to wear my hair up with sticks and forks, and began to experiment, not only with natural off-the-shelf products, but also with creating my own.

And I discovered henna. Over the next few years I consumed everything I could on the topic, learning how it worked and how to blend it with other herbs to alter the final color. Its strengthening properties held my horribly damaged hair together.

Slowly, joyfully, my hair returned to how I’d loved it best–long, healthy, and copper-orange.

My favorite products are Fire Genasi, Selkie Herbal Detangler, Freya’s Hair Salve and Aurelia’s Oil.