As you know I’ve talked about hennaing my hair before here and here. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on my hair the past few days so I thought I would take the time to publicly say “Thank you!!” to everyone and to give you an update on my journey with henna, my latest recipe and some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Here’s a before photo…it’s not too bad, but I can tell the color has dulled and my grays are showing. 😉
So on MLK day I was off and had the time to henna my hair. I usually try to pick a long weekend so I can henna on Friday night/Saturday morning and then be ready for work on Monday. In the early days this was the case as there are a few days of oxidization and at that time the color isn’t as bright orange. This isn’t the case now that I’ve been hennaing for a few years.
As with any natural product each time I work with henna it’s a little different. Also the henna itself is different with each batch. I always purchase henna from Mehandi.com, this ensures I’m getting 100% pure body art quality henna and there won’t be any funny stuff added. When I began hennaing my hair a couple of years ago, I bought batch of 1000g of henna that had 3.2% lawsone content, now that is a lot of lawsone content, but I was new to henna and I wanted it to cover the gray hair and blonde really well. The 1000g box lasted 18 months and I was thrilled with the results. (I’m not seeing it on the website right now.) When I went back to the website earlier this year to order more henna (also not seeing the latest batch I purchased) I chose a lower dye content and the henna was packaged in 35g packets instead of 100g packets like the original batch.
The Mix: For the current batch of henna I mix two 35g packets in a glass mixing bowl. I then add 3/4cup of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of Paprika, 1 tablespoon of Turmeric and enough “tea”, which consists of 2 individual bags of chamomile tea and 2 cinnamon sticks boiled and then cooled slightly. Mix all these ingredients together with a wooden spoon until the henna mixture resembles the consistency of yogurt. Mixing in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon is critical to having a proper mix. If any metal comes in contact with the henna it essentially kills the henna dye and the previous time I used a metal spoon and got spotty coverage that was very dull.
Henna is so messy attempting to put it into your hair that I have never taken photos during the application process. Maybe I’ll have Caveman attempt that while I do it next time, but the best way is to have straight slightly dirty hair. Part your hair, apply is the roots making sure to saturate them. Next finger comb over a new section and keep going. Now that my hair is red all over, I don’t want to keep dying the ends so much, just give them a gloss. So once my roots are done, then I add in some conditioner – about 1/2 cup and do the remainder of my hair. Then once you have everything soaked, pile hair loosely up on your head and wrap with cling/saran wrap.
During the wait photo – I usually leave the henna on for 3 hours…
When I’m ready to rinse out, I fill my kitchen sink almost to the top with warm water. Then I lay back over it and dunk my head, using my hands to move the henna out of my hair. I have forgotten to do this important step and went straight to the shower. It is not a pretty sight, let’s just say that and move on. Really henna is a form of mud and you want to get the bulk out before getting into the shower. Once I rinse it as best as I can, I squeeze out the excess water so I can make it to the shower. Then I just shampoo as normal (you’ll be seeing orange water – rinse until clear) and condition heavily. I simply use my normal conditioner and just leave it on for a few minutes. Rinse, dry and style as normal. Adding the conditioner to the ends really helps keep your hair from drying out. The lemon juice is really hard on your hair but a necessary ingredient, so make sure to condition well.
And finally an after…
Another after – outdoors in direct sunlight
This henna experience was great!! The mix was perfect, just enough of all the ingredients and I left it sitting out for almost 24 hours. Henna needs to be left to complete its dye release for at least 8 to 12 hours, however after about 48 it starts to fade. It can be frozen and used later, I’ve had great success with this and that’s probably why the first box lasted so long. I have also heated henna up on the stove over low heat and had great success when I’m in a hurry or forgot to mix up the henna the night before. I’ve seen a YouTube video where the girl boils the henna but I wouldn’t recommend doing this as you might scald yourself.
The most awesome aspect of hennaing your hair is that it leaves your hair silky, shinny and thicker somehow. For me it also helps take the frizz out, when I have about an inch of new growth and my hair is unmanageable I know it’s time to henna again.
Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any questions, I’d love to help out.
Side note: Henna for Hair is now posting a disclaimer that essential oils and spices do not have any effect on the henna process. After hennaing my hair for a few years now, I’ve tried lots of different spices and tea combos. I can honestly say, in my humble opinion, that adding Paprika – spice form and Cinnamon – either in spice or tea form does affect the outcome of the dye. I used cloves once and all it did was gave me a headache even though normally I love the smell of cloves. I have never personally used essential oils so I can’t speak to their effect. People use them to attempt to cover the smell of henna. Because henna is a natural plant it smells like dried grass – almost like hay, so to cover the smell (its strongest when your hair is wet – otherwise you really can’t smell it) I use a conditioner with vanilla and passion flower.
Disclaimer Notice: This post is in no way paid for or sponsored by Henna for Hair, Mehandi.com, Catherine Cartwright-Jones or anyone from the Henna for Hair website. I am simply giving you the names and websites of the products I used and my experiences with them.