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4b henna. before & after

rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
I've been wearing my hair natural for years and am still learning what works for me.

My hair is prematurely gray. I wore it that way for about a year but grew weary of people assuming I was older than my late twenties and blatantly staring. I suppose an afro is one thing, but a gray one is too much for pedestrians.
I refuse to use hair dye so I tried henna & indigo for the first time. The process was easier than I expected.

I just randomly sectioned my hair to keep it contained and untangled. The first two are before photos, the last two are after. I anticipated an orange disaster with all that gray. But I think it works.

Still, I look forward to the day when my hair is a uniform salt color (a-la Claire Huxtable's mom on the Cosby Show...yeah, google that one kids).

Comments

  • MsCurlyBellaMsCurlyBella Posts: 45Registered Users
    Great job! It covered the gray's very nicely!
  • dearheart15dearheart15 Posts: 177Registered Users
    Great results! Do you plan to henna frequently?
    last perm ~ late May 2009
    BC'd ~ July 1, 2009
    fotki ~ last updated 2/2011
  • AllyTAllyT Posts: 613Registered Users
    rakakan wrote: »
    I've been wearing my hair natural for years and am still learning what works for me.

    My hair is prematurely gray. I wore it that way for about a year but grew weary of people assuming I was older than my late twenties and blatantly staring. I suppose an afro is one thing, but a gray one is too much for pedestrians.
    I refuse to use hair dye so I tried henna & indigo for the first time. The process was easier than I expected.

    Very nice results. How long did you have to leave it on? My hair is hennaed, and the henna did make my hair reddish which I want to get rid of. I'm afraid I'll have to use indigo to do it because hair color doesn't take well to hennaed hair (or so I've heard). Can indigo be applied alone? Where did you get your products? Thanks!
  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    Thanks for the encouragement/compliments everyone!

    @dearheart15, I'd planned to henna maybe once every 6 weeks. I like the way it makes my hair feel.
    However, I am struggling with how to find my natural curl or zigzag or whatever shape my hair is prepared to take. What little curls or naps I do have don't clump together with any consistency. Tends to be fluffy/straight like don king or random tight naps like kunte kinte. Hoping to find advice on products/routines here on the forum!
    AllyT wrote: »
    Very nice results. How long did you have to leave it on? My hair is hennaed, and the henna did make my hair reddish which I want to get rid of. I'm afraid I'll have to use indigo to do it because hair color doesn't take well to hennaed hair (or so I've heard). Can indigo be applied alone? Where did you get your products? Thanks!

    @AllyT, Yup, you can use indigo alone. It will generally dye your hair jet black or blue/black.
    I used an indigo/henna mix, 2 parts indigo & 1 part henna in order to get a more brown result. I left it on for 2 hours. I read that most people make the mistake of leaving it on too long, which yields a very red color. Indigo dye releases faster than henna, so the first 2 hours the indigo is really working to dye your hair dark. Then, indigo rapidly breaks down and loses effectiveness. At that point, only the henna is active. So, beyond the first two hours, you're just dying your hair red.

    Try the "henna for hair" forum. There's lots of info there. I got my products from mehandi. The finely sifted henna for "african hair" was surprisingly easy to rinse out.
  • EkaetteEkaette Posts: 356Registered Users
    Oh wow it looks super moisturized in the afters
    event.png

    4b natural
  • AllyTAllyT Posts: 613Registered Users
    Thanks for the info. I think the henna I have is mehandi.
  • QVCDivaQVCDiva Posts: 1,329Registered Users
    You did a great job!
    Last Relaxer: 09/19/08
    BC: 01/30/09
    Misc: 1st time going natural was '94-'98; 2nd time - '99-2003; This time I will not go back to relaxers.
    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.fotki.com%2FQVCDiva%2F" class="Popup
  • AllyTAllyT Posts: 613Registered Users
    Rakakan, are you still here??

    Did you also buy your indigo from mehandi.com? I was wrong - my henna is not mehandi. It's a different brand that I bought off Amazon.com. I'm not sure it's 100% henna, either.. I'm going to be a little more careful about what I get into if I choose to color my hair this way again.
  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    Hi AllyT

    Sorry, I haven't checked this forum in a while. I use the indigo from mehandi as well. Sounds like you might have learned the hard way to be very careful to use only body quality, finely sifted henna. Hope you had a better experience after the first time around!

    My "new" project is trying to find my natural or defined curl pattern, if I even have one. Right now, the only way I get those cute clump curls is if I braid or twist my hair. Otherwise it's a cottony, cloudy 'fro. So, I've drifted back to the forum to find a couple products that may help. We shall see.
  • oladaydreameroladaydreamer Posts: 1Registered Users
    the henna did really well on your hair.
  • P.P.P.P. Posts: 1,617Registered Users
    wow that's excellent!:hello1:
    True realism consists in revealing the surprising things
    which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.
    - Jean Cocteau

    scaled.php?server=707&filename=superwhymainimage.jpg&res=landing <---Fotki photo albums
  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    Still at it, with the henna. I rarely add indigo anymore. I do not care for the smell.

    I add alma to keep the red muted and less bright/fiery. From what I've read, the alma is helping me hold onto my curls as well.
  • belwillcoilybelwillcoily Posts: 303Registered Users
    rakakan wrote: »
    Still at it, with the henna. I rarely add indigo anymore. I do not care for the smell.

    I add alma to keep the red muted and less bright/fiery. From what I've read, the alma is helping me hold onto my curls as well.

    So...can you post some pics of your henna'd hair with the amla added? (pretty please!) :toothy4:
    :afro: Me Fascina El Pelo :afro:




    Low Porosity; Medium Strands; Dense
  • afrosheenqueenafrosheenqueen Posts: 5,400Registered Users
    Oh wow! That worked really well. Now I know indigo gives great gray coverage. Nice job!
    4a/b Texlaxed hair w/ highlights. Medium texture & high porosity.

    HG's: CJ Daily Fix, Bobeam Cheris Hibiscus shampoo bar, KC Spiral Spritz, Knot Today, CJ Rehab, KBB LL Hair Mask, Cassia, KCCC, oil blend of Avocado, Camellia, Jojoba, & Meadowfoam oils

    SL APL BSL MBL
  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    So...can you post some pics of your henna'd hair with the amla added? (pretty please!) :toothy4:

    Sorry this took so long. I stopped using alma for a bit to brighten things up. But here is my last photo with alma from Oct.
  • naturalnewbnaturalnewb Posts: 193Registered Users
    Oh wow, that looks great! I didn't realize you'd get such great gray coverage from henna. Now I'm torn...I was going to go the commercial dye route, now I might change my mind. Your color looks awesome.
  • cysycacysyca Posts: 362Registered Users
    AllyT wrote: »
    Rakakan, are you still here??

    Did you also buy your indigo from mehandi.com? I was wrong - my henna is not mehandi. It's a different brand that I bought off Amazon.com. I'm not sure it's 100% henna, either.. I'm going to be a little more careful about what I get into if I choose to color my hair this way again.

    Be careful when buying henna and make sure it's BAQ (body art quality). I buy my henna from Mehandi. I use1 part henna & 2 part indigo, mix together after the henna has set overnight. My hair came out dark brown and I love the results.
    aefbf23a-2934-7a93.jpg
    Mini Twist After Henna


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  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    Oh wow, that looks great! I didn't realize you'd get such great gray coverage from henna. Now I'm torn...I was going to go the commercial dye route, now I might change my mind. Your color looks awesome.

    Thank you!
    I'm glad I went the natural route rather than the chemical route. For me, the point of having natural hair is to have healthy hair. Chemicals just don't fit into my goal of healthy hair.

    An aside, I actually use hennasooq body art quality henna now. While mehandi is a great resource for information, the price point is one of the highest for henna. More economical options abound elsewhere.
  • Jo SomebodyJo Somebody Posts: 1,578Registered Users
    rakakan wrote: »
    So...can you post some pics of your henna'd hair with the amla added? (pretty please!) :toothy4:

    Sorry this took so long. I stopped using alma for a bit to brighten things up. But here is my last photo with alma from Oct.

    Cor blimey!!!! Your hair is LOVELY! :love6:
    My hair is in the 4s, low in porosity, high in density and coarse. :happy6:

    Love: QB - all of it, Bobeam - shampoo bars, Darcy's Botanicals - Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, Coconut Cupuacu Pomade, KBN - Shealoe Leave-in, Oyin - Juices & Berries, Kinky Curly - Knot Today, Ayurvedic treatments, my Denman and the cloud of kinky goodness on my head that I get to play with! :love8:
  • Jo SomebodyJo Somebody Posts: 1,578Registered Users
    rakakan wrote: »
    So...can you post some pics of your henna'd hair with the amla added? (pretty please!) :toothy4:

    Sorry this took so long. I stopped using alma for a bit to brighten things up. But here is my last photo with alma from Oct.

    Cor blimey!!!! Your hair is LOVELY! :love6:
    My hair is in the 4s, low in porosity, high in density and coarse. :happy6:

    Love: QB - all of it, Bobeam - shampoo bars, Darcy's Botanicals - Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, Coconut Cupuacu Pomade, KBN - Shealoe Leave-in, Oyin - Juices & Berries, Kinky Curly - Knot Today, Ayurvedic treatments, my Denman and the cloud of kinky goodness on my head that I get to play with! :love8:
  • belwillcoilybelwillcoily Posts: 303Registered Users
    rakakan wrote: »
    So...can you post some pics of your henna'd hair with the amla added? (pretty please!) :toothy4:

    Sorry this took so long. I stopped using alma for a bit to brighten things up. But here is my last photo with alma from Oct.

    Okay, so what henna/amla mix recipe did you use to get that color on your strands?

    I am heavily gray along my front hair line and am getting more and more gray all the way back through my front to crown and sides. I tried just doing henna and amla and skipping the indigo and I was unable to get that beautiful cherry-brown almost mahagony color that you have. Instead I got the icky fiery-reddish orange color deposit on my grays (see pic below).

    I used 150 grams of henna and 50 grams of amla. I mixed the henna with tea (like I always do) and added ginger and clove spice for scent purposes as well as a few drops of EO (orange and cinnamon scents). I let the henna sit overnight for dye release then added the amla the next morning. I let the henna and amla sit maybe for 30 minutes (if that) before I put it on and left it on for 4 hours.

    Pray tell me what I did wrong? I was shooting for the color you have on your tresses with the henna and amla. Now I'm sitting here with indigo so I can darken this disaster back up. I hate it and so does my hubby (and he usually has nothing bad to say about my hair)... :tongue6:

    Also, how in the HELL-O do you get this amla out of your hair? It is extremely hard for me to rinse it out of mine. :banghead:
    :afro: Me Fascina El Pelo :afro:




    Low Porosity; Medium Strands; Dense
  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    Oh no belwillcoily! That is pretty orange/coppery. I'm sorry it didn't work out the first time around.
    First, fear not. Henna gets deeper and less coppery the more you apply it.

    Second, I've read good things on the Experiences with Henna thread about the sift of Hesh alma and organic alma from hennasooq. If you order online, I'd call/email the seller and ask how finely sifted the powder is.

    Third, I actually use my alma to directly affect dye release. Alma is acidic. So, where some folks mix henna with lemon juice etc, I just mix my henna with alma and water. I believe the alma sitting in the henna overnight is key.
    Alma is a bit of a contradiction as it promotes dye release but mutes the intensity of the dye. Adding alma at the last minute is not going to mute the henna much (if at all). It will still aid in maintaining your curl pattern, though.

    Fourth, I think the ratio of henna/alma is fine. Let's assume you try letting the alma sit in the henna overnight. If the tea is acidic, you might want to try distilled water (or half tea half distilled water). You should be able to achieve that deeper mahogany color in ~3 applications over ~6 weeks.

    Fifth, I didn't bother with indigo to achieve that color. I tried indigo twice, a couple years ago. Found I didn't care for the smell, it wore off quickly and I'd be left with a more firey henna color. So, I just switched to henna and alma instead. I understand you're using indigo as a temporary fix. I initially thought indigo would give me a brunette but found I liked the alma/henna mix better.

    Good luck!
  • belwillcoilybelwillcoily Posts: 303Registered Users
    rakakan wrote: »
    Oh no belwillcoily! That is pretty orange/coppery. I'm sorry it didn't work out the first time around.
    First, fear not. Henna gets deeper and less coppery the more you apply it.

    Second, I've read good things on the Experiences with Henna thread about the sift of Hesh alma and organic alma from hennasooq. If you order online, I'd call/email the seller and ask how finely sifted the powder is.

    Third, I actually use my alma to directly affect dye release. Alma is acidic. So, where some folks mix henna with lemon juice etc, I just mix my henna with alma and water. I believe the alma sitting in the henna overnight is key.
    Alma is a bit of a contradiction as it promotes dye release but mutes the intensity of the dye. Adding alma at the last minute is not going to mute the henna much (if at all). It will still aid in maintaining your curl pattern, though.

    Fourth, I think the ratio of henna/alma is fine. Let's assume you try letting the alma sit in the henna overnight. If the tea is acidic, you might want to try distilled water (or half tea half distilled water). You should be able to achieve that deeper mahogany color in ~3 applications over ~6 weeks.

    Fifth, I didn't bother with indigo to achieve that color. I tried indigo twice, a couple years ago. Found I didn't care for the smell, it wore off quickly and I'd be left with a more firey henna color. So, I just switched to henna and alma instead. I understand you're using indigo as a temporary fix. I initially thought indigo would give me a brunette but found I liked the alma/henna mix better.

    Good luck!

    Thanks so much for your helpful reply.

    So basically I need to use the amla as the acidic agent for dye release with the henna. I think if I do that, I'll just skip the tea and use plain water for both the amla and the henna.

    The other thing I'm realizing is that I'll have to henna more frequently until I get the dark mahagony color deposit on my gray strands. Right now, I henna once a month, but if I'm reading your post correctly, I'll need to henna every two weeks for 6 weeks to get that color. Right?

    Again, thanks for your input and help. Hopefully in the future, I can post a pic with success showcased instead of an orange/coppery disaster. LOL!
    :afro: Me Fascina El Pelo :afro:




    Low Porosity; Medium Strands; Dense
  • rakakanrakakan Posts: 19Registered Users
    Thanks so much for your helpful reply.

    So basically I need to use the amla as the acidic agent for dye release with the henna. YUP I think if I do that, I'll just skip the tea and use plain water for both the amla and the henna.

    The other thing I'm realizing is that I'll have to henna more frequently until I get the dark mahagony color deposit on my gray strands. Right now, I henna once a month, but if I'm reading your post correctly, I'll need to henna every two weeks for 6 weeks to get that color. Right? Well, this is the "fast forward" schedule. Personally, I only hennaed once a month and achieved that dark color over ~6-8 months. But, if you don't wanna wait that long it won't hurt to henna more frequently to start. Once you get the color you like, you can henna less often.

    Again, thanks for your input and help. Hopefully in the future, I can post a pic with success showcased instead of an orange/coppery disaster. LOL!

    Hope you stick with it! :)