Starting a Henna FAQ [Cross Post]

RawrSallyRawrSally Posts: 1,388Registered Users
Okay, I know I'm not the only one that has a lot of questions about henna. And I know that despite the fact that I have been constantly researching henna for months, watching youtube videos of people using henna, using the search function on this forum to see the transformations, I still have a lot of questions. I want this thread to be a resource for people who are thinking of hennaing their hair and that want answers from people with first-hand experience, not just websites. Maybe this thread will flop, maybe it will become a great resource. I'm hoping for the latter, but I hope that anyone who has experience with henna is willing to impart her knowledge of the subject.

Okay, now for some of my questions that I've come up with while researching.

1.) How much does henna change your hair texture? How long does it last? I have hair that isn't fine, but isn't course, and solidly 3A, will I have a significant change in texture?
2.) How many grams is enough for extremely thick, slightly past shoulder length hair?
3.) What do you mix in the henna for the best results? Or what do I mix in if I don't necessarily want that massively vibrant red color? I want to be ginger, but I want it to match my pale, pale complexion.
4.) What hair products should you avoid in order to avoid henna changing color, fading, or just doing something funky in general?
5.) Will glycerin laden products affect the color at all?
6.) How do you go about storing leftover henna for touch-ups?
7.) Will stainless steel cartilage piercings get in the way of application?
8.) How long must you keep the henna on?
9.) How do root touch-ups work? How often should you touch up?
10.) Can you give your hair to Locks of Love if you have hennaed?
11.) How do you do a test sample? [I have hair that I kept when I trimmed my hair, do I mix up a big batch that I plan on using on my entire head, and just saturate those strands in a small amount, or do I buy a sample size and just make a tiny batch to test. Should I leave different samples in for different times? Will how long I leave the henna in determine how vibrant the color is?]
12.) I know where to buy henna, [mehandi], but I don't know which mix I should get. Can anyone help me out there?

I'm sorry if this is annoying, I don't mean to be, but I just have a thousand questions. I want answers from the lovely ladies on this forum, who I trust with hair related things far more than I do than random people on youtube.

Also, if you have questions about henna, ask away. I know I'm not the only one. I'm sure once some of these are answered, I'll have more to ask.

Comments

  • QtBoutiqueQtBoutique Posts: 121Registered Users
    I don't have any henna experience but I have the same questions. Hopefully we can get some answers. :happy7:

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    Check out my YouTube channel! Please and thank you! :happy7:
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    http://mylongnaturalhair.com
  • sew and sewsew and sew Posts: 3,443Registered Users
    I've been following about Henna a little bit. RCW and I think Geeky had pretty good experience based advice about it in a thread on the non hair discussion board. The fact henna is a commitment (will be that color until it simply grows out) is why I'm just going to sit tight for a little while. I've been playing around with boxed colors that are known to be the gentlest. But in a year or so I'll probably want another change that is guilt free and I might take the step then. So I hope this thread gets good input too. Maybe pm RCW and draw her attention to it. I really don't think it would be a hassle for her, she seems to like sharing what she knows about it.
    “It was only a sunny smile and little it cost in the giving but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald

    3B ■ Medium/Course ■ High Porosity
  • celeriacceleriac Posts: 9Registered Users
    I've been a lurker for ages, but just found this and might be able to help. For reference, I'm a 2C/3A who's henna'd/hendigo'd (1 and 2 step) for the better part of 5 years.


    1.) How much does henna change your hair texture? How long does it last? I have hair that isn't fine, but isn't course, and solidly 3A, will I have a significant change in texture?

    A) It's probably different for everyone, but the biggest difference I see in my *extremely* coarse, thick hair is a general smoothness, and a willingness to work with surrounding hairs to form curls which are slightly larger/looser than without henna, but with a stronger curl pattern, if that makes sense. So, the curls may be slightly diminished but they aren't as easily pulled out and overall it actually looks curlier. Nothing, but nothing, kills frizz like a henna treatment. This usually lasts 4 weeks or so. Typically by the time I'm really in need of a root touch-up I've already been made insane by my hair's return to unruliness.


    2.) How many grams is enough for extremely thick, slightly past shoulder length hair?

    A) Mine is super thick and very layered--just dusts my shoulders. I do an overnight application, so I don't worry about coating the last 2" or so and I am generally scraping the bowl with 200g total.

    3.) What do you mix in the henna for the best results? Or what do I mix in if I don't necessarily want that massively vibrant red color? I want to be ginger, but I want it to match my pale, pale complexion.

    A) Henna is not as fine tune-able as box color. You can experiment with application duration, and hennas of varying dye content, and you can add other stuff like amla and cassia to varying effect, but in the end henna can be comparatively unpredictable across both hair type and batch. As far as mixing in general, you'll need an acid for dye release (wine, lemon juice, vinegar, some people have success with just tea) and then the liquid of your choosing to mix it up for application. I use either red wine vinegar or lemon juice for dye release, and plain water for application. I add salt to indigo, thought there's no real evidence that that will help with dye uptake on hair. Pretty much nothing you can add will alter the smell, and I haven't found spices (cinnamon, clove) to be particularly useful in any respect.


    4.) What hair products should you avoid in order to avoid henna changing color, fading, or just doing something funky in general?

    A) I have not found anything that fades henna particularly well without very deliberately trying to fade it, so I would say nothing. It doesn't bleach in the sun, it's much more tenacious by mechanism than box color and, therefore, far easier (in my opinion) to live with on a daily basis.


    5.) Will glycerin laden products affect the color at all?

    A) Not to my knowledge or research. Once it's there and oxidized, it's *there*


    6.) How do you go about storing leftover henna for touch-ups?

    A) You can freeze dye-released henna, though I prefer just mixing up only as much as I need. I usually only do full-head applications every 2nd or third henna, so I just mix up a small batch for root touchups. I keep unmixed henna in the freezer.


    7.) Will stainless steel cartilage piercings get in the way of application?

    A) Not unless they're, like, so huge that you can't reach your head.


    8.) How long must you keep the henna on?

    A) Depends on several factors, including a) your color preference, b) the dye content/strength of dye release, and c) your intentions. Typically, the thicker and longer the application, the darker/more intense the color. However, this is limited by the dye content of the particular henna you're using and where you are in the dye-release continuum. If you are using a low Lawsone (dye) content henna, or if you wait until the downward curve in that henna's dye release, you can leave it on for a week and you're still only going to get results with a particular (lower) intensity.

    If you're wanting dark brown/black and are doing a 2 step process, you really only need to leave the henna on long enough to get good uptake, so that the indigo has something to bond to.

    If I'm doing straight henna, I prefer a deep burgundy color that looks deep brown, almost black in indoor light and glows ruby out of doors, So I get the highest dye content henna I can, and I typically apply at 10pm or so and leave it in overnight. If I'm 2-step hendigo'ing, I leave the henna on for about 3 hours, then do my indigo application.


    9.) How do root touch-ups work? How often should you touch up?

    A) Mix up a smaller batch, apply and leave on as usual. Touch-up as needed. With henna, especially after repeat full-length applications, you don't need to refresh the color as you would with a box dye. So I only re-henna when I can't stand my (grey) roots anymore. Every 2nd or 3rd henna, I do a 3/4 length application, just because it makes my hair shiny and smooth and kills frizz.


    10.) Can you give your hair to Locks of Love if you have hennaed?

    A) I have no idea.


    11.) How do you do a test sample? [I have hair that I kept when I trimmed my hair, do I mix up a big batch that I plan on using on my entire head, and just saturate those strands in a small amount, or do I buy a sample size and just make a tiny batch to test. Should I leave different samples in for different times? Will how long I leave the henna in determine how vibrant the color is?]

    A) Mix up a small amount, in the same proportions you plan to use for full-head application. Apply to trimmings, or hair harvested from brush, or a representative clump of hair on your head, which can be tucked away. Duration of application will affect the color, so keep track.


    12.) I know where to buy henna, [mehandi], but I don't know which mix I should get. Can anyone help me out there?

    A) Mehandi is pretty good about describing the dye content of their various hennas. if you want a more orange/ginger henna, you might look for a low to mid-range dye content henna. For deeper, darker ruby/burgundy/garnet color, look for a high Lawsone content.

    Keep in mind, however, that the color of your hair when starting will also have a profound effect. So, a blondie using a high dye content batch with long application should probably expect a very vibrant red, rather than a bright orange. Since henna cannot lighten, darker hair will yield darker results--more of a highlight--with any dye content.

    Also remember that the color you see after rinsing henna will NOT be the final color. It can take upwards of a week for the henna to fully oxidize, during which time the color can change from a vibrant orange, to a deep red. Repeated applications will darken hair. So if you're a blondie who wants to maintain a ginger-y color with henna, do not do repeated full-length applications, as it will darken considerably. Focus instead on touch-ups.

    I've also had success "removing" henna (i.e. I could lighten it about 2 levels using bleach), but attempting to remove hendigo with bleach can yield hair with a distinct blue or green tint. And the level to which you can lighten pure henna will be fairly variable, so you should not go into henna thinking you can bleach it out if you don't like it.

    Hope that helps.
  • wild~hairwild~hair Posts: 9,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    This is a good idea. I used to respond to henna threads, but I grew weary of answering the same questions over and over.

    I'll come back and fill out the questionnaire when I'm on a proper computer and can type better. :)
  • peszkandypeszkandy Posts: 5Registered Users
    Another henna question that I think would be appropriate here,

    I keep reading about using amla to help with your curls, but how much, just a little, a lot, do you mix it in with the henna or do it after?
    2c/3a
    Bra Strap Length, hoping to hit low back by the end of the year.
  • SusieSuzeSusieSuze Posts: 524Registered Users
    peszkandy wrote: »
    Another henna question that I think would be appropriate here,

    I keep reading about using amla to help with your curls, but how much, just a little, a lot, do you mix it in with the henna or do it after?

    I used a premix henna with amla and other natural herbs. My hair turned out great. I don't know what the ratio of the mix was, but since the colour turned out so rich and awesome, I can't imagine there being more than a little bit, otherwise you'd be diluting the colour deposit.
  • WurlyLoxWurlyLox Posts: 4,858Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    wild~hair wrote: »
    This is a good idea. I used to respond to henna threads, but I grew weary of answering the same questions over and over.

    I'll come back and fill out the questionnaire when I'm on a proper computer and can type better. :)


    +1 on all this


    Catherine Cartwright's free e-book on the Henna for Hair website answers a lot of these questions, and she's the expert on the subject . . . .
    2C/3A/3B - modified CG - fairly fine now, normal/low porosity/normal elasticity

    Current Main Rotation: MG217 medicated or Aim2Health 'poos for scalp, Elucence cond., Spiral Solutions Protein & Deeply Decadent Cond., CJCCCC reg or lite,CJ Pattern Pusha,, Giovanni LA Hold Hair Spritz + lots more, sporadically

    HG Method: Super Soaker + Smasters-ing, brief upside down diffusing w/360o diffuser then clips/clamps & air dry. Newly gray - stopped my henna glosses!

    www.fotki.com/auntnett

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