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my detailed experience with henna (so far, thumbs up!)

klloydmajesticklloydmajestic Posts: 166Registered Users
It's been waaaaay too long since I've posted on here! I tried henna for the first time today and I thought I would post my experience here for those who may be interested.

The Back Story
I have dyed my hair using traditional hair dye twice before (many years ago!), both were fairly traumatic for my hair. Well, a few gray hairs have started sprouting up in my naturally red hair and being that I'm only 30 I'm just not ready to part with my red! So, I began looking into ways to cover the gray without damaging my hair and staying relatively true to my natural color, all while not paying a lot of money (impossible, right?!). I was shopping at my local organic/natural foods market and I happened upon some jars of Rainbow Henna. After doing a little research I figured I'd give it a try, especially considering how inexpensive it was, relative to a visit to the salon!

The Details
I used the "medium auburn" color from the Rainbow Henna line. I did a test strand the night before on a strand behind my ear towards the nape of my neck so it would be hard to see in case things went bad. I liked it, so I planned to do my whole head the next day.

I started by washing my hair first so it can dry whatever amount it was going to dry while I prepared the henna. It was soooo weird not using conditioner!! I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter, which can be found here:How to Color and Condition with Rainbow Henna</font>
I added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and I used Red Zinger tea instead of plain boiling water so as to bring out maximum amount of red. I have less than 10% gray so I decided to forego the ACV. I made two cups of tea just in case I needed a little extra, and I'm glad I did because I ended up using almost all of it, even with the oil. The instructions on the jar itself specifies one cup of boiling water but can add more if needed. I think if I do this again I might end up using the whole two cups because the mixture ended up thickening a bit too much as it sat while I was applying it.

I used vaseline around my hairline (not a fan of that stuff!) so as not to stain my skin during the application process. I used a piece of plastic wrap torn in half to cover my ears and used a plain ponytail-band around each ear to hold it in place. Not pretty, but it does work! I sectioned my hair off to about 8-9 different twists around my head and that made the application process much more efficient for me. I just used gloved hands, no application brush. Once a section was saturated with the henna I just kind of rolled it into a bun and squished it to my scalp and it stayed. Pretty cool!

After it was all on I put on a plastic processing/shower cap and used a Gold 'n Hot conditioning heat cap on high heat at first for a couple of minutes and then turned it down to medium heat for the rest of the time.
Rinsing took much longer than I thought it would. I used a shower head with a hose with my head upside down and I thought that henna would NEVER stop coming out! I rinsed with hot water per the instructions until the water looked mostly clear, then turned the temperature down to cool and rinsed some more. Shampooed per instructions, and I did a DT right after that.

I decided I wanted to do a deep treatment right after doing the henna because of what I had read and seen on other blogs and vlogs about other curlies' experience with henna. Besides, I knew my hair wasn't going to be happy about all this shampooing! (I'm a CG-er). So, with my hair still wet I put in my usual DT product (SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque), popped on another processing cap and my heating cap on medium for about 10 minutes, then low setting for about 20 minutes (for those of you who have tried this DT product and wasn't impressed, try it again, only this time with heat. It works SO much better with heat!). After that I rinsed it out (I usually don't rinse out, but I wasn't sure about how leaving it in after I had just done the henna would affect things), put in my usual styling cream (SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie... can you tell I love that line of products?!!), and allowed to air dry as usual.

Even when wet, I could already see a difference in my hair color. It looked a richer red, and no visible grays! Once it dried, the red really popped, especially in the sunlight. I do have a little more frizz than usual and it does feel a little on the crunchy side but I think that's to be expected considering all the "attention" my hair got today. Overall, I'm pleased with the results. So, a summary!

-all natural, no chemicals
-enhanced my natural hair color instead of changing it, while eliminating the grays
-the smell, although not very pleasant to me, is still far better than standard hair color treatments
-less mess than I was expecting (preparation was key! with practice I think it will be even less messy)
-good for hair(?) (have read elsewhere that it is conditioning and good for hair, but I haven't had it long enough to really tell yet if it's making MY hair better

-time consuming: it took nearly 4 hours in all including the DT, and although with practice I'm sure I'll be able to get a little faster at it, that's still a lot of time!
-lots of water to rinse it out/wash it out

Bottom line: will I do it again?
Probably! :)

Thanks for reading. I hope this is helpful to you! Let me know what you think!
P.S. I uploaded a couple before and after shots to my Fotki page, just use the password in my signature. I might post some more pics later this week to show the color better if I get a chance!
3b, CG method
BC 6 February 2016 and growing out. . . again!


  • SusieSuzeSusieSuze Posts: 524Registered Users
    I just add strong black tea to my henna powder, let it pigment release, portion it out and freeze it for later-- which is ready to go, just thaw in microwave.

    I don't bother with anything else.

    I let it process for 2 hours max. Even 1.5 hours has worked for me great.

    Turns out amazing every time.
  • klloydmajesticklloydmajestic Posts: 166Registered Users
    Susiesuze, do you find it more brown with using the coffee? It says in the instructions to use coffee when applying to gray hair and I was concerned about it turning out more brown than red. I don't have much gray right now but it is definitely in my future! TIA :)
    3b, CG method
    BC 6 February 2016 and growing out. . . again!
  • SusieSuzeSusieSuze Posts: 524Registered Users
    I've never used coffee. Just tea.
    Coffee and tea couldn't possibly stain the hair much at all and if there is a bit of stain, would you think it would last?

    Has anyone been using coffee or tea on their own to colour hair?

    The reason henna stains hair is that the pigment binds with your hair protein. It becomes part of the hair. Coffee and tea do not do this- otherwise wouldn't we be using it to colour hair already?
    It will be very bright orange at first on white hair. Then it oxidizes and gets darker over a day or two.

    If you want brown and want to stick to natural products you have to use indigo with your henna.
  • NoumenonNoumenon Posts: 86Registered Users
    SusieSuze wrote: »

    Has anyone been using coffee or tea on their own to colour hair?


    I make a strong jug of coffee, put it in the pot with a very large splash of red wine, pop in 2 chopped beetroots, plop in some curry, paprika, camomile tea bags and some red cabbage if i've got it. Boil it all up, let it sit then strain and add it to my henna with some sugar =D
    Modified CG since 8/12
    Hair: BSL, Thick, Low Porosity, Dense, 3A
    HG's: Moogoo, Ultraorganics Intense Camomile Conditioner and Clear Henna Hair Wax, Sukin Conditioners, CO, Spray Bottle, Henna
    Low-Poo: Moogoo Shampoo
    Co-Wash: Sukin Nourishing Conditioner
    LI: Sukin Moisture Restoring
    Colour: Henna
  • vjb1968vjb1968 Posts: 2Registered Users
    I mix in some hibiscus powder with my henna and mix with lemon juice. I let it sit overnight and then apply the next day. I get a nice auburn color. I love henna!
  • SusieSuzeSusieSuze Posts: 524Registered Users
    Ladies I am curious! Are you able to get permanent results with the additions you mentioned?

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