After watching and reading a lot about dyeing hair with henna, I’ve got very much inspired to write my own little essay upon the topic. So a big thank you for everyone writing, researching uploading, and publishing, you really made me go.
For a start, I have been using henna for a few years now with a definite success. I started with the traditional powder, what I luckily found in the Turkish off licence downstairs. (Londoners, you know what I’m talking about.) This is the object, (the picture is quite lame but you get the gist) and I was very happy with it indeed. Details and methods later. This was perfect for my reddish needs, and done the job excellently, although after a while I was longing for some more darkness, closer to my original tone. After looking into how to add indigo into my practice I got totally confused, and was a bit turn down by the fact that I actually have to henna my hair first and then apply the indigo. It perfectly makes sense, however I could not see myself spending that amount of time with my hair. Then came the LUSH henna bar into frame. Before anyone would accuse me hiding advertisement, it is not the case at all, although I’m a huge Lush fan. It’s just basically another method with another product out there.
I found these lovely items in the Lush paper around Christmas, looking for gifts for my sister. They have four variants of shade pressed into blocks like giant chocolate bars. I got the Caca Brun (why, oh why this name???? – means poo in Hungarian. And French. And in many other languages) as I wanted to get rid of the redness at the end of my hair, and wanted to get back to my original hair colour with some warm upper tones. It already contains the indigo, what is exactly what I wanted. I got on the website for more wisdom, and there’s indeed a very useful tutorial: https://www.lush.co.uk/content/view/750
Furthermore to this, I would like to share my experience and little tricks in the followings. Firstly, as I never had my hair dyed with chemicals or anything before, when I first tried henna, I was totally convinced that it goes on wet hair. I was enlightened later, that it should go on dry hair, but I stick with my version. Why? Because for me it was logical if all the conditioners and treatments go on wet hair so does henna, as it’s also famous for it’s nourishing properties. Besides, wet hair is more sensitive, therefore I thought the colour penetrates better. This is only my theory tho, but it worked for me perfectly. I’ve always reached the best shades I’ve ever imagined.
So I washed my hair, rubbed it towel dry. Cut the henna brick into squares and mixed it with hot water, keeping above boiling water to melt. Just like in the video. It smells like freshly cut hay. If this shade of green had any smell at all, it would be like this. I like to have my henna a bit thicker, like a brawny paste, whisking it like if you were making whipped cream. As you can see the fork happily stands in the mousse. I always love to add some extras to my mixture so did this time: this super Moroccan-argan oil, (a teaspoonful will be enough) some rose oil drops (6-8) and a spoonful of organic honey (manuka) all went in. The honey will help the colour to develop, full of vitamins and has some nice antibacterial properties good for the scalp. Stirred it well, and at the end, there was a mud-like, coherent paste, ready to go.
Next I put my oldest teeshirt on, and headed to the bathroom. But before anything, here’s a picture of my hair before the treatment.On the second image you can see the reddish ends from a previous (long time ago) henna action. I divided my hair horisontally and tied up the upper part. I got my Vaseline lip balm and applied on my skin around the hairline; on my forehead, ears, neck, etc. This will prevent the henna leaving marks on your skin, what can easily happen otherwise. If you don’t have Vaseline, never mind, any thick cream would do, I also used Nivea before. After this, I pulled on my favourite yellow rubber gloves and dived into the paste. Started from the back of my neck I gradually built it up around my head. If you do this on wet hair, like me, the little thicker consistency comes very handy as it stays on your hair, easy to work it in and leaves less mess. Not saying that it isn’t dropping on the floor at all, but definitely less problematic. When I finished with the lower part of my head, undid the upper part and continued with the application. You always go from the roots towards the ends. If you have enough henna on your hair, start to massage it into your scalp, work it in the roots all around your head. Make sure that the ends and around the hairline is covered properly. When all your hair comes together to a big green mass, twist it and stick the end to the top of your head. I used the whole block so I had a good handful of paste left at the bottom of the bowl. I used it to apply an extra layer and secure the helmet-like construction. That’s how it looks like after cleaning the excess drops from my skin around. After this I ran to clean and wash up everything contacted with henna. Then nothing left, but waiting. Luckily the outer layer of the “helmet” dried out after an hour, so it wasn’t staining any more. It was very heavy tho, and I couldn’t wait to wash it off. After having it on my head for 7.5 hours, I had enough and occupied the bathroom once again. I put my washing basket to the bathtub, what doesn’t have holes on it and it’s more like a big wide bucket. Alternatively, of course, you can use any bucket like object as long as its big enough. I bent over the side of bath above the plastic bowl and started to shower off the henna. When it was full, I grabbed it, and poured the content down the toilet. I repeated this step once more, until the majority of the henna got out of my hair. I did this to prevent my bath of stains and possible blockage. (Henna usually doesn’t block anything, its just my bath.) There will be stains either way, but with this method, much less and easier to remove.
Then I applied shampoo a couple of times until my hair was nice and clean. Dried it, and tadah, the first result: As indigo needs a couple of days to develop, this is, of course not the final colour, but the whole appearance of the hair is more unified then before.
Here are some more from 2 days later: (Sleepy face :D ) However the whole colouring thing is not that spectacular, you would say, it’s clearly visible that the colour is more coherent, deeper and warmer than before. Even a bit darker, like some nice coffee. (The lighting on the pictures isn’t perfect either as it was a rainy, gray day.) That’s exactly what I wanted, my hair is back to its original colour with a bit of an extra warmth and darkness, feeling supersoft and healthy.
Regarding to these, I would say, these henna blocks are nice, reliable products, especially if you are going for the dark version. Having the indigo mixed in, it’s priceless. Next time I will go for half bar of Caca Brun and half Caca Noir mix. ;)
With the Powder
After all, here shall come my “secret” recipe with the traditional henna powder (see first picture) to achieve beautiful, warm reddish tone. Get approximately 400-500g henna powder if you have similarly long hair like mine. Add some lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, 2 tblspn of honey, aloe vera gel and mix it. Boil 4 bags of black tea in approx 250-300ml water for 15 mins. Pour it gradually to the mixture. (The amount of these acidic liquids may vary, anything is good at hand, but you will need either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar in it.) Stir it well, and when it cooled down a bit (hand warm) add an egg (organic or free range). You can leave this paste in the fridge overnight, but make sure warm it up nicely and add the egg before you apply it onto your hair.
The application method is the same as above, although at the end you have to wrap your cling film around your hair, and pull an old hat on top to maintain heat. Make sure you cream your skin well, as this version stains more because of the acidic components. Stay in it as long as it’s comfortable. The longer the better, although it can have the tendency to melt.
I really hope, that I could help with this little post. Please note, that colour develops as you apply henna more. It’s said to repeat the treatment once a week if you want a very dramatic result. Also if you have curly hair, henna tend to have straightening properties on the long run, so after a lot of use your hair can loose it’s curliness. I can tell it is true by my own experience as I had pretty wavy hair before i started to use henna. Although I have no information on very curly or African hair.
That’s it for now, thanks for reading!
Written by Terezia Abraham