Stop! Henna Time

Sorry, I couldn’t resist with the title. I’m an 80’s baby and MC Hammer was the MAN growing up. I wonder what he’s up to now and if he knows his pants are coming back in style *shudders* but I digress.

I’ve went back to an oldie but goodie this past weekend, Henna! I have not used henna in my hair since I had it highlighted by my long time hair stylist friend, Latoya at Unique Touch Salon, about a year and a half ago. She did a great job (as always) and I loved it. I had a lot of fun with them:

love them in this roller set, highlights were peaking through
love them in this roller set, highlights were peaking through
And they looked great when I got my hair straightened by Gabe!
And they looked great when I got my hair straightened by Gabe!

Now since my highlights have pretty much grown out and the color has faded out I am left with blonde looking bad behaving hair, blah. I figured now would be a good time to incorporate Henna back into my routine. The highlights were lifted with bleach of course. Those portions have been stubborn to retain moisture and a decent curl. I figured henna may help my cause at least until I am brave enough to cut the remainder of my color out. I want to go back to my natural hair color.

Heres a little run down for those who are not already familiar with Henna. Henna is a natural Ayurvedic plant. It is used for a number of natural remedies for ailments. The leaves also have a lawsome molecule that give off a red-orange color stain. Because of this it can be used as a hair dye (covers grays too) and also as a natural strengthening treatment.

The leaves are dried then crushed into a fine powder. You can then mix the powder with a number of things as long as you have an acidic component like lemon juice, orange juice, or apple cider vinegar (most common mix in with the acid are water, green tea, yogurt, or a protein free conditioner) and apply it to your hair just a you would a mask. Henna strengthens the hair by depositing on the hair strands, forming a protective coating. This makes your hair stronger and less likely to break.

It is said that Henna can also elongate your curls 👀…some naturally curly girls who regularly use henna claim they have experienced this. The idea being the henna deposit on the strands causes weight therefore stretching the curl pattern. This is said to happen with continued use over time. However, I cannot vouch for that as I have not used it often enough in the past and have not experienced it so far. I HAVE experienced stronger more resilient hair!

Here is what I used for my henna mix:

200g of Jamila brand Henna **it is vital to use only body art quality henna as it is only pure henna, others may have additives**

2 1/2 cups of brewed mint tea/nettle tea blend cooled

1/2 cup lemon juice

2-3 tbs raw honey

splash of Vatika Oil

I mixed all of this together in a dark ceramic bowl with a rubber spatula. I let the henna sit overnight to allow for maximum dye release. It should look something like this:

Henna all mixed
Henna all mixed

In the morning, I covered my floors and bathroom counters with ripped trash bags (for easy clean up b/c I’m lazy but you can use old towels) to catch any drops. It’s important to do this as henna can stain. I also wore old clothes and plastic gloves.

You apply henna to dry hair. My hair was in a 3 day old twist out. I sectioned my hair in four and started painting on the henna with my gloved hands one section at a time. You want to completely cover the roots and the length of your hair. Once you are done you can either wrap your hair in saran wrap or cover with a plastic processing cap (I did both). I left the henna in my hair for 4hrs. Since it is all natural you can leave it in for as long as you’d like. I personally just wouldn’t recommend overnight as 1. it is very messy and 2. It will harden and be hella hard to wash out. You can also sit under a hooded dryer or use a heat cap to speed up the process.

half way done
half way done

I rinsed the henna out with just warm water first. Then I applied a slippery conditioner, aussie moist, to further aid the rinsing process. After this is done you are good to proceed with styling! My hair felt and looked great. The color deposit on my highlights toned the blonde down a ton which I love. Those sections are now more like a light auburn/ copper color. Blends so much better than that shocking blonde. I chose to deep condition afterwards just to put some moisture back in my hair but you def don’t have too since the henna is a treatment in itself.

Henna'd over highlights
Henna’d over highlights

So in a nutshell, I love it! The only cons to my henna process were 1. it is not readily available in the good ole sticks where I live. I have to order it. 2. I couldn’t do much to control the color. I mean you can if you’re a pro at this thing, I am not. You can use different herbs and add ins to better control the color. You can study more on that at http://www.mehandi.com or http://www.hennaforhair.com they both have awesome info 3. time consuming, don’t make plans on henna day 🙂

Pros are: 1. non toxic 2. Very easy to use 3. strengthening (great for those who are protein sensitive) 4. relatively cheap, you can also freeze any left over mix you have for the next use. 5. It can reduce shedding with continued usage (we will see about that)

So that’s my henna story in a nutshell. I am going to commit to doing henna regularly at least 1x a month and see where this journey goes. ❤ Ash

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