I started using henna powder in 2008, when the dry, desert air was destroying my long hair in a way that conditioner couldn't halt. My grey hairs were getting the worst of it, turning into unruly wires that stuck out every which way. The henna not only turned my brown+grey hair into a luscious auburn; it transformed it into glossy waves. I actually had a friend tell me that, upon meeting a stylist who had done my hair once for a concert, the stylist referred to me as "the girl with the gorgeous hair". Which shouldn't, under ordinary circumstances, be enough to identify a person but suggests just how hard the environment is on everyone's hair in these parts. Without henna, I'd be just another inverted broom straw in a crowd, I guess. :)
That being said, henna makes hair red. Permanently. I have to do my roots once a month, pulling it back into a ponytail to camouflage the new growth towards the very end of the month. And I do wait the whole month because application is a messy and time-consuming process. Here's what I do:
1) Add water to pure, BAQ (body art quality) henna powder. Mix until somewhere between the thickness of mashed potatoes and yogurt. The thicker it is, the easier to keep it on your head for hours. Let the mixed henna sit in a warmish place for at least an hour. I mix it in a plastic yogurt tub as I read somewhere that it reacts with metal.
2) Apply thickly to grown-in roots. I apply it like icing with a hair color brush or gloved fingers, so that the hair is completely coated and concealed. The thicker the paste, the more intense the color, I find. I always wear gloves for the whole application because quality henna on the skin, even for as little as a minute, will stain it orange. I wear clothes that I don't care about in case they get henna on as it can stain orange.
3) Pile and clip on top of my head. Smear any henna remaining in the yogurt tub on the surface of the piled hair. Cover with a disposable shower cap.
4) Leave on for 4 hours. Yes, 4 hours. I don't make any plans to go anywhere because it will drip down my face and neck occasionally.
5) Rinse thoroughly. I get a bottle of cheap conditioner and just glob it on my hair once I've mostly rinsed it out. The conditioner just helps to rinse the last bits of henna out. Henna can be hard to get out, especially at the scalp, so I really apply tons of conditioner, about 1 cup, combing it through before the final rinse. Rinsing takes a long time for me, at least 20 minutes, probably because my hair is very thick and long.
6) Don't wash it for a couple of days. I find that my normally quick to become greasy hair doesn't even begin to feel greasy until about day 3 after henna application so I don't have any problem not washing it for that long time.
No joke, this is a huge hair commitment, if you have hair of any considerable length. But I absolutely love my hennaed hair. As does the husband, which is also a motivator. ;)
Edit- not to be a meanie jeanie mcqueenie etc., but any negative review saying OMGARsH it's PERMANENT?! or OMG it's RED?! srsly needs to...give those 1 stars to their poor research NOT the henna. A simple google search reveals all: tis permanent, don't do if not committed to the resulting colour, strand test! Shakin my head...as my henna'd hair boings around silkily, scattering flecks of red shimmering gleaming goodness in the light..
I have used henna off and on for years. Actually everyone has already posted useful information. I wanted to say that if you have dark hair with natural or bleached highlights, henna is the perfect way to bring them out and add shine. You can do a henna 'gloss' which is milder, and that way it won't be such a BRIGHT or obvious red tinge, but you will get the benefits. Shine, strength, volume. My hair has a beautiful deep golden-auburn look, now, and all the highlights have softened so the roots don't look so stark and ugly!! I cut out the box hair dyes, and this is my recipe (for my own reference really)--for shoulder length dark hair--
>>yogurt (1 cup) or Coconut milk (canned)
>>henna (1/2 cup)
>>1/2 lemon squeezed, or less
>>hot water, coffee
(let dye release for 7 hours)
>>add 1 tspn coconut oil, 1 tspn olive oil, 1 tspn glycerin, 1 egg yolk
(some ppl add 10+ egg yolks for very long thick hair!)
Leave in for about 2 hours n 30 min
Bam! Not too red. Use a deep conditioning mask after washing out henna.
I have had luck with henna as a hair dye. It is messy, and a pain in the butt to apply, but I love the results. It tints my grays a pale orange-y tone that blends in well with my normal brunette shade. It even manages to make them look like cool high-lights. The really nice part is that it barely changes the color of my normal hair, so that grow out is only really noticeable by the roots of my grays, vs. having an inch of hair growth that is a completely different color than the rest of my hair. I like it, but I can see how it wouldn't work for everyone.
I love henna! I was really desperate for a gentler way to color my hair because i didnt know how much more abuse it would take. This stuff is a bit tricky to use &just time consuming...but w/ a bit of research totally fun & doable, heres a bit if info: http://www.primalpalate.com/blog/to-henna-or-not-to-henna-natural-hair-coloring-without-the-use-of-chemicals/ It is sort of like mushing poo in your hair but totally worth it! It dries to a crust which is uncomfortable but i bought a kit online that came with both henna &indigo as well as a shower cap. Warning tho***if u get a powder thats isnt high quality & finely ground it might clog ur drain*** I also mixed in a bit of chinese geranium oil to help the color take. I actually used both henna & indigo because i wanted to create a fade. It turned out super cute w/ blackish-brown at the roots graduating to a beautiful coppery-red as it goes down. I've gotten more compliments on the henna hair color in the last 6 months than i have in thelastlast 6 years using box dye!
I heart henna. I'm a proud and happy henna head. After 15 years of chemically butchering my hair with chemicals, my last bout being multiple bleaching/manic panic jobs, I said enough! My hair was falling out and felt like straw at its best. I tried the protein treatment, deep conditioners, oils... To no avail! I also couldn't grow long hair as a result. So after doing maniacal multi-month henna research, I decided to plunge right in. (To my family's delight---they were slightly sick of the rainbow and worried about the health of my head). I was platinum at the time and (a) didnt want fluorescent orange hair and dark roots and (b) didn't want fluorescent orange hair and dark roots, so I did two last chemical processes to get started on the right foot. Firstly, anyone knows that if you remove ALL pigment out of hair and try to put brown back in it MAY go green. So I put some orange permanent box dye in my hair. Boy was that a sight. Then, as soon as that dried, I mixed some old neutral brown permanent box dyes and slapped it on. Result: my old medium brown! It felt healthier even after those 2 box apps I kid you not. So, knowing to get pure, BAQ (body art quality) henna from a reputable source (I've used mehandi twilight but prefer henna sooq's red raj), I ordered some up. First app I mixed w lemon juice and water and dye release took an eternity. Left on hair for 6 hours. Second app I used hibiscus strong tea (shorter dye release) and left on 4. Final and third app (I'm aiming for shampoo commercial hair here), I used same as second for TWELVE hrs and let me tell u, no matter what hennaforhair tells you do NOT use lemon juice unless you want the driest hair known to mankind. Hibiscus tea was actually soothing and smoothing. Henna builds up on itself so my med brown hair is now a glorious auburn. Application is messy, it's time consuming, etc but I look at it as a fun project (mud pies!) that's an investment in the long term health of my hair. It's growing great and feels like silk. OH-- to get it out, I recommend the 'mermaid soak'. Google it. :) This is a COMMITMENT though. PERMANENT. All u can do over henna is make it darker w indigo/henna blend (hendigo). So if you're fed up w nasty chemical hair and red suits you, go fer it!!!
ALL BLOND HAIR GIRLS PLEASE READ THIS
long time I have tried all Henna receipes I used it with plain water , with yogurt, with hair oils , vinegar
I usually mix henna herbs with any of the above then leave it for a couple of hours
then put it on my hair from roots to end & for my scalp also
I have done that weekly long time ago for 2 month to get the best result
will I found my hair became stronger , more shiny & it added a red color to it
but to be honest my hair become more dry
after I had used it I made up my mind to return to blond so I put my usual hair
color & here came the desaster my hair turned to bright orang horrible color
I consulted most of hair dresser on my town they all said that they could not
color my hair blond exept after one year or at least 6 month when
my hair shaft could get red of HENNA
the only solution was to chang my hair color to brown & wait for several month
I manged to clear my hair from henna effect by using lots of mineral oil bath &
hair medicine that contains alchohol which helps hair shaft to get read of henna
so do not use this unless you want to remain red or black haired
I'm sure henna can be brilliant for some people, but I advise caution!!!
I have naturally red hair that seems to be getting more dull and brown as I get older. I've used semi permanent rinses in the past to boost the colour a bit, but I've found that once the red fades from them after a month or two you're just left with slightly darker hair.
So for me, Henna was a way to boost the brightness of my natural colour with the added benefit of it being chemical free. That was the plan, anyway.
I added a dash of vinegar to the mix, as most people/reviews suggested that a little acidity in the mix helps to 'activate' the dyeing process. I also added some clove powder which had been suggested to improve the smell. Normally I love herbal and medicinal kind of smells - but there's no two ways about it - henna smells NASTY. and your hair will retain this smell to some degree for about 2 weeks. Anyway, I just added water after that - no exact amount, just enough to get it to the right consistancy. It's kind of like mixing cornflour with water, until you get it thin enough it's REALLY hard to mix! It ends up being like goopy mud. It's much harder to apply to hair than commercial dye, because it's so gritty you can't just apply to the roots and brush through. it just doesn't work that way, so if possible have someone else apply.
I then wrapped my head in cling wrap and went about my business for a few hours.
Washing it out is also quite unpleasant. It's like trying to wash a mud helmet off your head. a mud helmet that STINKS and turns everything orange.
My results were not good. because I had previously dyed my hair (even though it was semipermanent dye, which wasn't even visible any more) The henna did not seem to stick much to the hair that had been coloured previously, meanwhile, the bottom few inches of my hair turned blindingly, fluorescently ORANGE.
It was not a good look.
I ransacked my cupboards in a panic looking for something to fix it, and found a box of chocolatey auburn semi permanent, which I promptly applied to the orange roots.
After the panicked fix, it ended up looking quite nice. however because henna is very permanent, i'm now getting regrowth and am far too scared to use it again.
MY ADVICE: if you have virgin hair and are ready for a drastic change and want to go bright orange red head, then go for it! It is a great color! but be aware that it's very permanent and the results can be very unpredictable on hair that has been colored before!
Yup, it's permanent. Really, truly permanent. I find that to be a huge advantage. No fading! Be sure you really mean it before you use henna, no matter what certain "henna" companies tell you.
The conditioning is superb. Despite knowing how lawsone molecules work, I was skeptical that henna could increase the thickness of my fine hair substantially and long-term. Sure, it feels thicker and stronger after a fresh henna, but a good deep conditioner can do that too. Would it be permanent and noticeable, was the question. Well, I'm growing my hair out and since it's in that awkward not-quite-chin-length stage I clip it back from my face. After my 5th henna I started having trouble making my hair stay in the clips because it was thicker and bouncier. Okay then!
I've hennaed repeatedly since I want a deep auburn and if possible burgundy wine shade without bright orange. 5 hennas (3 long full head hennas and 2 long root touchups with a short full head henna afterward) has gotten me pretty close. I find that it has more orange tones when it's freshly washed. whereas I see distinctly rosy, almost pink gleams on day 2 when the hair has a little natural oil back in it.
I find it to be much less expensive than high quality and gentle colorants (Goldwell et al).
I order from Henna Sooq, and their customer service and quality has always been excellent. I used Rajasthani first and then switched to Re Raj for my root touchups, since my roots are usually a coat or two behind the rest of my hair and I figured the extra lawsone would help close the gap. I mix with strong (overnight) rosehip or hibiscus tea, a spoonful of sugar, and a healthy dash of lemon juice.
I am not at all sure I believe what a certain henna company says about pure lemon juice being the only liquid that will stop your henna from fading, and I suggest you mix with a mildly to moderately acidic liquid you're comfortable with if you worry about your hair drying out.
It's kind of messy to use, can't deny that. But for several years I colored with products like Goldwell Elumen and Special Effects, and I find that a) compared to those, henna is much, much less prone to staining every little thing it even remotely brushes against for one nanosecond and b) covering your hair completely and evenly is much easier when you have a pint and a half of dye than it is when you have 6 ounces of dye. continued >>
I used to henna my hair in high school and loved the coppery red. After a few years of doing wild things with my hair, I let it grow out undyed. Liked the natural color I hadn't seen in years (sort of a coppery brown) and then about two months ago decided to try henna again. I read up on the importance of using body art quality henna, and ended up buying 500g of Sudina henna Ancient Sunrise from mehandi.com.
I have to say, I LOVE the color from it! It starts out very coppery but then oxidizes after a few days to a rich auburn on me. I get tons of compliments from friends and strangers alike on the color and it doesn't fade.
My first batch I mixed with 200g, lemon juice, orange juice, vinegar and water (just what I happened to have around. Let it sit overnight, applied in sections from back to front, wrapped in saran wrap and left on for 4 hours. I have just past shoulder length hair and had a lot left over so froze it to use again. My first batch was too thick and pasty, so yesterday when I redid the henna I added water to make it more yogurty in consistency. First time using it I rinsed (and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed) in the shower, and yesterday I filled the tub and lay down to swish my hair around and it came out much more quickly (with less splatter on my shower curtain). And my hair feels so soft while rinsing the henna out!
I use a wooden spoon as a spatula to apply with a tongue depressor to get the hair around my hairline (I'd missed a few spots at my temples the first time around), and disposable gloves. I still got a bit or staining around my hairline, but much less the second time around and ime it does fade in a couple of days. I focused on getting most of the henna on my roots for the second go but did apply it through the length because it's just easier than roots only for me. Second time around I used a plastic cap over the henna then topped that with saranwrap- easier to cover all my hair along the hairline to keep the henna moist that way.
I don't think I'll ever use anything else on my hair color-wise. Because it's a stain, your highlights stay lighter and brighter naturally so it's not a flat color at all. Did I mention the compliments I get on the color? It's been about 2 months since I first colored it and folks at work still talk about how much they love the color. It's definitely a Project to do but well worth it.
I thought I'd share another side of the story about Henna. Everyone claims it to be awesome, provide great color, as well as be a dream product for those wanting some color in their hair but fearful of damage.
While I agree Henna doesn't damage hair, I find the negatives of this product to outweigh the few positives.
The biggest negative for me was that it does NOT come off!! For those that love to change their hair colors like myself, stay away from this! The henna'd hair will not come off. Nothing you can do (I'm talking about bleaching, applying color correctors, and etc) will get rid of this strong dye.
I've dyed my hair with regular henna and Indigo henna, and even after a year and a half I don't have enough natural hair to get rid of the henna'd portions so I can dye my hair another color. It's so upsetting! :(