I guess PJism is a gateway drug…because I really felt as if I have tried a plethora of products and have a pretty good idea of what I like for my Izzy…so I was like, well now what do I buy? After a bit of research, I decided that ayurvedic herbs sounded interesting for conditioners – and I mean, who doesn’t like mud in their hair? I wrote a bit ago about my cassia treatment, and LOVED it, but then read that the conditioning effects do not last as long as henna. However, henna also dyes your hair red, which turns some people off. But me, I’ve had just about every color of hair in the spectrum (I started dying my hair when I was 13, and have even had blue hair), so it’s no biggie to me. Now, the true conditioning effects of henna have been thoroughly debated; I am not a chemist, so I cannot analyze how beneficial it is to hair. However, I can say that when I dyed my hair when I had a relaxer, it always felt thicker, but also stripped (which was that bad part) – dye coats the strands of your hair, which is why it feels thicker. So, if I can thicken my strands without damaging my hair, why wouldn’t I?
Furthermore, my main problem with my hair is I have these two very fine textured spots by my temples that frizz like no other – so, I wanted to attempt to weigh them down. I highly recommend visiting Curly Nikki’s section on henna – there is a ton of info and she gives more recipes.
Important Note: If you have previously chemically treated hair (color or relaxer), you must make sure you are using BODY ART QUALITY henna. Some hennas that come in different colors are not pure and contain metallic dyes and such. If you use these on your hair, it will turn your hair green or do something uncool to it! Both of the brands I used are pure henna, and my color treated hair was fine with them.
My recipe consisted of henna (the first time I used amla too) – either Reshma or Jamila – mixed with green tea and about 2 tablespoons of honey to make the mixture smoother and to counteract dryness (frequent use of henna can dry out hair). You can also mix in other ayurvedic herbs in, or coconut/olive oil. Some people also mix in lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to increase dye release.
Did I Let My Mix Sit?
Some suggest letting the henna paste sit for HOURS in order to ensure the dye is released. The first two times I henna’ed with Reshma, I did not let my mixture sit, and saw no difference from when I let it sit for about 9 hrs with Jamila. Each time, I left the henna in my hair for 9-12 hours, so I would think that the dye would release while it’s in my hair.
Basically, I applied the henna to my hair in the same way as I used to apply relaxer; I parted my hair in four sections, then applied at the roots then smoothed the mix down my hair. However, I will say I was not as thorough with my application, because I figured the dye would sink into my hair while I let it sit. If you are new to henna or dye application, I definitely recommend putting some kind of paper down in your bathroom so you don’t get henna all over the place. But, like I said, I’ve been dying my hair for YEARS so I didn’t put anything down. When I was finished, I wrapped my head in saran wrap and went about my business (sleeping, working, cleaning, etc). I left my dye on for 9-12 hours.
Rinsing it Out
Some people fill their tubs with water to loosen the henna before getting in the shower…I’m lazy, so that’s too much work for me! I hopped right in the shower and began rinsing. It’s definitely like rinsing mud out of your hair, but I found this MUCH easier than rinsing out the cassia because I didn’t have all the twiggies and such. I cowashed my hair about 3 times while I rinsed, and it ended up taking about 20 minutes for me to be satisfied with getting all of the henna out of my hair. I looked at my drain to ensure the water was rinsing clear. I hopped out of the shower and got ready to deep condition.
Henna mimics a protein treatment, so it is very important to do a moisturizing deep condition afterwards. I used EVOO/honey, Tresemme Naturals (which has a bit of protein but not much), and Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa (also has a little protein). I thought all three did a pretty good job. I left them on for a few hours.
Did it Loosen My Hair?
Many people say that they have experienced loosening of their curl while using henna. Honestly, I haven’t seen any difference, which is fine, because that wasn’t my purpose anyway.
The biggest benefit I have seen since I started doing ayurvedic treatments is that it seems like Izzy is SO much easier to detangle! Often, I feel like my hair gets matted at the roots, which makes detangling suck, and my hair is only 5 inches long! I feared for what would happen as my hair grew. The first time I used henna, using my Denman was a BREEZE! It was awesome. Also, my hair is very shiny – which may also be a result of the brighter color – but I mean, whatever works! I’d like to wait for the color to fully oxidize (a few days) before I post pics, so stay tuned. You can see my henna’ed hair in my latest vids though.
Overall, I am really loving this treatment!!! I think the main thing people need to monitor is the dryness of their hair and scalp to ensure they don’t overdo it. I bought a bunch of henna and mehndi powder from AyurNatural Beauty so I can do more treatments. I love that the treatment is fairly cheap ($5 for a box of henna) and easy to do. I love mud. Also, for my next order I am going to order some indigo to lessen the red a little bit and see how that looks. I’m definitely a henna head now!