My New Obsession: Henna

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

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.

Application

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.

Deep Conditioning

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.

Benefits

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.

Conclusion

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!

Izzy Three Days Later - Final Color

xoxo

10 comments

  1. Your hair came out so beautiful! I recently did my second henna gloss and first indigo. I’ve decided to stick with glosses because the full henna is too drying.

  2. First off, I LOVE the color. It’s the perfect bright auburn with the hi/lowlights and shine.

    I have been doing henna since I did my big chop in May of this year. I know that I will never get your type of color with my naturally tar black colored hair, but the added shine, thickness and weight on my curls is worth it.

    Lastly, whenever you’re ready to purchase again, try hitting up an Indian, Turkish or Pakistani grocery store. I got my box of Hesh Mehendi today for less than $3 WITH tax.

    1. Thank you! Mine came out so vibrant b/c I had dyed my hair light-medium brown in March. And good look on the grocery store…I got my Amla from my Indian store, and the Reshma henna…but I wanted to order the Jamila (since it’s supposed to be “the best” lol and it was the 2010 batch). I’ll def get more Amla from the store though. It’s way cheaper!

  3. I ran from henna like the plague but finally went to the Indian grocery store and saw that it was only a couple of dollars so I said how bad could it be. I also did not let the dye release and only did 2 hours. Next time more releas and more tine conditing. I did read it takes 3 fo 4 apps to strt to really see it. Also the henna does rinse out quicker when you WNG more. Since alot of blacks have dark hair the red only goes so far. Glad you really like it!

  4. i’ve really been thinking about trying henna! i have a couple of bags of it sitting in one of my hair drawers, but i am too chicken and i keep trying to find scientific papers on it. I think i might give it a go in a few weeks (going on hols soon, don’t want to start something new as i am loving my new regimen right now). Maybe this will help thicken my fine hair strands and weight them down a bit.
    Your hair looks fabulous!!
    Jacky xx

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