I’m not sure how much you know about henna, but up until about a month ago, I had no idea it was used for anything other than making pretty, intricate patterns on hands and arms. Apparently, henna is awesome for so many reasons – in particular, for your hair. For starters, it acts as a protein treatment – beefing up your strands, and ‘filling in’ the holes; it also acts as a conditioner, covers greys, and treats dandruff – what more could a lady ask for? I was convinced on the treatment front, but to be honest, was a little nervous about the colour.
See, I haven’t been super kind to my hair this summer – lots of days spent out in the sun, without a hat… (I know, I know…). My tips, which had been coloured previously, had changed to a fairly light blond. They were also getting a little crispy and weak. Now henna, pure body art quality (BAQ) henna, stains red. That’s it. That’s just what it does. If you buy henna that says it’s turning your hair brown, or blond – it’s not pure henna, and you won’t get the same benefits. I purchased Jamila pure henna after researching the best brands/batches. It’s inexpensive, and easy to work with. But the red…I was so nervous about my hair turning fire engine red. And honestly, for the first day, it was. Henna acts as a stain – if you have dark hair, there is no way it will lighten it. Usually, it turns brunettes to a deep auburn, which is what I assumed; but my blond tips definitely changed the colour of how my hair turned out. Now it looks more auburn near the roots, and red near the tips. Which is fine by me, because it looks very natural. Anyways.
This is the recipe I used – Curly Nikki is super knowledgeable, but there are a ton of options out there for people who are curious about henna. I wanted something that was conditioning, while providing all the benefits of henna. If you’re nervous about the colour, or to try it for your first time, you can significantly reduce the henna powder. I went full blast, and loved it.
My final bit of advice to people doing henna – it will oxidize after a few days. When I first rinsed the stuff out (rinse/co-wash/shampoo like CRAZY, you guys! It took me about 4 washes to remove everything), my ends were bright copper. Like, brilliant. I felt like I was glowing in the sun. After 2.5 days, it calmed down considerably to what you see in the photo above.
Other henna tips:
- It will smell sort of like grass. I don’t mind the smell, and it will go away after one or two washes.
- Have rubber gloves, and a few extra pairs lying around. Henna is messy, and it STAINS like crazy.
- Use Saran wrap to cover your head while you’re waiting for it to seep in. It’s easy to put on, easy to take off, and does the best job at keeping heat in to let the dye release.
- Have a few old towels and t-shirts that you don’t care about getting dirty. I wrapped my head in Saran wrap, then put a t-shirt over top to keep the heat in.
- You can freeze any unused henna to use at a later date. I’m going to touch up my roots next week; one box of Jamila for my (medium-thickness, medium-length hair) has lasted for a full treatment plus a root touch up. Not bad.
- If you want to make your batch more brunette, there are ways to do this; add coffee to the batch instead of green tea, or some alma.
- LAYER on the conditioner after the treatment. Your hair will feel like hay, but it will also feel strong.
Things I’ve Noticed From Henna:
- MUCH stronger hair. It doesn’t break as much, and there’s not as much hair in the shower. I’m curious to know how it will be after a few full treatments.
- Awesome auburn colour that I really like – it feels sassy!
- Hair gobbles up conditioner. I used to be able to go a few days without wetting and reapplying conditioner, but right now, it wants moisture all the time.
- This could be a side effect of the conditioner, but my hair is definitely glossy.
That’s it! Have you ever tried henna? Tell me your storiesssssss!!