got good results for a henna newbie!

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MayaN
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got good results for a henna newbie!

This website has been such a godsend for me on my henna journey!  What a public service for health-oriented women, that it exists!  Thought I'd share my first-time experience with henna, in case it might be helpful to someone.  I also have two questions for you, at the end!

I decided to use henna because I lead an organic lifestyle now,  so I didn't want to keep using toxic chemicals on my scalp.  I was also feeling just. so. over. paying top salons hundreds of dollars to create color results that were at best unpredictable.  I wanted to take charge of my own hair by learning how to color and even trim it myself!  I liked that henna would improve the condition of my hair too, since I want to grow it longer.   

As a child I had a lovely cinnamon brown hair color, which turned a medium-dark brown by my late teens.  By the time I was 22, I already had a few grays coming in.  Over the next 3 decades (I'm 53 now),  I used box color regularly, and salon colorings when I could afford it.  I also heat styled almost every day.  All that took a toll on my hair, especially as it began to thin out a bit with age.  My hair became quite porous.  But with frequent conditioning and trims, I've managed to keep it looking healthy.

I did a LOT of research and note taking about henna, before applying it... or should I say, before my husband applied it for me just today.  He volunteered to help!  So yeah, I'm pretty sure I have the best husband in the world, or at least the very best one on my block, lol.  

I ordered my Mehandi products.  So impressed with the packaging and instructions.  I decided to mix my own henna recipe so I could fine-tune results.  I did some strand testing first, but since that's so time consuming I went more by my research on henna, cassia, indigo, amla, etc., and then just attempting to logically "think through" how it would probably turn out if I added more of one plant, less of another.  Looking at online photos and posting questions helped a lot, and so did the color chart you have.  

My overall starting color was light-medium cinnamon brown (salon created, with the assistance of bleach).  I also had 1.5 inches of gray roots (60% white, 30% medium to dark neutral brown).  My color goal with henna (after weeks of flip flopping) was finally to just achieve just a slightly more saturated and vibrant cinnamon (golden/reddish) brown, and to cover the gray.   

I knew one thing for sure.  I did not want my poor unsuspecting husband to try to attempt applying one henna mix to my roots, and another mix to the rest of my hair.  It's MUD, after all, so I (correctly!) assumed it would not be all that cooperative.  So I had the brainstorm that if I could only start out with lighter hair, hair closer to my root color, then we'd get fairly even results with just one mix.  But in the end I decided against the Color Oops haircolor remover plan, for three reasons.  1.) the strand test with henna after the use of color oops yielded splotchy results.  2.) The strand felt REALLY dry, even though my henna recipe was cassia-heavy, and even though I had used Color Oops in the past with no dryness. 3.) It dawned on me that color removal actually made little sense, since I did not even want the final result to be any lighter than the color I already had!

I experimented with adding a very low indigo ratio to my henna/cassia/amla mix, but that recipe made my roots go a very ugly greenish brown (mostly green!) with 2 hours processing time.  6 hours processing time yielded nice warm brown results at the root (since that gave the henna time to overtake the indigo, I suppose), but the rest of the strand went a bit too dark and dull for me by day 3.  My intuition just told me to avoid indigo, and that the amla would be enough to brown up the orange.

So, the recipe I finally settled on:  120g Henna (Jasmine); 120g Cassia;  40g Amla.  

I used filtered water to mix it thick, and let it sit on the counter for 14 hours, at which point the dye release seemed very good.  I let it sit on my hair for 6 hours.  That was the only part of the process I didn't like.  The mud was feeling so heavy by hour 4! 

I used the recommended RainWash on my hair first.  We sectioned and clipped up my hair and I had my husband apply a VERY thick layer to each section, being careful to sub-section each section of hair, so as to mash it into the root area too.  He really had an abundant amount of patience and tried to be as thorough as he could possibly be, given it was his first time ever doing anything remotely like this!  Normally my daughter colors my hair, but she was not available for weeks, and I wanted to finally get the henna show on the road.

Preparing and applying henna IS a bit of an ordeal, moreso than applying box color.  But, contrary to what others have shared, we did not find it stinky or messy.  We really liked the smell!  You do need to wear gloves, but you do not need to do it in your garage, or cover everything in sight with large tarps! Just sit in your bathtub on an old towel in some old clothes, and all will be fine.  To my surpise, we did not have any mess to clean up, except to throw away our gloves, and wash the henna bowl and brush.

Rinsing it out was MUCH easier than I thought!  Using a rich conditioner helped a lot.  I did not need to do the "swamp maiden" technique, and I'm very glad, since I know that would trigger my vertigo.

Results?  Well, my hair has only been dry for 3 hours now after rinsing the henna out, so I know this is not the final result but WOW.  My hair feels like silk, and has better shine.  Body and condition seem slightly improved as well.  

The overall color is almost EXACTLY what I was hoping for.  Right now it's a (barely) medium auburn, a very coppery (but not too bright) one!  It's lovely, and if it stays like this I'll be delighted, but I'll be equally happy if it deepens just a bit, as I suspect it will.     

Where my roots were almost pure white (at the front and temples) it came up the most beautiful delicate golden copper I've ever seen, seriously.  It's lighter and brighter than the lengths of my hair, but not in a glaring way at all.  I had half-expected this to happen, and I don't want to mess with it because A. I think it will mellow out a bit over time, and with the frequent root touch-ups that I plan to do, and B. Even if it doesn't mellow out much, that lil' 1.5 inches of root is just such a gorgeous shade that I'd actually like it to grow in like that, as (eventually) longer highlights, and that way no obvious root line as grays come in.   

Unfortunately, the gray root areas that were not so white ( the areas that were about 60% white / 40% medium-to-dark neutral brown ) got only fair coverage, not great... some spots look just as auburn as the lengths , but there are many little root spots where we still see the same old neutral brown and silver popping through.  My husband (who now fancies himself quite the henna expert, lol) does not think this is because of the higher % of browner hair in those areas, nor does he think the gray was just more stubborn there.  He thinks he just missed quite a few root spots, due to the hair being thicker in those areas than it is up front.  

So what should we do when it's time for a root touch-up?  Just make an effort to make smaller sections next time and try to be more meticulous about the root areas?  Or should I spot-test the recipe on the root area to see if maybe I just didn't use qite the recipe for the areas that didn't get coverage?  Any suggestions more than welcome!!! I'm fine with there being some color variation in my hair, or even a lot of variation, as my silver and silver/brown roots grow in,  but I do want those slightly browner gray roots around the side and back to get some type of reliable red or auburn coverage.      

Also, besides swearing off heat appliances (which I have already done), is there any way to prevent (or at least inhibit) freshly hennaed hair from going darker over the weeks to come?  Or any super gentle/natural way to make it go a bit lighter/brighter if it should darken up too much?   

I will never go back to chemical color.   Thank you for your kind help!!  

Maya

 

 

  

  

rchou
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Yayy!

I am so happy to hear about your great experience! Thank you for all the details!

As for roots, I'd recommend 20g each of henna and cassia, and 10g amla, or you can mix up your original quantities, and just use a small portion, and keep the rest frozen for later. Some people use an applicator brush, others like a bottle with a tip, others use the piping bags. Whatever works best for you. Try to keep it to the roots, but with your mixture, you won't have to worry about going *very* dark unless you layer it on several times and use heat.

 

Let me know if there's anything else you need! Thanks again for a wonderful update!
 

MayaN
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Last seen: 3 weeks 23 hours ago
Joined: 2017-04-16 04:10
Thanks!!

So it has been about 5 days since hennaing.  From ear-level down to the end of my hair (shoulder length) my hair color did turn a bit deeper, as expected.  It's a lovely shade of vibrant medium auburn now.  Love it.  But the top portion (the part of the hair that would be covered by a baseball cap) did not turn ANY darker at all, since day 1.    It has stubbornly remained a bright warm red, almost a saturated strawberry blonde shade, while the rest of my hair darkened!  So now the difference is quite noticeable.  

So a couple days ago, I made up a tiny batch of the root-recipe you just gave me (which has a slightly higher amla ratio than my original recipe), checking for good dye release, and then just to be extra cautious I made it into a gloss (50% recipe / 50% conditioner) and applied it only to the top of my head, hoping to get some more color depth over that area (which was lighter/grayer before hennaing).  That gloss application did nothing at all though, hah, it still looks exactly the same.  So I guess I was overly cautious, or else that whole area just really wants to stay bright!  

I don't want to involve indigo, if at all possible, since I will be needing to touch up my gray roots every 3-4 weeks, and realistically I know there's no way I'll be able to stay ONLY on the tiny re-growth area, with mud.  So I worry that with even a tiny bit of indigo in my mix, the root overlap areas will go to dark by the second or third touch-up, and then I'll have the opposite problem on my hands, which I hear would be more a vastly more difficult one to solve.  Bleach or Sun-In is not an emergency option for me, because my hair is already somewhat bleach-damaged, so I need to be super careful not to over-correct.      

So what do you think of these ideas?  Use the root recipe you gave me (full strength this time) over the lighter areas?  Or would it be better to tweak the recipe by making it less cassia, more henna? Would adding even more amla help?  I will strand test, whatever the suggestion.  The effect I need in that area is only a bit of browning or cooling of the orange, I don't need better gray coverage, the initial application covered my stubborn grays in that area really well!  

Many thanks!!

Maya 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

enissel
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Joined: 2016-09-07 09:47
Bright Roots

Hello,

I would mix up a small batch of your henna, cassia and amla mix, let the paste sit to dye release, then add the paste to 1/4 cup of conditioner. You will then apply the mixture to the areas that are still to bright. That should darken them up to match the rest of your hair. If one time does not even out the color. You can do it a second or even third time to even out the color.

MayaN
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Last seen: 3 weeks 23 hours ago
Joined: 2017-04-16 04:10
Thanks!

Thanks for the guidance! I tried it twice and it did make it a wee bit deeper/redder, but it still wasn't as brownish auburn as the rest of my hair. So I decided to (cautiously!) experiment with incorporating a small amount of indigo into the mix, just on the top of my head where the henna/cassia had come up too light and bright. I made my usual ratio of henna/cassia/amla, and let it dye release. Then I made up a Zakhara indigo  paste with salt and slightly alkaline water. I immediately added 2TBS of my indigo paste to 6TBS of the henna mixture.  The 2hr. strand test came up perfect, so I put the same recipe on the whole area that needed it, leaving it sit for two hours.  I was really nervous that it might somehow turn out ash brown or black, but the results were SO perfect! It turned out a very cinnamon (reddish gold) medium brown, same as the rest of my hair.  So I guess when I do my root touch up, I'll use my henndigo recipe on my super gray areas (top of head and temples) and my original henna/cassia/amla recipe everywhere else, where my roots are part gray part brown. Maybe my experience will help another henna newbie who is trying to achieve a uniform hair color with henna, despite being grayer in some areas than others. It's tricky! I'm glad I didn't let my fear of indigo stop me from doing a henndigo strand test, because for me the amla was not enough to mute the bright orange on my greatest areas.  Thanks again!  

enissel
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Thanks

 Great! I'm so happy you found what worked best for your hair and were able to get the results you were intending.

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