Allergic to indigo; need help with henna on grays

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ruby red
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Allergic to indigo; need help with henna on grays

First of all thank you all for such a wonderful wealth of information on this site.  It has helped me and my daughter tremendously over the years, though I'm new to henna just this year.  At first I didn't think I would want to go through all the hassle each time to maintain the upkeep, because I'm a seriously low-maintainence person.  But I'm pretty hooked on it now and actually enjoy the whole process.  It's something I do just for me and the effort of it makes me feel like I care about myself

Unfortunately, I am devastated to learn that I'm allergic to indigo.  My very first foray into henna/indigo was over the Labor Day weekend.  I am at least 50-60% gray with faded brown to dark brown hair.  I'm in my 60s and in my younger days, my hair was very very dark brown.  I rarely colored it and if I did, I stayed in the browns.  And now because my hair has thinned significantly over the last several years, I don't want to use chemical dyes to cover my grays.  My daughter has henna'd her hair red off and on over the years with wonderful results.  However, I wanted to achieve my original hair color as close as possible and knew I would need both henna and indigo.

So Labor Day weekend we did my hair with a one-step application using the Mehendi kit for dark brunette for grays.  It came out more medium brown with red because I accidently washed it when I thought I was reaching for a bottle of conditioner and got shampoo instead.  But it oxidized nicely to a pretty color and others complimented it a lot.  But it wasn't what I wanted because I didn't feel like the warm color was a good match for my skintone.

So two weeks later I did a two-step process with henna for 3 hours, and henna 20%/indigo 80% for 3 hours.  That came out shockingly dark, though not black, but flat and lacking depth.  So I intentionally washed it this time---with Dawn, 3 times and left it on one time for at least 10 minutes, though the color didn't budge.  Then over the next several days my scalp and ears and back of my neck itched and burned terribly and I though it was from the Dawn.  I will say after a couple of weeks, I was very happy with the color overall.  It wasn't exactly what I was trying to achieve, but it was dark enough and the grays were covered and it matched my skin much better.  I was loving it.

Now, weekend before last (5 weeks after my 2-step application), my daughter did my roots with the same ratio of henna/indigo and I left it on for 3.5 hours and rinsed it out with conditioner because it was so matted to my head.  By that night I started itching bad enough just on my scalp that when I scratched it burned.  I came back here to the forum and read more about it and decided I should do a skin test with indigo.  Unfortunately, I had a reaction of redness and itching.  The way I did the skin test was to put indigo inside one arm and wrap it with plastic wrap and then I put indigo inside the other arm and did not wrap it.  I left both on for 3.5 hours.  Of course, the unwrapped indigo dried out and most of it fell off.  But that arm reacted too.  Not as much as the wrapped arm, but the point is there was a reaction on both.

Okay, so after this long story that got me to this point I have to say that I don't want to let my grays grow out, even if I have to be a redhead, which I love the color...it looks fabulous on my daughter!  So I would greatly appreciate any advice about how I can achieve a less warm red that is so dark that it almost looks brown using just henna alone.  And would adding amla to the henna be of use to help achieve that?  (I did not use amla with my henna/indigo mix.)  And at this point, what can I expect my roots to look like when I'm trying to achieve that color while using just henna over already dark hair?

Thank you so much for your help.

enissel
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Allergic to Indigo

Hello,

I would use Rajasthani Twilight Henna with Malluma Kristalovino or Amla as the fruit acid for dye release. The Rajasthani Twilight will be auburn on the grays and add a red highlights to the darker parts of the hair that will be seen in the sunshine. To deepen the color if it comes out to orange on the grays,  you can do a second application of henna.

ruby red
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Thanks for this information. 

Thanks for this information.  I've gotten help from some awesome ladies via email through Mehandi.  Yes, I will be using Twilight, which is what I used with indigo, but by itself this time.  I will start my henna with lemon juice Thursday morning and do a whole head application that evening when I get home from work.  Then I will sleep in it.  After a couple of weeks I will do only my roots the same way.  I'm devastated that I have to give up my dark brown, and everytime I look in the mirror I want to cry.  But if I can't be a brunette again, I'd rather see red than gray.  Thanks again.

enissel
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Thanks

Hello,

You are welcome! Feel free to contact is if you have any questions. helpdesk@mehandi.com, chat or by phone 330-673-0600 or toll free 1-855-634-2634, Monday-Friday 9am-10pm EST

MayaN
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two cents

Just to throw my two cents in... I'm not allergic to indigo but just hated working with it, and did not want to deal with the wildly unpredictable results I'd get each time, despite following website/coaching directions to the letter.  So after deciding "no more indigo for me" I was then on a quest to find another way to get my henna to go a nice medium-deep auburn on my mostly gray/partly brown roots, without layering it a zillion times.  It was suggested that I switch from Jasmine henna to Twilight and rely on either Amla or Melluma Kristolovino as the fruit acid, for that task.  Switching to Twilight helped a lot!  But I can tell you that I got very different results with each different fruit acid.   The Amla did make it go a bit darker and more coppery rather than vivid orange, so that was a plus.   The Malluma K made my roots go darker too,  darker than the Amla in fact, but I did not like the tone of the Malluma K result at all!... it was cherry-ish, oxidizing to almost burgandy.  Not a shade of red hair that occurs naturally, plus it really clashed with my warm complexion.  Luckily it was only a root-job and has since been almost totally corrected-over as I immediately switched back to Amla.  Amla (at least for me) always produces a warm (coppery) tone, it never veers cool (cherry).   So that might be some food for thought, depending on what sort of undertone you want for your red result.    

ruby red
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Update on Indigo

I wanted to update on the indigo.  As a last ditch try, I mixed a small amount of indigo with conditioner for a sample gloss to do another patch test.  I thought maybe I could do an indigo gloss over henna to stay brown and it would be okay because of the incredibly short amount of time the gloss would be left on.  But sadly, no go. :(  I left the gloss on my arm for 20 min and I still had a reaction, though I know it would be on my hair for even less time.  I've never patch tested for anything in my life and I've never been allergic to anything.  And if the itching was all there would be each time I used indigo, I would be willing to suffer it for a few days.  Unfortunately, I don't want to risk a more severe reaction in the future. :( 

I henna'd my hair last night and it's definitely red at the roots---new penny red contrasting with my already dark hair. I said before I'm super low maintenance, a.k.a. not overly concerned with my appearance.  As long as I'm clean and my clothes match, l'm good to go.  Don't need to fix my hair other than a swipe with a brush or wear makeup.  Anyway, what I'm getting at is that the contrast between the red and brown doesn’t bother me.  I know it will oxidize deeper and I can't wait to see the result.  I thought I would henna my roots in a couple of weeks, but I think I will do my whole head one more time before just keeping up with the roots.  I'm am really loving the process.  It feels so nuturing.  Hard to explain.

ruby red
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***when I say I henna'd last

***when I say I henna'd last night, I mean I slept in it for a total of ten hours---was all applied by 10 pm and started rinsing out by 8 am. :)

enissel
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Indigo Allergy

Hello,

If you do a whole head application the length will be even darker than it is now. Creating an even greater contrast between the roots and the length. If you like the ombre effect then go for it!

ruby red
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Thanks again.

Thanks again.

@MayaN, sorry I didn't see your response until just today. I definitely don't want burgundy because as you say it's not a naturally occurring hair color.  My skin is light olive, so there's some yellow undertone.  Most cool tone colors used to be better, but as I've aged some of those colors don't look as good as they did.  Now I wear a lot of black, lol.  I'd read that the lower pH fruit juices give the best oxidation hence my choice of lemon juice.  My lack of experience made me nervous about using the powdered fruit acids.  Bottom line is that I want to achieve however dark a red it takes to look almost brown.  One of these days, I may try amla when the indigo part has grown out more.  Thanks for sharing your experience with it.  That helps me a lot.

@enissel, thanks for the warning, lol.  My hair is pretty short (just to my ear lobe) and slightly layered, so the contrast should be short lived as it it won't take long to grow out the indigo.

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