Growing out natural Blonde hair from Jet Black 2-step Henndigo: Update after 1 year~!

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Growing out natural Blonde hair from Jet Black 2-step Henndigo: Update after 1 year~!

Just wanted to post an update and good news! It's been one whole year - since last February - that I've been growing out my natural dark blonde hair from jet black permanent (2-step) Henndigo'd hair. I used the long process of the gradual fade-out with glosses of henna/indigo. I wanted to post my experience here in hopes of aiding in the decision of any one in a similar position.

  • First the background:

I had read enough to know that bleaching/stripping or lightening of any kind wasn't going to happen. I have actually bleached out indigo once back in high school but it was due to a whole dye catastrophe: a light/bad indigo job (which I knew nothing about and went about completely wrong) and I only had applied it that once. Needless to say my hair was very damaged and there was a pastel turquoise color about 6 inches on the tips after bleaching and adding toner. This did NOT come out! Tho I made the best of it at the time as it fit my avante garde style : )

  • Next, decisions:

So it was a while before I truly figured out just what to do! There was basically no way around some kind of awkward growth period sans cutting my hair super short : ) I have long hair that is past my bra strap and didn't wanna part with that. I researched a ton, but there isn't a WHOLE lotta info/results research out there. Still has no idea what was right for me...

I pondered going 'cold turkey' but knew that the blonde would appear super light against the even a tiny bit of root growth would appear as 'grey' from afar! However, I thought the 'Berlin' look could be kinda cool but only once the hair got past my ears...

So I seriously considered methods to the effect of 'adding in color' to my hair that would then wash out. One plan was to add this color in for many months until the roots were long enough to my liking and then stop and let it wash out and maybe add highlights at that point...say, something punk rockish like adding manic panic to my hair...burgundy or even brown...just cuz it is gentle on the hair and washes out eventually. Or, adding in 'demi' permanent washout chem color. Yes, I was willing to sacrifice a bit to at least LOOK decent!!!  And I was feeling greedy about having my blonde color growth now! But I remembered that is very drying to the hair - not to mention I really wanted to stay all natural. 

So my main goals were not only growing out my hair but maintaining healthy, natural, non-damaged hair as well.

After all this I finally settled on the long, patient journey of glossing my hair in a gradient/fade out until I felt it was gradual enough to let grow natural. I figured this would be about when the black color was down to my cheekbones/ears.

This was going to take forever it seemed. And, I admit there was much pain in 'covering' up new growth each month! 2 steps forward one step back! But in the end it was the best way for me and has let me keep my hair non-chemical damaged and healthy, and has looked the least 'stark' and awkward looking.

  • The process:

I started by glossing lightly with a mixture of henna and indigo each month. I mixed up about 60/40 henna to indigo and left on the hair about 1 hour the first month or so, then 45 minutes. So my new growth was dark brown for about an inch or so, and then a lighter brown, and lighter and lighter...and lighter

There were definately some awkward periods from about month 3-7. My jet black hair is extremely glossy and shiny, but against the glossed/natural colors whose shine was super luminous and reflective the difference was very evident in sunlight. As it grew this became more evident. My hair was definately not all one color, but it was 'good enough' for me and looked to be brunette for the most part. I received little to no comment about my hair...and I know firsthand people WILL comment on just about anything they notice that's different to no end! 

During the most awkward phase it was summer and I was tan. I couldn't wait to have my natural blonde hair as I could see how much more lightness it brought to my face but it just wasn't really there yet!

6 months in, around August my hair was grown out enough to where the light brownish glossy hair about matched the natural blonde hair root growth. I stopped glossing completely and just let the natural hair colour grow out. I was aware that the hair was less matched because the 'gradient/fade out' was longer in appearance, and the black never faded one bit...but the magic of henna is that it really does give a reflective tone. And all throughout the change was super subtle to the eye. On one hand you could see the differences, but on the other hand there was always still the appearance of uniformity, as much as could be expected. My hair was black at the bottom, but still maintained the dark brown gradient. 

  • Almost there:

About 11 months in I began honey lightening. So far it has added much shine to the new growth and the henna glossed areas. And, much to my relief, it hasn't lightened the earlier glossed/darker hair too much in contrast. At this point, the black is past my ears and lower in some areas depending on where the root starts. It definately isn't a uniform stripe like the lead singer from Berlin : )

So in a way, it could almost be considered about completely grown out. If I pull my hair back, it is all lighter hair. Still isn't all my own natural color, but a major difference and looks honey blonde. If I wanted I could pretty much cut the hair to my shoulders and layer the back and it would be gone...but I don't mind the deeper tips and like my length so I'm going to go the long route.

  • Next steps:

I've considered adding just a few 'chemical' highlights...and it would look great at this point. It's frequently tempting! But I plan to tought it out and honey lighten about 15 times total (5x's per month) until the end of March, so I can really see how my natural color is doing. I really want to be a dark blonde with a natural sheen that ONLY a natural blonde can have. I spent years as a highlighted blonde and it is pretty but I've waited this long and would love to achieve that look. It's pretty much impossible to 'add' in with chemical colors. There isn't a real substitute. Highlights at this point would prevent me from really exploring what to do with my natural more patience for me.

I do have plans to experiment with and begin using Cassia too! Before I went jet black I used Henna for a few years alternating red and moving on to dark brown with Henndigo...

Anyway, that's it. Just wanted to get this out there and hope this will help someone else in this same situation as to what is best for them. I know I researched a ton and there just wasn't a lot out there. Everyone's experience helps add to the research/results!


P.S. Henna for Hair and Long Hair Community helped a ton through my decision-making during all this. I am super grateful!

Last seen: 3 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Growing out natural Blonde hair from Jet Black 2-step ...

Kudos Oceana! I know how hard it is to be patient with this sort of transition ... I've been there :) So much better for you and hair!

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