Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
glossgirl
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-06-24 00:53
Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Okay, I guess my thread about my first misadventure with henna+indigo vanished with the old forum, so here I am again to get advice after my second go 'round. All my products are BAQ from Catherine.

The color didn't take AT ALL. I was going for a very dark brown on my roots-- maybe 3/4 indigo to 1/4 henna. I mixed up 100mg of indigo fresh and estimated the henna from my stock of frozen henna.

I think I did several things wrong. First, I left the mix in only 4 hours; I usually leave it in overnight.  Second, I defrosted the henna for about 10 hours, then I put it in the fridge until the next day because something came up. So I think the henna might have lost its potency. It was also really watery; much waterier than when I've used non-frozen henna.

When I mixed the indigo with water, it was about the consistency of mashed potatoes. But when I added the henna, the mix turned into thin yogurt-- maybe that's too thin?

I absolutely love the conditioning and color I get with henna on the length of my hair, but I really need to have brown on the gray clusters around my face, so I've got to make the indigo+henna work. I'm going to try again in a couple days... HELP????

Lavendark
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 2010-05-10 07:32
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Have you tried adding amla to your mix? It really helped me A LOT. I don't have any problems with indigo sticking now, and I have very resistant grey. I also wash my hair really good the day of with a clarifying shampoo, and that seems to help too.

Did you check your thawed/refrigerated henna for dye release before you mixed it with the indigo?

Carrie
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

A 2-step (henna first, followed by henna/indigo mixture) might work better for you.

I agree with Lavendark that amla could help.

Your frozen henna sounds like it was not only very dilute but probably had too many hours of standing time and had started to demise. Indigo won't stick well if there isn't a decent amount henna involved somehow (either in the mix, or bonded with your hair already from a previous henna application) so if your henna was too wimpy that might be why you didn't get good uptake from your indigo.

glossgirl
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-06-24 00:53
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Thank you both for these great replies!

I did not check my henna for dye release after I defrosted it. It had definitely released when I froze it-- in fact, the stain was great. Should I check the next time I defrost some? I still have a lot left from this batch. I bet it had started to demise because I left it out too long.

I think I was hesitant about amla for some reason I can't even remember now. I'll look into it now.

I've just read a lot of other people's experiences, and Carrie,  I think you're right, 2 steps might be the way to go. I have very dark brown but not black hair (with natural red highlights in addition to the henna) so I figure I'll do the first step with henna and the second step with maybe 3/4 indigo +1/4 henna.  Could I mix the henna with cassia? I've been considering doing that for the length of my hair, just to play with the color.

The reason I'm using indigo is that I have 2 clusters of solid gray on either side of my face. When I use pure henna, they look clownishly red and just don't blend in with either my complexion or the rest of my hair.  So my thought is to turn these clusters brown, like the rest of my hair, and then they'll be red-highlighted brown hair instead of red hair.

Despite my mishaps, I feel I'm on the right track. I get tons of compliments on the length of my hair; it's just the part around my face that needs work.

Carrie
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Yes, you can mix your henna step with cassia. If you've been around the forum a couple of years you might remember Lexie's experiments. In experiment #5 she used cassia/henna for the first step, the did a second step with cassia/indigo, and got a wonderful light golden brown. If you're interested I'll quote the text about that experiment.

Ratios and timing will matter, as always ... but this is something you can play with and perfect it over time.

glossgirl
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-06-24 00:53
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

I'm pretty new to the forums-- I've been around for about 6 months and this is only my 4th home henna experiment. (I've had several in India.) I'd love to see Lexie's experiments; I do remember seeing something about them at the old forum. That forum was a real treasure trove of info-- is it archived somewhere?

I don't want a light brown in front, so I think I'll leave out the cassia. I'm more interested in getting the golden red color on the grey strands in my length, that's my motivation for henna+cassia.

I only have these gray clusters right around my face, and one of my first realizations was that I had to stop thinking of myself as a dark-haired person and consider myself gray-haired for henna purposes. I'm young (and my premature gray started at 19) so that was a shocker to me.  The henna+indigo is only for the roots, and it really only matters for right around my face.

For the length of my hair, I'm really not taking any kind of risk with henna because it's so dark and thick, and the gray strands are so  spread out, that the exact color doesn't matter. But these clusters of gray around my face really do have to be a certain color or I just look weird.  I'm aiming to get them a convincing dark brown with red highlights, because that's my overall hair color.

Jen
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

"Should I check the next time I defrost some?"

Well it certainly wouldn't hurt, but I think the main point is that if the henna was rocking when you froze it, it should still be rocking when you thaw it. Any standing time after that runs the risk of getting closer and closer to demise. 

ACWN
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-05-08 13:33
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

glossgirl - just my 2 cents on future batches, if you havent done this already. The next time you make a big batch with the aim to freeze it for future use, remember to freeze it flat in ziplock bags. Best rule: Freeze it flat, thaw it fast (in baby bath warm water, no warmer than that).

 

Now, instead of freezing it all in one big batch, try freezing it in root-only sized bags such as sandwich or snack ziplocks. Or if you do full head apps every time, do the same thing, but only in batches big enough for your whole head. This way you grab only what you need and thaw that, and the rest stays frozen and lasts longer.

Carrie
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

^ Right, the problem was most likely that it sat for 10 hours to thaw :)  Mine thaws in 10 minutes because I do it with the method ACWN describes.

I do not have Lexie's photos but here is the text from experiment #5:

Fifth Experiment

So, since my last experiment was a failure, I'm going to try a new approach. The same ratio, but in a 2-step method. I was inspired by the ladies whose gray/white hair just refused to hold the color from the 1-step. And I figure the reason you get black with henna then indigo is because of the high dye saturation. And then someone mentioned using henna, then indigo+amla. I already feel amla strips henna, so I consider that to be using half as much henna (if so much), and then the indigo is diluted by amla. So I'm keeping the 1:2 henna:indigo ratio, but using cassia to help make it a 2-step method.

So I worked some mohair into a strand, secured it, and washed it in lukewarm, filtered water and baking soda. Then I rinsed it in cold, filtered water and set it on a sheet of Bounty.

Then I put 1/4t. henna and 1/2t. cassia in a plastic bag and added 1 1/2t. cold, filtered water to it. I mixed that well, then put the still wet strand into the bag, and sealed it.

I put the bag on a sheet of Bounty, then folded it so the bag was between 8 layers of it. I put that on the PC's system unit which was slightly warmer than lukewarm.

I checked it after 45 minutes. The bag was lukewarm, and I noticed dye release. so I left it for 3 more hours, for a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes. Then I rinsed it well in lukewarm, filtered water, and set it aside on a sheet of Bounty.

Then I put 1/2t. indigo and 1/4t. cassia in a plastic bag, added 1 1/2t. lukewarm, filtered water, and mixed it well. Then I put the still wet strand in the bag, sealed it, and put it back in the folded sheet of Bounty, back on the PC's system unit for 3 hours.

I rinsed the strand in lukewarm, filtered water. It had a little yellow-green cast at first, but it's oxidizing quickly. There's still some green, but I'm certain that will be gone within the first couple days.

 

Carrie
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

I think Lexie's post is no longer findable on our old forum but luckily she copied it to the LHC forum. If you're a member with 25 posts over there, you'll be able to see her pictures:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?p=25227&highlight=bou...

glossgirl
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-06-24 00:53
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Thank you SO much, everyone!! All of you have said things I didn't even think to consider.

I definitely froze the henna too thick. I did break it up into portions, but I just slopped it into Ziploc bags, and a big glass bowl, without trying to make the bags flat. (Is the henna in the bowl still usable? I intended that for a whole-head.)

I also didn't pay any attention to thawing times-- I'm sure the henna was dead as a doornail by the time I put it in. I figured it would take hours, not minutes, to defrost, and I didn't think it mattered, anyway.

Since the henna was dead when I used it, I'll try another 1-step henna+indigo and see where that gets me. Then, if I don't get the color I want, I'll try a 2-step, then I'll add amla. I feel like I don't want to add amla until I see what my hair does with  henna+indigo.

I like the straightening henna gives-- I think that's why I was hesitant about using amla. But if I need it to get the color right, that's fine.

I do belong to the Long Hair Forum, but I've been having access problems (is anyone else?) But I'll look up that post as soon as the server lets me.

I can't thank you all enough for your advice!!

Carrie
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

I don't know if your henna in the bowl is still alive - put a blob on your palm for a minute or five, and see if you get a light orange stain. If not, you could still use for mild conditioning if you want to but you may not get a lot of color from it.

Yeah, the LHC forum has been super slow for me lately, but it does load eventually.

glossgirl
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-06-24 00:53
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Well, I used my palm to test the henna I had frozen in the freezer, and it was deader than a doornail. It barely stained at all, and the faint color rinsed right off. The consistency seemed off, too. It was lumpy and textured when I froze it; when I took it out it was completely smooth.

I just threw it out.  My freezer door's been acting up, and I'm wondering if the dye has partially defrosted and refrozen a few times. I'm so glad people here warned me about dye demise. I'd forgotten all about that.

I read on another thread that I should put plastic wrap directly on the henna, and that might be another reason my henna demised. I put it in a glass bowl with a lid, and never thought about the air in the bowl.

So I'm mixing up some fresh henna. I'm going to use camomile tea and a little bit of either citric acid or apple cider vinegar to mix it with. (I'm allergic to citrus fruit, so lemon, etc. is out.)

I'll let it sit overnight and then mix up the indigo tomorrow right before I use it. The temperature's going to be in the 50s overnight, so I figure 8-12 hours will let the dye release.

Do I have a plan?

ACWN
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-05-08 13:33
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Please dont let it sit overnight, you cant guarantee that it will be 50 degrees out and your house may be warmer than that. Chamomile tea dye releases in about 2 hours, less if its around 80 degrees. I'm not sure how much citric acid will lengthen the dye release - maybe by a couple hours, maybe a few. Just put it in the fridge and take it out tomorrow for dye release.

 

Its also best to freeze it AFTER dye release when you mix it smooth. Dont freeze it lumpy. Freeze it a little thicker as it will come out thinner once it thaws, and you can always thicken it back up with instant pudding or cornstarch.

glossgirl
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2010-06-24 00:53
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

YIKES!! Thanks so much! Disaster averted, because I just made the tea and it's cooling. I guess I'll just either do everything tomorrow or mix it, wait for dye release tonight, and freeze it before I go to bed tonight.

It also sounds like I shouldn't bother with the citric acid? TBH, I don't totally understand why acid comes into the process at all. Does it make the eventual color richer? I know some people think acids inhibit dye release. I'm confused.

Maybe camomile tea is acidic enough? I made it very strong.

Carrie
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-04-25 16:31
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

What more acidity does is delay dye release.

There is a cool thread from 2006 on LHC where they tested lemon juice against other liquids in henna, and decided lemon juice inhibits henna dye release because that mix didn't give great color after it it had sat for only 5 hours. Compared to a water mix at 5 hours, lemon juice at 5 hours isn't very impressive ;)  but at 24 hours, lemon juice is amazing! 

What optimal acidity does is create conditions where dye release is slow enough that the lawsone has time to attach permanently with keratin in your hair. With a fast dye release, much of the lawsone is no longer available to do that by the time you get it in your hair - it attaches to other lawsone molecules, I  believe Jen said.

More acidic mixes also continue to deepen over time, getting darker and richer (and also browner). This is highly desirable for some people who want a dark, very permanent color, and not as desirable for others who want to stay light and coppery, or don't mind a bit of fading.

With citric acid, you need to be very careful to get the proportions of acid:water correct so the pH doesn't go lower than about 2 to 2.5. Unfortunately I don't have a measurement for you, but I can tell you that if you put too much citric acid in your water, dye release will not happen in any kind of reasonable timeframe - that happened to someone on the old forum.

ACWN
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-05-08 13:33
Re: Henna+Indigo: An Idiot Tries Again.

Also, chamomile tea is acidic enough on its own to cause permanent color, it doesnt darken either but I have noticed minimal fading over several months time (though this may just be me and my hair). You get dye release in 2 - 4 hours (not sure if I said this before, just woke up, but less if its warmer). You have a smaller window to put it on, but plenty of enough time to get it on and leave it on for a few hours. If you want to lengthen that window, try a small splash of apple juice (since you're allergic to citrus). Vinegar would work, but it would make the henna smell funky. The apple juice should/would probably increase your dye release time by about a half hour to an hour or a little more, depending on how much you add. Dye release time for apple juice is 6 - 8 hours. So if you did 50/50 juice/tea you would probably get dye release in 4 - 6 hours (maybe less) and have great color, excellent staining and a good sized window before demise.

Log in or register to post comments