First time using henna...advice?

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AnalogKid
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First time using henna...advice?
I'm planning to color my hair for the first time with henna and indigo, and am looking for help attaining my desired color. My hair is currently medium-dark blonde, and has been chemically dyed several times, the most recent being around 8 months ago. Here is my hair with camera flash http://rs832.pbsrc.com/albums/zz243/mnbell2013/20131014_124332-1_zpsd7a8... and here it is in sunlight http://rs832.pbsrc.com/albums/zz243/mnbell2013/20131014_124240_zps4aaa5b... I'm looking to get to this color http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a5/7f/3c/a57f3ca20a1fa773aa7942c4... and was planning to test a hair sample using 75% henna and 25% indigo. Do you guys think this would be a good combination, or is my base color too light and I might instead end up with bright copper hair? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

Use a really high dye content henna and plan to leave it on your sample (and your head) for at least 5 hours, but I think that ratio may work to combat the orange from the chemical lightening. You might also want to strand test one with a little less indigo, just in case.

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Thanks for the info :) I plan on using apple juice instead of lemon because the length of my hair tends to get pretty dry and tangles easily. Will using apple juice make any difference in the amount of time I should leave it on my hair? Also, how much indigo would you suggest using - maybe 80% henna and 20% indigo? I'm afraid to go too dark because I have a fair complexion and my natural hair color is more golden blonde rather than dark/dirty blonde. Thanks again for your help :)
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

No, the apple juice will not effect how long you leave it on, just how long it takes to dye release.

I would do a sample of 25% indigo and like 15%.

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Ok, I will try that. Thanks!
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

The reason I suggest the lower amount is because while you *might* need it to combat the orange, chemically damaged hair does tend to soak up indigo pretty readily if the damage isn't too bad and even with a lower amount, you could end up more brown than you want.

I would also suggest trying just henna by itself, a nice higher dye content henna shouldn't give you day glow orange, but you may have more burnt orange tones in your hair.

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
I wouldn't mind the burnt orange tones, and I feel that it would be better to go for deeper red hair rather than ending up with a brown that is too dark for my skin tone. Also, I read that the indigo will fade out of the hair in time - is that true?
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Never expect indigo to fade. Some people do have issues with getting henna to stick, but in general its best to expect to be as permanent as henna.
AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Ok, that's good to know. I will do some tests, one with 25% indigo, one with 15% and one with straight henna. I'm thinking that my starting color will be dark enough so that I can achieve the shade I want after a couple henna applications, if I use the henna with the highest lawsone content.
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

Oops, meant getting indigo to stick, not henna. My bad!

You maaay not need multiple applications with a high dye content henna. But it is good to go in with the mind set of "okay, I might need more than one application to get what I want, and that's okay!" You wont be as surprised or upset later that way. Plus, strand testing will tell you if you need to or not, or if you need the indigo or not.

To get the most out of the henna, mix it with apple like you want and once you have a visible stain on your palm after a few minutes (you want pumpkin orange), put it in ziplocks and freeze them flat. Once they're frozen solid, pull them back out to thaw at room temp then apply for 5 - 6 hours.

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Yeah, I am planning on doing my roots once a month and doing a gloss on the length every couple months or so. Even if I end up using 100% henna with no indigo, you're right, it's better to go into it knowing I can always go darker, rather than having to deal with irreversible too-dark hair. One last question: is it pertinent that henna be applied on towel-dried or damp hair? I only ask because when I used to color my hair, I found I experienced less tangling if I put it on dry hair. Of course, if the dampness is an important part of the process, I'm willing to do it.
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

Having damp/towel dried hair can help the henna spread to missed places, but its not a MUST DO kinda thing. If you have less problems with doing it on dry hair, just mix your henna a tad bit thinner than you think it needs to be so it'll spread easier for you and apply it dry.

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
I just received my henna/indigo samples in the mail, so I will test the different combinations and let you know how they turn out :)
AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Ok, I just finished my test swatches. I did one with pure henna and one with roughly 90% henna and 10% indigo. I say roughly because I eyeballed my measurements, since the tiny proportions were so hard to measure exactly. I mixed up my henna with apple juice and let it sit overnight for about 8.5 hours. I then mixed up the tiny amount of indigo and added it to one of the samples. I applied them to my hairballs and let them sit for about 5 hours. Immediately upon rinsing out the henna, I knew I wasn't pleased with the results of either test. What I got were both carrot orange and not at all what I had in mind. I'm waiting until the henna oxidizes over the next couple days before drawing any final conclusions. I just ordered another 6g of henna samples so that I can do better tests. This time I'll probably use 20% indigo, just to see if that makes a difference. Does anyone have any advice? I really want to henna my hair, but I don't want to be left with nasty looking carrot orange hair either. Help? Here's a picture of my results http://s832.photobucket.com/user/mnbell2013/media/20131021_134019_zps8f2...
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

That color looks pretty typical for the first 48 hours or so, give it a week and try not to panic. But do keep in mind that since your hair was chemically damaged, it may not go very dark and may stay more orange.

Things to ask that may have dinked with your results:

1. Did you test for dye release in the henna or just assume? Never assume, always test on your palm for a vivid, pumpkin/orange peel colored stain. If the henna wasn't dye released or just barely starting to, it can mess with your results.

2. Did you cover the test? Leaving plant dyes exposed to air will mess up the results, plant dyes wont work when they dry out. Best method is to place the tests in ziplocks, suck the air out and seal tightly.

3. Did you keep the test warm? When you apply plant dyes to your head, you're suppose cover it with plastic and then cover that with something light to keep it warm - scarf, wool cap, turbie twist.. anything like that. To mimic this, you need to place the samples in your pocket, bra or somewhere that will mimic your body heat for a long period of time (like under a desk lamp).

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Thank you for your response. Yes, I could tell that the dye released because I wrapped my henna samples airtight in saran wrap, and in the morning I could see the dye leaching out through the saran wrap. Plus, when I touched it while putting it on the hair samples, it immediately left an orange stain on my fingertips. The henna did not get exposed to the air because I wrapped it completely in plastic. I'm thinking the heat might have been why my samples came out so orange. I put both plastic-wrapped samples in a plastic ziploc bag andput it in my purse, which was in my car all day. I had to take my driving test this morning so I prepared the samples before I left, then unwrapped them when I got home. My car was relatively warm, but it probably could have been warmer. I will retest my samples once my new henna powder comes in the mail.
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

Well, your car might've been warm enough, unless its very chilly where you are and your purse was tucked away somewhere out of sight.

Theres definitely no harm in retesting!

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
I live in Michigan so it very well could be too cool. Oh well, I'll retest and report back on my results. Is there anything else I can do to reduce the orange color once I henna my hair? What about other things like buxus or amla?
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?

Buxus is basically a weak version of indigo (different plant, mind, but similar colored dye), so it'd do you no real good since you'd need a lot of it combat the orange and its not as readily available in the US right now. Amla cools the red tones of henna when used in a hennigo. It makes a 50/50 brown go from a (warmer) milk chocolate to a (cooler) dark chocolate color.

You MIGHT benefit from it though, it could help mellow out the orange tones a bit. Strand test. Usual ratio is 25g amla per 100g henna. I think you can do 3/4th teaspoon henna and 1/4th teaspoon amla. And then maybe 1/8th teaspoon indigo? Guessing here, hoping Carrie or Jen pop in and straighten that out.

You might also want to see what you get by doing two or even three back to back longer applications. 4 - 5 hours, rinse the paste off, and reapply fresh paste for another 5 hours... don't wait in between. Once you rinse the second one out, then let it oxidize. It might still be somewhat orange-ish in bright light, but it shouldn't be day glow, neon orange.

I know that when I went from super bleach blonde bangs to full henna cause of work, it took... I think 3 or 4 (maybe 5) back to back applications at like 3 - 4 hours a pop to get my bangs to roughly match the rest of my hair, but that was with a lower dye content henna. If you're using a high dye content henna and for a longer period of time with each application, it wont take near as many to get the same results.

AnalogKid
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
I did another test sample, this time using 80% henna and 20% indigo, and the color turned out beautifully. It's a warm auburn that has copper tones in the sunlight. I'm hoping it won't darken way too much in the next few days, because I love it the way it already is. If it does become too dark, should I cut down to 15% indigo or just leave it on for less time? I left it on for almost 5 and a half hours. Here's a picture of the sample http://s832.photobucket.com/user/mnbell2013/media/20131026_124712_zpsfcd...
ACWN
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Re: First time using henna...advice?
Oooh, that's lovely! If it darkens down too much, I would cut back by an hour or two.
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