Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

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Jhenna
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Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

I've been using BAQ henna to color and condition my long, dark-chestnut hair for several years now, ever since discovering Catherine's wonderful site. Unfortunately now the gray is beginning to take over, my hair is probably not yet 10% gray, but the areas are expanding rapidly. What's worse, is that many of the gray hairs seem very dye resistant, and what's more: my hair grows incredibly fast. What was once a blessing, is now a curse, because just 2 weeks after henna'ing my hair, the white roots start to show through again!

Because the gray seems so dye resistant, I've taken to leaving the henna on as long as I can stand it, usually at least 4-6 hours. I've noticed that with each session, the gray hairs seem to absorb a little more color, so I pretty much am forced to apply to quite some length. Also the gray hairs are wiry and springy, whereas the rest of my hair is thick and wavy, so I always have to make sure they don't stand up straight and stick out, thus avoiding the dye altogether...

Needless to say, I don't have the time or the energy to repeat this process every 2 weeks or so. I know there is no way to prevent going gray, but is there anything I could do to make the process easier? I live in a relatively cool climate, so it generaly takes 2 days for dye release. What with planning and scheduling and waiting for dye release etc etc I feel like I might as well start making a new batch pretty much after I've finished cleaning the bathroom from my last henna session... (I don't have a freezer, so freezing henna paste isn't an option).

I've wondered about gloss, it seems like it would be less messy and less of a hassle, but with already dye-resistant roots I wonder whether it would even do anything for me...

Any ideas? Thanks so much!

BTW I use Jamila henna with ACV, sometimes straight up, sometimes mixed with water, LJ and/or (chamommile) tea, and always wash with a clarifying shampoo before henna'ing.

Carrie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

You could use a less acidic liquid for faster dye release and you could apply gentle heat to the paste while it's sitting to make up for your cooler room temperature (heating pad, pan of hot water, oven with the light turned on, setting the bowl under a lamp, something to that effect).

Or use a very warm (not boiling) liquid (water or tea) for immediate dye release, with a little acidity (a splash of vinegar) added for better penetration your grays. The acidity seems to be helpful in gray coverage.

You could apply heat while it's on, so you can cut the application time in half. A hair dryer or a heat cap will do.

I don't think a gloss is the best for you since your wiry grays might pop up out of the paste (though sticking them down with plastic wrap should help that) and you need the full strength paste to get adequate uptake.

At some point if you feel like changing the color, you could switch to a lighter colored mix so your undyed roots blend in better. When I was doing a deep red, I felt the need to touch up every 2 weeks, but with a lighter, cassia-based mix I could wait 3 or 4 weeks because the color contrast wasn't so stark.

Or you could add 30-50% indigo to your mix and only leave it on for 1.5 hours, for dark brown on your gray.

mamaherrera
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

thanks for the tips.  I especially like the point of going lighter.  What kind of recipe, basic could you share with me on using cassia-henna mix and how long to leave it on??? Also, do you think those light red colors will look good within my dark/almost black hair or will it look funky??  

Carrie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

If your hair is almost black with a little gray, the light red you'd get with cassia/henna might look kind of unusual. Maybe a cassia/henna/indigo mix would be less red and thus more natural with your near-black hair, and still a lighter color than full-on henna or henna/indigo, if lighter is your goal.

mamaherrera
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

good thinking~~  could you suggest me a starter idea of ratios, like how much cassia/henna indigo and how to mix.  I'm fairly new to henna.  Would I mix all three separately and then mix all together, or how would I go about it and what kind of %'s would you suggset for the three?

Carrie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Maybe a new thread would be best - I need to ask you what your current color is, what color you want to transition to, etc.

angie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Hi! Although I am very new to henna and by no means an expert, I do have the grey hair issue. Mine is actually white, probably 70% or so. My roots start to show  very quickly and I can see that I'm gonna need to do outgrowth every 3 weeks to keep it looking nice. I only have one thought to share on your dilemma....perhaps switching to Celebration?? It's what I use and lemme tell ya, it covers my white hair with vivid color in one shot. I mix with apple juice and leave it on for 4 hours, then all my white hair is gone.

Jhenna
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Thanks so much for the suggestions! I will definitely try adding heat to speed things up. And a less acidic mix? That's interesting! I will give it a go.

I have tried using indigo, but I stopped using it for several reasons. Basically my hair is already darker than its natural color from the henna (it's really a medium-dark reddish-brown, but now it's really dark DARK brown with bright red highlights). With indigo it only gets darker. And if anything, I would like my hair a bit lighter again.

Also, it seems like the indigo does fade quite quickly (even though I wash my hair very infrequently), and it doesn't seem to affect the gray hairs at all. It would be so much better if it was exactly the other way around, lol: it only covers the grays, and doesn't affect the rest of my hair!

One of the reasons I would prefer my hair a bit lighter, besides the fact that very dark hair looks a bit stark with my pale skin, is that the contrast with the grays is so big now. The tiniest splattering of gray looks like bright shimmering silver in my otherwise dark hair! So yes, a lighter color would definitely blend better.

I have yet to try Cassia, I tried Amla once when I wanted less red, but it didn't affect the color - it just fried my hair :(

I'm currently living in Holland (the Netherlands), so I'm not sure if I can get my hands on Cassia here... Have to see. For the same reason, I'm afraid Celebration is not an option for me. Shipping costs make ordering henna from Catherine prohibitively expensive, unfortunately.

I did come across honey lightening the other day, something I had never heard of, and definitely interesting! I want to know more... But I will post this as a separate question.

Thanks again!

Carrie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

If you can't find cassia obovata, you may be able to find powdered senna, sold as an herbal laxative. It apparently has the same kind of effects on hair as cassia obovata. You may get more golden (brassy) color from it so strand testing is advised.

If ordering from the UK is better for you, Hennaboy is a reputable seller.

Jhenna
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

I was able to find powdered senna. However, it's listed on the package as "Sennae fructus", not Cassia obovata. I'm wondering if it will actually work on my hair? And if so, how should I use it? Should I use it on its own, or wait until I do my next henna application and mix it in with the henna? If so, what would be a good ratio henna/senna? And do I mix it up at the same time as the henna, or add it to the mix later? I.e. does it require some kind of "dye release"?

BTW the lady at the shop told me, as I was leaving, that it was a very powerful laxative and wished me luck, lol!

Thanks again for the info :)

ACWN
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Cassia and senna are actually two different plants, if I recall right. Strand test. Cassia has the same dye release properties as henna, but I'm not sure about senna. I personally mix my henna and cassia separately and when I have dye release in the henna I mix the two, but thats because my ratio of cassia is equal to or higher than the amount of henna I use, which means I wouldnt be able to properly test for dye release since the henna is so diluted by the cassia.

 

 

But again, strand test. We cannot make any promises on color as I dont think senna is often used for coloring here, so if you color with out strand testing ahead of time you do so at your own risk.

Carrie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

From what I can tell, Senna fructus is the pods (i.e., the fruit = fructus) ... what you want for your hair is the leaves, dried ground and sifted leaves. I have no idea what would happen if you put the pods on your hair.

Carrie
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Oh yeah, remember that you will absorb some through your skin ... some people at LHC that used cassia and/or senna on their hair got diarrhea!  Cassia obovata never did that to me and I have used it many times ... maybe some folks are more sensitive?

Jhenna
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Oy! The people in the shop assured me it was ground leaves... But it does seem from a quick look online that 'fructus' = fruit (pods), and 'folia' would be leaves. Drat!

The laxative-absorption risks don't sound too thrilling either... Yikes. Think I might have to return this. Thanks!

mauiangel
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Hi there,

I too have wire like gray hairs scattered about and with a focus on my hairline. my hair looks VERY dark in certain light and I too wish it was a bit lighter. but oh well. Indigo didn't cover my grays well either and just made the rest of my hair look deathly dark and purple-ish.

I've ben using "purity"henna now and am quite happy with it. dye's the gray a deep rich red (and the brown a dark rich auburn.my grays look sorta like highlights. My hair grows fast too. I still only do root touch ups with henna once a month. but keep the grays at bay by using a colored hair mascara to get me through to the next henna app. I use it just at my parting or when my hair is pulled back. You should be able to buy them at most beauty supply stores. I get one for auburn hair and or mahogany hair and it helps a lot.

here' a couple picks of my hairline the morning after my last purity henna app. (has darkened up quite a bit since then) and a recent pick of my color in doors. My original color is med brown with grays.

http://flic.kr/p/8uBjuY

http://flic.kr/p/8uBiYf

http://flic.kr/p/8uBipm

mamaherrera
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

I appreciate this information shared.  I have a personal question for ya.  I too, have those roots showing within the first week of henna, since my hair is almost black.  I've tried every kind of mascara, and haven't had much luck.  could you recommend me one that is easy and successful to apply?? Give me the name please and I'll search it out.  When you use it on your hair pulled back, do you pull your hair back first and then apply the mascara?  and it doesn't mess up your hair-do??  Thanks

mamaherrera
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Re: Help! Keeping the gray at bay... HOW???

Jhenna, I feel for ya I'm in the same boat with the same problem.  just a question for ya.  How many years has it taken for you to get to that almost 10% of whites??  I seem to keep getting more and more and started at the age of 28, and now at 31, some more.  And scary to not know how fast this change is going to comeo ne.  Lets try the henna/cassia!!

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