I love this site and have been visiting and musing for ages. Now I have ordered some ancient sunrise henna and indigo and while I am waiting or it to arrive I am wondering some more... Perhaps one of the experts could give me some advice. I have medium brown hair with some fairly recent blondish highlights and no gray. While I like my natural colour, I love having darker hair but hate what chemical hair dyes do to the texture of my hair and the amount of hair I lose with these dyes (also the smell sucks). I was never going to dye my hair again but then I found this site and read how henna can make your hair a bit thicker and stronger and also shinier. As I have quite fine mousy hair, this is very appealing to me!
Can anyone expand on this for me? I love the fact that henna is a natural product but am quite nervous about the result and the effect on the condition of my hair (which is naturally quite dry)...
Yes, I think it does. I have fine straightish hair and henna made my hair thicker, silky and very shiny. You might notice this more after 2 or 3 hennas. These effects do wear off over time but I'd say they last several months anyway.
Henna is very strengthening for hair but it isn't moisturizing, so you may need to add some more moisture into your hair care routine, like oiling the ends after you shampoo and towel dry, for example, or doing deep conditioning treatments. You just have to try it to find out how it will affect your hair, though. The first few times I hennaed several years ago I didn't have any problem with dryness. Years later with more gray coming in, I do somewhat.
The smell is pretty ... organic, lol. Like hay. Some people really like it, others hate it, some aren't crazy about it but get used to it. It will seem strongest the first time you use it. Once you've done it a few times and your hair is pretty saturated with henna you won't notice the smell lingering as much. You can add mild baking spices to the paste for scent, if you wish, like cardamom, cloves, ginger. (Cinnamon can be irritating). Instant vanilla pudding powder also adds a nice scent, or just a splash of vanilla extract.
To minimize shedding from the manipulation of your hair, traction from the weight of the paste, and all the rinsing, be sure not to make your paste too thick. Like stirred up yogurt to thick pancake batter is about right. When you're ready to rinse, do a soak first in the tub to gently loosen most of the paste and get most of it out, then shower the rest out using LOADS of cheap conditioner. Finish with a shampoo and condition once more if desired. Don't massage the paste into your hair or try to "scrub" it out, that will make you lose more hair. Even with all these precautions, you will still see a nice wad of hair in the drain but you should have less shedding the next few days. Once you get all the henna dust/residue out (the final shampoo is what will help with that), you'll probably notice that your scalp feels good, not irritated and itchy like after chemical dyes.