Henna For Hair: 7 Things You Should Know

IG @hennasooq

by sointocurls via Blacknaps.org

While Henna is a natural plant based alternative to using permanent hair dye, you should be informed prior to applying so you set the right expections. Here are some things you should know about using Henna for hair color:


Can Henna Loosen Your Curl Pattern?

by Sabrina Perkins via GlobalCoutureblog.net

After extensive hours of research on this topic, the answer is yes and no. I bet you’re wondering how that could be. It should just be yes or no, bet’s break down everything first so you get a better understanding of what I mean.


Tips To Slay Your First Henna Gloss Treatment

by Jensine from youtube.com/junglenaps

This winter, I decided to do something a little out of my comfort zone. I finally decided to commit to my first henna gloss treatment. For those that don't know, a henna gloss treatment is a milder, more moisturizing version of a full henna treatment. It incorporates the addition of a protein-free conditioner to your henna mix and yields kinky curls that are stronger and shinier than before. As an added bonus, you have complete control over how much color you want in your hair. You can leave it in for as long or as little as you like. However, the longer you leave it in, the more noticeable the results will be.

Read On!>>>

#HennaQueen- MamaNaturalista's Story

So since I'm currently #Bollywoodin' (the land o' henna), I thought it only appropriate to discuss how naturals are using it for healthy hair! Shout out to my friend, MamaNaturalista, for organizing this awesome series and don't forget to enter the hennasooq giveaway! I hope you enjoy her story!

Marisol Correa is the Editor-In-Chief of MamaNaturalista.com. A world traveler, she currently resides in Washington, DC - where she was also born and raised. She is a married mother of 4 kids; a seventeen year old son, seven year old daughter and 5 year old twins (fraternal boy and girl). She also holds the position of Event Coordinator at Four Brothers, LLC and is an actor whose (most recent) roles are currently airing on TV! 

How long have you been natural?

I’ve been natural for almost 4 years now!!!

Did you big chop or transition?

I did both, I transitioned for 6 months… after unexpected heat damage during my transition; I did my 1st Big Chop in June 2011. I also did a 2nd Big Chop in July 2011 and cut my hair which was about 6 inches at the time down to 1/2 inch. My hair & I have been through some ISH. Ha, ha!!!

When did you first learn about henna?

I first learned about henna through CurlyNikki.com, of course… it’s the place for ‘All Things Henna’. #SeriouslyTho  

Read On!>>>

Henna for Natural Hair- Your Questions Answered

So since I'm currently #Bollywoodin', I thought it only appropriate to re-post this henna q&a!
Also, don't forget to enter the hennasooq giveaway! Enjoy!

Hola Chicas!

So y'all got questions, huh?  

My recent henna post initiated a gang of them and so I'm taking to the blog to respond publicly for the benefit of everyone! 

Why do you henna? What has your experience been like?
I started henna'ing to beef up my situation. My strands are nearly transparent. Like, very VERY almost disrespectfully fine and quite fragile.  When I'm on my henna game for real (once a month), my hair is shinier and stronger.  It's less prone to breakage and splitting and the overall health of my hair is improved.  I also experience a smoother texture with less shrinkage.  The red glow is ridic and it gives me the big hair look, I couldn't otherwise achieve. 

#HennaQueen- Mac's Story

So since I'm currently #Bollywoodin' (the land o' henna), I thought it only appropriate to discuss how naturals are using it for healthy hair! Shout out to my friend, MamaNaturalista, for organizing this awesome series and don't forget to enter the hennasooq giveaway! Enjoy! 

by Marisol of MamaNaturalista 

How long have you been natural? 
I’ve been natural since Sept 2010.

Did you big chop or transition?
I transitioned for 16 months.

When did you first learn about henna? 
I learned about henna, and actually first tried it many years ago, while I was still relaxed.

Read On!>>>

Abbreviated Henna Glosses and Curly Fros

rolled them twists all the way up tho... 
Hola Chicas,

I've managed to henna three times in the last 2 months which is rare ish due to my schedule, the Boogs and the general lethargy.  Before these consecutive treatments, I was getting it in maybe, MAYBE once every three months and due to my genes, the grays were getting quite rude.  With no time to dedicate to full henna treatments, I knew there had to be another way and of course, necessity is the mother of invention.

Read On!>>>

Henna Gloss: A Quicker, Easier Way to Henna Your Natural Hair

by Shelli of Hairscapades

 As most of you know, I am a henna head. I have been doing henna treatments since 2010, though I’ve modified how and how often I do them over the years. I started with full strength, full length treatments every 2-4 weeks. But for the last several years, I have been doing full strength on my roots only and a “faux” gloss (i.e. dye released henna mixed into lots of conditioner) on my length. But, the time between my sessions has gotten longer and longer … every 4 weeks, every 6, every 8, now I’m lucky if I do it once every three months!! Well, about a month and a half ago, I was really in need of a henna treatment as my grey roots were out of control. I also love how smooth my hair is after a henna treatment; my hair styles post henna are always so shiny and sleek. But, I had absolutely nooooooooo desire to do a full strength treatment as it usually takes the good part of a day to complete (see My Two Step Henna-Indigo Process for details). Between prepping, washing, detangling, application, marinating, rinsing with water, applying indigo, marinating again, rinsing with loads of conditioner, deep conditioning, marinating one more time rinsing, and styling … yeah, that’s an 8 hour plus process. It just was not happening. But then I thought, “You know what? I’ll do a true henna gloss!!” I figured I could get some of the conditioning benefits of henna and maybe a little color, without all the muss and fuss … and time!

Read On!>>>

'Bout That Henna Life- Henna Sooq's Henna Gloss Bar


Price: $12 (4.5 oz.)

Where to Buy: HennaSooq.com

Product Claims: Our Henna Gloss Bar is the perfect all in one moisturizer, and conditioning Ayurvedic hair treatment. A henna gloss is a very easy to use henna product that will nourish the hair, strengthen, create vibrant shiny hair, promote hair growth, reduces itchy scalp, and will give your hair a touch of red color from the henna.

Ingredients: organic cocoa butter, organic shea butter, organic henna

Read On!>>>

Henna Tips and Tricks for Natural Hair

by Michelle of Radiant-Brown-Beauty

I’ve been a henna head for a little over two years now. I was first introduced to henna when I joined Kim Coles Grow Out Challenge co-sponsored by Curly Nikki and hosted by NaturallyCurly.com a few years ago. At the time, I was on a serious hunt for ways to thicken up my puny strands (sorry fine haired ladies, you may not consider yours puny but mine certainly are).

When I first started using henna I didn’t see the big whoop but so many henna heads swore by its goodness I had to press forward to see what benefits my hair would receive from regular applications. Fast forward and my strands are not only healthier but I’ve found the best way to cover up all these grays that are popping up all over my 44 year old head!

Some of what I discovered may be unique to my hair but it may also be useful to you when you do your henna applications. Let’s get right to it.

Read On>>>

The Two Step Henna + Indigo Process

by Shelli of Hairscapades

It’s finally here!! The highly anticipated (by, like, two people) tutorial for my two-step henna/indigo process!! LOL! I did a treatment this Sunday and photo-documented it for this post. I explained most of my process in my Henna and Me “interview.” So, a lot of this will be a repeat of that information. However, it’ll be bulleted and accompanied with pretty pictures and a little more detail ;) . First though, here are a couple of notes about modifications I’ve made to my henna treatments due to my preferences and my hair’s needs:

  • I use henna alone on the front half of my head so that my grey hair becomes fiery red highlights.
  • I do a two-step henna/indigo on the back half of my head so that that hair is black (I don’t like “highlights” in the back as I think they look less intentional and also make my hair look finer, whereas the black makes it look denser in my opinion).
  • I don’t apply henna to my nape hair as that area is almost bone straight and very fine. Henna completely obliterates any wave/curl it might have.
  • I use what CurlyNikki dubbed a Conditioning Henna Treatment. That is, I mix a full batch of henna, allow full dye release and add conditioner to make it easier to apply and rinse. This differentiates my process from a “true” henna gloss since I mix a full batch of henna and allow dye release. It is also different from a full strength henna, because I add conditioner to “dilute” the thickness of the henna. However, I’ve done full strength treatments and see no appreciable difference in the results.
  • I only apply henna to my “roots” now (the first 3-6 inches of hair) as too many applications on the same hair loosens my hair significantly. I try to get about 3 applications on “new hair.”
  • I sometimes apply henna to wet hair and sometimes to dry. These are instructions to my “dry” henna routine. The only difference with my “wet” routine is that I’ll usually have pre-pooed and lightly finger detangled my hair with Vatika oil. Then, I’ll shampoo with either diluted Ion Curls Shampoo or Deva Care No Poo.

With that, here we go!

Ingredients and Supplies

Henna Mix
200g Henna (100g Jamila or Rajasthani Twilight; 100g Dulhan)
4 tea bags of green tea
3 cups filtered or distilled water
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm

Indigo Mix
50g Indigo
Salt (a pinch)

Plastic or glass liquids measuring cup
Large glass jar/container (large enough to hold 3 c. of water)
Plastic or wooden spoon
Medium to large plastic or glass bowl with top
Plastic gloves
4 medium-sized plastic jaw clips
Plastic wrap
Plastic cap
Paper towels or cotton balls
Heat wrap, winter hat or bonnet dryer (hard or soft)
Old towels and/or newspaper (to protect basement floor/sink)
Old and/or black tee-shirt and pants/shorts
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH) (for henna/indigo rinsing)
Slippery and Moisturizing Deep Conditioner (JessiCurl Weekly Deep Conditioner or Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner)

*no metal containers or utensils

My Process

The Henna Mix

  • Bring 3 cups of distilled or filtered water to a boil and then brew 3-4 green tea bags. Cool to warm/room temp.
  • Pour 2 boxes of henna powder into large glass bowl and gradually stir in cooled tea with a plastic or wood spoon until the texture of a thick batter (I usually need about 2, 2 1/2 cups. I brew 3 cups of tea to make certain that I have enough).

  • Cover bowl with top (I cover the henna with plastic wrap first, sealing out most of the air, then cover with the top).
  • Allow henna to sit in a cool, dry, dark place for 12 hours for dye release.
  • After dye release, I split the henna into half, and wrap one half in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, seal it in a freezer and then place it in the freezer (frozen then thawed henna has even better dye release).

  • After dye release, I mix in about 2 tbsp of honey and 3/4 c. of Sally’s GVP Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (I never measure these, I just eyeball it). This makes the “batter” thinner (but not drippy) and more like the consistency of Greek yogurt.

The Prep

  • Protect bathroom surfaces, including floors, sink and door, with old towels and/or newspaper.
  • Don old clothes.
  • Divide dry hair into four sections/quadrants and use round-teeth jaw clips (less snag prone) to secure the front two sections and one rear section to keep them out of the way (More sections may be necessary if you have thicker hair).
  • Don plastic gloves (unless you like orange hands and nails;).

The Henna Application

  • Finger part and apply henna thickly to first 6 inches or so of of dry* hair, section by section, starting with back sections first and then applying to front (Again, I don’t apply henna to my nape hair). Ensure hair is completely coated in henna.
  • Mix 2 tsp of remaining henna into another 3/4 c. of Sally’s GVP Conditioning Balm to make a henna gloss.
  • Apply to remaining “un-hennaed” hair (I do this as I don’t like the idea of my dry hair under heat, so I put conditioner on it to get a deep treatment. I add leftover henna if I have it).
  • Place hair on top of head, securing with round-tooth jaw clip.
  • Wrap head in plastic wrap, wrap cotton balls or paper towel around edges to catch drippies, don plastic cap.
  • Allow henna to sit for 4 hours (I apply a heat source [winter hat, heat wrap or bonnet dryer] for 2-4 hours to increase speed of dye release and enhance amount of dye uptake).
  • Fill tub with enough water to cover head, put gloves back on and dunk hair to loosen and remove majority of henna.
  • Gently rinse remaining henna from hair under faucet stream (do not try to detangle at this juncture).

The Indigo Mix**

  • Pour 50g of indigo into glass bowl and add a pinch of salt to enhance dye uptake and color retention (several shakes of the salt shaker).
  • Mix in enough lukewarm/room temp distilled/filtered water to make indigo into a thick paste (indigo is grittier than henna).
  • Put gloves back on and apply indigo to first 6 inches of back half of hair until fully covered.
  • Wrap head in plastic wrap, don plastic cap and apply heat for one hour.
  • Hop in shower and rinse henna and gently finger detangle hair with lots of HE HH (usually takes about three rinses).

**Indigo needs henna to “stick” to the hair. So, henna must be applied first and then indigo to dye hair black. The dye in indigo releases immediately and expires rapidly. So, it should only be mixed right before application and leftovers should be discarded as indigo can’t be stored once it’s been mixed. Indigo powder should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not freeze indigo powder as it will kill the dye molecule.

The Finish

  • Apply moisturizing deep conditioner (Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner this time), don plastic cap and apply heat for at least one hour (I sometimes sleep in my DC overnight, but am trying to not do that as often anymore given my realization that my hair was over-conditioned).
  • Cool, seal, finger detangle and rinse (click here for my DC rinsing technique).
  • Apply leave-in and style as desired.

So, that is the very detailed blow-by-blow of my process!

Do you use Henna and Indigo? What's your process?

Shelli's Henna Story

Shelli of Hairscapades gets detailed about her reasons for using henna, her experience thus far, and her mix!

How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for 11 years now.

How long have you been using henna? When did you start?
I began using henna around May of 2010, so for a little over a year.

What made you begin using henna?
A friend recommended CurlyNikki.com to me as she indicated Nikki had hair that was similar to mine. She thought I might enjoy the site. Wow, was that an understatement!! I started visiting the site in February of 2010. I was blown away by Nikki’s hair! It was so lush, voluminous, shiny and defined. It also had a great shape and consistent curls. I began to read every post she had on henna. I was especially interested in the strengthening, thickening and conditioning claims. After three months of research and growing intrigue, I bit the bullet and ordered my first six boxes of Jamila henna from Mehandi.com. Yeah, when I go, I go hard;). Nikki indicated that henna has a cumulative effect and it takes three treatments to see appreciable thickening and strengthening. She also stated that when she began using henna, she did weekly treatments in order to get these benefits as quickly as possible. So, who was I to question perfection;-)?

How would you describe your first experience with henna?
I’ll admit, I was very nervous as the process seemed involved, messy, long and overwhelming. But, I was well prepared. I’d watched Nikki’s video tutorial repeatedly. I had my old towels, plastic gloves, bonnet dryer, plastic spoon, bowl, green tea, honey, Sally’s GVP Conditioning Balm and HE HH. I was ready to go. I made a little bit of a mess the first time around, but most of it was caught by the old towels. My hands got a little tinged by the rinsing process. However, the rinsing was easier than I expected.

What type of henna do you use? Where do you purchase it?
Currently, I use Jamila and Dulhan. I get Jamila online from Mehandi.com and Dulhan from my local Indian grocer, Patel Brothers, for $1.49!! I usually mix a batch using both to make my Jamila go further. I also use indigo that I purchase from Mehandi.com. I use indigo on the back half of my head in a two-step henna/indigo process. I love the way the henna turns my grey hair into fiery red highlights in the front. However, I think it makes my head look patchy if I allow it to stay red in the back. That’s why I use indigo on the back.

What is your mix? What is your process?
My mix and process have changed over the year that I’ve been using henna. Initially, I did “Conditioning Henna Treatments” as Nikki called her first attempt at a henna gloss. For the first several months, I mixed about 1 cup of the Sally’s GVP Conditioning Balm into dye released Jamila henna. I mixed about 100/150g henna with about 1 1/2 cups of warm green tea and a tablespoon or two of honey (I didn’t measure). I’d let that sit 12 hours and then I would apply it to co-washed hair. Now, I tend to alternate between a full strength henna on my roots only (except my nape hair, which is almost straight) and a full length gloss, both done on dry hair. I only do a full strength henna on my roots now as henna significantly loosened my curls when I was applying it religiously and repeatedly to the full length of my hair. I realize now that I only need to do about three treatments on new hair and then just gloss the length during that application or a couple of weeks later. I currently tend to mix 100g Jamila, 100g Dulhan, 1 1/2 to 2 cups warm brewed green tea (3-4 teabags) and a tablespoon or two of honey. As I only do my roots, this is usually enough for two applications. So, after dye release, I’ll split the batch and freeze one half of it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Frozen/thawed henna provides more intense color/dye uptake. Bonus, I don’t have to repeat the mixing and dye release waiting the next time. I just take the frozen henna out of the freezer a day or two before I want to use it and let it thaw in the refrigerator. If I don’t think too far ahead, I let it sit on the counter in a bowl to thaw.

Once I’ve applied the henna to my whole head (in 6 sections, 3 on each side; working from back to front on each side), I wrap my hair in plastic wrap and don a plastic cap. Normally, I’ll let the henna sit in my hair for 4 hours, 2 under my bonnet dryer on the warm setting. After four hours, I rinse the henna in the shower using HE HH. Then, I mix a small batch of indigo with lukewarm water and a dash or two of salt and apply it to the back half of my head. I’ll let that sit for at least an hour (sometimes with heat, sometimes without) and then I rinse the indigo and apply my DC of choice (usually JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment or Darcy’s Botanical Pumpkin Seed Curl Moisturizing Conditioner; I tried SM Raw Shea DT Masque one time and I wouldn’t recommend it post henna as it doesn’t have enough slip). I leave my DC in anywhere from an hour to overnight. I let my hair cool for about 15 minutes. Then, I apply a diluted daily conditioner (Aussie Moist or HE HH) over my DC, rinse well with cool/cold water and then I’m ready to style.

How often do you henna?
I try to henna once a month, but sometimes go longer if I don’t have the time to do it. I try not to go longer than 8 weeks though. My goal is to do a full strength henna on my roots once a month and a henna gloss two weeks later. That hasn’t happened yet! LOL! What I do usually do is mix the henna left over after a root application with a lot of Conditioning Balm and gloss the length of my hair so that I get the full strength on my roots and the gloss on my length in one sitting.

How has your hair changed with henna?
Repeated applications of henna loosened my curls into waves, which wasn’t an effect I was seeking. But, other than that, henna has improved my hair in every way. I do believe that my hair is stronger, smoother, less porous and, therefore, less frizzy. I believe that my individual strands are thicker, but I don’t think henna has made my whole head of hair look more voluminous. My favorite thing about the changes henna has generated is the intense red of my grey hair and the overall color and shine.

How do you feel about henna and the process now?
The hardest part is making the time, but I enjoy it now. It’s like a spa day for myself and I get to watch TV or work on my blogs=).

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about trying henna?
First, do your research. Read everything you can about henna to decide if it’s right for you and so that you understand all the things you need to do to protect your hair and obtain the best results (i.e. ALWAYS deep condition with a moisturizing, cone free conditioner after henna). Second, be mindful that what works for others may not work for you. I was using amla to try to retain my curl pattern. I continued to use it despite noticing significant itching during the process. My head almost NEVER itches. After four months of this and what I believe was a significant increase in shedding, I faced the fact that my scalp did not like amla. I might have saved some hair if I’d listened to my scalp and accepted this issue earlier. I also might have preserved more of my natural curl pattern if I’d stopped doing full head applications sooner.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
I love henna!! The amla reaction and the curl loosening are issues I could have ameliorated or eliminated if I’d used a little more common sense. So, despite those challenges, I think using henna has been one of the best things I’ve done for my hair. So, if you’re interested in trying it, do your research, be prepared and go for it!

Using Henna to Cover Gray Hair

Dana writes;

I have gray roots and the remainder of my hair is light brown with dark brown ends. My hair is damaged from coloring and over pressing. I would like my hair to be a dark plum or auburn color and healthy. My natural color is dark brown. What kind of henna or combination should I use.?

CN Says;

Celebration will be your best bet as it has a very high dye content (3.4% lawsone), and yields a deep auburn color over time. Remember that multiple applications will be necessary for your grays to darken to the color you want. I have many gray hairs and I've been hennaing (with Jamila, Yemen, and Henna for African Hair) for years. All of my grays are now a rich, auburn color... gorgeous. The rest of my hair is fuller, shinier, and healthier looking. It's a rich, shiny black color indoors (with a few red highlights), and glows auburn in the sun... like a rinse.

When new grays come in or my roots show, I simply apply an overnight treatment, and after a couple of days, it oxidizes to a nice bronzey red. After another treatment, the roots match the length-- auburn.

For you, the key will be:

1. Four hour (or more) treatments

2. Multiple applications (for darker results)

3. Cleansing prior to application. Although I don't really do this anymore, if you have a lot of grays, this step is crucial. It will remove buildup and sebum, so that the dye can make the best contact with your roots.

Also, be sure to do lots of conditioning afterward to keep your hair moisturized, elastic, and supple. If your ends (and length?) are indeed damaged, and you're not interested in a Big Chop, you probably want to schedule some micro trims.

**Real life example**

My aunt Toney has been a redhead since I can remember. She's naturally a medium to dark brown, but used boxed dyes to maintain a light auburn. A couple of years ago she transitioned to natural color with henna. Below is a pic of her shortly after starting henna (applying the paste to her grays and color treated strands).

This is a picture of her in February after many treatments. In person, her hair is a dark, rich, auburn (noticeably red indoors), and her grays (especially near her roots) are a shade or two lighter (similar to the darker parts of her hair in the pic above). It's an awesome color contrast and she gets tons of compliments.

Henna for Natural Hair- Let's Review!

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

Henna is a plant that grows in the hot, dry climates of the Eastern hemisphere. For decades, women from North Africa, India, and the Middle East have used henna to stain their hair, skin, and nails. The red henna dye is contained within the leaves of the plant. After the plant is harvested, the leaves are dried, ground and sifted into a flour-like powder. In the last few years, henna has become a popular treatment option for African American women seeking more natural remedies for their hair. Here are the most frequently asked questions.

Is henna safer than commercial hair dye?

Yes, but it's very important that you only use 100% pure henna. Low-quality henna mixtures may contain additives like PPD to make the dye stain stronger and darker. Dye additives may cause allergy problems or react with chemicals that have been previously applied to your hair. Unfortunately, the FDA has approved henna for use as a hair dye, but does not regulate its safety. So, the seller of the henna is the only person who really knows the purity of what you're purchasing. Mehandi.com and LUSH Cosmetics are two suppliers known for high quality.

Henna is gentler on your hair than permanent hair color because it only deposits dye onto the surface, not inside the cortex. The effects from henna are most similar to semi-permanent hair color. Both are safe enough for fragile African American hair.

Can I get the same color results using henna as with commercial hair dye?

Maybe. Pure henna leaf powder can only produce a red to orange-red color. Different crops (depending on location) produce different levels of red, ranging from auburn to cherry. If you see henna advertised as producing black or brown shades that means the henna has been mixed with some other herb or product. For example, henna is commonly mixed with cocoa powder to produce reddish brown.

Since henna is a depositing dye, it cannot lighten your hair...only bleach can do that. If your natural hair color is dark black, henna may not show up at all or it may produce a red shimmer.

If your natural hair color is dark brown or lighter (including grey), you are likely to see a color change after your first henna application. The color should be subtle, but it will increase in intensity after every treatment.

If your hair is bleached or relaxed, your hair is more porous. Porous hair absorbs chemicals more easily and the henna dye may absorb into the hair cortex instead of just coating the outer shaft. The color may still be subtle, but definitely noticeable in direct light.

*Henna is a very inexact method of coloring your hair. If you really want a substantial change in hair color, you're better off visiting a professional cosmetologist.*

Will henna loosen natural African American coils?

Sometimes. A quick Internet search produces thousands of results on the subject. The only thing we know for sure is that everybody's experience is different. If you want to loosen your natural coils, you can definitely experiment with henna. Any effect will be gradual. Most women who report looser curls say that it took 3 or more treatments to see any difference. However, if you truly wish to transform Type 4 coils to looser curls, a chemical treatment (applied by a professional cosmetologist) will deliver more significant and uniform results.

How do I get the most out of my henna treatment?

First, purchase your henna from a reputable supplier (see above). To get the most value for your money, choose pure henna with high dye content. Typically, 100 grams of pure henna only contains 2 or 3 grams of dye. The rest is just ground up henna leaves. So, for the most effective treatments, you definitely want the highest dye content available. Ask your supplier which henna they recommend to cover greys because that usually means maximum dye content.

When working with pure henna, the liquid that you use to help the dye release can impact the treatment results. An acidic liquid will help the dye release faster. Aloe vera juice is a great choice because its pH is low enough to smooth your hair's cuticles without making your strands stiff or dry.

Henna hair treatments have been done by North African and Indian women for decades with little to no instruction. Unless you're really hoping to achieve curl loosening or a color change, feel free to experiment by adding Ayurvedic herbs to your mix (supplier websites usually offer plenty of recipes). When attempting to change your curl pattern or hair color, keep it simple and just add an acidic liquid. A batch of high dye content henna can quickly become low dye content if you add too many oils and herbs to the mix.

If this is all sounding like too much guess work, try one of the pre-mixed henna bars from LUSH. They combine henna, lemon juice, cocoa butter, and herbs into one firm block that you just have to melt in a bowl of water.

The biggest advantage with henna is that you can do it yourself. Your henna supplier will give you all the instructions you need for a successful treatment. Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, a properly applied henna can add shine and softness to your hair. You can't count on any other benefits, but feel free to try it a few times and see what you get!

The Abbreviated Henna Treatment

3 or 4 week old hair... after a dry bantu knot-out done solely to bun

Hola Chicas,

You can either take your socks off now, or I can knock 'em off for ya...

It's official. As of last night, I've henna'ed two months in a row! Can you believe it?!

But as with everything else in my life, things are not the same. Now that Gia has been set loose upon the world, I've had to cut corners. Gone are the days that I could jump in the shower three times (pre-application, pre-deep treatment, post-deep treatment) for one henna session. The soundtrack that Boogie graces the house with when she feels 'forgotten', is well, shrill and unpleasant. I've gotta get in and get out, and so below, you'll find instructions for my abbreviated henna treatment.

Abbreviated Henna Treatment --6 hours total (or more if you leave in overnight)

Whip it up and apply- 1 hour
  • Bring 2 cups of water to nearly boiling and remove from heat
  • Pick your acid-- either add a tablespoon of orange juice or Apple Cider Vinegar to the water, or my personal favorite, steep a couple of bags of green tea
  • In a Tupperware container or glass bowl, mix the slightly acidic water with 200g of Jamila henna
  • Mix in a tablespoon (or more) of honey. The end result should look like thick mashed potatoes. It's okay if it's slightly runny, as it will make for an easier application.
  • Cover and proceed to the bathroom
  • Gently detangle dry hair with fingers (you can follow up with a wide tooth comb if you like)
  • Twist detangled sections (I usually end up with 10)
  • Put on a pair of plastic gloves and clip all of the twists out of the way, except for the one you want to work with. I always start in the back and work to the front.
  • Remove the twist, and apply henna in a smooshing motion. Layer it on thick like cake batter.
  • Repeat with the other twists
  • Gather henna filled hair and don a plastic baggie, placing stretched out cotton balls around the outer edge for comfort and to prevent drippies. Finally, throw on a pretty silk scarf so you don't scare your roommate or significant other.
Apply heat source and allow to marinate-- 4 hours (or more)
  • Sit under a hooded dryer or rock your micro heat cap on and off for the next four hours.
  • OR, you can go to sleep and allow your body heat to warm things up for 8-10 hours :)
Rinse and apply DT- 1 hour or more
  • Run bath water and kneel over tub, dunking your head. Gently massage your hair and work the henna loose. Allow the water stream from the tub faucet to run through your hair, rinsing it clean. Apply a slippery conditioner, run your head back under the water stream. Repeat until your hair is henna free.
  • Wring your hair and apply a moisturizing deep treatment in sections
  • Don a plastic baggie and apply heat source for 15-30 minutes
  • Finally, hop in the shower, rinse thoroughly, and style as usual!

Remember, four hours is the minimum amount of time that henna must be left in for you to reap the color and strengthening benefits. In fact, some argue that any longer than 4 hours is pointless because you're already saturated at that point. In an ideal world, if you plan to do a quick treatment, you would allow the henna mix to sit and release for a few hours prior to application. But if you're flying by the seat of your pants like me, just getting the opportunity to henna is better than nothing! That's why I use the heat... to help it penetrate better.

Although I love the abbreviated version, applying and rinsing in the same day feels like a ridiculous amount of work. So, last night, I followed the above steps, only I started around 8pm, and left the henna in overnight. Then I woke up and continued the process. Makes life a little easier, and will probably be my routine from here on out.

Pros of the 4 Hour Treatment:
-Nearly the same results with much less time involved
-Fewer (if any) drippies since you're applying to dry hair

Cons of the 4 Hour Treatment :
-Harder to rinse (it's not as melted and pliable as it would be after sitting on your head for 10 hours)
-Time consuming- - applying and rinsing, deep treating, and styling all in one day!

I plan to do the 4 hour treatment only if I'm short on time, or have weekend plans. My new henna routine is basically identical to the old one (following the steps above), only I'll be applying the henna to dry hair, and skipping the multiple showers.

There's much debate as to whether henna dye uptake is more effective on dry or wet hair. The consensus is that your results will be the same either way. Obviously, if your hair is difficult to dry detangle, or is full of gel or lots of buildup, hop in the shower, and proceed with the wet application process. Remember, do what works for you. I can say, as a henna vet, after 2 dry applications, my results have been exactly the same as when I applied to wet hair.

Later Gators!

Got My Swagger Back- Henna Swagger, That Is...

Hola Chicas,

And I'm back... after a 9 month hiatus! I stopped henna'ing around 6 months pregnant due to fatigue and lack of time. After G Babes came along, time got even tighter and since henna is such an all consuming process, I put it on the back burner. After a family walk (yes, I exercised today!), I decided to pull two boxes of Jamila out of the freezer. I went back and forth for 2 hours and finally decided to mix it up! I see therapy clients tomorrow morn, so I had to do my abbreviated treatment- - 4 hours with heat as opposed to overnight.

My Mix

200g of Jamila Henna
2 cups of near boiling water
1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (because I was out of tea)
2 tablespoons of Honey

I mixed it up, covered, and proceeded to detangle my dry hair using the tangle teezer, twisting as I went. I put on plastic gloves, and applied the henna to one section at a time, untwisting the section prior to the application. I layered it on thick, put on a plastic cap, a scarf, and finally my micro heat cap.

I'm on my way to rinse, deep treat, and twist! Just thought I'd share :)

These are pics of my hair yesterday after styling with Jessicurl TooShea on one side, and CURLS Souffle on the other. The CURLS side was more defined and hung longer. The TooShea side felt softer. I think I need to experiment more before deciding which is best.

Have you henna'ed lately? What was in your mix?

Evelyn Hennas her Natural Hair!

NaturallyCurly.com vlogger Evelyn shows (in less than 5 minutes) how she applies henna!I love her!!!

CurlyNikki's Henna Gloss Recipe

Hola Chicas,

Sorry for leaving y'all hanging yesterday...

Henna Gloss Purpose: A henna gloss is used when you want subtle color change along with deep conditioning. It's easier to apply because of the wonderful slip provided by the conditioner, much easier to rinse, and leaves your hair smooth and soft, as opposed to crackily and dry after a straight or full strength henna treatment.

Yesterday I called it a mild henna, but I'd like to retract that. I started thinking... it would be considered a mild henna if I used less henna and more conditioner. My mix was 50/50... so I guess I did more of a Conditioning Henna Treatment! Remember that the property in henna that dyes the hair red, is the same one that conditions, strengthens, defizzes, and smooths. Mixing in 1 or 2 tablespoons of henna (into a cup or two of conditioner) will give you very little color change, but you'll also miss out on the full effects of henna's conditioning powers... so you'll have to make that call yourself. This would be a great option for two types of folks:

1. Those of you that want to see what the hype is about, without making the color commitment. Just be sure to strand test, and to modify my recipe. You should mix 1-2 tablespoons of henna directly into your conditioner (not allowing for dye release) and only leave-in for 20-30 minutes. Henna is strong, so ALWAYS strand test... the red will creep up on ya quick!

2. Faithful henna'ers that want to experience soft, smooth results upon rinsing. It's truly amazing! My 50/50 mix left me with similar dye release, color uptake (I was surprised), strengthening, and smoothing. I'm impressed.

What You'll Need:

  • BAQ Henna (at least 100g)
  • A light, protein free conditioner-- Many users across the web like the Generic Matrix Biolage Balm from Sallys.
*Optional: Honey, Unsweetened Yogurt (some people use Yogurt in place of the conditioner)

My Henna Gloss Instructions:

  • Mix your henna as you would for a regular, full strength treatment. I added 100g of Jamila henna to 1.5 cups (I never measure... I just get it to the consistency of cake batter) of warm green tea. I usually use 2 or 3 tea bags.
  • I sealed off the container and let it sit for a few hours... only because I was feeling lazy. In the future, I will probably go right into the next step.
  • Mix in 1 cup of conditioner. I used Tresemme Naturals conditioner. Next time though, I will probably buy the Generic Biolage Balm conditioner because it is much thicker. Either that, or use less liquid to mix my henna. It was a little too runny for my liking.
  • Apply to damp and detangled hair in sections. Then don a plastic baggy, cotton balls or tissue rolled up near your ears to catch drippies, and a scarf to cover the ugly mess, lol.
  • Leave in for the desired amount of time. Remember, the shorter (15-30 minutes), the less dye uptake... so less red, but also less conditioning. I left mine in overnight, which is why I'm referring to it as a Conditioning Henna Treatment. I got the full benefits of henna with the added bonus of a moisturizing DT!
  • Dunk your head in the tub to wash away most of the mix. Hop in the shower and rinse away the rest using a cheapy, slippery conditioner. It rinses very easily, and you could probably skip the tub dunking :)
  • Apply a Deep Treatment
  • Rinse, and style as usual. I did my typical Twist-n-Curl and flat twisted the roots. This new modification (the flat twisting) has done AMAZING things! My waves/curls are much more consistent.
There you have it folks! I hope this is helpful... the key things to remember are:

1. Modify my recipe and leave it in for less time if you want only a subtle color change. If you want the full benefits of color and henna's conditioning powers, leave in for at least 4 hours (I leave mine in overnight).

2. Use a cheapy conditioner free of protein, and preferably free of cones.

3. If you're trying my mix, use the least amount of tea possible... too much and you'll have an annoying runny mess.

Later Gators,

My hair today:

Do You Henna?

If so--

-Describe your hair type (4abc/3abc or wavy, coily, fine, coarse, etc.)

-Share your results (de-frizzing, curl loosening, curl defining, color, thickness, etc.)

If not--

-What's the biggest deterrent?

**For my results and more info about henna, click HERE.

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