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!