03 March 2014

I dyed my hair with henna

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I've used henna twice before. Once was years ago and my mom applied it for me. The previous time was last December and Martinus applied it for me. A few weekends ago I decided to try dying it myself and it was easier than I expected. Henna isn't smooth like regular hair dye and it's trickier to cover your hair with this mud-like mixture. But I managed it.


I found this henna at our local spice shop. I love the packaging. It's natural henna with no additives. It's a common belief that you can't use commercial dyes after using henna, but that's only true if you didn't use pure henna. Some henna products contain other additives that can react to hair dye and this reaction could potentially melt or burn your hair. You will often see henna dye with different colours, but henna can only dye your hair red. Other plant dyes can be used, but often these products contain other chemicals. You can read more about this here and also find a test to find out if it's safe to dye your hair.

Last time I used a purple "henna". I knew this wasn't pure henna, but I wasn't planning on using commercial dye again so I used it anyway. My hair turned out dark brown with a slight purple shine that disappeared quickly. I did use a commercial dye again a few months ago and there wasn't any damage.

I've read before that you need to leave the henna for a few hours after mixing it with liquid, but the instructions didn't mention anything like that. I wanted the best results, so I read lots of articles and decided to take their advice instead. I used two boxes (200g). I mixed my henna powder with lemon juice and water, covered the bowl with cling wrap and left it overnight. Sour liquids are supposed to help the dye release from the henna. In the morning I mixed in a bit of tea and left it for about an hour more. Instead of disposable gloves, I used gardening gloves. It's a bit weird, but they worked well and I don't have to throw them away.

Applying the henna mixture is difficult because you can't smooth it out like with regular dye or comb your hair to make sure all the strands are covered. I found it's the easiest to do it it sections and to have a lot of mixture to work with so you can pile it on. Make sure to rub it into you roots and cover everything. It was very easy to pile my hair onto my head after finishing each section and it all stuck together. Definitely wear an old shirt because it will stain your clothes. I wrapped my hair with cling film and then put on a shower cap. I put on the cling film first because I didn't want to stain my pretty shower cap. I managed to re-use the cling film that I'd used to cover the bowl overnight. The cling film will keep the henna wet, because the dying process stops when it dries. It will also keep everything on your head since you have to keep it on much longer than regular dyes. I applied some balm around my hairline before starting, but as you can see I still managed to stain my forehead. Luckily I have a fringe to cover it up and most of it seemed to disappear during the day. I also got henna in the sink and on the tiles, but I cleaned it up as soon as I was finished and there wasn't any staining.


Some people sleep with the henna in their hair, but I couldn't do that. I had some of the mixture dripping out around my ears and at the back and I wouldn't want to wake up with a stained face. I wanted to leave it on as long as I could for intense colour, but after 7 hours I couldn't stand it any more. I rinsed most of the henna off in the bath and applied a hair mask. I should've washed my hair before applying the mask, but I forgot. After 20 minutes I rinsed out the mask in the shower and shampooed and conditioned my hair.

This is what it looked like on the first day:

Sorry about Jeff's butt.
My hair turned out a beautiful deep red and it's very shiny. I noticed in these photos that I need to find a red brow powder to match. I couldn't find one so I'm using a blush and it's working really well.

This is what it looked like after 19 days:


As you can see, there wasn't any fading or change in colour during that time. I read that the henna will develop over a few days after you've applied it, but I didn't notice any further changes. Using henna is easier with someone to help you and check that all the hair, especially at the back, is covered, but it's completely doable on your own.

Here's some of the helpful articles I read:
Have you ever tried henna?

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