Experiences with Henna?

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I'm thinking of trying henna. My current color is growing out and I don't want to do highlights anymore. Please share any and all experiences!!

TIA
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

Hey Nikki,

I love henna. I've used it three times now - once as a gloss, and two full applications. Pure henna - the real stuff - only comes in red. That's the color of the dye the plant releases. My natural hair color is medium and dark brown (with some gold mixed in). After the second henna, my hair is a deep deep ruby red/brown ( I call it cherry-glazed chocolate) when outdoors. I get a lot of compliments on it, even though I think it's really subtle. Indoors you can still see it, but not as much. It won't show up that much on black hair.

Henna also made my hair thicker - so just be prepared. But my twists now look great, where they were kind of limp and wimpy before. My loose hair still looks the same, but my twist ponytail looks thicker.

Another thing I noticed is shinier, softer hair. The softness kicked in even more after the second henna. Henna is like a very long-lasting conditioner - the shine, softness, and strength last for a long time. I noticed that it took longer for my hair to absorb water after the first henna, but that went away after the second treatment.

Just keep in mind that if you have used chemical color on your hair, you have to be VERY careful about the henna you buy. Compound henna (sometimes falsely sold as pure henna) contains metallic compounds that will interact with the chemical color, damaging your hair and turning it black or green. So be careful what you buy.

I have the results of my henna gloss and 1st henna in my Fotki.
spirals, kinks, s-shapes and coils.

http://public.fotki.com/Spiral

H is for Henna and Healthy Hair!
Use only the PURE STUFF
Thanks Spiral! I was hoping you'd respond I've stalked your fotki for a while and knew if anyone had advice for me, it'd be you...but also, I haven't seen you around these parts lately either.

Thanks for the info, since I'm a newbie I'll wait until I grow this color out. I'd really like to transition to my natural hair color, so when that happens, I'll start experimenting.

BTW, your hair is gorgeous, as always
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

No problem. You may want to check out the Henna for Hair forum ( www.hennaforhair.com). I learned a lot from the ladies there.

Also, if you want the conditioning without the color, you can try cassia obovata , sometimes sold as "neutral henna". The conditioning effects don't last as long as henna, but I've read that people who use it regularly over time have stronger, thicker, shinier hair. You can get cassia from here: http://www.mehandi.com/shop/cassiaobovatabuy.html

Thanks for the compliment . I'm a big fan of your hair - it always looks so healthy and beautifully styled!
spirals, kinks, s-shapes and coils.

http://public.fotki.com/Spiral

H is for Henna and Healthy Hair!
Use only the PURE STUFF
rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
i know you are asking about henna. but i've been enjoying regularly conditioning my hair (every two months) with neutral henna. it's really the cassia obovata plant, which is closely related to the henna plant, only it doesn't impart a stain.

after preparing it, i wrap my hair in a plastic bag, then wrap a towel around it and leave it on my hair for 1 to 1.5 hours.

after rinsing it well and following with my rinse-out conditioner, my hair is left remarkably shiny, well conditioned, and moisturized.

i "henna" every couple of months at the time that i trim my ends. tomorrow is actually my next henna treatment.

i use the rainbow brand which i get from whole foods.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
I've been interested in henna for a while, but I've been too lazy to try it. I was wondering if the henna helped at all with hair growth?
Hair Type: 4a with 3c sections...frizzy,wavy,bushy,curly
If it thickens hair I want to try some...I just don't want the adverse effects of using it with color treated hair. I guess I'll give the cassia a try...when I'm feeling less lazy. Its hard enough for me to do a DT every week.
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

I've been interested in henna for a while, but I've been too lazy to try it. I was wondering if the henna helped at all with hair growth?
Originally Posted by Ajidahk
I haven't heard about henna stimulating growth. But it does strengthen hair, so it may help retain growth. Some of the ladies on the henna board said that it helps to split-proof their hair.

If it thickens hair I want to try some...I just don't want the adverse effects of using it with color treated hair. I guess I'll give the cassia a try...when I'm feeling less lazy. Its hard enough for me to do a DT every week.
Originally Posted by curlynikki
100% pure henna is supposed to be good for color-treated hair. But you should always do a strand test, and read up in the henna forum first. But it might me a good idea to start with cassia. Depending on your hair, it can take either one or two cassias to see results.
spirals, kinks, s-shapes and coils.

http://public.fotki.com/Spiral

H is for Henna and Healthy Hair!
Use only the PURE STUFF
Spiral, how often should the henna treatment be applied? How much do you recommend buying?
Hair Type: 4a with 3c sections...frizzy,wavy,bushy,curly
rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
*update*

i did my neutral henna and once again, my hair is shiny, elastic, and well-conditioned.

i use the rainbow brand that contains 4 ounces of dry henna. they recommend applying the entire 4 ounces, but using half is adequate for me because upon adding water, the product swells and thickens into a slimy paste which is ample for covering all of my hair from roots to ends. and my hair is long (a few inches below my shoulder blades in back, and to the front of my breasts in front).

my curls are defined and clump better since using this plant conditioner.

again, i do mine every 2 months, scheduling it at the time that i do my trim. (the directions recommend every 4-6 weeks, i think). my hair and scalp are very healthy.

my hair is naturally medium brown, which makes it look matte and dirty when it's actually quite clean with no buildup. the neutral henna imparts a shine to my hair that is remarkable. it adds no color at all to my hair. it doesn't even stain my hands (i use my bare hands to apply it). the only other way i could get shine like this is to put loads of grease or oil on my hair or to straighten it, which i prefer not to do just to make it look shiny.

if you have never colored your hair with henna, you may want to "practice" the application process with the neutral henna. you may decide that the shine and natural highlights that it brings out in your own hair will be satisfying enough.


"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
Rainshower, If I'm protein sensitive (I think I am...) would this natural henna be a good or bad idea? I'd really like to reap the benefits that you speak of and I'm tempted to get some from Whole Foods tomorrow.

Let me know!
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The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

rainshower's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 6,000
Rainshower, If I'm protein sensitive (I think I am...) would this natural henna be a good or bad idea? I'd really like to reap the benefits that you speak of and I'm tempted to get some from Whole Foods tomorrow.

Let me know!
Originally Posted by curlynikki
i just pm'd you, but i'll reply here too.

i don't think you would have a problem using it, so long as you aren't allergic to the cassia plant. there are no additives to it. it's just the dehydrated, ground-up leaves into a powder.

i will add that there are pieces of twigs in there. you could sift them out before the application if you wish. i don't. the slip from my conditioner, in addition to the massage feature on my showerhead are enough to make them slide right on out and down the drain.

additionally, i use aubrey organics j.a.y. shampoo and j.a.y. conditioner to wash the henna out. these are awesome products.

i use their rosa mosqueta shampoo and conditioner during the warm/hot months, and change up to their jay shampoo and conditioner during the cool/cold months. both of these products are excellent for my coily/wavy/curly hair.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
Spiral, how often should the henna treatment be applied? How much do you recommend buying?
Originally Posted by Ajidahk
Ladies over at the Henna for Hair forum say you can apply henna as often as you like. Just be aware that in some cases, frequent henna users experience curl loosening. This hasn't happened to me so far - I just assess my hair after each henna to be sure. It sure has made my hair thicker though, and I welcome that.

So far I seem to be doing a full henna once a month. I've only done two of those. And a gloss two weeks after my full henna. So, that would be twice a month for me - one full strength, and one gloss.

My hair needs at least 200 grams for a full henna. Completely stretched, my hair is below bra strap - going on waist - in the back (the front is shorter), to give you an idea of how much 200 grams will cover. I mix my henna with honey, so that stretches it a bit.

You should, for a full henna, apply it verrrry thick so that it covers each and every strand. It should be like thick frosting on your head LOL. Your head will feel very heavy and it will stretch your hair out almost straight from the weight of it. I wrap my hair around my head before putting on the cling wrap.

I suggest reading this free e-book before attempting henna - it explains everything - how to mix, how to apply, etc:
http://www.hennaforhair.com/freebooks/


For the gloss, after experimenting, I think I could about get 4 good glosses out of a 100 gram box ($8 for Jamilla from Mehandi).

Btw, I highly recommend Mehandi's Personal Stash Jamila henna. And her Cassia (neutral henna) is also very good.


@ Nikki - It's often said around the internet that henna is a protein treatment, but it's not. Catherine over at Mehandi wrote a post about it - and she's doing her Phd on henna, so she knows. She said it's actually a tannin treatment. The confusion, I think, comes from the fact that it binds to the protein in your hair. So it does kind of act like a protein treatment, but it isn't one. I also find it far more effective than any temporary protein treatment I've ever used.
spirals, kinks, s-shapes and coils.

http://public.fotki.com/Spiral

H is for Henna and Healthy Hair!
Use only the PURE STUFF
Spiral and Rainshower,

I'm sitting here under my hooded dryer (w/ a processing cap on) with Rainbow brand (colorless henna). It is all natural and smells like fresh cut grass! It was a messy application, but my curls looked super cool all stretched out. I used 2 of the 4 oz of powder and mixed w/ 1/2 cup of boiling water and 2tbs of olive oil.

Spiral, what I'm doing now (cassia, right?) is the gloss that you speak of? So I can do this twice a month or however often I want? I can't wait to see what my results will be like . I'm happy to hear that it has caused your hair to thicken, and that is most certainly welcome over here! I'd love bigger hair. Thats actually my number 1 dream...even more than length (my hair is at APL).

Will post results!!!
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

Nikki, I can't wait to see your results! I haven't tried cassia on my entire head yet, just henna.

The gloss I refer to is actually a method of applying henna and cassia. If you only have a little bit (like I had a few tablespoons left over), you can freeze it. Then later mix it with conditioner (no -oil for henna) or pectin, honey, or flax gel, and use it to refresh your color or shine.
spirals, kinks, s-shapes and coils.

http://public.fotki.com/Spiral

H is for Henna and Healthy Hair!
Use only the PURE STUFF
Okay, so now I'm waiting on my hair to dry (won't be able to see the real results until tomorrow before work when its dry and I fluff it out). Upon first rinse, my hair was noticably softer! Due to the grittiness of the cassia, I thought that it would leave my hair feeling hard at first and then soft upon conditioning, so I was pleasantly suprised. My hair seemed a little fuller, but I can't be too sure yet...it also seemed much shinier. It is definitely softer...thats for sure.

It took a million rinses with Creme of Nature Shampoo to get the grit out, and then I followed up with TJ Nourish Spa and BB Curl Quenching. I then styled w/ my usual BB and Herbal Essence Body Envy. Unfortunately, I still had a minute amount of grit (little twiggy things) left that wasn't rinsed away, but hopefully it won't be that noticeable tomorrow? I'll be able to co-wash again after my workout tomorrow evening. I"ll definitely post pics tomorrow

Spiral, how often can I use the colorless henna?
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

your results sound great, curlynikki. I can't wait to try henna. Have you noticed any other changes with the henna?
Hair Type: 4a with 3c sections...frizzy,wavy,bushy,curly
Nope. Its about 80% dry and its SOOOOOOOOO soft. No texture change (i.e. elongation), but definitely softer (silky even). I hope tomorrow it looks fuller...that would be awesome! You should definitely give it a try
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

Ive been viewing Spirals page too and shes inspired me to try the Jamila henna also! I was wondering if there is a combination to help the henna turn out more brown but i will try out the jamila first when i get the extra money (broke college student lol). Curlynikki im glad that the neutral henna worked for you!
4a hair: Fall/Winter HG's
Qhemet: Alma and Olive Heavy Cream, Cocoa Tree
Curl Junkie: DF, CIAB, Honey Butta, Curl Reham
Oyin: Honey Hemp, Sugar Berry
Anita Grant: Creamy Cafe Latte, Rhassoul DC, Babassu Amla Shampoo Bar, Monoi De Tahiti
Bee Mine: Curly Butter
Other: Millenia Mud, Hicks Oil
Homemade: Jamila Henna, Alba UnPetroleum Mix, Scalp Oil Blend, Aloe/Condish Spray, Condition Rinse (Aussie Moist & Mane and Tail)
: www.fotki.com/talisa3636
Day 1:

My hair is 100% dry and shinier than ever. I'm thinking I'd like to do this as my deep treatment, rather than using BB Curl Quenching (w/ olive oil and honey added) every week. I wonder if once a week would be over kill? Its colorless and only conditioning right?

edited to add:
Spiral, after reading info on hennaforhair.com alllll night, I decided to buy some Mehandi cassia. I read alot of negative posts about Rainbow (its organic ingredients are in question), so I think i'll try the brands Catherine reccs. I'll let you know if I see a difference.
The Blog: www.curlynikki.com

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