Henna w/o losing curls-- alma?? Help please

Hey lovely curly girls and hennaheads.

This is obviously a henna-related question. I've henna'd only once now and I love love love the color results. It's the perfect auburn shade that I could never achieve with box dyes. It's the perfect beautiful healthy color in every way. I get tons of compliments and my stylist has even commented how much healthier my hair is.

PROBLEM: is that henna has loosened my curl pattern somewhat. After just ONE use.

I was born with stick straight hair that got wavy over time (puberty maybe?) Even now, I'm probably more of a 1c if I don't use any products or scrunch, 2a with scrunching alone, and 2b-c with help from products.

I love love love my waves and the body they give my hair. I don't want to lose them, and I don't want to have to choose between the amazing natural hair coloring method I've discovered and having wavy hair. I don't have a strong enough curl pattern to go around losing any of it.

Solution (maybe?): I've heard that adding alma to your henna mix can save your curls, even give you back some of the curls that henna-ing has taken away.

Problem with Solution: I've also heard that adding alma to your henna mix will give you a darker color, much like adding indigo does. As in brown. I do not want brown hair, not even a little. I love the vibrant red of pure, straight-up henna.

I'm asking you resident hennaheads for help. Anyone have any experience with any of the above and can offer some advice for how I can keep happily henna-ing away without having stick-straight red hair?

Thanks in advance, you beautiful lovely curlyheads.

Edit: I've also heard that people do alma and yoghurt treatments in between henna coloring, and that this may mitigate the whole alma-turns-your-hair-brown problem. Anyone have any luck with this?

Last edited by rievna; 11-10-2011 at 11:49 AM.
Wellyes henna could loosen up curls, we actually use it as a treatment for making the hair straight, as henna covers each single hair and fills it.
but u only get that with excessive usage , so if u use henna every week or every 15 days ur curls will loosen up a bit but they could get back with time, u could use henna every 2 months if you dont want to lose your waves

another thing black seed oil and sweet almond oil curls or makes the hair wavier you could use them occasionally before shower

yoghurt fights fly ways and helps straighten the hair so keep in mind that too and also yoghurt are only used in henna recipe for normal hair if ur hair is dry you should use tea instead of water and 2 spoons of corn oil.

and good luck
I think you mean "amla". And, yes, they say it is strongly curl-enhancing, but it makes the red a bit toward auburn--just a bit. More like a richer red, not anything like the change you get w/ indigo. You only get brown when you put henna AND indigo together, and the brown gets deeper w/ amla. The amla can't make brown on its own.
Problem hair: No longer too porous (yay!). 2c/3a w/ lots of natural kinkiness (natural crimping) so resistant to forming defined curls, med. texture, but thinning since Sept. 2011 due to autoimmune illness.

Last edited by OnlyNow; 11-11-2011 at 03:16 PM.
@Sayoon

Thanks for the tips about the black seed oil and almond oil. I've been looking left and right for ways to make my waves more wavy... they're quite lazy sometimes.

You say that the straightening effect occurs only with repeated use, but I've only used henna once so far and there has definitely been a noticeable change... I mean, my waves didn't go completely straight, but the total length of one of the "S" shapes my hair forms maybe was like 2 inches before, and now it's more like 2.5-3... almost like when hair gets weighed down with product. And it's been a month and a half since I did this first henna treatment. Either way, I'm certainly not planning on using henna more often than every few months... I use it for hair color, not conditioning.

I didn't know yogurt could do what you say!! I need a lot of help with my flyaways, but I don't want my hair to get even straighter... now I'm torn on whether or not to try it!! How long-lasting are the effects?

And yes, I use chamomile tea and a little oil in my henna. I was just wondering what to mix the amla with (if I'm using it as a separate post-henna treatment)... just water then? Tea? The above mentioned black seed and almond oils?

@OnlyNow

Yes, I do mean amla!!! I don't know how I kept reading it as "alma" on websites... maybe cuz of "alma mater"? Now I feel like a big dummy, haha... thanks so much for the correction!!

I use straight-up henna without any indigo added. I've seen pictures about what henna+indigo vs henna+indigo+amla does, but I haven't seen any pictures of what just plain henna vs henna+amla will do, in terms of color. As I mentioned above, I use henna purely for color purposes, not for the conditioning benefits (those are a nice perk though). So what you're saying is basically amla will not affect the color as strongly as indigo would, that basically the difference is not too noticeable? I really really like the color results I get with just pure henna, and I don't want too much of a brownish tone--- I've tried those kind of dark auburn shades back when I used to chemically color, and they are just not flattering on me.

I'm also wondering-- I've read from people who use henna+indigo that the indigo tends to fade somewhat, maybe even quickly, while the henna underneath stays. So someone might dye their hair medium brown with henna+indigo, let's say, and after some time their hair fades from medium brown to more like an auburn or even a red shade. I'm wondering if the same thing would happen with amla, like the darkening effect of amla would maybe fade faster than the henna and leave me with the red that I want?

Last edited by rievna; 11-11-2011 at 09:38 PM.
I'm not trying to bump my own thread, I swear I'm not, but I thought that if maybe someone with questions similar to my own should stumble upon this they would find the following information useful.

I got the hair-dyeing itch and I couldn't resist so I henna'd (hennaed?) again today. The color is so beautiful and I'm so in love, but my hair is straight. Bone straight. Flat iron straight. I can't bring myself to be upset because I love love LOVE the color, but let this serve as a warning to others who might not feel the same way. Alternatively, if you're looking for an all-natural hair relaxer, may I recommend henna? LOL!

So let me summarize to make this absolutely clear:
Pre-henna: 2a-2b range
First henna, left on 2 hours: 1c-2a range
Second henna, left on 5 hours: 1. Just 1. Straight as can be.

Mind you it's only been an hour or so, so this effect may fade in a week or two, or it may not. I did NOT mix in amla because I was afraid of altering my color result, but I shall be doing some amla treatments later in the week to see if I can get some of the wave back and will update with results.

I gambled and I lost but I also won. I guess I'll take fiery red, beautifully healthy but sadly straight hair over chemically fried, terribly faded-ugly-color but beautifully wavy hair, if those are my only two choices. Can't have everything, right?

That being said, if anyone has any advice on how to get the wavies back, please please please do share?
A lot of people notice a difference in the hair pattern from the first time , if ur hair is super fine the change will be more noticeable n lasts longer, but it's fixable if u do this trick , we do it for extra waves n super long hair , u massage ur head everynight with any light oil make sure it's non greasy and we braid it u will wake up with super gorgeous waves and ur hair will grow within a month .

Now to make good henna u mix it with tea not water just tea , black tea gives red enhance n camomile gives brownish blondish enhance , using corn oil will help henna penetrate the damaged hair shafts , and protect ur hair from drying out.

Finally for sweet almond and black seed, they r heavy and greasy so u use it as a 1 hour pre shower oil treatment.

One thing try not to keep henna for more than 4 hours if u dnt want straight hair also henna is like deep conditioning protein treatment that's why it could change hair pattern.

Ur hair is awsome if u keep using Henna and braid it everyday ur gonna have a beautiful wavy princess hair
@OnlyNow
So what you're saying is basically amla will not affect the color as strongly as indigo would, that basically the difference is not too noticeable? I really really like the color results I get with just pure henna, and I don't want too much of a brownish tone--- I've tried those kind of dark auburn shades back when I used to chemically color, and they are just not flattering on me.
Originally Posted by rievna
Hey, you should hear how I sound when I use words that I've only read and not heard spoken. We all gotta learn.

As for what mix you should use to get the results you say you want-- Am I right to think that your natural hair color and complexion are quite light? Is your hair naturally reddish and are you covering some gray? If you only use the henna every few months your roots must not be too noticeable, right?

Please let me know if I've got the picture. One thing I can tell you for sure. Since you don't want a darker or browner color, you should definitely not use any indigo. It is not necessary to pair the amla w/ indigo, even though that's the combo you usually see in recipes online.

Here's a useful thread on using henna w/ amla and cassia w/o any indigo: Henna, Cassia, and Amla? | forums.hennapage.com (The way this forum is programmed, you have to scroll down just below the original post and click on each of the 7 replies in turn to be able to read them.)

The poster wanted to be able to restore her curl and color her roots w/o darkening her hair. She said she successfully achieved that result by coating the already henna-colored length of her hair w/ a mix of equal parts amla & cassia (cassia gives a slight golden sheen counteracting the slight darkening effect of amla while leaving the basic henna red intact), and coloring the roots w/ a mix of 2 parts henna and 1 part each amla and cassia. It was recommended not to use henna on already hennaed hair, as excess henna tends to darken as it weathers. It was a one-step process though it did use 2 different mixes for the different parts of her hair. There must have been a little overlap, but I can't see that being a problem.

One thing you should know is that amla is acidic, so when you use it, you don't need to put lemon juice or vinegar in the mix. Also, if you prefer, you can use a higher proportion of henna on your roots--say 3 parts henna to one each of amla and cassia.

I don't think you can use the most popular curl-enhancing ingredient, Magnesium sulfate, aka Epsom Salts, after henna, because minerals like magnesium often create off-colors (like green!) if used on hennaed hair. This is the most common active ingredient in commercial curl-enhancing styling lotions and milks, so take care to read the ingredients before using anything like that.

Hope I've helped.
Problem hair: No longer too porous (yay!). 2c/3a w/ lots of natural kinkiness (natural crimping) so resistant to forming defined curls, med. texture, but thinning since Sept. 2011 due to autoimmune illness.

Last edited by OnlyNow; 11-12-2011 at 03:48 PM.
@OnlyNow

Wow, first off thank you for all the info, really really helpful advice. In fact, I just bought a few supposedly curl-enhancing products (e.g. Redken's spray mousse/gel thing for what they call "lazy curls") so I'll be sure to check the label for magnesium sulfate and maybe test the product on a strand or two before slathering the stuff all over my hair.

You are absolutely correct in your assumption that I am a pale-skinned blondie. Well, I was blonde as a kid. As I got older, my beautiful blonde locks turned into this ashy/mousey/bleh dark blonde that I personally hated. So I chemically colored for about six years, tried every color on the planet, natural and not, and fell in love with red. The time came where I finally had to admit the chemical damage was too much, so I researched and found out about the magic that is henna. No grays to cover yet and I probably won't have any for a good while, I'm only 23.

If you want some good reference pictures, google image Rachel Hurd-Wood. You'll see pictures of her sporting her natural color (an example here: Rachel Hurd-Wood Tim Jenkins shoot (5).jpg | Flickr - Photo Sharing!) and others of her dyed-red hair (imdb headshot with red hair: Rachel Hurd-Wood - IMDb). Her skin tone is very close to mine, as is her natural hair color (mine's just a bit darker and ashier), and her dyed-red hair is almost exactly the color I get with henna. My hair grows slowly, I guess, or maybe the henna blends well, but for whatever reason I can get away with 1-2 months before needing to do the roots.

Just a couple questions for you about the girl who does the amla/cassia. I've heard of people using just using amla mixed with water as a treatment, why is the cassia necessary? Does it cut down on the acidity of the amla and thus prevent dryness issues or something? Is it just to add gloss?

Same question with the henna/amla/cassia for the roots. Why cassia? I've read that henna/cassia mixes give less of a red stain (e.i. on completely gray hair they would give you strawberry blonde vs pure henna would give you red). Why not just apply henna/amla to the roots without any cassia?

Thanks again for all the info, you really have given me a wealth of advice to try and get those waves back.

EDIT: Wait wait, I re-read your post, and I think I'm getting it now. Since amla has a darkening/browning effect, mixing in cassia (because of the yellow dye in it) counteracts the brown of amla, leaving you with the same end result color that you'd get with henna alone, right? So in short:

Henna alone = red
Henna + amla = browner/darker red
Henna + cassia = lighter, strawberry-ish red
Therefore, henna + cassia + amla = same red as with henna?

Am I getting this right? Sorry, I guess I'm a little slow today, haha.

I guess my question then would be, if I want to use amla alone as a curl-enhancing treatment between root-touch-ups, would I still want to apply amla+cassia to the whole head, or would just amla+water be ok?

I know that amla when used WITH henna creates a darker/browner tone, but if used alone I was under the impression that it did not affect color. Is this wrong? Will just putting amla+water on my hair darken it?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by rievna; 11-12-2011 at 08:12 PM.
@OnlyNow

Wow, first off thank you for all the info, really really helpful advice. In fact, I just bought a few supposedly curl-enhancing products (e.g. Redken's spray mousse/gel thing for what they call "lazy curls") so I'll be sure to check the label for magnesium sulfate and maybe test the product on a strand or two before slathering the stuff all over my hair.

You are absolutely correct in your assumption that I am a pale-skinned blondie. Well, I was blonde as a kid. As I got older, my beautiful blonde locks turned into this ashy/mousey/bleh dark blonde that I personally hated. So I chemically colored for about six years, tried every color on the planet, natural and not, and fell in love with red. The time came where I finally had to admit the chemical damage was too much, so I researched and found out about the magic that is henna. No grays to cover yet and I probably won't have any for a good while, I'm only 23.

If you want some good reference pictures, google image Rachel Hurd-Wood. You'll see pictures of her sporting her natural color (an example here: Rachel Hurd-Wood Tim Jenkins shoot (5).jpg | Flickr - Photo Sharing!) and others of her dyed-red hair (imdb headshot with red hair: Rachel Hurd-Wood - IMDb). Her skin tone is very close to mine, as is her natural hair color (mine's just a bit darker and ashier), and her dyed-red hair is almost exactly the color I get with henna. My hair grows slowly, I guess, or maybe the henna blends well, but for whatever reason I can get away with 1-2 months before needing to do the roots.

Just a couple questions for you about the girl who does the amla/cassia. I've heard of people using just using amla mixed with water as a treatment, why is the cassia necessary? Does it cut down on the acidity of the amla and thus prevent dryness issues or something? Is it just to add gloss?

Same question with the henna/amla/cassia for the roots. Why cassia? I've read that henna/cassia mixes give less of a red stain (e.i. on completely gray hair they would give you strawberry blonde vs pure henna would give you red). Why not just apply henna/amla to the roots without any cassia?

Thanks again for all the info, you really have given me a wealth of advice to try and get those waves back.

EDIT: Wait wait, I re-read your post, and I think I'm getting it now. Since amla has a darkening/browning effect, mixing in cassia (because of the yellow dye in it) counteracts the brown of amla, leaving you with the same end result color that you'd get with henna alone, right? So in short:
  1. Henna alone = red; Henna + amla = browner/darker red; Henna + cassia = lighter, strawberry-ish red; Therefore, henna + cassia + amla = same red as with henna? Am I getting this right? Sorry, I guess I'm a little slow today, haha.
  2. I guess my question then would be, if I want to use amla alone as a curl-enhancing treatment between root-touch-ups, would I still want to apply amla+cassia to the whole head, or would just amla+water be ok?
  3. I know that amla when used WITH henna creates a darker/browner tone, but if used alone I was under the impression that it did not affect color. Is this wrong? Will just putting amla+water on my hair darken it?
Thanks in advance!
Originally Posted by rievna
Hey, you're welcome. Just passing forward what others have done for me.

Testing commercial curl-enhancers on a hidden strand before use is an excellent idea.

Wow! I see why you love the red. It really gives a lot more drama to someone with your coloring and lets you use a more contrasty lip color as well. Your coloring is almost exactly like one of my niece's. She's dealing w/ it by bleaching and going back to the light, bright blond she had as a little girl. I think she's reluctant to go red since one of her aunts on the other side of her family is a very fair natural redhead, and she may feel it would look like she's trying to copy artificially what her aunt has naturally, if you know what I mean. Or it may be that she's a busy college senior and bleaching is a lot less work than using henna. I might send her your links, though, so she can see the effect.


Your little impromptu chart is almost right. (Forgive my reformatting. I'm hoping it will make it easier to see what I'm answering.)

1. Adding amla to henna doesn't make the color browner, only a bit darker and less bright. That's why some folks say it gives a richer red. The combo she's using does make the red less pure but still dominant. The whole point of including amla was to restore curls, and the reason for adding cassia is to keep the color bright and flattering to fair skin. If you look at the recipes for strawberry blonde, you'll see that there is usually about 4 parts of cassia for each 1 part henna. So a mix of mostly henna w/ some amla and cassia will still be red--just a little different red than henna alone--and the waves should come back some. It could be a slight trade-off, or you might decide that you like the red from the combo even better than the pure henna red.

2. I don't know if using the amla paste over hair that has been previously sealed with henna is as effective at restoring wave as using the amla mixed in w/ the henna during the initial coloring. The poster I linked to didn't seem to feel it was so she decided to use a mix when she colored. And she used the amla/cassia mixture on the henna-ed length to keep the color consistent w/ the newly colored roots as she kept up the curl/wave enhancing effects. As I mentioned, you could use a higher proportion of henna in your coloring mix and see if that worked. Or you could try your 2-step idea and see if an amla treatment on henna-ed hair does the trick. The wave-restoring thing shows up best from the 2nd treatment on, and many women mix in a bit of their favorite hair moisturizer when they make the amla paste to prevent a drying effect, just like they do when they henna. Everyone's hair is different.

3. If you find that your 2-step idea works, you may not need the cassia. Everyone says the amla darkening is not noticeable on the first treatment, and barely noticeable after the second treatment, but as it builds up over time and as the henna weathers, the color may get enough darker and less bright that you can see the difference. Whether or not it matters might depend on how long you wear your hair. For curl/wave enhancement, many women do amla treatments every 2 - 3 weeks. If you keep your hair fairly short and cut it frequently, the amla might not build up enough to matter, and you won't need the cassia.


Clearly, there's no perfect guaranteed solution here, especially as everyone is different, so one person's results won't necessarily match another's. From your OP, I see that you know two things for sure. Your henna-ed hair has a color you love, but is much straighter than you'd like. Another fact of life is that it is tricky and difficult to restore wave/curl to hair that has lost it by being colored with henna. Henna seems to do a bit too good a job at smoothing hair, and it's semi-permanent. At least one person has said she gets results closer to her original curl by using amla when she colors, and that she keeps the color bright and flattering by also including cassia. But you have no way of knowing until you try it if you'll like the combo color. On the other hand, it may be possible (or not) to get back some wave by using amla as a post-henna treatment. And doing so may, or may not, darken your color more than you'd like.

So them's the facts as best we can determine. Unless you come up w/ another effective wave-restoring treatment, I guess it's about deciding which sounds like the best shot, or learning to love your newly straight red hair.
Problem hair: No longer too porous (yay!). 2c/3a w/ lots of natural kinkiness (natural crimping) so resistant to forming defined curls, med. texture, but thinning since Sept. 2011 due to autoimmune illness.

Last edited by OnlyNow; 11-13-2011 at 09:39 PM.

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