henna has destroyed my hair

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I'm a huge fan of henna but if the treatment isn't done properly you can run into an assortment of problems. I've been using henna for six months and here are some of the issues I ran into, why and how I solved them.

1st problem: Dry brittle hair and very little color
Why- I used an "off" brand of henna. Rainbow henna from Whole Foods.
Two other brands that suck in my opinion.
Reshma Henna-decent color but super itchy scalp
Jamila " Superior quality"- Little color and weak condition
Solution- I swear by Jamila "punjabi prime" from Mehindi.com and or Dulhan with a recent date and batch no.

2nd problem: Loss of curl. I experienced this after my first 4 treatments. Mainly in the front of my head where I naturally have a looser curl pattern anyway.
Why: I was doing the treatments too often. I started off henna-ing ONCE a week and the tention I was putting on the front of my head did not make the situation any better.
Solution- I now only Henna once a month with a gloss in between. To help my bring back my lost curl I started to mix Hesh Pharma Amla in with the henna. So my current mixture is 50 grams of henna, 50 grams of amla. My curls are conditioned and consistent all over.

3rd problem- Split ends, Single strand knots, breakage.
These, many naturals experience before they Henna. Poor treatments can make it worse.
Why- Bad choice of acid. I used to use ACV, Orange Juice, coffee. Dry, Dry, Dry and more Dry. They're way too acidic and though I got these recommendations from Indian women you have to remember the sebum from their scalp gets onto their strands effortlessly. Not so with curlies and kinkys.
Solution- keep it mild. I prefer green tea, Amla, or a teaspoon of red wine. I am also extremely generous with oils in my henna. I add plenty of olive oil, Flax seed oil (adds strength and flexiblilty to your curls) and coconut oil is easily absorbed.

4th problem- Hairloss. I've never experienced this infact I'm noticing very little hair in my brush after detangling. Why- Those that have, can probably attribute this to not conditioning properly after a treatment. I notice some mention of Giovanni products. Which as a 3c I find that they just don't condition deep enough. The ingredients always list tons of water, alcohols, proteins and barely any oils.
Solution-I suggest that atleast when you henna to keep your conditioners heavy and rich. Become a mixologist. Mix coconut oil, coconut milk, olive oil, shea butter or oil in with all natural conditioners and always apply heat. I use a dryer or I put on a plastic cap and sit in the sun for atleast 15 minutes. My favorite conditioners are Deity America Deep Penetrating Conditioner for Damaged Hair (CVS, Beauty Supply Stores usually carry it) Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and blend of coconut milk, avocodo oil, and Burt's Bees more moisture conditioner.

More Tips:
-Moisture is everything with or with out henna. DT once a week.
-Stay clear of cones, parabens, glycols and alcohols. I own Aussie Moist and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration even some Deva Curl products. But I use them sparingly for long lasting styles between Hennas. They're not to be applied everyday. They will dry out your hair.
- Henna is not a quick fix. You don't actually "see" results from henna until the forth treatment and if you were coloring your hair with drugstore haircolors or salon haircolors before, expect the results to take even longer to show up. But the results are amazing. Handling damage takes time and trims.

I hope my lengthy response was helpful to you.
Originally Posted by Curlbomb920
I am really upset that some girls at mendhi.com insisted that mixing their henna with entirely lemon juice or ACV was also a non drying or not as bad as lemon juice. This is absolutely false! my hair was so damaged and fried after using these acidic mixes that I am having to condition 3 x a week!

You do not need to use acid at all! Warm water works just fine! Or one tablespoon of lemon juice ACVgreen tea chamomile does the trick too.
I use red sunset and red raj with warm water just fine. I still have terrible damage from the ACV bath but it's growing out.

Honestly to tell people to dowse your hair in a cup of ACV or Lemon juice and then let it sit on your head for up to 6 or 8 hours is insane! No wonder my hair looks terrible. Please please be careful what you read and especially be careful with Mendhi.com. ( ridiculous advice from the girls)!

I should have known better I was henna my hair before most of those girls were born and I never ever used acid base only warm water and my hair looked beautiful!
testimony777 and sixelamy like this.

Last edited by Cjanee; 09-21-2014 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Not the right title
The same thing happened with me. Earlier I didn't noticed much change but this time when I used it, it made my hair dry and rough. Earlier my hair used to shine a lot but now the shine is not even there. Really disappointed with the results.
When I saw all the information with mixing henna with lemon juice etc I was confused. My friends who used henna before I did, plus the shops I've brought it from have always said just mix it with water.

I've therefore never had a problem with using henna and have used it on and off since being a teenager.
I use either lemon juice or oj to activate my henna without any ill effects. However, I have fine, rather oily hair, so perhaps that's what makes the difference?




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I use a little bit of lemon juice but mostly coconut milk. I get great color and the coconut milk is very conditioning and helps the henna to rinse out easier.
Oh no, sorry you had a bad experience with henna. For me it helped with the condition. Maybe it was the lemon juice? Was it pure henna you used?

In the future, you don't have to use an acidic agent to activate the henna. Warm water and time will also release the color.
Originally Posted by BunnieHoney
Exactly, I mix mine with warm tea and the color releases right away. Unless you don't want the color, then I don't know why you would add an acidic ingredient to begin with. I also add conditioner to mine, and my hair feels so lovely after Make sure you're using Body Art Quality henna, the impure henna will contain some type of chemicals and react very badly with previous or post chemical hair color. That's why a lot of salon stylists won't touch henna'ed hair, they don't understand the difference in types of henna.
2c-3a - med-coarse - normal-high porosity - high density

NP/LP: CJ Daily Fix, KMF Whenever / Giovanni TTTT
RO/LI: Aussie Moist, CJ Argan & Olive Oil, Hask Keratin Protein
DC/PROTEIN: KC Stellar Strands / CNPF
STYLER: CJ Curl Queen
COLOR: henna, amla & indigo
: glycerin in high/low dews, polyquat-10 & 11, parabens

Last edited by sixelamy; 10-16-2014 at 10:46 AM.
Hi all, this is probably my first post and an old post, but just wanted to share my experience with dry henna-ed hair blues.

1. I mixed 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1/2 cup cranberry juice and stirred up about 200g of really old henna powder (at least 2-4 yrs old) and placed the glass bowl on top of (partially submerged) small crock pot. I turned the crock pot onto High, and left the henna mixture to cure for 10ish hours. (uncertain of dye release on such old henna)

Next afternoon, I washed my hair with a moisturizing shampo, then, Kinky Curly come clean shampoo, and clarified with ACV rinse. Patted hair dry then did the following henna mixture to my damp hair:

2. I mixed 1/2 cured henna with 1/2 Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle condish, applied to hair, plastic cap and heated for 2hrs and then room temp 2 hrs. (I thought actually I "killed" the henna due to the heat, but this stuff was so old!).

3. Rinsed henna out of hair at kitchen sink with same conditioner, but hair super dry. Added Shea Moisture hair masks (prob. protein), heated for 20min/ rinsed, then reapplied, and heated, and after 10 min, added silicone mix on top of the existing condish and went back under heat for 20 min, left both conditioners on overnight.

4. In morning, hair still not soft or feeling conditioned.

BTW- I have breaking transitioning hair, and after this one henna treatment (with super old henna), I had the least amount of breakage ever in my life! The henna treat seemed to even out the 2 textures - My hair was less curly, particularly the texlaxed and color damaged portion.

5. My hair in the AM was itchy from the conditioner (chemicals in Silicone Mix are irritants), so after I rinsed conditioners from hair, I did an ACV rinse and left the rinse, on hair for 5 minutes and worked well into scalp. Noticed head very cool.

6. My hair felt great and bouncy, and strong but still not conditioned, so I detangled by spraying Aloe Vera Juice and then coated with grapeseed oil and sealed with Cantu leave in.

7. The result was still SUPER DRY hair, with very good volume and bounce, but kind of crispy, and not absorbing oil, so oily ish too.

LATER THAT DAY - I googled everything and went through all Curly Nikki's blogs postings for the past 10 years, but found nothing. Then I investigated buying another $50 worth of conditioners without protein to help salvage my hair. During this wheel spinning process, my intuition told me, Self, you have the right products, just remember what you have and trust that you may have to use them differently than as they were designed"! So I went to my stash of product and waited to see which product jumped out to me first and used it, as well as the second product that came to mind.

8. The first product was Kinky Curly - SPIRAL SPRITZ (one of the most under-rated hair products in the natural hair journey blogisphere!) That spritz is more like a much better detangler than the Shea Mositure detanglers that have come on the market. Its far more moisturizing and less chemicals and fragrance.

Ingredients: Lavender water, extracts of horsetail, nettles and sage, aloe vera gel, vitamin B-5, glycerin, citric acid, and grapefruit seed extract.

Next, I chose to seal the hair with a heavy duty moisturizer, yet also overlooked by many in this industry, due to its cones, Pantene Truly Relaxed Moisturizing Conditioner. I had a sample from my Textured and Tones hair color (which tore up my tex-laxed strands making them fine, fragile and tangly).

Ingredients: Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Fragrance, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium Edta, Histidine, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Citric Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

My hair is fully restored, but still stronger. It is sucking up the Pantene condish currently and will probably need to reapply some version of this combo tomorrow (Spiral Spritz or the Pantene condish).

As usual my heavy hands used way too much pantene conditioner so my fine strands are weighted down, but way less breakage, during application of this cream, which is amazing as my hair has been breaking like crazy and tangling.

The newfound strength is of course due to the henna. For next week's application I will switching to cranberry juice and coconut milk for curing. But, I would continue to shampoo and clarify with ACV and apply on damp hair, and cook more of the 3-5 yrs old henna product with heat onto my hair.

If the dryness breaks through this combination (spiral spritz+ pantene RNC), I will use Hueful steamer to help add more moisture still. .

I think the henna most dramatically changed the porosity of my texlaxed-color damaged hair from high porosity to low porosity. My entire conditioning process has been turned on its head, as now I am dealing with low porosity hair, which means from what I have read, that it takes a lot of work for the hair to accept and absorb moisture.

This is what I feel is the most difficult result of the hennaing process, to accept the dramatic porosity shift from highly porous hair to extremely low porosity. The henna filled in all the cracks along the hair shaft, blocking moisture coming in to the hair strands.

Hope this helps to process all of the different experiences shared here in this post!
Just tried applying a little left over henna to dry conditioned hair, and the results were pretty good but less strengthening effects. Strands were still weak post henna. Guess it takes some time for results. I am still going to experiment with more ways not to overly dry hair after.

Nonetheless, while I am still experimenting with post henna conditioners I found an amazing "not marketed as a conditioner, conditioner", my new post-henna HG, and I believe it is CG as well!!! No protein, parabens, no artificial color, and no silicone! (I have had terrible experiences with HH and GVP /Biolage Condish Balm, and Aussie 3MM, due to chemicals, fragrances, artificial colors, all in one- I am so sensitive I actually taste chemicals in my mouth - yuck!!)
The Cantu website states: No mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicone, phthalates, gluten, paraffin, propylene, PABA or DEA, and, not tested on animals.

Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream - ingredients below

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Propanediol, Fragrance, Polyquaterium-10, Stearalkonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut), Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Simmondsia Chinensis Oil (Jojoba), Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), Persea Gratissima Oil (Avocado), Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (Argan), Melia Azadirachta Seed Oil (Neem), Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil (Carrot), Lonicera Japonica Flower Extract (Honeysuckle), Laminara Cloustoni Extract (Sea Kelp), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil (Macadamia), Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract (Grape), Urtica Dioica Extract (Nettle), Silk Amino Acids, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate-60, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerine

I am so heavy handed with product, I need to water it down. But I am steaming it into my hair with the Qredew
I hope this helps anyone struggling with henna application and post application dryness. It is a real issue and surprised not more is focused on it.

Trying to succeed with growing healthy hair, with safer products. Highly porous fine, fragile hair, partially resolved w/henna. Not CG, just whatever works!
Hair type: mixed, 3c-4c?
Product Brands:Kinky Curly, Camille Rose, Oyin, Hairobics, Giovanni, Aubrey Organics

I'm guessing you didn't read the rest of this thread to see that overdrying is the result of using too much acidity in the henna? Because you used an awful lot of acidic liquids - lemon juice and cranberry juice - in your henna, when actually none at all are required. I'm not surprised your hair got so dry.

I suspect the fact that it was very old henna may have played a hand as well.

Seems to me the #1 idea to take away from this conversation (that started nearly 8 years ago) is NOT to use anything acidic in a henna treatment.

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