It’s been a long time coming. I knew I would eventually give in and FINALLY try HENNA!!! I don’t know why I hadn’t tried it yet. It seemed only natural for me to since I love ayurvedic treatments and this is like the prestige of them all lol. So, I decided to just get over my fear and DO it finally. I mean, I’ve heard about it and seen it EVERY where for years. The results I’ve seen on other people are usually amazing and no one really has anything bad to say about it (as far as the effectiveness it has for hair).
I was (am still a bit!) so intimidated by henna, I guess because it’s such a particular process, there’s so many kinds, brands, mixtures, steps, etc. etc. etc. I just got overwhelmed by it! It seemed like every person who does henna has their own process and recipe. When I get overwhelmed I just shut down and say forget it lol BUT to my luck, a PR firm sent me a package FULL of henna treatments by Reshma Femme!! I was like, this MUST be the sign to just go ahead and take that leap of faith lol It’s really silly that I am intimidated by this simple green powder lol So thanks to Reshma Femme, my fears have now been conquered! You can find this brand of henna in beauty supply stores and Sally stores nation wide which is super convenient! ***UPDATE — many people have told me that Reshma Femme Henna appeared in a recent CurlBox! If you have it, try it out!! :o)
The package from Reshma Femme had 4 varieties of their henna and 2 facial masks :o) I was so grateful! The 4 varieties are Toffee, Dark Chocolate, Playful Plum and Natural highlights. When I say varieties, I mean the henna is pre-mixed with other natural herbs like amla and indigo, to create the various colors. Lots of people mix their own herbs to create their own colors but Reshma Femme takes the guess work out and makes it easier to get a perfect proportions for color blends. Here’s the breakdown:
- Natural highlights is just pure henna, strait up
- Playful Plum is henna and Indigo for blackish, plum tones
- Toffee is Henna, Amla, Shikakai, Bhilwa, Hibiscus, Ratan Jot
- Dark Chocolate <—- I know, I still need to get the ingredients on this one!
All of the variations are 100% pure and natural and don’t contain any additive ingredients. Sadly, there are lots of henna brands out there that are not 100% natural and contain fillers but Reshma Femme is completely pure and natural so that made me feel good :o)
So what’s the hype about henna? Well, besides is being a natural way to color your hair (henna will NOT lighten your hair, only give you red highlights in its pure form and browns and blacks mixed with other herbs), it provides serious conditioning, makes your hair super shiny and thickens your strands thus making your hair stronger and healthier. It also helps cure head lice, dandruff and ring worm which is cool. Oh it also loosens your curl pattern. Some people either love or hate that part. I don’t mind it since I have SEVERE shrinkage (my hair is about 50-60% longer than it looks!) If you don’t want to loose the curl pattern, you can always reverse it by using amla which enhances curl pattern and tones down the red from the henna. The more you use henna, the deeper the color and the more the conditioning, it’s like wine, it gets better with age lol. Some people use it every week and some maybe once a month. Not sure how often I will use it though. I gotta see how I feel lol but I guess to really reap the benefits you have to use if consistently often.
OK so Moving along…I will kind of give you a play by play of my process using the pics below so you can see what everything looked like at each step :o) This is a
really long kind of a long post so bear with me. Hopefully it’s informative though!
I decided to start with the plain henna, Natural Highlights HK 6A, to see how henna worked out in its purest form with no other ayurvedic herbs mixed in. I will probably try the browns next and then the plum since that will be the darkest.
Each Reshma Femme box of henna comes with a pair of gloves, a packet of oil and instructions (and of course the henna!). I wish the gloves were a bit stronger because mine definitely tore in the crevice of my fingers but luckily it was towards the end of my application so the henna wasn’t sitting on my skin long enough for it to stain them. Next time I’m going to get a hold of some latex gloves that are a bit more durable.
Here’s the henna powder. I learned that the finer it is sifted, usually means it’s of higher quality and and the most dye content. Henna used as body art is finely sifted so lots of brands that market their henna as “Body Art Quality” are typically better to use. Reshma Femme is of this quality :o)
There are a million things people use to mix their henna but I wanted to just start out simple and stick with plain ole water. I did add a few squirts of lemon juice because lemon juice helps the henna produce a better dye release if you are aiming to get more color. I also added a few drops of a mixture of essential oils just because. I read on Minimalist Beauty (who btw, has become one of my fav bloggers because she has AWESOME DIY recipes and is very thorough with her posts!) that she uses coconut milk as her base. I think I may try that next time:o) I have also seen others use tea so I may try that another time as well. Oh and I guess you’re supposed to use warm or hot water/tea and let it sit somewhere warm. I didn’t. oops…
So here’s what the henna looks like just mixed with water. It’s naturally a green color and was a bit slimy in consistency. It had a few chunks but I found that after it sat the moisture absorbed and the chunks went away. I would not recommend using a plastic container because the henna will stain it (if you care) since they are usually porous. I just used a ceramic bowl and covered it with saran wrap while it was sitting.
So I let the mixed henna sit overnight because I don’t mind the color that henna gives (the longer it sits, the more dye release). I figured hey, why not get the color while I’m at it. You don’t have to let it sit for that long (the package says for 1-3 hours). Either way, after you let it sit, you will see the red dye released as a liquidy red layer on top of the paste.***SIDEBAR– I am always AMAZED by God’s creation. How in the world did He think, “OK I’m going to make a plant that is all GREEN but when you dry it out and mill it into powder, add water to it, it will create a RED dye…oh and it conditions and colors hair!!!” How can anyone NOT be amazed by our creator and his genius ways….im just saying! :o)
Ok, so once I was ready to go, I prepped my bathroom….ok don’t laugh at me, I kinda OD’ed on the prep. I literally covered every part of my bathroom with paper i.e.the counter top, the walls, the floor, the toilet, lol I just know I am not the neatest when it comes to hair treatments so I prepared for a henna war lol And needless to say, I really only needed to cover the counter top! Go figure lol better safe than sorry cause henna stains! Oh, I was also paranoid that I would dye my forehead, ears and neck so I slapped on gobs of Vaseline as if I were about to get a relaxer lol yea, didn’t really need to do that either. And ANOTHER thing, I made sure I wore an old t-shirt so that I wouldn’t stain my shoulders…probably didn’t have to that either since the henna just wiped off easily without dying my skin lol I’m a beginner ok! :o) I was looking all kinds of crazy!! I just can’t thank my boyfriend enough for being so understanding and non-judgmental with my hair adventures lolOnce I was ready to start the application, I mixed the red dye back into the henna paste, added the EO’s and sectioned my hair into about 6 sections. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I applied the henna to dry, dirty hair. I think I was supposed to do it on clean, damp hair (the total opposite) next time lol…..see these are those particular things I was talking about with henna. I don’t know what’s right or wrong, better or worse lol I still got good results either way so maybe it’s just whatever works for you (as with all things!).
OK so I applied the paste to my hair, normally I would leave my hair in the sections but I left it out so I could take pics and show you guys. Take a looksie. It’s nice to see my hair with some length lol you can really see the layers I’m always complaining about:
So I sectioned my hair back up and pinned it on the crown of my head. Ok here’s where I OD’d again lol I put a plastic cap on and proceeded to wrap saran wrap around my head like 6 times lol I was paranoid the henna would drop or crumble out and get on stuff!! Needless to say, I wrapped my Christmas edition Saran wrap way too tight lol my head started to hurt a little lol I probably only needed to wrap it around once or twice but yea since I had the henna in all day (about 7 hours, the package said leave it for 1-3), I wanted to make sure I didn’t get it all over the place. Lots of people just sleep with it overnight. Given my track record, I am a wild sleeper so I am not sure how well that would work out for me lol Here’s me looking crazy in my plastic wrap turban lol The hair at my nape and my daggone sideburns are ALWAYS hard to cover with plastic caps/wraps and scarves, guess I’ll just let them be… *sigh*
When it was time to rinse, (ok don’t laugh at me again lol) I hopped in my bath tub on my hands and knees facing down and let the water from the faucet loosen up the henna and rinse most of it out. I did this because I didn’t want the water and henna splashing all over the shower and staining my shower curtain lol although this method isn’t the most comfortable, it worked! After the water was running somewhat clear, I turned the shower on and continued to rinse.
I then used a combo of my inexpensive conditioners (Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle and Nature’s Gate) and sort of lathered any remaining bits of the henna out. I did this 2 times. After I rinsed the conditioner out, I followed up with Bee Mine Deep Conditioner to make sure I replenished the moisture back in my hair since henna can be drying. I let my hair dry and I noticed my scalp was kind of itchy so I jumped online and saw that Reshma Femme has a community board where people can comment and I saw that the itchiness was because I probably didn’t rinse the henna all from my scalp. Jumped BACK in the shower and washed with a shampoo bar (used my Bobeam Rhassoul Clay bar this time hehe). So I know from now on to shampoo in the rinsing out process.
Now since this is my first henna treatment, the color didn’t turn out very vibrant BUT I’ve read that it takes a few days for the color to oxidize and deepen which in fact it did.
Here’s my hair freshly rinsed. My hair was sooooooo shiny!! I didn’t notice much curl loosening but I guess that would happen over time, using henna often. I also noticed that frizziness was drastically decreased which made my twist-outs appear more defined. The henna REALLY smoothed my hair cuticle and made my hair feel thicker all after just one application. I know it’s really hard to visually see what I am talking about in the pics but I definitely could see and feel a difference. Hopefully over the course of the year as I continue to use henna (not sure how frequent) you will be able to see the color deepen in my pics.
Here’s a couple bonus pics of my hair a few days after the treatment. I could really start to see more of the red tones in certain lighting. The color reminds me of the auburn color I had about a year ago. Mostly on the tips of my hair since they are lighter. But check out the SHINE!!!! I am blown away by it! I used Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding for the twist out below by the way….oh and if you click that link, you will see the auburn color I was referring to. I used a boxed permanent color to achieve that but it would be cool to get close to that again naturally using henna.
I’ll keep you posted on my henna adventures! PLEASE give me your tips if you’re a henna head!