My Henna Adventure (Part I)

As I mentioned in my last Friday Five, I am going to henna my hair. My reasons are three-fold:

1) Recently, my hair has been drier and less lustrous than I remember it, and it’s been short for so long that I think this change may have crept up on me because I lacked the length to really notice it. When my hair was long, I never blow-dried it and rarely straightened it, but when it was short it required much more fuss so it doesn’t flip out funky, and it’s my belief that all of this damage compounded and ruined my once-beautiful hair. Now that I want to grow my hair long again it’s come to my attention my hair needs revitalization. I’ve read in several forums that henna is an excellent conditioner and promises to make my hair glossy and lustrous again.

2) My hair, because it has so many tones, is always in-between a hair color. Is it brunette? Is it blonde? Is it strawberry? The world will never know, because it only takes subtle lighting changes for my hair to appear a different color. I keep having people ask me why I ‘went blonde’ after they see my driver’s license, because the photo makes my hair appear almost black. This is obnoxious.

3) I just have always wanted more red in my hair. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit scared because I know natural redheads can be sensitive about unnatural redheads, and I don’t want to be that girl, but I’ve resolved that if the color does come out very red that I will just be up-front about my henna usage, and proclaim that it’s more for the conditioning benefits than the color.

I did a lot of extensive internet research after deciding I want to henna my hair and found a plethora of henna-hair-dyeing information at this site, aptly named Henna for Hair.

The most useful information I found on this site was all of the reader-submitted mixes (scroll down) and Fia’s page. Fia provides a recipe for a ‘henna gloss’ which is supposed to subtly tint hair and deep condition.

Fia’s Henna gloss – for minimal color change and deep conditioning
– 2-3 tablespoons henna powder
– Enough lemon/lime juice to mix a smooth paste
– Your favorite conditioner or plain, unsweetened yoghurt
Mix the henna powder with lemon/lime juice to a smooth paste and let this stand until you see dye release. Mix the henna paste with either your favorite conditioner or plain yoghurt. Apply to dry or damp hair and leave on for as long as you wish. Rinse as you’d rinse out a regular conditioner.

This one is easy to apply and rinse, as it’s basically conditioner or yoghurt with just a hint of henna dye in it. It’s good as either a color refresher in between regular henna applications or if you only wish to have a very subtle color change. It will give reddish hints on blonde and light brown hair. You may see some reddish highlights on medium brown, but probably not too much. On dark brown/black hair you’ll only get the conditioning benefits from the conditioner/henna.

Luckily for me, making your own henna mix is not an exact science. On other pages, I found that the color of henna can be influenced by other natural additives, like cassia or chamomile, to make the end result more blonde. 

So, today I went down to a local herb store and picked up 4 oz of henna (roughly 100 grams).

It’s a lovely green color.

Then I stopped by the grocery store and picked up some cheap chamomile tea.

Versana sounds kinda Indian, so that means it must be good, right?

In a bowl, I mixed 3 1/2 tablespoons of the henna (I’d like a little more than a subtle color change), 4 teabags of chamomile and enough lemon juice to form a smooth paste. The end result looked something like goat turd. I covered it and set it outside in the sun for and hour and a half then realized it was a bad idea, because all of the lemon juice was evaporating. After I added more lemon juice, it looked something like this:

Goat turd.

Now it’s sitting, covered, in my kitchen, where it will probably stay until tomorrow. I am awful at waiting, so I decided to write this blog post. More tomorrow.

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