Tried Henna on my hair for the first time about a five weeks ago. I was so excited, I shared my results on Facebook as soon as I did it. But, I'd like to share a few more things I learned.
I've only altered my hair color a few times in my life. But, as I've gotten older my hair sorta changed to a drab dark blonde and starting to get random grays popping up. So, I wanted to try a new color. I tried going dark brown and then almost black for a short time. I didn't like the price of salon upkeep or the the chemical smell and constant fading of the home coloring kits. When I became interested in tribal belly dancing, I'd started reading a lot of good things about henna. I really wanted to try it. People have been using henna to dye hair and skin for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But, alas, I couldn't find anyone that did it or anywhere to buy it near me. It just never caught on in the US. A couple years ago someone I met told me of a place online, but I'd totally forgotten all about it 'til now. (Actually, I was kinda intimidated to do it myself.) Finally, on a whim I took the plunge.
Pure henna is more of an orange color and is most associated with Lucille Ball from "I Love Lucy" fame. But, there are now mixes available for many color variations from red-orange to burgundy to brown to even black that uses a flowering plant called indigo, as well.
On the left of the pic above, it shows the day after I used a red mix on my hair. (I didn't style my hair at all. That's my natural curl.) The right is a week later after a couple washings with regular store bought shampoo (and I got around to straightening it). It was so easy to do. Just add warm water, mix, apply, wait, and wash out. I had my man, Mr Sam, help me with mine. I knew that if he missed any spots, I could always reapply.
Henna works with your own hair color and highlights, so the color varys a lot. And, you can't go lighter, only darker. The smell is pleasant enough. But, most surprisingly, it really does seem to make your hair softer and healthier looking. I think this is due to the shine it gives it. It realy glows in the sun. The "red" color I chose looked like chocolate pudding going on, but was more like mud when dried after the hour I left it on. There are no harsh chemicals, so you can apply it as much or as many times as you like without harm to your hair. You can pretty much use it anywhere, too! Even on pets and kids, if you wanted. I tried dying my eyebrows with it! (Boy, did I look funny while I waited! I looked like Groucho Marx!) It will dye your skin temporarily, but if you apply it late in an evening, it will wear off your hair line by the next day. Hands will take longer, especially fingernails!
You may be wondering why I took so long to share this info on my henna experience. (What am I saying?! It always takes me forever to post things!) But, I've waited until I had completed a touch up to the roots, just to see how much success I would have with it. They recommend touching up the roots about once every three weeks or so. I waited just over a month. But, it turned out just as well as when I first dyed my hair. The color on my ends is really holding up to the washing. But, it IS a permanent dye. My mom has been using home kits for some time now. And, they fade well before a month has passed. After seeing my results, she decided to try henna as well, so I helped her a couple of weeks ago. She bought the "burgundy" color, but since she already had a dark burgundy color on her hair, I thought it best we just try doing the roots and see where it goes. We could always reapply to all of her hair. It ended up about the same color as mine, which was a wee bit disappointing...well, maybe a tad darker. But, it blended with her faded old color quite well.
When doing my mom's roots, I didn't opt to purchase the application kit. Instead, I tried a suggestion of just clipping the corner off of a ziplock bag. However, the hole in the bag began to get larger and larger as I worked. And, I couldn't set it down or it leaked everywhere. So, I though, "there has to be a better way!".
And, looky here! There was a better way. And, it's an "upcycled" way! So, here's a quick "tip" for those who want to try henna themselves and don't want to purchase the application kit. Just make your own applicator tip. Believe me, it works!
I was inspired by my dollar store pastry bag with interchangable screw on tips. But, I wanted to recreate the idea using the tip off of an old bottle to apply the henna. I couldn't just pour the mix in the bottle. For one, the neck is too small to be practical. But, also, I don't like when I get air bubbles and splatter mess everywhere.
I looked through my stash of bottles and decided on cutting the top off of an empty school glue bottle. They previously had non-toxic contents and have a nice narrow tip. With a daughter in elementary school and all the crafting we do, I get a lot of these bottles. So, I cleaned one up really good with soap and water. You could probably use other containers, like those for fabric paint or even a ketchup dispenser. The flat design of the glue bottle is rather handy, though. I left the shoulders of the bottle on to have somethinge to hold on to when twisting the cap on and off.
After preparing the bottle, I cut the tip off of the ziplock bag as usual. (It doesn't take a big hole.) Then, I unscrewed the applicator cap off of the bottle and dropped the shoulder portion of the bottle into the bag. Then, I just screwed the cap back on over the bag on the outside. That's pretty much it! You're ready to get dying. Just open and close the top as needed to apply the henna like icing a cake with a pastry bag. I suppose you could do this with regualr henna for applying mehndi designs, too. Or heck, ice a cake with it!
But, here's another tip:
One of the videos from the website suggested putting your bags over a cup to fill them. Just pour the mix of henna powder and warm water into the bag over the cup. (It took 1 1/2 bags that are 100 gram each to cover my long thick hair. But, when reapplying only on the roots, I would say it only took about 1/4 of the bag. I mixed 1/3 and had way too much left.) Push out the air and seal up the bag. You can use a rubber band around a large bag to keep it more manageable. That made it really easy.
I'm wondering if it would be possible to just mix the henna right in the bag? Whatcha think? I think I'd have to use a gallon-sized bag and mix it to the opposite corner of the applicator tip. I may try a small batch next time and see how it works.
Yay! Now, I'm a red head! And, being so easy to keep up with, I think I'll stay this way for awhile. I've found that it ends up costing me much less than the store bought home kits in the long run. I can use one bag to do at least 4 touch-ups. If you're interested, I got my henna "red" color from Henna Hut (www.hennahut.com). They're a family run business near Houston Texas. But, I believe their business is done strictly online. The website is full of useful info and testimonials. They were great about getting it to me right away. And, they're conveniently on Facebook to answer any questions. Hope you give it a try. If you do, let us know how your results turn out!