Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Henna Hair Dye and a Couple Quick "Tips"

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!


Sue McG said...

I have been using henna for years now, after a Persian friend persuaded me to try it. Try to find it at your local persian / middle eastern grocery store, or Indian grocery (be cautious with the Indian store - you want pure henna, they sometimes add other ingredients and you'll get burgundy hair) - it costs less than $5.00 per bag. Following my friend's tips, I use warm water to mix it (or use tea/coffee for a slightly darker look), juice of half a lemon, and a few drops of lavender oil for fragrance. Love the henna look : )

mieljolie said...

Thank you, Sue, for the suggestions. I'll have to keep looking around. I'm pretty happy with the vendor I'm getting ours from until I find something closer.

I've been using the henna for about 4-5 months, I think. But, I haven't put anything in it but warm water. Do the addition of the extra ingredients really truly make a difference? I may be allergic to lavender, though. I'll have to experiment.

Thanks for commenting!


Eielofview said...

I have been using henna for a while too and I don't us any color added. I buy henna for hair make coffee to add to it and tea tree oil, I found the trick to getting a darker color is time, 1 hour and I am bozo orange, 2 hours is lucy, 3 hours is more like you and 4 and a half is a nice burgundy. i have been grey since i was 17 my pre grey color was reddish brown. Oh and the best thing about henna my hair and scalp feel amazing after for weeks

Monica Macaluso said...

how many dye packs did you have to use for your length of hair?

mieljolie said...

Hi, Monica. It was about 1 and a half 100gram packages to do my hair the first time. That could probably have been less if I'd thinned with more water, but it was my first attempt.

On my hair, I have found that mixing about 4-6 tablespoons about once a month is enough to touch up roots/eyebrows and run leftover through the length of my hair randomly to keep a bright color.

MelanieRenee said...

Hi, I was just wondering which shade of red you went with from Henna Hut? They currently have Natural Red, Red, Deep Red and Burgundy. The shade you have is gorgeous, and I would love to have something similar. Thanks!

mieljolie said...

Melanie, I chose the "Red" color. It is very much a result of the color of your natural hair. I'm naturally a very dark and dull mousy "dish water" blonde that has.

Good luck with which ever you choose!


MelanieRenee said...

Thank you! I'm excited to try henna for the first time!

Claudia McManus said...

Hello! I've been using henna since November and just wanted to add that using a carrier oil like Olive is really beneficial to the process and will help to condition your hair and keep it from drying out as henna does otherwise right after application. I also add apple cider vinegar for it's cleansing and color properties and sometimes an egg for added shine and protein! I also have used lavender and spearmint essential oils to cut the smell because the brand I use is very strong smelling. Experiment with things you may want to add for different reasons and you'll find a perfect recipe :)

mieljolie said...

Thanks, Claudia for the suggestions. I must have hair on the oilier side. I haven't noticed any drying out. Haven't needed to add anything, yet. But, I've heard even the littlest things like your tap water can affect the results. I will keep these in mind and possibly try some experiments at some point.

Thanks again!

MelanieRenee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MelanieRenee said...

I just wanted to let you know I used the red henna from Henna Hut and I love my results!!! I'm so glad I found you blog, and happy to be free from chemicals on my hair! It's been about 2 weeks since I used it, and haven't noticed any fading at all! I will probably to my first root touch up in the next few weeks, but really haven't noticed too many roots yet! Thank you for sharing your experience with henna, you really inspired me to take the plunge when I saw your gorgeous results! I posted my results on their community page: http://community.hennahut.com/threads/love-love-love-the-red.885/

mieljolie said...

That's wonderful, Melanie! So glad you had good results. And, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I think more people need to be aware of other alternatives to salons and boxed dyes.

You mentioned your eyebrows on the site. You can use the henna safely there, too! I use it on mine. :)

BTW, I'm still using my red henna, too. Almost a full year now! Love it. I ought to try the shampoo. Maybe next purchase.


Amanda said...

I just ordered the same kind that you use and I'm wondering how long you leave it on your hair? My hair is darker than yours so I'm sure it won't turn out so vibrant red but I'm just curious. I'm nervous but very excited! Thanks for sharing! :-)

mieljolie said...

Hello, Amanda! I'm delighted you are trying the red Henna! :) I leave mine in for the recommended 1 hour before rinsing. This seems to be ample time for mine. Be sure not to use shampoo on it for 24 hours after.

Good luck! Hope it turns out wonderful!


Amanda said...

Thank you so much! <3

JanB said...

I just tried Henna hair dye for the first time today. Was a bit nervous, but it has turned out awesome! I am so allergic to chemical dyes, but this has left my scalp feeling great!!!

mieljolie said...

That's great, JanB! So glad you gave it a try!


Anonymous said...

Hi , I know this is kind of a very late comment but I really need to ask whether henna works on dark brown hair or not? how would it turn out? and for how many hours should I leave it in? I want a burgundy hair colour and I bought it but I'm still nervous about applying it especially because if the henna's colour turned out bad , you can't use a dye over it or so I heard

mieljolie said...

Hello, Anon. Never too late to comment. :) The thing about henna is that it will only cover darker than your natural color. There is no bleaching or lightening involved. So, most likely you will get a red or burgundy that is at least the shade of your hair naturally or a tad darker depending on the color of henna you choose. I find the "Burgundy" color from Henna Hut turns out pretty much the same color as the "Red" but slightly darker more auburn on my hair. I prefer the brighter red, myself. The hue of brown and the natural tints already in your hair will determine the outcome. So, on your darker hair, it will most likely be a subtle change unless your hair is on the blue/greener side of browns. I doubt anything drastic will happen, if that is your worry. :) And, if it is too red/orange for you, you can use indigo (a blue dye) to dye over it to make darker brown or black color. Henna Hut carries this, as well.

Good luck! Hope it turns out how you want it to.

mieljolie said...

Oh, and one hour is ample time for it to work. In the dry weather here, I find keeping my hair damp while it is on by spritzing with water occasionally helps it take the best.

Kristy C said...

Your hair looks amazing! It looks like I have a somewhat similar shade to your original, so I'm hoping I can get a similar or even brighter result! Thanks for sharing!

mieljolie said...

Kristy C, I hope it works well for you. I'm still loving it to this day. It's been about three years? If you have any questions, I'm happy to try and answer them. :)

Unknown said...

Hi guys, It's me Rod Harper. I founded Henna Hut and was the one that answered you in the forum, emails and phone, I posted over 10,000 pages of web about henna hair dye. In January 2016 I had a bomb dropped on me changing my life forever.
10 years of blood,tears and sweat- and it was brutally taken from me. The one person who never cared, nor did anything to help ended up taking it from me. Since I have been forced to step down, the forum has been down for over a year, she just finally posted on Facebook over a year. She answers no ones emails or calls and a lot of the time never ships out the product. I started over and any support would be greatly appreciated! It is called EarthDye, I have a new site (and building a bigger one), I am also on Facebook. I also have a informational site called henna hair dye (www.hennahairdye.net), it has more details. Thank you for listening.

mieljolie said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles, Rod. Thanks you for the heads up, though. I'd be happy to check out your new identity. Have enjoyed using your product for about 4 years now. Was just about to reorder for my mom and I once more. I eish your new endeavor the best of success.


Rodney Harper said...

Thank you. Send me an email at earthdye@yahoo.com or fill out the contact on earthdye.com and I will set you up with a VIP code :)
All my best!