Henna Hair Dye – Lessons I Learned
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My Henna Hair Dye Experiment - Start to FinishI wasn’t sure when it was that I first started looking into how to use henna hair dye, so I checked my email to see when I’d ordered it. It was July of last year.

I’ve spent hours and hours reading different websites so I could reduce the “turn my hair green” factor once I decided to dye my hair. Given how well it turned out, I’m glad I took the time.

For those days you just cant decide what color you want your hair to be!!Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m against turning my hair other crazy colors… purple, pink, red or blue come to mind specifically… I just prefer it to be a more temporary thing! But if that’s what you’re looking for, I say go for it!! I know people who change their hair colors regularly to several shades of the rainbow. And the advantage of using henna is that you can do that without the same type of damage you get from chemical hair dyes!

If you’re new to using henna hair dye and considering giving it a try, I highly suggest you do the same thing… unless of course you don’t mind having green (or some other weird color) hair for a while! Me? I just didn’t wanna risk going from bad to worse, especially given the fact that nearly ALL the places I’d read told me how VERY permanent henna is! 🙂

First, the places I found tons of information (check out the comments too… there’s a ton of “I did this and this happened” info there that can be super helpful too!):

* Henna for Hair – Lots of info including a FREE ebook all about how to henna.
* Mehandi
* The Henna Page
* Hilda Blue’s Blog Post
* Offbeat Home’s Henna Post – good quick tips if you’re using ONLY pure henna to be a redhead!

Those are the places with the most helpful information I found… and it will give you more than enough to think about before getting started!

Just Going Red?

For those of you who are looking to become (or stay) redheads, it’s a much simpler process. There’s no deciding on henna/indigo mixes or what shade they’ll turn out.
I love being a brunette!But I’m a brunette… with the exception of a very stupid error YEARS ago, I always have been (and BECAUSE of that stupid error… always will be!).

I love my golden medium brown hair (I just don’t like the gray addition to it). So what I went looking for is how to get rid of the gray and go back to the color I grew up with. But here’s the thing. Even if you’re goal is to go the same color, you definitely should still do the research. There are just too many damn variables to trust that what I have here will get you same results as I got!

When it comes to henna hair dye, everyone’s hair is different, so everyone’s results will be different!

Your Hair Has a Unique History

Your hair, my hair, everyone’s hair… it’s all been thru it’s own life based on SO many factors! And you’ve gotta consider (and research) these factors if you want to be at all happy with the end results of using henna.

    * Has your hair ever been chemically dyed?
    * How recent was your last dye job?
    * Do you have any gray hair… and if so, how much?
    * Do you swim a lot?
    * What texture is your hair?
    * Do you have a lot of mixed colors already in your hair or is it mostly one color?
    * Do you live in an area with hard water… or do you use soft water to wash your hair with?
    * How damaged is your hair?
    * Do you want lighter hair?
    * Do you like changing up your hair color once in a while? Or often?

These are just some of the major points to consider and research!!

For instance, henna will NOT lighten your hair!! If you have dark hair, you’re not going to be able to become a blonde using henna! I can tell you from what the experience I just had doing my hair that you CAN go from medium brown/gray to a redhead… I’m just not sure exactly how medium or how much gray you need to be for that to happen.

So again… unless you’re looking to live down one of those “oops” hair moments for the rest of your life (or worse… family and Facebook photos you’ll have to explain to your kids and grandkids down the road), a bit of reading before applying is definitely in order!

The Things that Can Go Wrong

There were some things that I only found on a site or two, so those are the things I wanted to share in case you don’t come across them in your reading.

* Chemical dyes – If you chemically dye your hair, you’ll want to wait at least 2-3 months before using henna hair dye (I waited 6 months). There are sites that do say if you use BODY Quality henna, you don’t have to wait… but I didn’t read up on that option past becoming aware of it.

* Gray Hair – If you have gray hair, and you’re going brown or black, a 2-step henna dye process will be more beneficial to making sure the grays get covered… Step 1: cover the gray with pure henna… Step 2: dye the shade of brown or black you want.

* Initial color – Hair may be greenish after you first dye, give it some time to change to brown or black.

* Permanent – not as affected by shampooing and blow drying like chemical dyes

* Messy and time-consuming

* Mixing it will stain the bowl – although I didn’t find this with the henna, only with the indigo

* Will turn your hands colors for days – Use gloves to apply!

* Stains everything – cover sinks, floor, tub, etc. before applying

* Plastic wrap is difficult to maneuver on your own – Use disposable plastic hair coverings to cover your hair once the henna’s been applied – I found a pack of 8 at the 99 cent store

Indigo Issues

* Indigo MUST be applied immediately after mixed or it won’t bind and will wash out
* Indigo can NOT be frozen and used later
* Indigo does NOT condition or strengthen hair
* Indigo not as easy to apply as henna

Cassia Issues

* Cassia Obovata can turn your hair green, dark brown, or greenish black if your have lots of minerals in your usual wash water. May want to remove the minerals before you dye with Cassia

* Cassia Obovata can dye pale or gray hair a golden wheat color – not as permanent as henna – bad if you don’t want wheat colors, good if you do

The Good News

* Cassia Obovata is an excellent hair conditioner – makes hair glossy and thick and keeps scalp healthy – it’s as good for your hair as henna, but without the color, so you can use it often

* Cassia Obovata will stain gray and white hair a wheat color with golden tone (not visible on dark hair)

* Cassia Obovata can restore the strength of hair damaged by swimming, chemical treatments, drying and UV damage from sunshine

* If you dye first with henna, then dye with indigo, you get black cat black hair

* Permanent – not as affected by shampooing and blow drying like chemical dyes

* Color will intensify when redying

* Getting an even color is easier than with chemical dyes

* If mixed with a mildly acidic liquid like lemon, you can get it to stain hair permanently (will also make it gradually darken and keep darkening for years)

* If you have very dark but graying hair, you can add straight lemon juice to henna and leave the paste in overnight – makes the gray virtually invisible and the dark hair shimmers deep red in the sunlight – Hair may feel crunchy for a couple washes due to lemon raising keratin for color

* You won’t have to redo all your hair unless you want a different shade – You can simply touch up your roots

* Henna and indigo doesn’t fade!

So there it is. My first experience with henna and I managed to avoid the pitfalls that kept me from doing it for so very long.

One thing I’m sure of after all the reading and then applying, using henna hair dye is definitely more than a “Buy a Box and Color” experience!

If you’ve run into any issues while using henna, please share your experiences in the comments! If you’ve never used henna, I’d highly recommend it!

Take care,
Debi aka @GenXBrat

p.s. Be sure to subscribe for updates and to join in on the conversations!
p.p.s. And keep in mind that, as confusing as this process sounds, your primary concerns are pure henna (if you want red hair), indigo (if you want brown or black hair), and cassia obovata (if you want to add some dimension and protection to your hair).

I'm a passionate, down-to-earth gal who spends as much time as possible making fun of myself and the world around me. I'm a big kid with a lot of thoughts that I don't mind sharing AND, I love to teach. Anything. Everything. As long as it's fun.

Warning: I was raised in a VERY sarcastic household so my sense of humor always leans that way. :)

But if I can make you think, make you laugh, or give you a moment to pause... life is good!:D

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