When I first started using henna, I had no idea what I was getting into. First of all, powdered henna is messy, smells terrible, and it’s a pain in the ass to apply. The first time I used it, my hair smelled like hay for three days, but I’ve continued to use henna because I love what it does to my hair.
Here’s the stuff I use.
Before I started using this brand of henna, I used a brand that I got from Whole Foods called Surya Henna Brasil. I switched because it contains ethoxydiglicol and methylpyrrolidone. These ingredients are NOT recognized as safe in Europe. I like Light Mountain Henna because it’s natural, makes my hair shiny and gives it lots of volume, and it’s environmentally friendly.
Henna comes from a plant called lawsonia inermis. The leaves are dried and powdered to make henna powder. It’s green and smells like grass.
The first and most important thing you should know before you even consider using henna is that you can’t just use any kind of hair dye or bleach once you’ve used henna. Henna penetrates deep into the hair shaft and makes it very difficult to remove. Most hair stylists cringe when they hear the word henna but there are some who can help you.
If you’re ready for something that’s natural and actually healthy for your hair then henna is the way to go.
The Light Mountain Henna box includes a cap, gloves, and instructions so all you need is distilled water, a plastic comb, a glass pot, a ceramic or plastic bowl, a wooden spoon, and some Saran (plastic) wrap.
The second thing you should know about using henna is that some types of henna need to cure before application. This means that after you add the boiling water to the mixture you need to mix it, cover it, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. The time varies for other henna colors.
The instructions say that you can add spices to help cover the smell up. I added ginger and no such luck. Still smelled like a horse stable but it’s a small price to pay for beautiful hair. Plus, the smell goes away after 2-3 days and you can cover it a bit with some essential oils like lavender.
While I wait for the mixture to cure, I rub some lotion all over my neck, face, and ears so they won’t stain so easily. It’s a good idea to wear something you don’t care about. I have a black t-shirt that I use especially for my henna treatments.
Once it’s cured, the henna will have a thick consistency similar to frosting. It’s best if you apply it to damp hair and work it in your hair all over using gloves. If you don’t use gloves your hands will be stained and it’s not pretty. Trust me, I had henna fingers for a few days. Yuk! Also, be super careful because this stuff falls off in clumps so you’ll want to put an old towel or newspaper on the floor. My puppy tried to eat it but I caught him just in time. He loves to eat chunks of grass that the landscapers leave in the yard too.
After you’ve worked the henna into your roots and ends, put the plastic cap on and Saran wrap your head a few times. I put the timer on for 1.5 to 2 hours. You may even want to increase the time. Be sure to follow the instructions. You can add heat to it with a blow dryer for best results.
Next comes another messy part – washing it out. This is what to expect.
Fortunately, it won’t stain the bathtub if you clean it right away.
Be sure to rinse the henna completely out of your hair. I’ve made the mistake of not rinsing it well and it’s not fun. I was in the middle of a hot yoga class when black sweat started dripping from my forehead onto my white towel. Talk about embarrassing.
After rinsing, apply a really good conditioner afterward and rinse with cold water. Don’t wash it for 3-4 days so the color will last longer.
So here’s what my hair looks like.
It’s shiny, silky, feels thicker than before, and much stronger than it used to be.
Have you ever tried henna? I’d love to hear about it.