When I first heard of using henna on hair, I immediately though of Lucille Ball’s red hair. Thanks to the sites longhaircareforum and healthtextures, I decide to give it a try. The first time I used it, I made the mistake of putting too much in my mixture. Result: nice shiny hair, but a little dry. I find the best way to use henna, especially for first-time users, is to make it as simple as possible. The second time I did my henna treatment, it was much better than the first time.
If you go to this site about henna, you will find that there are many people who have recipes for different hair colors using henna. The colors range from strawberry blonde to blue-black. Depending on your current hair color, you could achieve either a reddish tint, or another color altogether. Before you do that, though, it is best to start with the basic recipe. It’s really very simple.
Henna, warm water, container, cover for container and time is all you need.
Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, put at least 100g of henna in a container (I use the plastic storage containers from the store). Add warm water a little at a time until the henna powder becomes a thick mud-like consistency. When you have mixed the henna and water well, cover the container for at least 8 hours to allow color to release. Depending on the brand of henna you have, when you first mix the henna it may be a different color than when the color releases. The brand of henna I use, Nupur, is a green powder but when the color releases it is a deep red-brown color. How do you know when the color has released? A piece of advice I got was to put the corner of a paper towel into the mix before you cover it. The reason for this is to see the red color that indicates that the henna color has released. I usually let my mix sit overnight to make sure.
Now that you have your mix and the color has released, it’s time to apply your henna. Put on some old clothes, or cover yourself with towels or a cape. Also, it might be a good idea to lay down some newspaper or something in the immediate area where you’re working, because applying the henna mix can be a messy job. Either on dry hair, or freshly shampooed (or co-washed) hair, apply the mix thickly to your entire hair–don’t be afraid to really put in on. You want to cover your hair well, kind of like making a mud pie on your hair. Apply from root to tip. When your entire hair is covered, put a conditioner cap or plastic bag over your hair, clean up your area, and let the henna sit in your hair for at least 30 minutes. I leave it on for about 4 hours.
If you have any leftover henna mix in your container, it is perfectly fine to cover the container tightly and put it in the freezer for future use.
After the henna has sit for the appropriate amount of time, it’s time to rinse it out. Make sure not to manipulate your hair too much as you rinse out the henna, as this could cause unnecessary breakage of the hair. Allow the water to do the job of rinsing the henna out for at least 10 minutes. After most of the henna is rinsed from the hair, you can help the rest of the henna come out by using conditioner. The conditioner acts like a lubricant that assists in getting the rest of the henna from the hair. Make sure you pay attention to the back of your hair, as well as your hairline.
After the henna is rinsed out, you can do a deep conditioner, or your regular conditioner. You may notice that your hair is instantly softer and feels stronger. If you have curly hair, you might even notice that your curls have loosened a bit. As your hair dries, your hair feels better, and you won’t believe the shine!
Hair after henna treatment