Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Henna hair: how I hennaed.

In this post I'll tell you in detail how I hennaed my hair. The way I henna is sort of a combination of a full application and a gloss, meaning that I use a lot of henna, and I leave it in my hair for a long time, but I add conditioner to my mix as well. Because of that my method is not an all natural one, but you could simply leave the conditioner out if you like. Anyhow there are three sections here: mixing, applying, and rinsing.

This is the easiest of the three. I opted for pure henna powder to add orange to my hair. I got myself some henna powder at Essenza. The first time I used the whole pot (100g) but this time around I only used about half of that and it worked just as well!
I made some strong camomile tea with two bags in a big cup (about 300 ml). After letting the bags sit in the water for 15-20 minutes I wrung them out. Then I added the henna to the tea and stirred and stirred and stirred. I wanted to get it smooth, but after a while I gave up on that. Then I covered the bowl and put it in one of the kitchen drawers, which is a dark, dry and slightly cooler than room temperature place.
After four hours I dragged my spoon trough it to check if the dye had released. It has done so if the top layer is more red than the rest of the mix. You can see this in the photo below: it's a bit greener where I dragged my spoon through it. Another way to test whether the dye has released is to put a bit of the paste onto your skin for a few minutes. If your skin is orange after rinsing the henna off, it's good to go.
You can see that the paste has become much smoother in those four hours. This is the point where the gloss comes in: I added about 1-1/2 tbs of leave-in conditioner to the paste. I used a cheap silicone free one from Kruidvat.

Henna will stain your hands, so it's best to wear gloves for this. But as I could not get along with them last time I hennaed, I applied the mix with my bare hands. I rinsed them a few times during application and they do get orange, but hands are washed so often that it fades very fast! Most of it was gone after I rinsed out the paste later that day. I do recommend painting your nails beforehand to prevent them from getting stained.

I washed my hair earlier that day and let it air dry. I sectioned my hair and applied the paste to my roots starting at the back of my head, working my way to the top and front. Then I spread the rest of the paste over the lengths of my hair and put those on the very top of my head. For the next step I had a bit of help: my sister wrapped my hair in cling film and my mum cleaned up henna from my neck. Then I wrapped a dark towel over top of the cling film too.

All you have to do for the next couple of hours is kill time. A good place to start is probably cleaning up the bathroom. There are many things you can do like reading, watching a film or YouTube videos, check your emails, worry whether the colour will turn out okay...

Rinsing henna out of your hair will take quite some time and water! I take a bucket with some water to swirl my hair around in and repeat with fresh water a few times - elegance at its best. I do this in the bathtub in case I spill. Then I move into the shower and rinse some more.

Washing with conditioner works better than shampooing for it makes your hair more slippery. In that way it makes the henna come off more easily. So I took a hand-full of the same conditioner I had mixed in with the paste and washed my hair with that, focussing on the scalp. Rinse long and well, running your fingers through the lengths too and repeat with more conditioner. Then rinse some more.
I couldn't get to water to run clear, but I made sure there weren't any actual pieces of henna left in my hair before getting out of the shower. I wrapped a towel around my hair and started cleaning up the bathroom again. Luckily it wasn't too big of a mess! Lastly I let my hair dry to the air again and I was all done!

Next post will be on results and fading, with before and after pictures.