Before we get started lets lay some ground rules, as well as go over some henna misconceptions.
- DO NOT USE ANYTHING METAL when handling henna! Okay? Metal reacts with henna. This is bad. Don't use a metal pot, don't stir your henna with a metal spoon!!
- There is only one kind of Henna. What, you ask? You've seen black henna? Blond henna? Well, I'm sorry to tell you, but henna (that is, the plant called Lawsonia Inermis) only comes in red! There is no black henna, or blond henna, only red henna! Be carful what you buy; those other things are usually only 1%-10% henna, and can contain harmful chemicals and metals and other dyes. I would suggest only buying 100% Lawsonia Inermis!
- That being said, there are different organic things you can do to henna to bring out different colors. For example, you can add fresh coffee (darker red), tea, yogurt, lemon (lightens color), and other organic materials to change the color of the henna. Just make sure its organic! No metals!
- Always do a strand test before dying your hair. Mix up a little bit of henna with some hot water and dye some hair from your hairbrush. You should do four strand tests--leaving each one on for 30 min, 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours. Pick what color you like best and that is how long you will leave the henna on your hair!
- I bought my henna from this etsy shop. I did have to use two packs on my hair, but I have very very thick hair.
- This henna will dye your skin also. Or your forehead. Be careful! On my pale skin it only took about 3-5 minuets to change my creamy completion to pumpkin orange. Use a friend to help spot check you!
- The henna that falls on the floor and that got on my shower did not dye the floor or shower. Even when it stuck on there for awhile--just to let you know. Your shower/floor may be different through, so don't take my word for it! The henna did, however, irreversibly stain the clothes I was wearing, so don something you don't mind discarding after this (or saving for future henna treatments!)
- You can use henna over chemically dyed hair. HOWEVER you cannot chemically dye your hair after using henna. It will turn green.
Okay, now on to the tutorial!
Did you skip the introduction? If so, shame on you. Go back and read it RIGHT NOW, or you might turn out looking like an oompa loompa. Seriously!
To dye your hair with henna you will need the following:
- A pair of gloves
- A plastic bag or bowl
- Hair clips (for long hair)
- Plastic spoon (I just used my hands)
- Lemon (optional)
- blow dryer (optional)
1) Pour your henna into a plastic bowl or bag. Yes, it smells like really strong green tea. Yes, your hair will smell like that for 1-2 washes. Personally, I like the smell.
2) Don your gloves!
3) I added a lemon to lighten the henna.
4) Now add hot water. I used 200 grams of henna and about 3-4 cups of hot water. You want your henna to look like thick pancake batter. Just add one cup slowly as you stir and mash, until you get the required consistency.
5) Mash your henna all up or stir with a plastic spoon/fork. There will be lumps. Now, cover your henna and let it sit for 30 minuets to 2 hours. Some people even let their henna sit overnight. I don't do that.
Now it is time to APPLY YOUR HENNA!
(Are you excited? I'm exited!)
1) Pin up sections of your hair. Acknowledge you look like an idiot.
2) Apply henna like you would any hair color treatment. Start at your roots and go down.
The henna is like mud. It will get everywhere. Clean it off your skin and anything else you think might stain, but its just a fact. Henna is really messy and never stays in one place.
3) When you are done with one side, flip it all up on your head and secure with clips so it can soak.
4) Do the other side of your hair. Realize your arms hurt.
Also before putting on the shower cap do a quick check all over to make sure there are no dry spots!
5) Cap yourself!
Now comes the hard part. Based on your strand test (you did a strand test, right?) leave the henna on your hair for anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 hours. I left mine on for about 3 hours.
- Some people put heat on their hair while waiting (via a blow dryer) I did that the first time and it made my hair ultra orange, so I'm not doing it today.
- Don't let your hair dry out. Henna needs to be moist (that is why you wear a cap) for the whole time its on your head. If it dries out it is no longer dying your hair.
6) Amuse yourself while feeling like a green-tea mud-yuck-slime monkey.
Here is a list of some of the things I did:
- Talk on the phone to my mom
- Eat lunch
- Have tea
- Read this article on feminism: Why Women Still Can't Have It All
- Read counter article on feminism: We Cannot Have It All Because We No Longer Have Dreams
- Contemplate life
- Enjoyed The Hunger Games
7) After the appropriate time has passed, wash out the henna from your hair (still wearing your gloves or you WILL dye your fingernails orange) and get all dressed up to take pictures with your new color! I hope it turned out well!
Some further notes:
- Henna does fade over time. Mine seems to need reapplication every 2-3 months. I'll be sure to post pictures of what it looks like after each wash :) Stay tuned! And I'd love to see what color red yours turned!
- Henna turns out different on everyone's hair. It does not really "dye" your hair more as it "coats" your hair in a red color, making each hair different based on what color you start out with. That being said, henna is a permanent dye. It does fade, but it is permanent. See my before/after picture? You can see my new hair growth based on my 3-month old henna hair that is now strawberry blond instead of vivid red.
Happy Henna-ing :)