Trying Henna for the First Time

hennaAfter we published our wonderful article on henna, I decided to try it on my own hair. I first heard about henna years ago. I was on a hair care forum and a young woman with fine, chemically relaxed, waist length hair was singing praises about this “magical” powder. She claimed it made her hair stronger hence how she could grow her hair so lengthy. But I was skeptical of the benefits of henna and was turned off by hearing how drying it could be as well as the messy application.

This past weekend, I decided to get over my skepticism and try it. I used Deep Red by The Henna Guys on Amazon. This brand does not use  metallic salts, chemicals, or pesticides. So I purchased it for $13.95 USD.

Why I Wanted To Henna?

Of course, the number one reason I wanted to henna was because our published post entitled, Five Reasons to Use Henna In Your Hair, persuaded me. It is a great post if you want to read more about the benefits of henna.

I also desired to achieve the following improvements to my hair without the use of chemicals:

  • achieve a red tint
  • cover my gray hairs
  • have stronger hair
  • condition my hair

My Hair Type

My strands are fine and can easily break, but my hair is normal in terms of density. I would describe my hair texture as a mixture of 3c and 4a. I have red permanent hair dye on my ends. My hair tends to get dry so it needs constant moisture. And my current length is between arm-pit length (APL) and bra-strap length (BSL).

The Henna Recipe

I wanted to keep my henna recipe simple.

I used half of the henna package, I add three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (for the grays), about three ounces of coconut water, and poured hot water in the rest until it was easy to mix to a cake batter consistency.

Remember, the henna should not be too runny or too thick. I took my time with this step as it is easy to add more water if you need to.

The Process

Like with any coloring process, I divided my hair into four quadrants. I applied petroleum jelly around my hairline and ears. With gloved hands, I started with the rear left quadrant and worked my way around the head with a large tint brush. Each section was twisted when I was done to avoid tangling.

When my entire head was saturated with henna, I placed a plastic shower cap and grocery bag on. I waited for a total of four hours. After four hours expired, I rinsed my henna-soaked twists  with cool water in the shower, starting with the ends and working up to the roots.

My hair still felt gritty after rinsing so I cowashed my hair twice  with Shescentit’s Blueberry Co-Wash Conditioner – untwisting and twisting as I went along. While rinsing the co-wash out I turned the water slightly to the warm side and was able to easily detangle my hair with my ArtNaturals Detangling Hair Brush, which was amazing! I must say my curls felt “relaxed” for lack of a better word.

Before exiting the shower, I slathered Shescentit’s Curl Moist Conditioner to my hair as a deep conditioner. I wrapped my four twists under two grocery bags, my satin scarf, and bonnet then went to sleep. In the morning, I rinsed the deep conditioner while detangling under the shower. Again, I used relatively cool water. I saw very little bleeding of the red color. When my hair felt clean and I only saw clear water in the drain, I gave myself a cold water rinse to close the cuticles.

After exiting the shower, I added my leave ins and styled as usual.

My Thoughts

Everything I was hoping to achieve with henna was achieve on the  first try! I feel like a fool for not trying it sooner. My tresses are deep red now and very pronounced in natural light. The grays are covered and sparkle red. My hair strands feel stronger with little breakage.  And my hair is shiny and soft.

I can confirm a few downsides to henna. The application process was messy. Henna will stain so protect your surfaces with old towels or newspaper. My fingers and nails were stained while styling my hair on the first day. I assure you the stains will disappear after a few days. The smell may be considered unpleasant to some folks. The smell did not bother me. I found the smell to be wonderful and earthy. Waiting for the henna to work its magic may also be considered inconvenient.

With all of that being said, the pros outweigh the cons. I would highly recommend it, but suggest doing a strand test prior to application.

Let us know about your experience with henna in the comments below.

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