OK, so what do I use in my Henna Mix?
Firstly, BAQ (Body Art Quality) Henna….no surprise there. As you can see below, I always have a stash…
I use Karishma Henna which gives me gorgeous rich copper streaks on my gray hairs and a nice copper/auburn haze on the rest of my hair. If you’ve never used Henna, beware that BAQ henna will dye your gray hair, a robust red to auburn tone. The color will not fade and darkens over time. Some people add Amla powder to dull down the red.
Why BAQ Henna?
- Henna that has a very high natural dye content
- Henna that is very finely cleaned, ground and sifted
- Henna that is pure: ONLY dried, powdered lawsonia inermis leaves
- The best 10% of henna is reserved for body art.
- Body art quality henna has absolutely no adulterants: no added chemical dyes, no added metallic salts, no other ingredients that may harm your health or have damaging reactions with synthetic dyes.
If Henna Isn’t described as BAQ, then it is most probably Compound Henna. What is Compound Henna I hear you ask??
- This “hair dye” henna has a lower dye content (lawsone content at 1.5% or less), is not as finely sifted, cleaned and sorted as the henna reserved for body art.
- The lower quality hennas are usually mixed with other chemical and natural dyes to create a range of colors.
- When these lower quality hennas are mixed with additives for the hair dye market, they are referred to in the hair dye industry as “Compound Henna” because henna is compounded with other ingredients. These often include metallic salts, synthetic dyes, including (PPD) Para-phenylenediamine, little or no henna, basically a product which is NOT pure henna. No thank you!!….
This time I decided to add Marshmallow root for added slip. What is marshmallow? Marshmallow is a medicated, conditioning, mucilaginous herb that provides an abundance of ’slip’ which helps to nourish and detangle naturally curly hair.
So now we have our bits and pieces, lets get started!!
Ensure you use Ceramic or Plastic to mix your paste. This is because metal bowls and spoons can react to the acidic henna mix and tarnish them. And ensure you use plastic gloves as this stuff stains!!
First thing I do is add 1tbsp of each herb to maybe 4 cups of distilled boiled water and allow to infuse. I added 4tbsp of marshmallow root which gives a thin gel consistency. I leave this to infuse over night and put in the fridge the following morning until i’m ready to use it.
Following evening I put approximately 3, 100g packs of my lovely Henna into a plastic container. I then add 2tbsp of Neem Powder and 1tbsp of Orange powder. So to condense:
300g Henna (I normally have some mix left over which I freeze)
2tbsp Neem Powder
1tbsp Orange Powder
I then slowly add the herbal tea mix (ensure you warm it up but not boiling) until I get a thick creamy consistency. I make it thick because I sleep with it overnight and can’t afford to have it leaking onto my white bedding!! No no no! I then place a lid on top of the container, wrap with a towel and place somewhere warm for the dye to release (when the dye has released, it will go from green to a brown paste, on the surface). I generally leave my henna to release over night.
If your using henna for the first time, you may find it a very, very, very messy procedure. I know I did! You need to henna proof by putting down newspaper to catch the inevitable spills. Now I’m a pro, I can apply henna with the minimum mess.
I always henna on clean detangled hair (not conditioned hair). I part my hair in 2 halves (pig tails). I then half each section again, and then again so I end up with 4 sections on each half of the head.
I start applying the henna from the back of my head and work my way to the front. Wrap hair in cling film, a plastic shower cap, then I top this off with bandanna. The foremost reason I sleep with henna is because it doesn’t seem like such a chore doing it this way….If I’m asleep, I’m not conscious of sitting there, counting down the hours with the henna in my hair, like watching paint dry….I put it in last thing at night then wash it out first thing in the morning…Simplez!!
This is how the henna looks in my hair the following morning:
Next you have to spend a good 20 minutes minimum rinsing the henna out. Use just water initially then later, use conditioner to aid removal of henna. When you think you’ve rinsed clean, rinse again for another 5-10 minutes and I guarantee it wont run clear. So rinse, rinse, rinse.
Leaving bits of henna in your hair will make your scalp itch and cause it to become dry.
I got called out to work before I could finish conditioning my hair etc so I had to put it in a bun and throw on a cap:
Apart from the amazing color, henna coats the hair strand, which makes your hair thicker in appearance. Because it coats your strand, your hair as a result, is stronger and you’ll more than likely experience less breakage. You can add coconut milk instead of water for even more conditioning and if you find henna drying. I personally do not add coconut milk. I find using henna alone,loosens my natural curl pattern. Not everyone experiences this, but I do. There is also talk of coconut milk (especially mixed with lime) also loosening the curl pattern. When I used the 2 together, they loosened my curl to the extent it looked like I had heat damage!! This may be a plus for some, but not for me. I Like my kinks, for I am a kinky girl after all ;0) Amla powder is also suppose to help with retaining your curl, but it also darkens the red from the henna, which I don’t want.
And I think that covers everything…..Hope this helps.