Monday, December 13, 2010

I love Henna for hair!!

(Did you know that Lucille Ball hennaed her hair?! That is cool.  She even references it several times in the show, "I Love Lucy" and in interviews)

I came across a blogger who hennaed their hair and I immediately became interested.  Red hair and natural?!?!  Could it be? I have been blond all of my 26 years.  I started off being a very light blond but not quite a "toe head" and then it turned a more dirty blond with some highlights as I got older.  As an adult I would get all over highlights put in to brighten the color some.  I loved being a blond but have always had a love for red hair.  I finally convinced my husband to let me dye my hair darker so a few month ago I had my hair chemically dyed a deep red which almost looked a little on the brown side. I used a picture of Amy Adams as inspiration but I think her hair looks redder.  Anyway, the chemical dye is not only expensive chemical and fades badly. I didn't want to damage by hair or health with chemical coloring anymore and I didn't want to spend a lot of money for a color that fades so I was happy that I found an alternative.
(My chemical dye job.  I had some highlights put in for dimension)

I went straight to the Google machine and found several helpful websites on henna for hair.  Most of them agree that 100% body art quality henna was the best to use for a natural hair dye because it is free of metallic salts and added chemicals that could damage your hair.  I found the site,  Henna For Hair very helpful with my decision making. They list real people's experiences with henna and their recipes for their henna mix. I bought the Celebration Henna from them which was only $9.50 for 100 grams and I used 300 grams for my long, thick hair.

The thing to remember about henna is that it will not lift color.  It only adds transparent color to the hair.  That means that everyone's color will turn out different and that it will allow natural highlights to show through.  The more you henna the deeper the color gets because you are layering the transparent color. The lighter your starting color the brighter the red and the darker your hair the deeper the red.

(this is the morning after I hennaed my hair.  It is quite bright and in person it was a coppery orange red)
(This is almost a full week after I hennaed.  The color is fully oxidized which turned the bright coppery orange red color into a rich deep coppery red)

When hair is hennaed, the starting color will be bright and coppery orange. Of course people with darker hair will experience less orange in their color.  Over the next week the henna will oxidize into a deeper color.  Maybe a few shades deeper.  Just think of how an apple oxidizes after being cut.  At first I was shocked at how bright the color was.  I had to keep telling myself that the color was going to deepen.  I love the finished color and will just touch up my roots when needed so I don't make my color any deeper.  I may uses a henna glaze from time to time to freshen up the color though.  Henna only fades slightly which is great.

Henna conditions and makes the hair strong and shiny which is why a lot of women who choose to grow their hair long will use henna to strengthen the hair to prevent too much breakage. I am told that as long as you use 100% body art quality henna that you will be able to bleach or dye over the henna with no problems.

Lindsey's Henna Mix

2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups distilled water

Mix well in a glass bowl and then cover the surface of the henna mixture with plastic wrap.  Set it in a warm place for at least 12 hours to dye release. Add 1 tablespoon ground cloves to mask smell of henna which smells like hay. Add a little more water if the henna has thickened too much.  It should be like yogurt or cake batter.

Apply it to clean dry hair making sure to get to the roots well.  Pile hair on top of head then cover head with a plastic bag or plastic wrap to help control any leaks.  Wrap a towel around head to keep henna moist and warm.

I left the henna in for about 3 1/2 hours and then rinsed the henna out with lots of conditioner.  Don't wash hair with shampoo for at least 2 days but 3 days is better,

I did a test strip of hair before I did my whole head so I knew what the color would look like around 3 1/2 hours.  Less time would have meant a lighter color red.

I will most likely stick with henna red hair for a long time.  I love it so much.  My great grandmother and some of my great aunts had beautiful red hair so it's neat to have red hair too.

(edited to say that I found the Strawberry Blonde eyebrow powder from Bare Escentuals to work really well with my color)


  1. oh dang it! just when i had gotten the "red hair obsession" over wiht, you have to post gorgeous pics of your henna'd hair.

    might have to go red again....

  2. LOL you must be meant to be a redhead. :)

  3. Wow wow wow! Did you do your eyebrows too? You look like you've always been a red. This is great. I'm already red, but sometimes I'd like it to be more vibrant. This is just what I have been looking for.

    ♥ Rebecca Jean
    Midnight Maniac

  4. Thank you!!! I haven't done my eyebrows yet but I keep thinking that I should. I mixed a blond eyebrow powder from Bare Escentuals with a little coppery-orange blush by MAKE UP FOR EVER. That was the only way I could get a good eyebrow color. Sephora didn't have any red head eyebrow colors.

  5. Thank you for the step by step instructions! I really want to do this, but I'm afraid I will screw it up! haha :)