I was flipping through my Family Herbal book by Rosemary Gladstar for some shampoo alternatives, besides the baking soda rinse I use and came across not only a pluthera of herbal rinses and more but she also had a section dedicated to henna. I have always wanted to use henna, but definitely do not have the artistic capabilities to do any of the fancy designs, so when I found out that you could dye your hair with it, I figured why not? So here is my extremely messy journey of how I dyed my hair with henna. I used Gladstar’s recipe for Copper tones: 1 part Copper, 1 part Medium Brown, and 1 part Red (wish i used more red!).
You will need:
Shower cap(plastic bag will do)
measuring cup(not pictured)
3 Cups Boiling Water
Jojoba Oil (optional)
Wear something you don’t mind getting messy in, remove anything you don’t want to get stained, grab a towel or protective cover and get ready to get messy!!
First you want to boil 3 cups of water. While that is working measure out your henna, since i used three different kinds I did a 1/2 cup of each. So I measured 1/2 cup Red, 1/2 Cup Medium Brown, 1/2 Cup Copper and then mix it all together. I had to transfer it into a larger bowl than what is pictured above for better mixing and so I could add the water. Also I massaged some jojoba oil into my hair, focusing on the tips just for some extra moisture since henna is known to dry hair out in some occasions if misused.
Second, I transferred my boiling water into a measuring pitcher for easy cup by cup pouring. I added one cup at a time and then slowly added 1/4 by 1/4 of the last cup to make sure I didn’t get it too runny. You want a mud-like consistency, each time you do it, you will get better and better at knowing what it should look like. Just make sure that you stir out all the clumps (pictured below) so that it isn’t too dry and starts flaking on you.
Third, apply a cream or some oil around your face so you don’t get stained, really just a preventative measure so you don’ t look all crazy. Drape the towel over your shoulders, put your gloves on and apply liberally to your hair. Most instructions say to separate your hair into 1″ sections and apply with an applicator brush thing. I started off like that, but became impatient and just started applying with my hands, which I honestly prefer, massaging it into my scalp and throughout my hair. Don’t be alarmed, it gets pretty thick, which is especially useful because you don;t even need a hair tie. I was able to twirl my hair into a bun and it stayed put.
Put your shower cap on and wrap a towel around it to insulate your body heat and keep on anywhere from 1-6 hours. I only had time to keep it on for two and I wish it would have been longer. The reason for this step is so that the henna absorbs into your hair just like regular dye and the longer you keep it in there, the deeper the color.
Your last step, very vital for preserving your color!!! I only wash my hair in baking soda and water and I gotta be honest, it isn’t always the softest, but since henna is an amazing conditioner in itself I was thrilled when I washed it out how soft and lustrous it was. Full of volume and all shiny and not to mention it smelled awful. Yes, awful. Like spoiled matcha powder, if that is possible. Even my extra drops of essential oil could not cover the very distinctive smell of henna.
So my best advice and what I have concluded from my resources is to just wash your hair normally. If you use regular shampoo and conditioner, do just that. If you normally deep condition your hair, do so, although I can guarantee you wont need that extra step nor conditioner for that matter. Whatever is left you can just comb out, you don’t want to wash out all the wonderful henna you just spent hours waiting for to infuse into your hair!
The Aftermath… If you can I would advise immediately washing whatever henna you have spilt away( i did mine over my bathtub and it made a terrible stain). If it stains, you can try using apple cider vinegar and baking soda, but i had to break out good ole’ bleach to get the stains out. (sorry environment!!)