So I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written. So I’m just going to be completely honest with you, I’m soooooo lazy. I don’t like writing either. Those two factors combined, is the reason why my posts are so sparse. I just realized that I post every other month. Smh. I will make an honest effort to do better. Not just for you, but for me too. I’ve been a bit more consistent in my journal writing, so hopefully that will consistency will spill over into my blogging (I hope 😬).
Now, lets talk about henna. Henna (Lawson inermis) is a plant that is used as a natural alternative to commercial hair dyes. Henna has been used for over 1000 years. It contains a compound called lawsone, a strong pigment that is responsible for the red/orange color that is left on your hair. The proteins in your hair safely bind with henna. Henna doesn’t alter your hair strands like commercial dyes. Commercial dyes oxidize your hair strands (that means your hair is permanently altered and damaged). Henna, also known as hennotannic acid, is classed as a naphthoquinone (aka a ketone). According to RSC publishing, naphthoquinones are known to react with amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of proteins). Henna is natural, safe, and does not irritate the body. The dye is released when the leaves from the henna plant are crushed. “Drying, milling, and sifting the Henna leaves into a fine powder maximizes the pigment (Lawsone) release.” (Henna Color Lab)
The preparation of henna is very simple. There are a few different ways that you can prepare the henna for application. I watched many different videos on youtube of people mixing the dye and also applying the dye to their hair. I also researched the authenticity of the henna powder that my friend gave me. (I got a little nervous when I read about some person’s experience with the henna powder they bought and how it smelled like straight chemicals 😳) After all of my research, I decided to prepare the henna, and apply it to my hair.
My process of Henna preparation and application:
Step 1: Shopping. My friend got the henna I used from Amazon. Ebay or an Indian grocery store are also good places to purchase henna (these are the places that generally carry PURE henna) Also, reading the reviews will help you weed out the bad options.
Step 2: Research. I watched a lot of tutorials that showed how to prepare the henna and how to apply it. I was mainly watching the videos to see how they prepared it. In most of the videos, people used hot water along with other conditioning ingredients. Some websites actually recommended using an acid solute, like lemon juice, to release the dye. I bought the lemon juice for the henna, but I ended up not using it because I thought it would be too harsh on my hair. Plus, most of the tutorials had used hot water, so I just decided to go with the flow. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention earlier that henna can also be used as a conditioning/protein treatment. Henna is just that good.
Step 3: Preparation I boiled about a 1 ½ cups of water in a small pot. Then, I used a small disposable plastic bowl (a sturdy one like the ones you would get whenever you get nut butter at Whole Foods, or whenever you buy prepackaged “fresh” foods at the grocery store—or you could go to Sally’s and get a color mixing bowl) to mix the hot water and the henna powder. I gradually added the hot water until it became a thick paste. This consistency was perfect for me. It made the process A LOT cleaner than what I saw on Youtube and what my friend described when she did it. I allowed the dye to release for at least 8 hours. However, believe it’s best to allow it to sit overnight so that you will have a potent dye when you’re ready to apply it to your hair.
Step 4: Application. I applied the henna to my hair at the bathroom sink. I wore an old clothes I didn’t care to get dirty. Then, I placed saran wrap over my sink to catch any pieces that would fall while I was working. Next. I put my hair into 4 sections. Before applying henna, I based my hairline with vaseline so that the dye wouldn’t stain my skin (this is very important). I put my gloves on, then I went to work. I used a color applicator brush, but you can use your hands if you don’t have one. I just used it because I had it lol. Although, it did make the process less messy…but it’s up to you. The entire application took about an hour. When I was done applying, I rubbed the henna into my hair, similarly to how you would rub in a relaxer. Then I covered my hair with saran wrap, a plastic bag and then a scarf to help keep the henna from making a mess in my bed. I left the henna in overnight, for approximately 8 hours.
Step 5: Wash. So this was the hardest part. I really don’t know how long it took me to wash that stuff out. I didn’t believe them when they said that it takes forever. I also didn’t believe then when they said that it will clog your drain… 😐😑 boy was I wrong. I took about 30-45 minutes to wash the paste out. Then, I used conditioner to wash the remaining residue out. After that I proceeded to deep condition, then clarify my hair. I reversed the washing process because I was preparing my a hair for a new journey (hint hint 😏).
So what do I think of henna? I think it’s awesome! I LOVE how it made my hair feel! I’ve never seen my curls SO defined! It was so awesome. It’s a dye and a protein treatment, all in one😁. However, this stuff stains. Like, my hands were orange for a couple of days after. I took my gloves off after applying the paste and didn’t put more back on when I washed it out. Huge mistake. Also, another huge mistake, (actually the biggest mistake of all) I did not put something over the drain to catch the paste (newspaper is good—it allows the water through but stops the paste). That stuff will CLOG YOUR DRAIN. A clogged drain is the one of the most annoying things. I had to unscrew the top covering the drain to get the gunk out. Thank God for Youtube videos. Won’t He do it 💃🏾lol.
Overall, it was a really good experience. Would I do it again? Yes! Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. Without the shadow of a doubt. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’ll answer them as best as I know how! Happy reading and God bless!
Until next time,
B. Parkinson, future D.O.
P.S. Here’s the a link to a video by Green Beauty Channel that provides a comprehensive overview of henna:
Also here are some words of encouragement:
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.