Gray, Gray, Go Away

And don’t come back another day…

Okay, we both know you will. And I suppose I shouldn’t complain, because if you didn’t come back that would be bad. It would mean my curly tresses were either gone (which is bad) or not growing (not good). At least I’ve found a way to deal with you…dry-henna-powder

Let’s talk about henna. I shared in a previous post, Going Natural, that I’m trying to use more natural products in my personal care regimen. As I began to learn more about proper care for my naturally curly hair, I came across the benefits of using henna for dyeing hair in a natural and gentle way. Some people shared that another benefit to henna was additional moisture to their dry hair. Some noted a relaxing of their curl pattern as well, which may or may not be desired. In this post I’d like to share my personal experience, which has been quite positive.

According to Wikipedia: Henna (also known as hina, the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet)  is a flowering plant and the sole species of the Lawsonia genus. The English name “henna” comes from the Arabic: ḥinnāʾ. Henna has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather.

It is very easy to learn more about henna and its use for dyeing hair by simply googling it. There are countless You-Tube videos, blog posts, articles and online shops selling henna products where information is readily available.

As a newbie to henna I did some research and decided to try a brand called Rainbow. Here’s a link for your convenience ~ http://www.rainbowresearch.com/ ~ but it’s available at many online retailers. Shop around! I liked what I read about the brand: Rainbow Henna has no additives, chemicals, or pesticides. Rainbow Henna coats each hair shaft with color. Blends naturally. Fades gradually. Lasts 4-6 weeks. Smooths and seals the hair’s cuticle for greater shine and body.RainbowHenna

The reviews I read were positive. The product is super-affordable. I decided to give it a go. I chose the Persian Medium Brown. I have espresso colored curls with reddish undertones and thought my gray would come out a pleasing red coppery color with that shade. I followed the instructions and used the special hints for my specific goal of covering gray and deepening brown-red tones. This meant using brewed coffee in place of water and adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to the henna powder. I also mix in some olive oil since my hair is dry. Guidelines on timing are also provided, which varies depending on shade and whether heat is used. I don’t use heat, preferring to just cover my head with a plastic shower cap and bandanna and getting some housework done…or writing a blog post!Henna

The first time was the most challenging since I didn’t have a good routine worked out. Henna can be messy and it does stain (duh, it colors hair right?). Wanting to contain the mess, I sat in my tub with a mirror propped on the edge, wearing old clothes and proceeded to apply my henna. I neglected to use disposable gloves thinking the contact wouldn’t be prolonged enough to be a problem. Wrong! I ended up with a greenish-brownish tint to my palms and fingernails which I managed to mostly scrub away with the hubby’s orange pumice hand cleaner he uses for his grimy hands after working on the car. Lesson learned. But despite the messiness of the application process, having to wait 1-2 hours for the henna to do its work, and then the process of removing the mud-like product from my hair, I’m hooked on henna. I was thrilled to see that my gray was indeed covered and looking quite fabulous!!  And all for just a small fraction of the cost of a salon service, and with no harsh, unnatural, damaging chemicals. Win-win yay me!!!

Beyond the pretty color my gray turns into, I’ve noticed my hair seems more manageable since I started the henna. I honestly don’t know if it’s due to henna or just a continued response to all my natural hair care products, maybe it’s a combination of both. The color does last a minimum of four weeks. By that time I notice it’s not so much the color that fades away, though it seems to mellow a bit, but it’s my new growth of gray that keeps me on a 4-6 week schedule.

One thing I should mention is that I notice my hair has a scent to it especially for the CigarLadiesCollagefirst few days after application. I would describe it as somewhat cigar-like. It lessens after the next wash. Once I run out of the Rainbow brand, I’d like to try a different line to see if there’s a difference in the after-scent. For me the benefits outweigh this drawback. And maybe if people think I smoke cigars, it might add to my mystique! 😉

Since the first application, I have honed down my technique. I now prefer to stand in the shower with a mirror at face level. It is much easier that way. The splattering is minimal and I make sure to immediately rinse down the shower when finished. I haven’t had any issues with staining, but my shower surfaces are smooth. I’d be careful to test a shower with a porous tile or stone. Needless to say I make sure to wear latex or vinyl disposable gloves both for applying and rinsing the henna. I suggest checking out one of the many You-Tube videos to get an idea of the process. I hope this post is helpful to anyone thinking about henna. Are you trying to be more gentle with your hair? Have you tried henna? What brand do you use? Do you have any helpful tips?

rainbow-research-henna-color-chart

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