Product review: Colora Henna

I chose the "burgundy" colour. Yes, I know that real henna is red -- this has natural ingredients to boost colour.

Last week, I decided that I was going to use henna for the first time — Colora Henna, specifically. I’ve always wanted to try it, but the time commitment was especially painful to me. I don’t have six hours on a Saturday to wait for henna to do its magic. On Friday, I did have the time. I’m working from home, so while I do what I have to do — write, attend meetings and conference calls, plan — I can do other time-consuming, hair-related tasks.

I was hoping to do it on Wednesday, so I mixed my henna early in the week. This is what I used:

  • One box of Colora Henna
  • Black tea (two bags steeped in a cup of boiling water)

I mixed them together until the henna had a thick, soupy consistency. I left it to do whatever henna does. When I realized that I wasn’t going to use it on Wednesday, I put it in the freezer so it wouldn’t spoil. On Thursday night, I put it in the fridge to defrost and on Friday morning, I left it on my kitchen counter to get to room temperature.

Around 10:30 am, I washed my hair — the instructions said to start with a clean head of hair. That’s when I saw it: I got heat damage from the straightening.

CHUPSE!!!

My mind had told me not to get my hair straightened — as you read, I was fearful of all the heat going onto my hair — but I really wanted to see if I met my hair goal. Hmmph. I did, but a patch of hair just over my left ear was scalded straight. I don’t blame my stylist — she’s straightened my hair before without any problem. I think that it was damaged for two reasons:

  • the hair in that area is my 4b – very sensitive to everything. So if any hair on my head was going to be damaged, it’s always that hair
  • the second pass after I went outside to get my SIL’s shawarma – the weather was extremely humid and my hair began to revert and get puffy. When I got back to the salon, she gave me another pass through with the flat iron.

Thankfully, I didn’t put any more heat in my hair when I was dealing with it myself. God only knows what condition my hair would have been in. Sigh. It was extremely sad seeing these limp, straight, tired pieces of hair looking at me saying, “You should have left us alone! We were happy kinky!”

Well, hairs, don’t worry. I don’t plan on straightening again… OK, never say never, but I don’t plan on straightening my hair for a long time, if I do it again. I’m sufficiently traumatized.

After I got over the shock of the straight, heat damaged hair, called my sister and my SIL and shed a tear for the wash-n-gos that will not be this summer, I started to apply the henna. It didn’t smell bad — it was like smelling freshly mowed grass. Very natural and earthy smelling.

I slapped on my gloves (a must) and got to work. On the box, it says to use an application brush — like the ones you’d use for a relaxer. That would be fine if my hair was straight (hmmph), but considering the majority of my hair was kinked up, the brush just wasn’t doing the job. So, I applied with my hands. It worked pretty well. I put it all on and put my plastic cap on my head and went back to work.

Fast-forward five hours. At four pm, I decided to wash it out. The mixture had gone from a greenish, grass look to more of an orange-y colour. I got some Suave Naturals Fresh Mountain Strawberry conditioner (I had wanted to use my Aussie Moist conditioner — I got a huge one with a pump, but why wouldn’t the pump work? Sigh) and thought, lemme start with a good rinse, then I’ll co-wash my hair.

Good grief. This henna thing is no joke.  I rinsed my hair about four times — getting pure dark brown water — before I even thought about putting any conditioner in. What I noticed about Colora Henna is that it’s a lower grade of sift, meaning there’s a dang lot of twigs and sticks in the henna powder. I wasn’t impressed by that, but I assumed that I’d be able to wash it out. As I rinsed, twigs and small sticks were getting stuck under my nails. Not a good look. I thought that the conditioner would be able to help me get the debris out of my hair, so I took a handful of the Suave conditioner and co-washed.

Guy, I co-washed about three times, still getting twigs. Sigh.

By this time, I had washed/rinsed my hair eight times in one day and I had had enough. The water was rinsing pretty clear, but the dang twigs were coiled up with my coils and they weren’t planning to come out any time soon. And they didn’t. I deep conditioned with Neutrogena’s Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask for about an hour with no heat. I rinsed, added my Giovanni Direct leave-in and proceeded to style.

My hair was tinted a deep burgundy and the greys were copper coloured, but my hair felt dry. The curls were loosened and it was easier to part and style… but it was super dry on Day 1. Now, five days into it, it’s soft, moist and manageable — I’m still finding twigs. I should have twisted my hair with a heavier moisturizer, but my Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in conditioning repair creme warns not to use it after you’ve coloured or chemically treated your hair.

Overall, I would henna again, but I wouldn’t use Colora Henna. The sift isn’t fine enough and the twigs are annoying as heck. I will get all the twigs out when I wash my hair on Friday, but a week with twigs? Not cool. When I do henna again, I plan to do it in a month or so, I’m going to use body art quality stuff (I found an online retailer in Brampton — I’ll let you know if they’re any good after I order my henna) and add some olive oil to my mixture so my hair doesn’t feel as dry on the first day.

So, readers, do you have any henna tips?

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41 Comments Add yours

  1. r*dean [myaliasfotography] says:

    I’ve never tried it myself – Wow, that seems like a lot of work.

    1. Bonnie says:

      Hi there
      I’ve used this henna for over 20 years and never found a twig in it. It is actually quite simple to use, you take the powder mix it with hot water and some conditioner or treatment based stuff. You wash your hair and apply like hair dye with a brush – takes all of 5-7 min depending on hair length. Then you put a bag on your head and wrap a towel around. No need to leave on longer than 45-1 if you want super strong results. Either way will last like hair dye 6 weeks. You rinse out and use conditioner not shampoo as will dry our hair. That is it….. It is healthier and much nicer results than any dye – I tried dye for one year and it has taken 3 to get my curls back and lustre. Good luck

      1. urbansista says:

        I must have gotten the only box in creation with twigs in it. I’ve moved on from Colora henna. The last henna I used was Yemeni henna from Henna Sooq and I liked the results and the henna much better. Not a twig in sight. I must have had bad luck 😉

  2. Jennifer says:

    can you please let me know how the henna from an online retailer in Brampton went? I’ve been trying to look for GOOD quality Henna and indigo powder to use on my hair but that is also decent in price. You should give Ancient Sunrise Henna a try: http://www.ancientsunrise.com/blackkit/index.html

    Heard it was good but never really tried it because the cost + shipping throws me off. I’m trying to find this brand in indian stores, but without any luck.

    1. urbansista says:

      I wrote all about my great experiences with Henna Sooq (they are based in Brampton) here: https://theaccidentalnatural.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/the-accidental-online-henna-purchase/

    2. Beth says:

      Well.ca sells Colora Henna and I personally LOVE Henna hut. Yes you pay shipping but great product, quick shipping and okay with returns. hennahut.com

  3. SDudley says:

    I used henna about a year ago while I was still relaxing my hair and the results were interesting. My hair was left with a slight wave especially by the roots. I used the body art version so I didnt have any twigs and washed it out with Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship conditioner. I would suggest using amla oil which you can also find at the East Indian Stores. Very light and leaves your hair soft.

    1. urbansista says:

      I’ve started using body art quality henna from one of my favourite places, Henna Sooq. That henna has been working A LOT better than the Colora Henna. I was interested in the amla oil — I have amla powder which I mix with my henna. Next order, I may get some amla oil — thanks for the suggestion!

    2. hadasa says:

      Hello I just have a question….how long after can I use the henna after a fresh relaxer TouchUp

  4. Sylvia Burkhard says:

    I have been using Colora Henna for about 18 years. I mix 2 boxes of red sunset and 1 box of burgundy and it does 2 applications. I just put it on with a spoon and it doesn’t take too long but have learned to cover my black and white bathroom with old towels and I only use old towels on my hair. I only leave it in about 2 hours and it does a great job, no noticable dye line at the scalp and I have ugly grey hair! I have really thick natually curly hair which seems to take forever to dry. I figure it takes me 15 min of straight rinsing before I use some shampoo, then a mixture of shampoo and conditioner and then done! There are always little bits of henna for the 1st couple days, like having black dandruff! I love the smell, its organic and I get tons of compliments on the color, always said if I couldn’t have a redhead I would be one. I have gotten lots of grief from my hairdresser friends because apparently I’m coating my hair and supposedly that is a bad thing, but I’m not very impressed with chemical stuff and it’s not very healthy, so I will continue to lock my door and put Baby Sh– in my hair and enjoy the results. The texture of the Colora just means that it is less refined and closer to nature in my opinion. Just remember when you have used a henna be sure to tell your hairdresser if you are going to get a perm or other color because it will react and not in a good way!

    1. urbansista says:

      Thanks for the info!

    2. Jami says:

      Hi Sylvia I have a question for you. I did my first henna hair dye yesterday. My hair is dark brown and I used the Red Sunset hoping to get red hair, I feel the same way you do about being a redhead. Lol. Anyway I left it on 5 to 6 hours and still didn’t get the color I wanted on the tips because they had been previously been dyed red. The tips are a great color, but the rest just has a great shine to it. I only discovered that what I wanted wasn’t possible after I had did it. How for the question “Are you saying that you got a red color by using that mixture stated? Is your orginal color black?” I hope that’s what you`re saying!!! I would be so happy if it is!! LOL. PLEASE REPLY^^

  5. astrid says:

    yeah I have a tip! I’ve used Colora Henna a couple of times, and to remove the sticks I brush my hair on the shower!
    I mean, shampoo one time, then some conditioner, and with the conditioner on I use a comb
    it really works, I mean, the second time I washed my hair after henna there were no traces of sticks

  6. Dagny says:

    Sift the sticks and twigs out with a loose tea strainer or a very fine mesh strainer. This will remove the bits that will get stuck in your hair.

  7. Karen says:

    I have no idea where you found Colora henna with STICKS in it! I think you are nuts. I have used this product frequently at my salon for 2-3 years and have NEVER seen a stick or anything else that isn’t a fine powder. Also, why on earth 2-6 hours? Do you people not read the instructions? Maybe you should leave the coloring to a professional and have it done properly at a salon!

    1. urbansista says:

      My question to you is why are you being so hostile and rude on MY blog. Do you work for Colora? Do you have stock in the company? Maybe you are just an Internet bully who wants to leave comments on blogs – instead of telling me that your experience was different. That doesn’t work here. I love when people share their experiences, but I will not tolerate rudeness.

      Maybe YOU can’t read, but this my blog where I post my thoughts about my experiences. If you want to sing the praises of getting your hair coloured at a professional salon or the greatest of Colora henna, I suggest that you start your own blog, Tumblr, or whatever the heck you like and stop acting the ass – yes, the ass, because you obviously don’t know how to carry on polite conversation even if you disagree – on MY blog. Thanks for your comment.

      1. Nassima says:

        LOL.

      2. Linda says:

        I just use the Colora henna powder (wheat blond) last night. It’s my first time. I read the box and it’s said to shampoo hair first and than apply the mix to hair. Then after a hour rinse and shampoo again. I did had 1or2 sticks in my hair but after you shampoo again they come right out easy. I love the color of my hair ! I will buy this all the time since my hair is falling out cause of medical problems.

  8. Tiara says:

    I tried Colora for the first time last night. I’m 99.9% sure we followed ALL of the directions, but I’m so disappointed.

    Like you – I got the sticks. They obviously weren’t huge logs, but it was definitely more than I was expecting and I feel like they’re everywhere.

    Also, the color totally didn’t work. I even left it on for 2 1/2 hours even though the box really does say only one. The woman who suggested it said that the longer I left it on, the darker it would be.

    At any rate, I have read so many great reviews but I guess it just didn’t quite work out for me. Now I have to find the least damaging regular hair dye because I just can’t deal with these lighter ends that refuse to get darker!

  9. Tina Alyce says:

    I just used two boxes of Colora and did not have one twig, never did, been using this stuff on and off for years.

    1. Anna Atkinson says:

      I agree,i have used this product for years and what some people said really surprised me,thought they might be trying to make a joke, or discredit the product.

  10. well I just got mine yesterday. I will sift and still use it. Of all the reviews it still sounds like a good product. :o)

  11. Heather says:

    I have been using Colora Henna for about 10 years and have never seen a stick in it. It’s a fine powder that goes “goupy” when mixed with water. I leave it on for an hour or so, maybe a bit longer. It does take a while to rinse out, but the effort is worth it. I use a colour about two shades lighter than what I actually want to achieve, because that seems to work best. I love the fact that it grows out naturally without leaving roots, and also conditions the hair. I have no intention of ever getting a chemical dye job, or a perm, so this works well for me.

  12. Meg says:

    I made a typo error in the last comment and so this comment has the correction in it: I also have been using Colora Henna for 10 years and have never seen a ‘twig’ or stick. It was always a fine powder. I leave it in for 40 minutes and rinse it out initially with warm water for about 4 times then I use a little bit of conditioner 2 times. The conditioner really helps to get the tiny bits of powder out. I certainly appreciate the lovely fresh smell and healthy feel to my hair after it drys.

    1. urbansista says:

      That’s great – maybe I got a bad batch. Unfortunately, I had to contend with pulling twigs out of very kinky hair – which was not fun. The last time I henna’d I used Jamila Henna, which is more finely sifted. No twigs or sticks 😉

  13. Elsia says:

    I use Colorado henna. I have never had any twigs in the product. I mix with apple cider vinegar to cover greys better, olive oil for moisturizing, and warm water to make it more liquid. I cover my hair with a plastic bag and a wool hat. I leave it on for about an hour and wash and rinse. It is not so difficult and my hair and scalp are never treated with harsh chemicals.

    1. Elsia says:

      Colora. Henna, self correcting I pad.

  14. Roxana says:

    Lived in Morocco, very abundant there and often used. Make sure whatever the brand, that you leave it to sit in a bowl with a plastic wrap over it for at least a few hours. After it’s a good idea to add some olive oil (1-2tsp, or as you see fit). it helps with applying it. Apply to hair, sectioning from bottom to top. Wrap a plastic bag around it, and leave it for a good amount of time! If you have dark hair and stubborn greys like mine, you will want to leave it on for at least 3 hrs, and even better 6! When I was in Morocco, a lot of the woman used to apply it before bed, wrap a plastic bag tight around head and hairline (so the mess doesn’t leak) and towels around shoulders, and sleep with it. Wake up and shower it away. (When initially mixing it, some people use black tea instead of water, or lemon juice.) OH, and it’s really messy. I suggest bringing a mirror into the shower. Applying it it there, and any sprays or clumps left behind you can easily wash away immediately so that it does not stain. Hope this serves you well! 🙂

    1. I also sleep overnight in the color because I want good deep color. I leave the henna, after its mixed, in a warm place to let the color release. I do that for at least an hour, you actually see the color change.

  15. Jen says:

    I absolutely loved Colora henna. My only issue was selecting the right color. Bought chestnut but my hair turned a darker color was trying toto achieve lighter results. Overall the product made my hair shiny and healthier looking.
    I kept my color in for one hour.

  16. I’m not surprised you had such an issue getting the Colora Henna out. I’ve used it three times in the last two years and have had good experiences but I mix it differently. I include one cup of black tea, some conditioner, a tablespoon of honey and about a 1/2-1 cup of coconut oil and it comes out good. I would suggest using a recipe for any henna you use. Including the conditioner in helps it wash out. I don’t think simple henna and water is great and it can be drying.

    Anyway, I like Colora and have used Mahogany, Auburn, and Brown (and yes I do believe them to be henna but they must be using cassia and the like to get a variety of shades). My hair as actually been growing.

  17. Virginia says:

    IVE used Avigal henna/herb hair color and love it.Problem is I moved and can’t find it out here- only Colora henna. I’ve never used Colora. I hope it leaves hair shiny like Avigal cuz that’s what I’m getting.

  18. Irene stanciel says:

    I love henna. I’ve been using colora with good results…Happy hennaing to you all…

  19. Elaine says:

    I have used the Avigal Henna since 1988 (when my auburn hair began to turn grey). I have never had a problem with using it or with the results. The Avigal Henna does not damage your hair. It is easy to use and lasts from 4 to 6 weeks.

  20. Sheila Y. Terjanian says:

    I have been using Colora Henna for about 10 years, every 6 weeks. Leqve it on according to the directions and I have never seen anything but powder come out of the bag. I love the way it improves the body and softness of my hair. I am elderly and when I don’t do the henna for a while, my hair is stringy and dry.

  21. melissa says:

    any before and after pics?

  22. Fatimah says:

    This is my first time using colora henna and I’m kinda excited. I have some questions though after reading ALL the comments. (1) What does the tea do for the mixture? Does it help with the color richness? And is black tea preferred or green? I’ve seen others use green tea on youtube tutorials. (2) Is it okay to use a conditioning cap (heated) when letting the henna penetrate? (3) What’s the best henna to use? Your comments are much appreciated.

  23. There are sever options… Saba Hennas are pure, well packaged and inexpensive. Henna Hut makes the most fuss free henna I have ever used! They have great colors, You just mix with water (room temperature), and leave on only one to two hours. go to their site! I love Clairol’s Hello Hydration, it works for every type of hair! I am a 62 year old Italian male, and this covers my gray in the Brown color. It gives me a reddish cocoa brown to my grays, and a milk chocolate brown to the rest of my hair!

  24. upsadmin says:

    Sift the powder yourself with a sifter or strainer before using. Probably q good thing to do with all powdered henna to be safe. I love the henna cream products because I hate the way all henna goes on and it gets cold so fast. Surya brasil black is my favorite because it ends up a nice dark brown. Many of the lighter colors have way too much neutral henna which blocks the colored henna fr adhering to the shaft. Henna creams solve all these problems. I plan to try colora henna creme next because it doest contain the propylene glycol and other chemicals, even though few, in surya Brazil. Im really glad they are making this product and want to encourage them since they are foregoing the chemicals. Try surya Brazil when you grow out a little. A single bottle can do multiple riot treatments. Many conditioners strip henna or the dyes mixed with them. The colorsafe morrocan suave doesn’t nor rosemary mint suave, which actually reduces gray just from using the shampoo and conditioner. Auusie spray on leave in conditioner also doesn’t strip it. I think plain old coconut oil was safe too. Thanks for your review!

  25. Can I use box color over Colora to ease the bright red of my used to be grays; I used LIGHT BROWN, came out red.

  26. JAK says:

    Colora Henna to me is the best! It is a soft & sifted powder.It is very important that you shampoo your hair before applying. If not, your hair will not color. I mix 1/2 of the pkg. with 1/2 cup black coffee & Tblsp. of mayo. Apply to gray hair first then all over. Cover hair & wait 2 hrs before rinsing. I apply some conditioner to help with the rinsing out then I shampoo my hair 1x. I love the way the hair color develops over the next 24 hrs. LOVE COLORA HENNA!!!

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