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.
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?