I've been wanting to try henna on my hair for a while but now I've actually plucked up the courage to give it ago. To learn a little more about henna see curlyNikki's post here. After doing a lot of research on henna I decided that I would love to give it ago for it's strengthening qualities. Because my hair is fine its perhaps more prone to breakage than other naturals who have thicker hair strands so I wanted to try treatments which strengthen the hair shaft naturally. Henna leaves colour deposits on the hair which I don't really mind, as long as it wasn't going to turn it orange! I also read that it can loosen the curl pattern of your hair every time it is applied. I don't know if this will really happen to my hair as my curl pattern is so tight, but I read that this has been noticed with people who have looser curl patterns (3c, 4a hair types) so I don't think I have too much to worry about.
Anyway, onto the process. if you prefer to watch the process please see my youtube video or read on for a summary.
I decided to buy Lush Caca marron (£8.25 a block) because I wanted to get the henna from a trusted source. While researching I read a few comments from people who had been scammed when purchasing their henna. They had tried to purchase the Jamila brand henna but instead had been sold fake henna which probably contained harmful substances. Also, some kinds of henna need to be mixed with other ingredients so that the dye can be released. Everyone I read about seemed to do it in a different way so I searched for an easy solution. Lush Costmetics sells henna in blocks which you simply add hot water to and stir up. I also consider Lush to be a trusted brand so I decided to buy my henna from them. I chose the Caca marron because I prefer the darker chestnut tones it is said to give instead of redder tones. The Lush henna also contains some great added ingredients like coco butter and essential oils.
Things you will need
- Plastic cap
- Heat proof bowl
- Newspaper (for the bathroom floor)
- Old towels
- Cleaning equipment
- Hot water
- Vasaline (to put on your hairline to stop the henna from dying your skin)
I would say that planning is essential for the whole henna process. I would suggest setting aside a day when you're not massively busy. Firstly get all the things you need together and put them in the bathroom e.g. newspapers for the floor, old towels, clips, vasaline and cleaning equipment. Then mix up the henna with hot water and stir it until It reaches a thick yogurt consistency.
Section off your hair into 4 or more sections. Apply vasaline to your hairline. Put your gloves on and apply the henna to your hair by gently patting it onto the section you are working with. Be careful not to press and smooth down the henna too hard along your hair. The henna is very gritty and I read that if some of the sharp pieces are pressed down onto the hair too hard there's a possibility of introducing mid shaft splits along your hair strand. This part took me about 30 minutes.
Wrap your hair in cling film (optional for extra protection) and put a cap on. I kept the henna on for 6 hours, during this time I went out to the shops and just simply popped a beanie hat on over my plastic cap. I kept the henna on for 6 hours because it was convenient for me and my timetable. I think the pack says you can leave it on for 2-3 hours but I don't think it really matters if you leave it on for longer than the stated time.
Be prepared to do a bit of clean up. But don't worry. if you've tried to be careful when applying the henna then the clean up shouldn't be too bad. I suggest cleaning the sink area as soon as you have finished applying the henna to reduce the chances of stains.
When washing the henna off do so one section at a time. You can use a conditioner to do this. I used Cantu shea butter conditioner because I had some I needed to use up. It took me 4 washes to really get all the bits and pieces out so make sure you leave yourself enough time.
After I washed the henna out, my hair felt great. My curls really popped, especially at the crown area where the curl pattern is more of an 'S' shape. My hair didn't feel hard or dry like many people had reported from their own experiences. I didn't follow up with a conditioning treatment as my hair felt really good. I just applied my curly pudding and stretched my hair as usual. In the morning I styled my hair, it still wasn't dry and hard. Instead it felt really soft and hopefully it had been strengthened by the treatment too.
Pros and Cons of Lush Henna
- Improved the condition of my hair
- Easy to use
- Reasonable price
- Very gritty ( this made it difficult to wash out)
- Strong grassy smell developed hours after henna was applied
- Quick and careful clean up is needed to avoid stains on sink
- Planning the process is essential
Overall I would recommend giving this product a go to discover whether it works well for you and your hair. You might find the whole process a little too fussy and drawn out, or perhaps you find the benefits to your hair out weigh the process. I have two young children, 4 and under, so I made sure that when I was applying the henna they were occupied with my husband. When I wanted to wash the henna off I did so in the evening when they were in bed. I loved how my hair felt after using it so I'm going to continue to use it, perhaps four more times and see what the effects are. What have your experiences been with henna? Good? bad? or ugly?!