1st Henna Treatment

A lot of the advice I read warned against doing a pure henna treatment if you have no experience with it and recommended starting with a henna-gloss. The difference between the two is adding products such oils, conditioners or anything that will help combat the drying effects of henna and/or help with texture of the mixture. I opted to follow that advice.

The package of henna I purchased was 1lb so I definitely didn't have the advantage of emptying a package knowing I had 100g of henna powder. I found that 3/4 cup was about 150g of henna powder so I used 1.5 cups (around 300g) of the powder for my mixture. Since I have never used it before and planned to apply from root to tip, I figured it was better to have too much than not enough. I could always save whatever I didn't use. Here's the recipe I mixed for the dye release:
  • 1.5 cups (300g) of pure henna powder
  • 2 cups of green tea (steeped with 4 tea bags)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
henna mix at different stages [click to enlarge]

I slowly added the green tea into the powder, mixing as I poured it. (I actually made 3 cups of tea because I was unsure of how much it would take, but only ended up needing to use 2.) Once all the powder was mixed, I added the lemon juice. I mixed everything together with a plastic spoon in a plastic bowl. Henna is known to have a negative reaction with metal so it is best to not use metal in the mixture. I, then, covered the bowl tightly with a shower cap to allow the magic to happen. Dye release can take anywhere from 12-24 hours. I had every intention of only letting it sit for 12, but after working on another project I fell asleep and applied the henna in the morning. So, it sat for 24 hours. The mixture went from a dark green to brown with red tinted liquid on the top. If I would have just stirred the mixture up again and applied to my hair, this would have been considered a pure henna treatment. However, I added a few more ingredients to combat dryness and make it a little easier to work with creating a gloss. Here's what I added:
  • 2 tablespoons organic honey
  • 1 [heaping] tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
I thought about adding a conditioner as well, but decided against it. These 3 made the mixture creamy (but still thick) and easier to work with. They did nothing for the smell though. I will just throw in the fact that I do NOT like the smell of henna at all. It smelled like fish food, dirt and hay. That smell came for me as soon as I opened the package, too. Ugh. I don't know if there's a way to mask that smell, but if there is, I will have to find it. I put vaseline around the perimeter of hair just to make sure I didn't dye my skin. I separated my hair into four section, used gloves and applied from root to tip like you would a relaxer to a head of virgin hair. Because of the thickness of my hair and wanting to make sure all of it was covered, I took my time applying the mixture. It took about 45 mins start to finish. I covered my hair with two plastic caps and a scarf, letting the gloss sit on my hair for about 7 hours. 

  Now for the fun part...rinsing! I hopped in the shower to rinse my hair, armed with a couple bottles of Herbal Essences conditioner. I think the creaminess of the mixture after adding the oils definitely helped make it easier to rinse out. I rinsed section by section, again, taking my time. I did not want to risk getting out the shower and still having henna in my hair so I rinsed until the water seemed to run clear.  Then applied conditioner and let it sit for a few minutes, rinsed again and repeated. My hair actually did feel noticeably stronger at this point. Score! The henna hype is true.

Final step was deep conditioning. I used a concoction of a few of my fav moisturizing conditioners: Silk Dreams Vanilla Cream Moisture Dream, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, and Beautiful Textures Moisturizing..... I also added some coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint oil to help make sure my hair didn't have an after smell. Put on a plastic cap and scarf and sat for 1.5 hours. My hair felt great after rinsing!

I took a few pics as my hair dried to see if I could notice a color change. I did slightly. Henna takes a few days to "set" into hair, so I took more throughout the week. I can only see a change on my color-treated ends (of course) and in the sunlight, but I had a hard time trying to capture that with my camera. Either way, I didn't expect too much of a color change since my hair is black anyway. 

Even though this process does require a time commitment, I don't think it HAS to take a full day of my time. I had no idea how this was going to play out though, so I did this on a pretty lazy day. I think next time I will apply late in the evening so it can stay on overnight then rinse and deep condition in the morning. I definitely think this is something that I will continue doing, I just haven't decided how often. Monthly? Bi-monthly?? Around relaxer time??? I dont know. We'll see.

Henna & Ayurvedic Hair Care

Henna is widely known for its use in body art and temporary tattoos, but not so much for its use in healthy hair care. Using henna for your hair is part of an ayurvedic hair care regimen. Ayurveda is the ancient Hindu art of medicine and of prolonging life. It is a holistic approach to whole body health and wellness. For example, with this mindset, healthy hair starts with a healthy body, mind and a life as stress-free as possible. An ayurvedic hair regimen is an all-natural one, involving plants (powdered), herbs and oils. However, it doesn't necessarily eliminate all other types of products from one's hair care, instead it incorporates these particular kinds of ingredients and techniques into it. 

So, what is henna exactly? Henna is a flowering plant, Lawsonia Inermis, that grows as a shrub or small tree. It grows in warm, dry, and/or desert-like climates. The leaves of the henna plant contain lawsone, which is a red-orange dye. Lawsone is not only responsible for the dyeing properties of henna, but also for its strengthening properties. It has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and bind to the keratin in the strand. It also has anti-fungal properties. Archeological finds say that it has been used both as a hair dye and for body art for over 6000 years in both Egyptian and Indian cultures. 

How does henna benefit your hair? The anti-fungal properties help refresh and keep your scalp free of dandruff, which is great. What really makes henna so beneficial, though, is the ability of lawsone to bind to the keratin in hair. One of the major effects of this binding is a color change. It will produce a combination of the reddish color it holds and your natural hair color. However, it will not lighten your hair. It may brighten it, but you are more likely to get a result darker than your natural color. This new bond also produces stronger hair. Not only does it bind with the keratin, but it also coats the strand to fill in rough or porous spots on the cuticle. This action can make hair smoother, shiner and more resistant to damage from every day manipulation. Because of the fact that henna is a permeable plant resin, this coating of your hair will not block out moisture. Last but certainly not least, all these benefits come from applying a completely natural product to your hair. No worry of any chemical damage!


Are there any negatives to using henna? There are a few things about using henna that can be seen as cons. The first being the messy application process. Depending on your mixture and amount of hair, it can be really hard to apply (especially getting it evenly applied) and tiring. That can make it hard to rinse out, as well. There also has to be a lot more time allotted for dye release and for it to be left on your hair vs. other chemically based treatments. As with everything in establishing a hair regimen, you never really know what your hair likes best until you try it out...a few times. It may take some experiments to find you perfect mixture, dye release time, application and rinsing methods and all of that fun stuff. Another major issue is the drying effects of this treatment. Even though it is not one, henna mimics a protein treatment. So, it is very important to always follow-up with a moisturizing deep condition and some find it best to add moisturizing products such as oils and conditioners to the henna mixture itself. 

There are also a few things that people may see as pros, cons or be indifferent about. I, for one, found the smell to be a con. I'll talk about that more in my experience with it, but some people actually like it. It smells earthy to say the least. For naturals particularly, some experience a loss or loosening of their curl pattern. This could be a problem for some, great for others in reducing shrinkage, or you may not experience it at all. Finally, the color produced by henna is variable. It may change depending on: the light you're in, your natural hair color, the mixture you create, dye release time, etc. For some, it may be frustrating having a hard time reproducing the same results. For others, you may not experience much of a color change at all, so this wouldn't matter to you. 

I wanted to give an overview of henna and its benefits before discussing my experience with it. In case anyone was wondering about it. Hopefully, this will answer the main questions you may have about using it. Doing more research on it definitely confirmed why I wanted to use it in the first place. It also caused me to be a little more interested in ayurvedic hair care than I already was. 

Have you tried henna or are you planning on it?

Juice/Daniel's Fast Update

I talked about my juice/Daniel's fast a couple weeks ago, and think now is a pretty good time to do an update. I thought the hardest part was going to be drinking only juice initially, but I've come to find that the partial fasting is more challenging for me. When I was doing research about juicing fasts, many people said day 2-3 were the worst. If someone were to give up, these would be the days that would make it happen. I couldn't agree more! I had headaches, was nauseous and had a number of other sickening symptoms. 

I'm pretty positive if I hadn't read so much before I started I would have thought I was getting sick and given up. However, when you're feeding your body nothing but nutrients, it begins flushing out all the negative stuff you've ate that has just been sort of "stuck" in your body. This flushing results in all the unpleasant things I was experiencing. Detoxing. Those feelings were enough to motivate me to eat better period, even once this over. To know that there are toxins just chilling in my body that can make me feel THAT bad is pretty disgusting to me. It doesn't matter how young I am or how fast my metabolism is, I've got to do better. That's gross!

As I transitioned from juice only to the Daniel's, I found a whole new appreciation for eating itself. It was funny in a way, the simplest thing of just eating, is something that can be taken for granted. Even though I feel like I'm just eating nuts and berries, it's so much more fulfilling than not even chewing anything! The funny thing is that now that I am eating again, my body is craving everything it can't have: sweets, meat, fried foods, dairy... I think my body adjusted to juice only by day four, but there is no adjusting to this partial deprivation stuff.

One thing I am learning is about how much self-control I do (or don't) have. Denying my basic human desires is hard and I'm getting more frustrated with things that normally wouldn't even bother me, but when I do I have to remind myself of the origin of those emotions. And essentially get over myself, which is what this is all about. It's a struggle that I'm trying to embrace because it wouldn't be a sacrifice if it wasn't. Sometimes I feel like I am accomplishing nothing, but at the same time, it's become easier to deny myself other things that I usually struggle with like budgeting, eating out, shopping and wasting time. I think because my body and mind are so focused on the basic things that I'm not giving in to, these other things are not even phasing me. That coupled with feeling like I am more focused on my relationship with God and drawing closer to Him, has me motivated to continue. 

During this time, I have watched God move miraculously in the lives of close family members who, by medical reasoning, should not be alive. I don't think being on this fast made this happen; I think being focused on Christ when things seem to be falling apart has allowed me stay positive and be extremely grateful just for life itself. I am at the point now where I am going to start slowly adding things back into my diet to prepare for ending. First dairy then in a week or so bread and then I'll be done. I am way too excited about cheese and milk! haha! As always, thanks for following along with me and reading!

(Note:this post was reposted due to some issues I had with posting it initially)

Monthly Goals

Instagram pic of the day :)
 A number of bloggers I follow set goals each month and then assess how well they did with reaching them. To me, this is such a good idea and I have wanted to do it for awhile now. I usually set mental goals, but don't go as far as writing it down or creating a whole post about it. I think that when you write down your goals and visualize them, it makes it more likely you will reach them. I also believe that setting smaller goals makes large goals more attainable. It's not enough to just have a big goal, you have to have a step-by-step plan of action to make reaching that goal a success. So, after thinking of small goals and not accomplishing them over the past few months, I have decided to step my game up by setting monthly goals and evaluating my progress. 

Even though we're about half-way through September, I figured I should just go ahead and list some goals I have already had in mind this month. This way I'll have something to compare and assess come October when I set new goals. I want to start small with some hair goals and a couple others that will probably also help with my hair (lol). Baby steps. There are some things I do that are great, but they have not become regular habits yet. I would like to be more consistent with these kinds of things. So without further adieu, here are my goals for this month:

  1. Moisturize and seal my hair [at least] 4 times a week. Right now, I moisturize and seal when I think about it. Awful, I know. Or when my hair feels dry, which I don't think is good because I think its better not to let your hair get dry. I would like to be proactive not reactive. 
  2. Henna my hair. I actually bought some henna powder back in April. Yet I haven't taken the time to find a good recipe I like and finally do it! I have been wanting to try this for a long time. I'm sure I already have all the ingredients I need, too.
  3. Trim my own ends. My bone straight relaxed ends are starting to look pretty scarce to me. I hate thin ends! I used to trim my ends myself regularly because I love fresh ends and didn't like my layers to grow out too much. However, once I started wanting to grow my hair out and realized my "trims" could sometimes be more like cuts, I put a ban on my use of hair scissors. I think it's time to lift the ban. 
  4. Use my growth aid every other day. I have a sulfur based growth oil by Liquid Gold. I got it last year after reading about it all over Hairlista. I probably used it for about a month consistently. Even though I felt it had good results, I haven't been consistent since.
  5. Drink [at least] 54oz of water daily. I have a water bottle I carry with me almost everywhere. It's 27oz. There are some days I drink the whole thing 3x and others I barely get through it once. I would like to start drinking it at least 2x daily consistently. Then I can graduate to higher levels. 
  6. Exercise 2-3x a week. I used to exercise regularly. Then I moved and...well... I don't anymore. 
  7. Post to my blog [at least] 3x a week. Enough said. 

There you have it. Seven [small-ish] goals. Most of which I have already been working to achieve. Hopefully this will help me become more consistent and make my goals more attainable.

Visit to a New Stylist!

I finally mustered up the courage to try out a new stylist! I know a lot of ladies on hair journeys are very anti-stylist and all DIY, but I'm not one of those. I LOVE having my hair done by someone else, as long as I can trust them with it. I am a reformed every-two-weeks-in-my stylists-chair kinda girl. I definitely don't see myself going back to that life, but sometimes I just do not feel like doing all this hair myself. So it would be nice to have someone to go to during those times. I love the feeling of my hair being washed - scalp massaged, and straightening time cut down so much. The last time I flat ironed my hair, my arms got tired and I felt like I didn't even get the back as straight as I usually like it. Although, to me, that says I've made great progress (yay!), it also is what ultimately pushed me to try out a new stylist.

So, one of my sister cousins have been going to this stylist for awhile. Her hair always looks so nice and she raves about her. The lady was even giving her good healthy hair advice. She told me she's seen a number of naturals get their hair done by her as well and she always does a great job. Sounds great, right? I thought so, too, so I went for it and I'm very glad I did. I pre-pooed overnight to prep for my salon visit. Since I had recently relaxed, I knew my hair just had a good protein treatment so I went for a moisturizing pre-poo with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner and grapeseed oil.

As soon as I sat down in her chair and started talking to her she was getting points in my book!
Her: "Are you natural?"
Me: "No, I'm relaxed, I just like to leave a lot of texture in my hair."
Her: "Oh that's great! I do the exact same thing to my own hair."
Score! I felt a little relief at that point. She washed and deep conditioned my hair with KeraCare products. After rinsing out the conditioner, she separated my hair into about 5-6 sections (score!), braided each loosely and sat me under the dryer (on a medium setting). When she started putting my hair in sections, I have to admit ya'll... I was impressed. I've never seen a stylist work in sections. I thought to myself wow she really does know how to handle my hair and let my hair guard down some more. When my hair was at about 75%, she started detangling and blow drying my hair section by section on a medium heat setting. She also applied a CHI leave-in/heat protectant. She went on to tell me whenever she has a client with my length of hair or longer, she knows it's best to work in sections or everything will end up a mess.

She then began to flat iron/spiral curl my hair. She pretty much did both with only one heat pass on the majority of my head. There were a few times I felt her go for a second pass on some sections. But two heat passes max is not bad to me. There are times I have do that myself in certain sections. She really took her time with my hair throughout the whole appointment. I appreciated that; especially because she didn't let the fact that more of her clients were coming in cause her to rush to finish up my hair. Most of all, I loved my hair when she was done! It was soft, bouncy, and I knew that even once the curls started to fall it would still be pretty.

final results [click to enlarge]
Overall, it was a great experience and I will definitely be going back. I watched her take the same care with each one of her clients so I know it wasn't just a one time deal. Not only did she support my whole healthy hair/I want about four more inches of growth mission, but she also believed in it! She was giving me advice on what she thought would help maximize my length retention and even complimented the health of my hair. So I officially have a new stylist! Not to mention the fact that my hair lasted for longer than two weeks. I used flexi rods at night to maintain it, and even once I got to the point of combing it and wrapping it up at night, it was still curly. Awesomeness!

hair after a few days and after a week

How do you all feel about stylists? Anyone seen one recently? 

My Juice/Daniel's Fast

I started a fast recently and I really wrestled with whether it was something I should share on my blog or not. To me, fasting is a very personal thing between you & God, and maybe people who are close to you. It's not something you just go around telling everyone... enter my hesitation. But my blog is also pretty personal; it's a glimpse into my life and a journal of sorts. When I was researching juice fasts, I stumbled upon a very encouraging blog where someone described their 40 day juice fast. This is what sparked the idea to blog during my own fast. 

I also began to think about the fact that my blog is not just meant to be about outer beauty & hair. If you've read the about the blog page, you know the name of my blog comes from the scripture:
"So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him." - Psalms 45:11
And a quick glance to the right will also let you know this is about my journey to becoming the person Jesus wants me to be on the inside, too. So now, it just seems fitting that I should begin to share a bit more of myself and my faith, by being transparent during this period of fasting. 

In case you are not familiar with the biblical principle of fasting, the purpose of spiritual fasting is to consecrate (set aside) a specific period of time to drawer closer to God and hear from him. It is not designed to move God or gain favor/get Him to do something for you, but rather to move you closer to him by removing distractions and disciplining yourself. By sacrificing the most basic human need of food, you feed and strengthen your spirit through prayer and meditation on the Word of God. Simply put, fasting directs our hunger toward God and requires a large amount of self-control as you deny the natural desires of your flesh. 

Initially, I will be only drinking all-natural, fruit & veggie juices. Then I will move into a Daniel's Fast. This is the fast described in the book of Daniel, that he went on in chapters 1 and 10. It's a partial fast, where you abstain only from certain foods, with plants being the basis of all eating. You eat only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and avoid all meats, sweets, fried foods and breads. There are variations of this fast that include or exclude dairy. I've never excluded dairy before, but I will for the majority of this time. 

Most Christians will agree that there is always room for improvement in their relationship with Christ. We go through valley experiences where we learn how much we truly need and must trust and depend on God. Our love for Him grows deeper. Our prayers are answered. Guidance and breakthroughs are received. I need that, my family needs that, we all do at some point. That's where I am. And if anyone is encouraged by my journey, thank God. 
If you would like to learn more about fasting and/or the Daniel's Fast in particular, here are a few resources:
Happy Labor Day! Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday!

Powered by Blogger.