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.


  1. Wow! I love that color! I'm thinking about hennaing my hair too!

    KLP @ SavingOurStrands

    1. Thanks KLP!! I think the color changed more than I expected it to. Hope yours goes well when you if you decide to do it!


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