I know I know, I promised a Henna tutorial ages ago! I usually only remember that I WAS going to do a tutorial when I'm already in the middle of doing it, so sorry for taking so long. Here it finally is.
I often get questions about my hair, the hair colour specifically. As you might know, my natural hair colour is a mousey blonde which I guess by now has turned into a mousey brown. I'm not really sure, since I've been dyeing my hair with henna for over five years and haven't really seen my natural hair colour all that much.
First of all, what is Henna?
Wikipedia says: "Henna has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool, and leather. The name is used in other skin and hair dyes, such as black henna and neutral henna, neither of which are derived from the henna plant"
|Henna leaves and its ground up powder|
So basically, Henna is a plant from which the leaves are used to make a dye since they make a natural stain. Henna is used for amazingly beautiful body art as well as colouring hair. I love using pure Henna to dye my hair, but I don't really mind using a pre-mixed powder either.
Why do I love using it? Well, there are several reasons. Henna is a natural hair dye since it's basically just the ground up leaves of the Henna plant. This means that there are no chemicals involved and I feel like it's actually healthy for my hair. After a Henna treatment it's always very shiny and voluminous. I also really love the deep colour that Henna gives. Readers that have dyed their hair red before know that red dyes can fade and turn brassy VERY quickly, Henna is a permanent dye and I haven't experienced a fading in colour.
So can I get your hair colour by dyeing it with Henna?
I get asked this question a lot, and I have to disappoint you in advance. The answer is that I'm not sure. Henna is a transluscent red dye, so although the colour itself is a deep orange it depends on your actual haircolour how it's going to look on you. If you have light blond hair it's probably going to be orange or a flaming red. If you have brown hair it's probably going to be auburn and if you have very dark to black hair you're probably just going to get a red hue. If you have previously dyed your hair it can react very strangely to it, becoming either a very bright orange or even green. There are even cases where people had their hair fall out entirely or have it become very brittle because the henna reacted to a previous chemical hairdye!
If you dye your hair over and over again with henna the colour will become darker and more saturated too! Which is why my hair is darker at the ends than it is at the roots, it has had more henna treatments, thus the colour is deeper.
It also depends on how long you let the henna settle in your hair. The longer you leave it in, the more saturated the colour will be.
So please, if you're thinking of dyeing your hair with henna, do a test strand first! That way you can see if you like the colour on you. You can also buy mixes that use henna and other dyes to create different colours, but I'd still recommend you to do a test strand first. There's no telling as to how the dye will react to you.
Let's get on with the tutorial shall we! What do we need for this?
Well, get your old stuff out of the closet because things are going to get messy! Beforehand, make sure your bathroom is void of everything that you wouldn't like orange spots on. This is the list of things that you'll need.
- Henna powder (obviously) If you have long hair like me, you'll probably need two bags instead of one.
- Mixing bowl. Make sure it's not made out of metal. I haven't had it happen, but I've read that metal can have a strange reaction with henna and it could affect the colour.
- Stirring device: A plastic spoon or fork is ideal for this.
- Hot water
- Old towels
- An old t-shirt
- Hair clips or hair ties, stuff that will get sections of hair out of the way.
- GLOVES! You need gloves, trust me. Don't do this without gloves!
- Time: I find that Henna needs at least a few hours (I like to do a full day) to get the best results.
Optional: Vaseline (it'll keep the henna from staining your forehead!)
Right, do you have everything? Then let's start!
Right so this is my hair before we start dyeing, just so that we have a reference point. You can clearly see where my roots are showing. Usually I just do my roots, but for the sake of this tutorial I'm going to do all of my hair.
Just Add Water
Since Henna comes in powder form (the finer milled the better!) we have to make it into a paste first. There are several ways to do this and you could even add stuff to change the colour a little bit, but I've just always mixed it with hot water and it's worked fine for me.
So boil some water and pour it in there. It's best if you just pour a bit, stir, pour a bit more, stir again, etc. Rinse and repeat until you get a yoghurt like consistency. For my Dutch readers, I don't mean Dutch yoghurt! That would be far too runny! Think more along the lines of Greek yoghurt or what we call 'Kwark'. You want to be able to smooth it out, but you don't want it to be too runny.
Haha, ugh. The paste always looks a bit horrible. It doesn't smell great either, but you get used to it. Keep stirring until you get a homogenous and smooth paste.
Get Your Hair Ready!
Now put on your old t-shirt and make sure your hair is clean. I always like to make it slightly damp since it's easier to work with. Also, with my long hair I like to work in sections, starting from the bottom working upwards. This is why I've divided my hair into several sections, leaving the lowest one down.
Once you let the henna cool down enough to touch, just grab a handful and work it into your hair. Be generous! Make sure you lather it on everywhere and really massage it into your scalp so that it gets into your roots. Once you're done with a section of hair, release one of the buns and slowly work your way upwards.
It's probably going to get messy (which is why we're wearing old ratty clothes in a bare bathroom!') and don't worry about that too much. Just make sure to clean it up when you're done, because henna stains EVERYTHING. This includes bathroom tiles.
When you've applied all the Henna into your hair it should look a bit like this, as if you've slathered your hair in a thick mud layer. This is good! Now that you're done it's good to wrap your head in so that your hair is contained. I like to do this in a towel turban but wrapping your hair in clingfilm works too. This is because you'll have to walk around with the henna in your hair for a few hours, and trust me, you don't want this stuff falling everywhere in your house. So cover it up as well as you can! This will also give you a chance to clean your skin up a bit before the henna stains your skin orange.
When it's in, keep it in for a while. Unless for some reason it starts to burn or itch, it's normal for it to itch a little bit as it dries up (dried mud tends to itch on your scalp a bit, no biggie) but it definitely shouldn't inflame your skin or feel irritating. Wash it out immediately if you feel anything like that!
I like to keep it in for at least five hours, but I've done three before and it was fine. I know that this is a long time, but the longer you keep the Henna in the more intense the colour will be in the end. I usually dye my hair when I know that I'm going to stay home anyway, but I know that some people just sleep with it in (safely covered of course!) and wash it out the next day.
Talking about washing it out, it'll probably take a long time. The best way is to take a bath and just soak your hair for a while, rinsing it with a shower and shampoo afterwards. I don't have that luxury, so I usually just take a shower with lots of conditioner. It will seem like you'll never get clean ever again for a while, but you will. In time, haha!
Also, this is why you need gloves! I wanted to show you what it looks like when you don't, and yeah, it's not pretty. This was AFTER I had washed and scrubbed my hands, the Henna had stained them a super bright orange. Especially my fingernails were super bright and stayed that way for over a week.
After dyeing your hair, it should feel soft and more voluminous than usual. The volume won't stay for very long though, but the colour will!
With this before and after shot you can truly see the difference in volume very well. My hair always gets wavy and much thicker right after a treatment. In both photos I haven't done anything to my hair except for brushing it, and in both photos it's been a day since I've washed it.
So yeah, that's how I do it! I don't always use the Henna brand that I used in this tutorial, I tend to just go with what I can get. I've tried Lush's henna and liked it, I've used pure henna powder which worked fine and I've used Henara's powder in Auburn which I like a lot since it's easy to make a smooth paste with.
Hopefully this has answered a few questions about dyeing your hair with Henna, but don't hesitate to ask me more! If anything is unclear to you at all, feel free to ask.