Do any of you put henna in your hair?

I haven’t colored my hair for a few years and it’s completely back to it’s natural, boring light brown, slightly strawberry-ish color. I had always gotten blonde highlights in it, but this time I’m thinking about doing some henna. I actually bought a block of this stuff from Lush, but I’m a bit nervous about doing it.

So, do any of you henna? Tips or tricks? Soothe my nerves?

You mention that you get blonde highlights in your hair; do you currently have any? I know that henna can react badly with some developer dyes. I’m not 100% sure if it’d be the same with lifting processes, but I’d check on that.

I’ve used the one you linked to. It works well, though it’s messy.

To break it up, chop off the amount you want to use (two to three blocks, I’d guess, unless your hair is really long or really short). The stick it in a baggie and whack it with a hammer. Way easier than grating it like some people do, and it’s more fun. DO NOT use metal utensils of any kind. You can add stuff to it to make the color different - when I do it, I use strong coffee (no grounds, just brewed coffee) and some cloves to get a deeper reddish brown, but you can really use just about anything. Different kinds of tea will give you different tones, that kind of thing. Hot water will work just fine if you’re not up to experimenting yet, but I recommend adding a bit of oil to the mixture, it makes it easier to work with. Add enough hot water & oil until it looks like brownie batter. Then rub it into your hair (this is the messy part, it’s not as smooth as regular dye, and will crumble as it cools, so I keep it in a bowl, and put the bowl in a sink or pot filled with very hot water to keep it smooth). Leave it on for as long as possible - the longer, the better, but at least 3 hours in me experience. Also, it will develop more even after you wash it off, so it will probably deepen up over the next day, too.

Use a liquid shampoo to get it off, it’s the easiest way, it won’t just rinse off like regular dye, either.

Wow, does this bring back memories of living in Berlin back in the 80’s.
Seemed like every “alternative” (re: politically radical) woman of about college-age would put henna in their hair back then.
Let me tell ya, lots of mixed results - mostly bad. More often than not, it looked like someone died their hair with a red magic marker and missed a bunch of spots.
Slap a faux Palestinian Yasir Arafat scarf around your neck to the mix, and you were ready to hit the streets for the weekly riots.
I guess you can tell I was not a huge fan of the fashion back then.

Hopefully, new henna hair-dying methods are better today than what the results were back then!

I’ve been using henna for about 2 years now. Thisis my hennadyed hair. I get complements on it just about every time I leave the house.

My natural color is a sort of dirty blond/brown. I’ve never used the blocks of henna, they sound like a bit of a pain. I use the powdered stuff from mixed with yogurt, a tbls of vinegar, and honey. With the henna, I don’t have to do anything other than brush my hair in the morning. It relaxed the kind of half-assed waves my hair used to have, and in the photos above my hair was simply washed the night before and brushed in the morning. It is much, much healthier than it was before I started using henna.

A few words of warning: the first time I did the henna, it was ORANGE for about 3 days. It gradually darkened, and continued to get darker with latter applications. Don’t do it before a big business meeting or date. It also has this rather cloying, hay-like smell for a couple of days after you do it, which lingered longer after the first application than subsequent ones. The color does not fade. At all. Once it’s on there, you basically have to grow it out to get rid of it. I put some hair from my brush in a bowl of peroxide for about 24 hours once to see what would happen, and there was no fading at all. So it’s a commitment.

Having said that, I have absolutely no regrets, and will probably continue to use henna for a very long time.

I’ve always wanted to, but am skittish of what henna would do on permed hair. Anyone know?

Not as a dye, but I have used (dark, not henna gold) henna shampoos. My goal was to counteract sun-bleaching because I could do with out the blonde highlights at my crown, and it worked fairly well for that.

I haven’t highlighted my hair for at least four years, and I keep it fairly short (chin length) so it’s completely natural right now.

badbadrubberpiggy, thanks for the detailed instructions! That’s great. I actually might be able to do this. Do you just glop it all on there or do you brush it on?

Renee, your hair is beautiful. I have half-assed waves too, and very fine hair, so I’m hoping it’ll give it a bit more body.

I guess I better go give this a try before hat season’s over.

I just kind of squish it in and use as much as necessary to cover my hair - it can look like a lot, but I’d rather not miss spots. It’s really too thick to brush it on, I think it would just crumble off that way.

I’m not sure, but I definitely wouldn’t try it without testing a few strands first. You can just pull some out of a hairbrush if you can get enough. I know people have done it, but I don’t think it’s recommended if you’ve permed recently.

Would henna really give my hair body? Right now I’m on my natural color for the first time in forever and I guess it’s okay - it’s better than I thought it would be - but you know I get bored. I could only find one current hair color picture, and it’s, er, not the best - I’m the one on the right. What kind of color would we be talking about from that? It’s kind of, I don’t know, reddish brown.

IME, it makes it feel thicker. It’s not a huge dramatic change, but it’s nice. I can’t see your pic - for some reason it’s blocked here at work.

The henna C3 linked to in the OP probably wouldn’t change your color much, maybe deepen & redden it a bit. Lush makes other colors too though - a bright red, a deeper red/brown, and a black one (that doesn’t really get my hair completely black, more like a dark coffee brown).

My ex-wife was a natural redhead and tried henna. It gave her hair a sort of orange-copper look. Not ugly, but not what she was hoping for, either.

I was looking at the site Renee recommended, with body art grade henna. It’s rather complicated, though, and I do worry about going screaming orange. Well, not really - I mean, I’ve been screaming orange before. But the boyfriend likes the current color and I don’t want to make him sad.

The Body Shop used to have a fabulous Henna Shampoo. It was the bomb, didn’t change the colour of my hair even a titch. Made my hair feel like I was 15yrs old again.

Of course they stopped making it. Pfft.

I started using henna about 4 months ago. I used the Henna for Hair website for research but ordered from Ebay. Here’s some tips that work for me:

I start mixing it about 24 hours before I intend to apply it. I use about 1 cup henna (powdered) to 1 cup lemon juice in a Ziplock bag. I let it it sit for ~24 hours in a warm place, then add cooled tea to make a smooth paste. (Apparently, it is important to use an acidic fluid and let it sit for 24 hours to “activate” it. YMMV.) I cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze it onto my hair, starting with the roots. After an hour with it just on my roots, I squeeze remainder on the rest on my hair. I leave it on for about 3 hours total (a dedicated shower cap is essential- the cap and anything else touching the henna will turn green). Shampoo it out (the only time I use shampoo-- the rest of the time I’m “no poo”), and condition.

The skin of my face, ears & neck are all OK with out any protection, but the skin on my hands starts to turn brown if it is in contact with henna for more than a few seconds. Wear gloves!

The henna I use is just henna; I like red hair. I’ve never used indigo or any other color. If you go to the Henna for Hair site and click on Mixes, you’ll find a lot of sample colors. Click on a square to get the story, original color and the mix she used.

As always, YMMV.

I already have red hair naturally, if I used henna with indigo could I get something like black highlights? The protagonist of the stupid Merry Gentry books had blood red hair with black highlights, which was one of the only interesting things about the books.

She’s also a gross porno magical Mary Sue, and everybody she meets has Bad Fanfic Eyes.

Seconding Henna for Hair, it’s where I get my stuff (Punjabi Prime, right now, which is the best color I’ve ever seen). My hair is MUCH stronger now than it used to be; it’s the longest it’s ever been, before I couldn’t get it to grow past my shoulders.

Henna is a translucent dye so you won’t go screaming orange unless you are starting from blonde or a light ashy color. My natural color is a medium auburn; all henna does is cover grey and give my red tones a little bit of a boost. You can always darken with repeated applications, too.

Some people have told me that you can mostly wash out henna if you do multiple hair washings with clarifying shampoo, immediately, before the color oxidizes. However it’s the oxidation that deepens the color, so you really won’t know what your final color is until it’s too late to try to wash it out. (And I can’t imagine how stripping your hair like that would damage your hair, anyway.)

Also, always do a strand test the first time. If you have very hard water it may leave residue in your hair that affects the color. I always make sure to wash immediately beforehand with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any environmental gunk that may be in my hair.

My henna mix is the most basic of the basic. Henna powder, enough lemon juice to make it squishy like mashed potatoes, and let it sit for 12ish hours. Then dilute with filtered water until it’s like yogurt, apply, wrap with cling film and a warm snuggie hat (I have two left over from chemo), and I lay an old towel over my pillows and leave it overnight. Rinse, shampoo, and condition in the morning.

Dying hair black is a bit more complicated because you have to dye with plain henna first, and then dye over it with plain indigo (mixing them together and applying both at once makes brown). You’d also have to find a way to separate the lowlight strands from the rest of your hair, twice. Indigo dye is deep blue, so screwing that up could lead to interesting results. :smiley:

I don’t know what indigo by itself would do to red hair. I’m not sure why henna dye + indigo dye = black, when red + blue should equal something purple-ish, so I’m thinking there’s some sort of reaction between the two dye molecules that does it. Which would mean that naturally red + indigo would probably end up purple-ish.

Agree with all of this! I really have to order from the henna for hair website. My hair is due for a color, and it’s been long enough since I’ve dyed it I could start on henna again.

I also have never seen anyone with darker hair go screaming orange - if you have light, you definitely could, but I’ve never seen it happen to anyone with say, medium-brown hair or darker. Mostly, I’ve seen it on true blondes, or people who already have lighter red hair (like strawberry blond) to begin with.

The great thing about henna is that if it doesn’t turn out dark enough, or red enough, you can just do it again.