Hey girls!

A few days ago I hennaed my hair and I received some questions of a few people so I decided to write about it on the blog.

Before I started using henna to color my hair, I used hair coloring products from department stores that would disappear from your hair after 28 washes. I never liked coloring my hair permanently but it did happen a few years ago until i made the switch to those temporary hair colors.

The last few years I have had some hair issues: I wanted it to grow but it wouldn't or if it did, it was time for a haircut and I could start all over again which was super frustrating.

I then decided to buy some henna powder for my henna body art designs but my henna cone-rolling skills are so horrible, I always end up with a whole batch of henna and no way to apply it so I decided to try coloring my hair with it.

I did look up information on the internet first, but there is so much, often contradicting, info out there, I decided to just go for it.

First let's talk about henna.

Henna among other herbs is the most belittled and least promoted natural hair dye that can do a good conditioning job for your hair. It has been used since the ancient Egyptian days for dyeing hair and also an important merchandise of Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries for centuries.

There are many henna products out there, or at least products that claim they are henna hair coloring products. But not everything is what it seems.
There are many misconceptions that henna comes in a variety of color but in fact henna comes in only 1 kind of shade, which is a blend of amber and red. However, a lot of misleading manufacturers sell various products with a huge range of colors like black and market it as natural henna.

These kinds of products are known as compound hennas contained other coloring agents like lead acetate and chemicals like PPD mixed together with some low quality henna to give a different color. These products can be unsafe and they are no different from conventional hair dyes.

I have to say that I do know people who used this kind of products and have not had any problems with it. I, myself, don't have experience with these products as I only use one particular brand of pure henna. Therefore I can't judge on the quality or safety of these products.

The best thing for your hair is to use 100 percent pure henna powder. It is safest and best for your hair.

Pure henna is extracted from the plant lawsonia inermis, a marvelous little tree that thrives in hot and dry climates in certain areas in Asia and the Middle East. The leaves of the henna plant contain a dyeing molecule known as lawsonia, which gives your hair a natural amber and reddish color pigments. The leaf’s paste itself is dirty green in color but when you apply the paste to your hair, tiny lawsonia molecules will seep and penetrate through your hair cuticle and gives your hair a vibrant and lovely shade of amber red color.

Initially especially with light colored hair, the dye’s contrast can be very striking but over a few days, it will darken and provide a very natural and lovely color that stays for months under regular conditions.

So the best thing for you to do is to find pure henna powder, especially pure body art quality henna which is used for temporary tattoos so if it’s safe for your body, it’s definitely safe as a natural hair dye as well.

Although henna is a great natural hair dye solution, it takes some skills to master to get the right shade that you want because everyone’s hair color and conditions are unique.

!! You should test by applying to some hair salvaged from your home before trying it on your own hair to see whether the color suits your taste first.
In the pictures above you can see the henna I use to color my hair. I used the green one. The yellow one is for body art but when I read the information on the box, I did not find any difference in ingredients or anything so I just kept using the green variety.

The box states ( in English, French and Arabic) :
        " Henné Tazarine: best quality of henné, 0% chemical product,                       naturally mixed, use for bath."

One box contains 100 grams of powder. The amount of powder you need, depends on how long and how thick your hair is. I use about one and a half to two packages for my hair, just to make sure everything is covered.

Now let's take a look at my hair henna routine:
I don't know if this is the 'right' way to do it, cause as I said before, there is so much information available online, I just took out the things that I found interesting, tried them out and added them to my routine.

Ok, let's get started. What do you need?

❧ a glass or plastic bowl ( no metal bowl or spoons!!)
❧ a wooden or plastic spoon for stirring
❧ gloves ( very important!)
❧ an old set of clothing
❧ old towels
❧ old plastic bags to wrap around your hennaed hair
❧ a bucket

❧ henna powder
❧ water
❧ tea that gives a red color
❧ a cinnamon stick
❧ a few cloves
❧ a few table spoons of vinegar or lemon juice
❧ half a table spoon of (hair) oil

- This is my recipe, you don't have to use all these ingredients. Some people add in coffee instead of tea, or they just use water or pure lemon juice. It depends on what works for you.

- I do add in vinegar or lemon juice because it is said that acidic fluids help bind the color into the hair shaft which makes it stay long and bring out the redness more. Water will not do that, with the result that the color will slowly fade.

- Gloves! Very, very important! If you don't wear gloves your hands will look like those of an Oompa Loompa. The same goes for your forehead! So when applying the henna, watch out that no henna falls onto your face. Of it does, quickly remove it cause it WILL stain.

- No metal bowls, spoons, etc should come into contact with your henna. It has a negative effect on the color process.
How to get started?

❧ First I weigh the henna powder and put the amount I want to use into my     plastic bowl.

❧ Then I boil water, add in my (Egyptian tea), my cinnamon stick and my         cloves. Let this sit for 10 minutes.

❧ Then take out the cinnamon and the cloves and slowly pour a little of the      liquid into the bowl with the henna powder in it.

❧ Stir and add in some more liquid. Never add in much liquid at once cause     you need to end up with a creamy consistency. It should be a paste that     is manageable but will still stick to your head for hours. ( Last time, my         paste was too liquid and I ended up having to stick tissues against the         sides of my head where henna would come dripping out: not pleasant!)

❧ Add in the 1 or 2 spoons of lemon juice or vinegar, for the acidic touch to     your henna recipe.

❧ Add in the oil as the caring element for your hair.

(Click on the pictures for a closer view!)

Bowl with henna powder, henna powder with box and package of the tea I used.
Bowl with henna, my tea, clove and cinnamon mixture, wooden spoon en vinegar.

❧ After your henna paste is ready, let it cool down a bit.

    Some people prefer to leave it overnight, so the color can fully develop. I     used to do that but I did not a few days ago and the color was crazy             anyway: a drop of henna landed on my bare foot and I only took it off         after a few minutes and my toe is still stained!

❧ Prepare yourself, hang an old towel over your shoulders, wear a shirt you     won't mind ruining, put on your gloves and go stand in front of a mirror.

❧ There is no use to use a hairdresser's hair coloring brush, it wont work. I     just stick my hand into my henna paste and start rubbing it all over my         scalp. The top, the sides the back, under my hair... Then I do the lengths     of my hair and keep packing on the henna paste until my bowl is empty.

❧ You should try to get all your hair together on top of your head in sort of     a bun. Make sure the position does not bother you cause it can leave you     with a headache and neck pain ( I speak out of experience!).

❧ Take of your gloves and clean up around the edges of your hair, your             forehead, your ears, etc. You can apply some oil around your hairline, that     way there is less chance of henna staining if it would touch you there.

❧ Get your old plastic bags or cellophane wrap and start packing your hair     with it until it is all sealed up. I used 3 plastic bags for it. If you don't like     this look, you can put an old towel or scarf over it.

❧ Now the waiting game begins. You can clean up the mess and after that     relax, watch a movie, take a nap, or leave it on overnight.
    I usually leave it on for 4 -5 hours, but this week I left it on for 14 hours. I     applied it at 8pm at night and washed it out the next morning at 10am         and I just LOVE the color!

❧ How long you should leave it on, depends on the thickness of your hair,     the color result you want, the amount of time available to you, etc... You     can always try with a strand test to see what color you want to end up         with.

    The color result obviously also depends on the color of your hair. I have         naturally dark brown hair, so a person with blond hair might not like the     super red color effect it will have if they leave in on overnight. Therefore     do a strand test!

                               Don't I look sexy? Haha :D

❧ If you decide to leave it in overnight, henna-proof your bed! Lay some         old towels over your pillows and wear an old scarf around your hennaed     hair which is secured very well.

❧ When it's time to rinse the henna out, put on your gloves, go to the              shower or bath tub with your bucket and sit down on your knees.

❧ Start removing the plastic bags and fill up the bucket with warm         water. Once the bucket is full stick in your head.

    I'm serious! This helped so much when I tried this. The first few times I     was trying to wash the henna out with the shower head which was a         long and difficult work. So trust me, stick your hair in the bucket and             shake it! Shake, shake that head and you will find so much of the henna        is out of your hair.

❧ Empty the bucket and repeat until you see the water is becoming clearer     and clearer. I usually just take a shower then but without shampooing or     conditioning my hair. I do that the day afterwards.

❧ After your hair dried, you can oil it, to restore it's natural oils or you can      leave it like that.

❧ The color normally takes about 2 - 3 days to fully live up to its potential, so if you don't like it after rinsing it out, give it a few days to fully develop.

I guess that's it! Want to see the result on my hair? Check it out!

                Before                                                            After
Click for a better view!
Where can you buy these products?
Many North-African and Middle Eastern shops will offer these products.

I bought mine where I buy all my henna supplies: at Royaume de la Femme located at Abdijstraat 56-58 in Antwerp. I paid €1,50 per package.

You can also buy online (this will be significantly more expensive!) from websites such as:
- www.islambazaar.nl
- www.handoffatima.nl
- www.muslimproducts.com

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What do you think of my haircolor?

Xoxo, Leyla

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