Henna Part 3: My First Treatment

Laura Billings/ flickr

Laura Billings/ flickr

So I FINALLY decided to try henna

And after months of going back and forth, reading forums and doing a bit of research,  I eventually decided that

1. I wanted to try something that would take my hair to the next level

2. If I was going to color (and I was definitely feeling the itch to), I should try an au naturale way

So, Henna it was!

I could go on and on about the treatment and the results – but I’d rather just show them. (Please scroll down to my older post to see my hair color beforehand – keep in mind, I had 1 year old color in my hair that was growing out and giving a highlighted kind of look)


My ingredients:  Karishma herbal henna, sugar, extra virgin coconut oil, lemon juice

My math (the sad part):  1 whole pack of henna (250 grams), 2 teaspoons of sugar (to make the henna easier to rinse out), 3 teaspoons of evco, and 3 squirts of lemon juice to help the dye release.

I then added enough room temp/ warm warm to get the mix to a paste consistency.  Don’t make the henna mix TOO watery, since this may make application extra MESSY or difficult.

**Next time I think I will keep it simple and just mix henna and some oil**

the brand

the brand

the mix

all the ingredients - this time around

finished product : the good glop

finished product : the good glop

Mind you, I did this all very speedily. Some henna users let the mix sit for 6 hrs- 12 hrs before they apply to their hair, but I let it stand (the dye release) for about 4 hrs tops (I was in a rush – had work the next morning).

Same thing goes for the application setting time, I let the henna stay on my hair for about 4 hrs, then rinsed my head (kneeling over the shower) with water to get the majority of the henna out.  I then washed the rest out with two different conditioners. V05 moisture milk – has good slip for rinsing, and Totally Twisted (Herbal Essence) since it is a lot thicker – for when I wanted to work the henna out with my fingers.

Before a henna treatment you should always clarify your hair (remove all build-up from the hair).

I used Apple Cider Vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle. You can use whatever product you prefer that is a clarifying agent.

I also deep conditioned with a moisturizing product. THIS IS NECESSARY after a henna treatment, to keep your strands from drying out. I used Pantene Pro-V Breakage Defense Deep Conditioning Mask

For me, this brand was great. I’ve heard people rave about how this henna brand is sifted pretty well, making it easier to wash out than some other brands. I didn’t have any of the problems, which i initially anticipated.


just so ya'll dont get scared, this is a pic of how my henna'd hair looks at first glance. lol  The henna auburn/red color is more of a tint that can be seen in great lighting or sunlight.

**Just so ya’ll dont get scared, this is a pic of how my henna’d hair looks at first glance. lol The henna auburn/red color is more of a tint that can be seen in decent lighting and/or sunlight **

Now for the color pics! These were taken after I got a blow out at a Dominican salon – my last one was a year ago – I DON’T recommend that much heat too often.


ignore the raggedy ends of my grown out bangs - they've already been clipped

I already trimmed those wild ends!


As you can see, the areas where my hair was already color treated are a bit lighter/more auburn.

A length shot for good measure. I was serious when I said I'm tracking my progress!

A length shot for good measure. I was serious when I said I'm tracking my progress!

Overall I was very impressed. Henna turned out to be a great conditioner, it made my hair  A LOT  silkier – and softer as well. My hair just feels different….

The only things I would try different are:

1. Adding less ingredients, as stated above

2. Finding some Amla oil, as this helps to keep your natural curl/wave pattern from being loosened from the henna. I experienced this a bit –  nothing really drastic, but it is also something that wears off in time with the henna.


1. Henna is known to make the hair softer, silkier and stronger. (I most of all wanted to achieve the strength, since I plan on doing a long transition).

2. There are many many ways to henna – some women wash it out as soon as they put it on, as more of a conditioner. Others put  a lot of ingredients in their mix, while  some just use a henna and water combo.

3. Your henna results should become more and more noticeable with each use. More softness, shine and  strength.  Also, your hair will grow darker upon consistent use. (Some users henna once a week, some once a month, and others once a year – Its really up to you and what you think your hair can handle! – I’ll probably go for once a month, or maybe every other week.)

4. You can mix indigo with henna to give a very dark look to the hair – I may try this before the winter.

5. You can also freeze or refrigerate henna (the rest of my mix is in the freezer right now), thaw out and use later.

6. Relaxed ladies CAN use henna (many do), in fact my hair is about half relaxed- half natural as of now. My hair has also been color treated.

7. Please do a strand test on your hair to see if your pleased before applying the henna to your entire head!

8. DO SOME RESEARCH – I would suggest google –> do a search for “henna” and “longhaircareforum.” Their henna threads/discussion really got the ball rolling for me.

9. Be sure to get a brand you’ve researched – I picked one that seemed to get a lot of praise. Some women have complained that henna actually dried their hair out. ALWAYS DEEP CONDITION WITH A MOISTURIZING PRODUCT (not protein) after a henna treatment.

10. You can buy body art quality henna (100 percent natural) from an Indian grocer more than likely, or . I’m sure there are a lot of other online vendors that sell it too :O)

If you have more questions, shoot me an email or post in the comments section.

Also, please see my other Henna posts and the insightful comments/advice left by readers:

Henna Thread : Part 2

Henna Thread : Part 1

:: Happy Styling ::


Filed under: My Hair, Uncategorized

Tracking Your Progress

craftapalooza/ flickr

craftapalooza/ flickr

“Tracking your progress” is not suggestive of a sew-in weave…. at least not in this post. lol

What I mean to say,  is that sometimes attaining one’s hair goals requires effort, attention,  and most of all — patience!

One step that can make this last virtue a little more attainable, is visual affirmation that you are doing something in the first place!

If you want length – take pics of your growth once a month

thickness? after changing up your regimen, document that too through photos.

This can be applied to whatever your hair goal (or concern) is.

One thing is for sure,

A picture is worth a thousand words.

If your feeling like you aren’t reaching your hair goals quick enough:

calm yourself, re-focus, and picture yourself prior to getting on a healthier hair path — Trust me, you are probably a lot better off now!

I flat-ironed my hair the other night, just to start documenting my progress. Some things I noticed were increased thickness, more length….and that I need to trim lol

Here’s a pic.


I also realized that I’m loving my color (I dyed my hair last summer) a lot more, now that it’s growing out. It has more of a high-lighted look.

All in all, I was pleased with my progress and I realized that tracking your hair journey usually encourages you to notice the positive changes in your hair transformation — especially when you know you’ve been putting in the extra effort.

:: Hope this helps ::

Filed under: Uncategorized

Damage Defense: Protective Styling

I’m in my 9 month of being relaxer/chemical free, and I think the two things that have saved me from unbearable detangling sessions and breaking hair (because of frequent handling of two different textures) are :

1. Keeping my hair moisturized (From frequent co-washing and natural oils)

2. Protective styling my hair

And since I’ve probably talked you all to death about numero uno, I’ll expound a bit on what has worked for ME concerning protective styling.

While there are TONS of protective styles that transitioning ladies and even relaxed heads can do to help promote length retention, (think braid outs, twist outs, flexi rods, etc). My true blue means of protection has been this little quickie updo pictured below :O)

SDC10716 (2)


You can actually see where the natural texture stops and the chemically straightened hair takes up (about an 1 in or so past my head band).

One reason why I love this style is because its my WHAM, BAM, GOODBYE style.

I literally brush my edges (add some gel for definition and shine), roll up/twist my hair in the back, clip it and GO!

Easy as that.

Now please believe I have experimented a lot with other protective styles…but I think this is my fav for now b/c I KNOW how it will come out…and its quickest. lol

The moral of this hair story??

Knowledge and know-how is great, but sometimes you gotta do what works for you!

:: Grow Happy ::

Filed under: My Hair, Uncategorized

Coconut Milk: Quick Hair Repair

sybren stuvel/ flickr

sybren stuvel/ flickr

Okay, some of you are probably sick and tired of me ranting and raving about…pretty much all things coconut lol

But please just grin and bare it – my intentions are in your hair’s good interest :)

SO, last week I really really wanted to go swimming, and actually had lots of fun in the water….

my hair, on the other hand, looked shot to hell.

I honestly was kind of surprised at how bad the chlorine jacked me up. I did attempt to take some preventative measure by drenching my hair in conditioner before the swim. But this clearly wasn’t enough. lol

I’m far from anti-water (unless I’ve just straightened, which is rare), so I refused to go with a cap on – besides, they come off anyways. Maybe it’s because I was so used to the great moisture and softness I’ve been getting with my extra virgin coconut oil, but when I got out of the pool I was immediately displeased to say the least :O(

All I can say is thank goodness I had an unopened can of coconut milk sitting in my cabinet!

I hadn’t ever tried the milk before (just coconut oil), but my tangled-up lifeless mat of a head gave me some motivation to reach out and try something new!  lol

I mixed one can of coconut milk (I get mine for 99 cents at the Indian grocer/shop near me), with one of my fav conditioners – Herbal Essence Hello Hydration- and put on a plastic shower cap for about 15 minutes.

When I stepped out of the shower from rinsing, it was kinda like that Robin Thicke song “Magic” lol

Seriously, I will now be using coconut milk for deep conditioning treatments every week (or on an as needed basis).

I really do love coconuts.

:: Grow on ::

Filed under: Uncategorized

Moisturizing Cocktail for Curls: Reader Recommendations

nebulaenova/ flickr

nebulaenova/ flickr

Hope everyone’s ready to celebrate the 4th with a bang!

Until then, I have a new reader recommendation’s post for inquiring heads.

One BLACKSTRANDS reader, Angela, recommended a homemade moisturizer that sounds great for everyday (or as needed) use. After a salon visit with a natural hair stylist,  she picked up a few tips for creating her own moisturizing cocktail for at home upkeep.

check it out:

– 2 cups olive oil
– 2 cups water
– 1 cup vegetable glycerin
– 5 drops of essential oil (my favorites are lemongrass and lavender)
– pour all ingredients into a large spray bottle, shake, and spritz all over hair

* The stylist also told me that if I want a deep conditioner, mix this in with whatever conditioner I use in the shower.

Just a little helpful hair relief from the scorching heat out there!

:: Hope this helps ::

Filed under: Reader Recommendations, , , ,