Turn over a new leaf and go green with your hair color– well, not the shade but the method– using henna. Jamila Henna meant for application on skin is recommended by most blogs and sites, as it’s supposed to provide better color saturation than what’s branded as intended for hair. I’ve also read that authentic product should arrive in an inner foil bag and its crop date should be less than five years old (mine was indeed harvested last summer and came encased in foil). Stephanie’s tutorial at Offbeat Home recommended 8 oz. of lemon juice for 100g of henna. I got my 100g package of Jamila Henna from eBay for $7 (with free shipping) and bought a single eight ounce bottle of lemon juice from the 99 Cent Store, along with a package of rubber gloves.
To mix, I let a few spoonfuls of coconut oil melt in one of those little salsa bowls with feet, and stirred in the henna powder along with squirts of lemon juice, each a little at a time. I used almost the whole bottle, but reserved some to refresh it later.
Different henna devotees suggest adding oils, such as rosemary or lavender, while others advised against it. I think that’s the biggest lesson I learned– each and every website had its own opinions, tips for each girls’ hair type, and varying results. There seems to be no clear recipe, nor any clear indication of how the result will turn out.
I mixed mine up with a fork, and it got a bit fluffier, almost mousse-like. According to my research, this recipe provided the exact consistency needed, similar to mashed potatoes or yogurt. I’d liken my own concoction to guacamole, in both color and texture. I popped a sheet of Press N Seal over the bowl and let it sit on top of my refrigerator overnight to oxidize.
In the AM, it looked more like dip that sat out through a party, but a quick stir and a few squirts of lemon brought it back to life. I was really surprised at how easy the application was, as many bloggers made it sound like a huge process. I used two plastic grocery bags to protect my bathroom counter, and suited up in an old tee shirt and a pair of rubber gloves. I applied it in globs, rubbing scoops of it through with my fingers. I piled my hair on top of my head and tied it up Rosie The Riveter style in one plastic bag, then another for good measure. Places where it spattered on to my neck and wrists are definitely left orange but nothing outrageous that didn’t mostly rub away. I turned on some Breaking Bad on Netflix and let the countdown commence for nearly six hours.
I rinsed it away to find a rich auburn underneath the heaps of muddy dried henna. It was very bright the first day, but soon, as predicted, it mellowed to a much more natural mahogany. My hair still smells a bit like chamomile tea, quite rustic, but looks shiny, healthy, and nourished. Have you used henna to enhance your natural color? What did you find to be the pro’s and cons of the process? — Casandra Armour