everything I've learned about growing, maintaining, styling, and loving long hair


some things about using henna

Here are a few things I’ve learned since I started using henna to dye my hair:

  1. Wear dark clothes or something you don’t mind getting stained while applying the henna.
  2. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks if you’re applying it yourself.  It can get messy.
  3. Rub a thin layer of vaseline (I use vegetable-based) on your ears and around your hairline before you get started.  This will help lessen staining on your skin.
  4. Applying it at night and sleeping on it is easier than trying to go about my day with 5lbs of mud on my head.
  5. If you leave it in overnight, place a dark towel over your pillow to catch any leaks.
  6. After rinsing out the henna, use sweet almond oil to remove stains on skin.
  7. Use dark colored or old towels the next few times you wash your hair.  It will continue to bleed orange for a few washes.  Even if you don’t use a towel on your hair, the orange water can run down your neck and back and stain the towel you’re using to dry your body.  Just saying… if you don’t want your pretty white towels stained, be very careful!
  8. Be careful when air drying your hair for the same reason, it will drip orange and stain your shirt.  Drape a towel over your shoulders or wear a dark shirt.

Before and after using sweet almond oil to remove henna stains around my hairline.  >

It doesn’t always take it away completely, but it works much better than soap.  I’ve also found that my Yes To Cucumbers Towelettes work great for this too!

I’ve decided that my hair is too long to henna myself.  I end up with tangles and my hair matting together as I try to section it.  This time I spent almost as much time detangling as I did applying henna.  Last time was bad, this time was worse.  I was so frustrated I almost cried and my scalp ended up being sore!  So from now on, I’ll have to get my sister to put it in for me.  (or con my husband into trying his hand at it!)  I think I will still do root touch-ups myself, but when I do the whole thing I will need help.


red hair

Getting ready to henna my hair today!  Did you know that Lucille Ball (known for her blazing red hair) was not a natural redhead?  According to ChaCha, Lucy described her own natural hair as mousy brown.  She used henna to die it red!

from BellaSugar.com:

“…She colored her hair blonde as a starlet in the 1930s and 1940s. To look better in front of the television camera, she dyed it red and often wore a wig on the set. She stayed with that hue from the 1950s onward. (She once joked that she was keeping the economy of Egypt afloat with her annual orders of henna.)”


I tried using a mixture of henna and indigo this time.  I used 300g of indigo and 200g of henna.  I was going for dark brown.  It still has a lot of red in it, but it’s not quite as bright as just henna.  I was a little afraid the first day or 2 because my hair had taken on a grayish tone, but after the color set in it looked much better.

These pics were of course taken almost 4 years apart and obviously not in the same room, but I tried to get the lighting as similar as possible.  You can hardly tell the difference in color, which is pretty true to reality.  The main differences I can see are the grays are more of a blondish-brown instead of orange, and the ends seem much darker.  The over-all color isn’t very different.  If my hair were naturally lighter, it would probably be a more obvious difference.

August 2008 – the first time I used henna



did henna again

I finally got around to doing henna again.  It had grown out about 4 inches and faded.  I used the henna for African hair again.  I really like it a lot.  This time, I didn’t have the opportunity to mix it up and let it set overnight, so I put it near the heater and left it about two and a half hours, then put it on my hair.  It was late in the evening when I did this, so I left it on while I slept and rinsed it out in the morning.  I liked doing that, as long as it doesn’t leak out.  I mixed it up pretty thick.  It makes it harder to get into the hair, but at least it doesn’t run down my neck and around my ears.  Another new thing I did was add some ginger root powder.  One tablespoon per 100 grams is supposed to basically eliminate the henna odor.  I used 500g but only had 4tbsp of ginger.  It didn’t eliminate the odor, but it improved it.
And…. I have enough left for maybe a couple root touch-ups too!

Here’s before and after pics:

finally did my henna again

     I did it!  All by myself this time!  What a chore………  I can’t believe there are so many of you who do this yourself on a regular basis.  Then again, maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist. lol  My hair felt much better this time than it did last time.  There are a few things that might have caused this: 
1.  I used a different type of henna this time.  Last time I used henna for African hair which is a finer powder so it’s not so harsh on delicate or damaged hair. (African hair is generally dry and brittle)  This time I used a new one that has recently been added to the order form specifically for long hair.  The description sounded pretty much the same… more finely ground powder for delicate ends and easier rinsing.  This one was less expensive than the African one and sounded just as good.  My hair felt better, but I don’t know if it’s because of the different henna powder or if it’s because of something else I did differently.  The color wasn’t as intense as with the African type though.  I was a little disappointed.
2.  I didn’t coat the ends as completely and thoroughly as last time.  Partly because with my hair being so long it was hard to get it all the way down the length by myself.  That seems like it would be the easiest part, but when you’re coating your hair with thick mud it starts tangling just from moving it around.  And since I had already used henna before and the color hadn’t totally faded, then ends were still pretty red so I wasn’t too concerned about not getting it completely covered.  I did take it all the way to the ends, just not as thick.  So maybe since the ends weren’t coated so thick with it, it didn’t dry it out like last time?
3.  I didn’t wash my hair 5 times this time! lol  Last time I used conditioner to help rinse it out, and I rinsed it for like 20 minutes.  After it dried, I washed it again because it felt like it wasn’t all out….. anyway you get the point.  This time I rinsed and conditioned 2 or 3 times until there was no more actual mud coming out in the water, then conditioned heavily and rinsed lightly, followed by my usual ACV rinse and scrunching in a little shea butter.  My hair felt great!! 
     So which one made the most difference?  I have no idea!  I would like to try the African type again and see how it does, because I do like the brighter color better.
     Another thing I did differently is that I made a thicker paste this time.  Last time I had trouble with it seeping out around my ears and down my neck.  I had to keep it wiped off so it wouldn’t stain my skin.  It got really annoying and I barely made it 4 hours.  This time I didn’t have any trouble at all with that and I left it on almost 5 1/2 hours.  I also bought a larger amount so I have plenty left over for root touch-ups too.
     I’ve gotten so many compliments on it!  I’m really happy I did it again. 

henna pics yet again

I love my new color!
the same day                            3 weeks after (color looks the same as after 1 week)
as a cloud moved over 🙂
(the curls look kinda funky because I had it up all day as in the first pic)

more henna pics

Here are some more pics.  Sorry they’re so huge, but if I make them smaller you can’t see the detail.
Close-up before (without flash)
Close-up after (without flash) the really orange hairs are the ones that were gray
After (with flash)