Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hair Care: Henna Conditioning Pack Routine

I've been using henna to color my hair as well as for the conditioning/hair strengthening aspects since late 2008. For a long while, I ordered my henna from, relying on her extensive knowledge of henna and the guarantee of a quality product. I did have a few times when I was shipped two different types resulting in a cooper red hue we are used to seeing and burgundy tint being mixed in with each other, which I did not like at all. Not a good look. It has since grown out. LOL!. Last year I happened upon Nupur at my local Indian grocery. I've heard nothing but great things about this product. Nupur has extra added herbs that work in synergy with henna to provide a powerful blend. It contains the 9 natural herbs of: Brahmi, Shikakai, Aloe Vera, Methi, Bhringraj, Amla, Neem, Hibiscus, and Jatamansi. The price was also a huge reduction at $2.69 per bag, so I picked up 3 bags to start.

One thing I will say about henna, you will find out pretty quickly if it will a good thing for your hair or bad thing. Henna is not for everyone.  I hope my trial and errors that have led up to my regimen detailed below will help those seeking information before trying as well as those who are looking for tips and hints to try.

DO NOT leave henna in your hair the first time you use it any longer and 1 1/2 hours or so then rinse it out! Check the texture and condition of your hair and build up the time you leave your applications in your hair from there. This may help you avoid extreme drying of the hair and turn you off to using henna before you have the chance to properly judge if it may benefit you. I think by 3 or 4 applications taking the proper precautions and you should have your answer. :-)

Working with henna is different for everyone. It can be quite a production when you are first getting started with using. But as with everything, over time you develop your methods, recipes, pace and style and it becomes a quicker and easier process.

For my own personal mix, I will usually use approximately a quarter of a cup of power and make the mixture with very warm green tea in a clear glass bowl. Do not add too much liquid!! I prefer to a stiff mashed potato texture as I add other ingredients later just before application that will loosen the mixture further. I then cover with saran wrap, put it on the stove surface and let it develop for several hours.

When I'm ready to apply, I add 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a good squirt of honey to offset the drying properties of the henna. I then apply to dry hair with a color brush to the new growth only the straight base mixture of the henna.
Hair Color Brush

After I've done that, I take the remaining henna, which would be around 3 or 4 tablespoons, and mix  it with Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask to create a henna infused deep conditioning mask. I apply this mixture to the length of my hair to boost the color and condition. This step prevents the drying out of the length of your hair, but still gives you the benefits.

A quick tip, Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask is the ONLY conditioner I have EVER mixed with henna that truly mixed with the henna. It is thick and has the consistency of pudding, which helps it mix well with henna. Regular "bottle" conditioners will separate from the henna and you will end up wiping annoying drips away. None of that with this one. I highly, highly recommend it for use with henna.

After double plastic capping and clean up, I will still under my heat cap for about 1 or 2 hours to open the hair cuticle, then tie my package with a head scarf and hit the hay.  The next morning, I run a tub of warm water and do the initial rinse of my hair, then apply either Tresemme or Aussie Moist and plastic cap it again in preparation of shower.
Plastic Condish Caps

In the shower I rinse again, lightly shampoo with Renpure My Pretty Hair Is Parched Moisturizing Shampoo(organic,no SLS or parabens), concentrating on massage the scalp to remove any stuck on henna, rinse and apply Tresemme or Aussie Moist again to detangle, rinse and apply a tiny bit more as a base leave in. Then plastic bag it and complete my shower. Blot dry with a t-shirt, apply a little Beautiful Textures Leave In Conditioner and air dry. And that's it!

Even though I have a pretty great routine established now, I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my henna experience.

A few things on my "to try" henna list are:
Use an iron pot for mixing and curing of henna. This method is used by middle eastern and Indian women to minimize the reddish tint in the henna. I would also think the henna would absorb iron, as cooking items in an iron skillet does. This process claims to also result in decreased shedding.
Try adding buttermilk aka curd or plain yogurt to my mix. It has been said these ingredients add extra softness and moisture to hair during a henna treatment.

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