I bought Rainbow henna from the States two years ago and it was time to use it up considering my hair has gotten so thin. I read that henna coats your hair so with repeated use, it gives more body and shine. Anything to give my weightless frizzy hair weight, I have do it!
In the morning I mixed 1/2 cup of henna powder (this one was mixed with indigo to give a brown tone) with very hot water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to release the dye. I'm not doing this to colour my hair but I think the molecule that coats the hair shaft is in the dye. After it cooled, I added the oil from 3 vitamin E capsules and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. I let it develop for two hours although some people do it overnight.
An Indian friend of mine said that henna is drying to the hair. I think that's explained by the acidic liquid to make the paste. Some people add egg to their mix but I read from this website http://www.mehandi.com/ that it hinders the dye setting in. It says the same for oils but my hair is dry and fragile-it needs oils! I recommend downloading the free e-book from the website. It's a comprehensive guide on dying hair with henna.
As henna paste is thick and very messy, I applied it in my friend's backyard. I smeared vaseline around my ears, nape, temples and forehead. Now here's the easy trick to putting henna in your hair - tip your head forward and apply it to your hair upside down. With latex gloves, smooth on the henna starting from the roots at the nape. It's handy to have a mirror nearby so you can see if you missed areas or if you've applied to much. If you apply henna to upside down hair, it's easier and less messy.
Once the henna is evenly distributed through the hair, I twisted it into a bun on the top of my head and secured it with a plastic clip. Then I took off the gloves, put on a shower cap and wiped off any stray henna.
I watched a movie and had lunch at home with my friend :) The henna was in my hair for three hours but it could have stayed on for a few hours longer.
When I rinsed it off I immediately noticed how smooth my hair felt. Then I applied a hair masque to moisturise. I half blow dried my hair (because there is still dye wet hair and I did'nt want to stain anything) and sealed my hair with shea butter.
The result is healthy looking and feeling hair. I should have shampooed because not all of the olive oil rinsed out. My hair doesn't feel any thicker. I'll be sure of the result after the first wash in case the hair masque had anything to do with it. In any case I want to add layers of henna for weight and protection so it feels like a good start.
The reason why I didn't post before and after pics is because henna on brown/black hair has no colour changing effect. Anyone who says otherwise is not referring to pure henna powder. Henna cannot lighten hair. It gives colour if your hair is light enough but if it's near black, you'll only get red highlights visible in sunshine.
My hair feels stronger, soft and shiny. Just like a hair treatment but the effects are much longer lasting and there are faint highlights. In the next three weeks I'll do the treatment again before my trip to the Azores. When I run out of this henna, I'm going to buy pure henna powder from the Indian shop.
Just to update, my hair felt really dry a few days after but after an overnight oil treatment it was soft and moisturised again.