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Henna for Hair
Henna For Hair
is devoted to the art and science of henna and other natural hair dyes.

  Kim P's Mix
Kim P's mix

I've been hennaing my hair for about 3 years now and am very pleased with the results and the subtly deepening tone over time. My natural hair colour is a very light mousey brown. I use Colora Henna in "Red Sunset" which is very coarse and full of chaff (the only henna avaliable in my area) and it takes me 120g (2 boxes) to colour my hair which comes to the middle of my back.

Here is Kimberly's henna chronicle:

My recipie and method:

24+ hours before (I let my henna sit 2-3 days sometimes) mix up the henna:

First:(da brew) I make my "henna tea":

3tbsp lemon juice

1 cup extra brewed (10 min) regular tea with two teabags (for the tannin in tea )

1 cup extra brewed (10 min) red herbal tea with two teabags (smells nice, adds acidity and maybe red highlights)

two heaping teaspoons powdered cloves brewed 10 min in 1/3 to 1/2 cup water and then strained through cloth -keep the liquid and discard the crumbs.

mix all of these together- it should be hot, dark redish brown, spicy, and very bitter to the taste ( if it makes me go "bleh!" i know i've made it right)

*At this point , if you're doing Fia's gelled henna (Thank you innovative genius Fia!) reserve half of this liquid to mix with the pectin.*

I will let the liquid cool to the point that I can stick my finger in it without being scalded- I'm careful not to cook the henna, I find cooked henna gives less dye.

Second(mixing): I have a clean old 750g plastic yoghurt container which I dump my dry henna powder in and wisk to fluff it up and break up any clumps, then I mix in some of the liquid slowly and cautiously with a spoon until the henna is moistened but very thick. Then, if I'm gelling it I add the cooked pectin mix now - again cooled enough so it doesn't cook the henna.

If I'm not gelling it I may add just a little more liquid until it's the consistancy of mashed potatoes, but not more than that.

The henna gets thinner over time as the acid breakes down the cellulose, so don't try to adjust the consistancy to your liking now, or you will end up with soup after it has been given a chance to sit.

Third: I put the lid on the container and let it sit to do it's henna thing on top of the refrigerator (where it's warm) overnight and sometimes longer (2-3 days). it can wait until I have time to devote to henna. Patience is a virtue.

****time elapses***

Fourth: (prep) Ok, now you can adjust the henna to your prefered consistancy. I make sure that my hair is nice and clean, then , when I'm ready I get all of my henna articles together: henna clothes, plastic wrap, vinyl gloves, vasaline, henna towels, (henna dribble cloth )newspaper, large claw-like hairclip, spoon, fleece belaclava, container of mixed up henna. I invade a bathroom with a nice big mirror and a bathtub/shower. allow at least an hour to get the henna into your hair.

Fifth (The pre-game show):I run the sink half full of hot water and set the container of henna inside it to warm up. I spread the newspaper on the floor so it catches any drips. I undress and put my clothing where it won't get spattered. I cover my face, ears , neck and hands with a generous amount of vasaline so they don't turn orange, and put on the vinyl gloves over the sticky hands. Then I hop in the shower and get all of my hair wet and then towel off the excess water so the hair is slightly damp (not dripping, or wet, just slightly damp) so that I know the dye will flow to every corner of my scalp .After that divide my hair in half horozontaly just above my ears across the back of my head. I twist up the top section of my hair and pin it to the top of my head with the giant claw-like hairclip, leaving the lower section down. now I'm ready to goop.

Sixth (queen of mud):Where ever the henna hits your skin you will gel a lovely spot of orange and have to exfoliate it off, so be warned! Now I drain the sink, mix the henna with the spoon, and then I lift up my hair with one hand and grab globs of the henna with my other hand and slaping it onto my hair, mooshing it and thoroughly pressing it in and massageing it into my scalp. I proceed to thorougly henna all of my scalp, being careful to massage it in completely. Once the lower portion of my hair is done, I undo the big scary clip and henna the upper part. Ooowwww!!AhhAhhh!!!! henna gooooood... henna in eyes baaaaaaad!!!! I budget the henna so I use about half for the lower part and half of the upper part. It takes about 30 minutes to to this. When I am done this I look funny with a mud covered head and long strands of red hair emerging from it. Then I moosh and squish the henna that is covering my scalp and squeeze it down and through the un-strands hennaed I keep knee! ding it and squeezing the henna through the hair with a motion I would imagine is similar to milking a cow until all the strands are covered with henna too. I look and feel very primodial, I feel like I'm bonding with the ooze from whence we came.

Seventh (wrap and roll): At this point depending on how thick the henna was I may be covered by one or two little splats (thick henna) or a whole bunch of runny globs and drubuels ( thin henna). So I fill the sink with warm water and wipe my skin off with a damp cloth. then I gather my hennaed locks together in a pony tail and cover my ponytail with a plastic bag secured by a hair elastic. I cover the rest of my scalp with saran wrap. Then I cover my head in a fleece belaclavaand tuck the ponytail up inside it too,so all of my hair stays nice and warm. Then I put on my henna clothes, roll up and discard the newspaper and clean the bathroom and all of my henna articles.

Eighth (waiting game): I leave the henna on my hair for a minimum of 3 and 1/2 hours and 8 hours yeilding fabulous results. The longer the better! (within reason -no three day marathons please!). I like to read a good book or watch some movies, anything that passes the time (mehendi anyone?).

*****time elapses****

Nineth(patience rewarded): After what seems to be forever, I head back to the bathroom, disrobe, and unwrap my squidgey head. I get into thwe showed and rinse and rinse and rinse the henna out of my hair with two or three rounds of conditioner. when I step out and dry off I am pleased with the blazing crown of glory my hair has become. right now it's a blazing orange that will deepen in a day or two to a smoldering red.

That's my henna story.

I hope this inspires others to take the plunge and go red.

Kimberly Perreault (Kimberly from BC)


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