Henna Can Be Wonderful, If You Know How to Use It!

Henna Can Be Wonderful, If You Know How to Use It!

About three years ago, while on one of the many hair sites and forums I am a member of, I came across a henna thread. As I was reading it, I noticed how many wonderful things the women were saying about their hennaing results such as stronger, more manageable, and overall healthier hair. Of course I just had to try it. I clicked on one of the links and was directed to one of the most comprehensive henna sites ever. The site showed the chemical make-up of henna, Offered the different kinds of henna from different corners of the world, pictures of hair that had been hennaed, a ton of definitions relating to henna, and so much more. I sat on that website for hours researching it before I purchased a ton of it!

The henna was delivered super fast and of course I was extremely excited to try it out. Although I had memorized the recipe to a “t”, I pulled up the site so that I was 100% sure I was doing it the exact way the site had directed. I poured the henna in a plastic bowl then slowly added lemon juice to the mixture, as I constantly stirred. Finally, once the mixture turned into the yogurt-like consistency, I covered the bowl with Saran Wrap and placed it in a warm area for 24 hours.

The next day, I noticed the mixture had a slight orangey tint as they indicated it would, and smelled very Earthy. I loved the smell as it made me feel as if I was getting ready to do something so wonderful and healthy for my hair. Like the site instructed, I added a bit more lemon juice to the mixture and began to applying to my newly washed hair. My hair was already sectioned in 6 or 8 puffs, so I just took down one puff at a time and applied the mixture section by section. It was easy, but very messy. Then I covered my hair with Saran Wrap, and planned to keep it in for the full 4 hours recommended on the site.

By the second hour, I had to use the restroom. I performed my usual “rituals” and then when I got up, I noticed that my urine was bright green! I had read a ton of stuff on that site, but nothing warned me that my urine could possibly turn green. Of course I was freaked out. I rushed to wash the henna out of my hair and Googled “green pee/henna”. I saw that this was actually a common, non-harmful side effect some people experience because of the way their body processed the henna. I was so relieved when I read this on several sites, but I was absolutely horrified when I felt my hair!

Saying that my hair felt like a Brillo Pad was an understatement; it felt more like barbed wire. Where in the world were all of these benefits I was suppose to experience? Where the women on the forums conspiring to ruin my beautiful natural hair? I followed the instructions so perfectly, that I fully expected to have a head full of new, soft, more manageable and shiny hair. I deep conditioned it and moisturized it to death; still dry as a bone! Was I going to have to cut off the hair that I had finally learned to love and struggled for almost two years to grow? Over the next few months, my hair slowly returned to its normal state. I was thankful and vowed to never touch henna again.

Then about two years later, I got sucked up into another henna thread and again, these women were going on and on about how they loved henna and the wonderful results they were receiving. I went into the “henna challenge” forum and there were pictures of such beautiful hair. Okay, what was going on? I wanted that hair so badly, so I posted my experience in the forum to see if I could get some feedback. I was quickly informed that I had made a HUGE mistake; the recipe wasn’t for African American hair. I had used a recipe with way too much acid and didn’t add any moisturizing properties to balance the drying affect of the acid. Was I going to be brave enough to try this again? The pictures in the forum left me no other choice!

This time I used apple cider vinegar because the acid level was much lower than the lemon juice and acv is wonderful for conditioning the scalp. I also learned that I was using way too much acid, so this time I used just enough to dampen the henna and then poured spring water and aloe vera juice to saturate it to the yogurt-like consistency. After letting it sit for 24 hours, I added plain yogurt, raw honey and a mixture of very moisturizing oils, along with a couple more tablespoons of acv. This time I made sure I used a shampoo with no sulfates and a deep conditioner that was super moisturizing. All of the other steps remained the same. After 3 hours of processing, I rinsed my hair and finally, I got to experience what all the fuss was about. My coils were actually looser, my hair felt stronger, and it was a soft as a big old cloud! I joined the challenge and did a henna treatment every two weeks. It was a lot of work, but my hair was thanking me for it each time I went to comb through it.

Eventually my pee stopped turning green and I went to doing a treatment every six weeks and then stopped all together over a period of time. It was difficult to find 4 hours to dedicate to it, not including the 5 hours it took to actually do my hair. I have now started back on track with every six weeks with the henna and have even given my 7 year old daughter a couple treatments, which she loves.

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