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Thread: Confused about Henna dye release.

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    Member serin blackwood's Avatar
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    Default Confused about Henna dye release.

    I have Jamila Henna, 2011 and I want to do a hendigo gloss. I've only done Lush Caca Brun henna in the past, so this is my first attempt with powdered henna and indigo.

    I know you are supposed to mix your henna and wait for dye release, then mix your indigo and use it pretty much right away.

    So with the Jamila, I've read in different places that this batch had fast release (one person reported immediate release!) and slow release. Do you just test it, like every hour? If it takes way longer or shorter than expected, how do you plan your day around that? I can see doing this on a day off, but if you mix it in the morning and want to get it in and out before bedtime, what happens if it takes 12 hrs. to release?

    Next question: At what point can you freeze it? If you freeze before dye release, does the freezing process "create" release, like if you then defrost it, is it ready?

    And last: Is the release time consistant - like if it takes 4 hours the first time I use this Jamila powder, can I count on it taking 4 hours the next time? Does the dye release time change as the powders get older and less fresh?

    Thanks for any advice (:
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    Eternal APL Katze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    Every henna is different, and ambient air temperature, humidity, as well as the recipient's body chemistry, can radically change this.

    My henna (I am a henna artist, not hair dyer ) is ready when a small blob stains the inside of my wrist orange within five minutes. When the color is intense, somewhat neon pumpkin, I know the henna has reached max staining potential (I do not use the term dye release, since we do not really know what is chemically going on with henna).

    Recently I got some Rajasthani henna that seems to need 3-4 days to be ready. I mix it with hot water (no acid, since we discovered that this causes lighter staining) and honey, then a day later add my essential oils. Let sit covered, test 3-5 days later, it's usually ready. It is often ready faster in hotter weather (which we rarely have where I live).

    good luck!
    Feb 2013, solid BSL again but shedding. Wondering if this is really terminal length. Hairtype 1b/2b, F/M, ii

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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    In my somewhat more limited experience, the temperature of what you mix the henna with is a big factor. I usually do mine with freshly brewed chamomile tea - not boiling, but still quite warm. It takes about two hours to release when set beneath a radiator, but I've waited less when in a hurry. One time I used cold orange juice and red wine instead and refrigerated my mix; I was able to use it about thirty hours later.

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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    My experience also comes with the caveat of 'somewhat less experienced' as I've only been hennaing for a couple months. I have, however, used the 2011 crop of Jamila, and when mixed with very warm tea or water, I too have found it to release within an hour or two (and by that I mean, by then, a dab of it on my inner wrist leaves an orange stain after being rinsed off).

    I do prefer mixing it up and then freezing it immediately though---that way, it's ready to go as soon as it is unthawed, and I don't have to try to plan around a possibly unpredictable release time. (Especially if I've mixed types, since supposedly henna from other regions may take more or less time to release.) So instead, I mix it up a day or so before I plan to use it, put it in the freezer, and then on the morning of the day I plan to henna, I take it out of the freezer and let it defrost on the kitchen counter while I'm at work, etc.. That way I know it will be ready when I'm ready to use it. (I also find it impossible to sleep with anything wrapped around my head, though, so it's especially important that I can put it on in the afternoon/early evening and wash it out before bed, which is why I prefer to know that it will indeed be ready for use at the time I intend to use it.)

    Hope that helps some!

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    Member serin blackwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    Ah, so basically freezing it does bring on dye release (in other words you don't wait at all, just mix it, freeze it, defrost it and it's ready?).

    Well, I tried my Jamila yesterday - I used hot water and set the bowl inside my plugged in heat cap. After less than an hour it left a stain. So I tried googling images of henna test stains to see if it was dark enough, and read that most hennas will stain right away and that is not a good enough test! Akk! More confusion!

    So I left it for another two hours. the stain did get a bit darker. I mixed my indigo, amla and yogurt, added them and did my gloss. It turned out lovely!*

    So maybe all my worry is for nothing ... it's obviously not an exact science and I thought that made it harder to get right, when it actually makes it easier
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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    Yep! You can also freeze whatever is left over and use it the next time (though I'm not sure how many freeze/thaw cycles it can stand up to---only ever had to do one, personally).

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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    I mix my henna into yogurt and use it straight away. I only leave it on for an hour and a half too. It gives me a super strong colour. I never had to wait or mix in other acidic stuff or anything. I never heard about this dye release wait until I came on this forum. Obviously I don't think this is necessary. But as people say all henna is not the same.

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    Eternal APL Katze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    Hm, in my experience freezing just stops the process, which is then restarted when the henna thaws.

    Many henna artists freeze henna and thaw it once, but do not thaw and refreeze. Changes in temperature, humidity etc. just seem to kill the dyeing power, so I personally don't ever freeze, but it is harder for henna to dye skin than hair so perhaps the refreeze method is OK.
    Feb 2013, solid BSL again but shedding. Wondering if this is really terminal length. Hairtype 1b/2b, F/M, ii

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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    Freesing AFTER dye release willl result in stronger stains. But if you freeze henna that hasn't dye released you will only then get limited if much at all dye release.

    The acidic liquid you mix with the henna is crucial I think, I used to use lemon juice and that took about 12 hours, then wine and that took about 8 from memory. Strongly brewed herbal tea which is hand hot when added takes the least of alll, about 2 hours. To me also there is no difference in the final colour whichever acid you use.

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    Default Re: Confused about Henna dye release.

    With the exception of my very first henna, I've just been mixing with warm tea (and once with just tepid water), then freezing straightaway, and I've gotten very deep stains each time. (I've done this with both Jamila from '09 and '11, and more recently, Yemeni.) I never tried freezing the paste some years ago when I was using it for body art, so I'm not sure what effect it would have with regard to that, although I know that the stains I get on my skin from stray drips during application are even darker and more stubborn to fade in comparison to when I didn't freeze. (The drips, in this case, are actually on my skin for a shorter period of time, too---that first henna application was a steep learning curve and took forever, leaving both myself and the bathroom covered in glops of henna! )

    I know I got the 'freeze right away' idea from a thread on here once upon a time, but I'd have to do some digging to find it again. This method seems to work well for at least a couple of other members, but I'm only speaking from my own personal experience.

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