View Full Version : Henna, highlights, or sit on my hands?

April 7th, 2008, 04:21 AM

I'm still very new here, but after reading this wonderful forum for a while I really hope that I can get some great advice from you guys about what to do with my hair colour.

My hair is currently just a bit off my shoulders and I would like to let it grow to maybe mid-back length. I hennaed it twice in December but for the better part of this year I just haven't been convinced that the colour is right for me.

To illustrate, I have put some pictures online here (http://web.mac.com/kazazi/KazaziHair/Photos.html).

There are some shots of my hair in its completely virgin dark ash blonde, some with the chunky highlights I got last May, and then the henna. I've had highlights for most of my adult life and grew them out for money saving and hair and scalp health reasons. But I really wasn't too thrilled with my natural hair colour, not lively enough. The last set of highlights I got last May fixed this, although they were a bit streaky, but once they had grown in/out a bit I really liked them (see the summer pix).

Six months into them I hennaed because it just felt right at the time and I still didn't fancy going back for more highlights or going back au naturel, plus it seemed like a great way to get healthy, vibrant hair and to cover those first grey/whites! But, the problem is, I just don't feel convinced that the colour suits me and a big part of me craves my ash tones and highlights back.

Now I want to grow my hair and face the dilemma what to do:

1) Do I put on more henna, which would be great for condition but I am really unsure about the colour on me?
2) Do I just let my natural colour grow out, which would be tolerable I think, roots-wise, but I am not terribly keen to restore a totally bland virgin crown with orange lengths?
3) Do I get new highlights put in, which I think would be my preferred look, but I worry about the cost to my hair & purse?

I've been trying some honey reciped and am not yet sure if they are making any difference, but it's maybe too early to say.

If I went for the highlights, I also don't know if I should just put them in over the hair as is, or ask for all my hair to be coloured to an ash base - I guess it would have to be a little darker than my natural hair colour? I would probably go for just a few and perhaps chunkier highlights, like last time, rather than the 'highlighted' look, because I mainly want them to break up the look of my hair and make it look a bit more lively. But even so I still worry about it being too damaging, even if I only did them, say, twice a year. The one from last May do feel a bit dryer than the rest of my hair, but not to bad.

I should say that I don't blowdry or use styling products, so my hair is generally in good shape. But I know it's prone to splits when it gets longer.

Any advice as to what I should do will be greatly appreciated, any opinions & tips welcome!


Kaz x

April 7th, 2008, 05:27 AM
hi, and welcome!

As the owner of very similar hair (and coloration) to yours, I understand the 'blah' feeling. I, too, would rather have silvery ash, just lighter, than red or gold tones, but this is almost impossible to achieve with chemicals. The henna doesn't look that bad on you, though maybe you should henna your eyebrows?

Basically, if you want long hair, you probably don't want to be bleaching it a lot. Especially when it gets below shoulder level, the ends are more fragile and get damaged more easily, so you want to minimize this. Yes, there are ways to color (henna!) without damaging, but bleach isn't known for that. :)

The choice is at the end of the day up to you. Do you want long hair? it will be at its healthiest - and get longest fastest - if you let it go 'natural'. There is no other way to get away from dyes other than putting up with the two-tone look. A year ago mine was still very noticeable, but if you see my profile pic, you can see that the demarcation line has blurred and faded over time and looks good.

I don't buy the idea that honey bleaches hair. I tried it on mine AND on BF's hair, soaking samples for three days, and when I compared them to the control samples the only difference was that the honey samples were shinier. This shine faded over time - I still have the four hairballs, and they look identical. Others here strongly disagree with me, but as the owner of hair that's similar to yours, I bet you'd have similar results to mine. Also, honey used as a face mask does not bleach towels or other fibers, nor do SMT treatments fade them, so I think this is pretty strong evidence that whatever peroxides might be in honey are not strong enough to remove the pigment from fiber.

What's been hardest for me growing my hair out is accepting that I am (not really)blonde anymore. I bleached for so many years, I looked so good blonde, but now have stopped plucking my eyebrows and am wearing more lipstick to kind of play up the rest of my features and set off my paleness in contrast to my now-quite-dark hair. Here in Northern Germany we are all praying for a summer (have not had one for years) so if we do get some sun, I plan on being out in it to get my hair sunbleached (while taking care of it). Otherwise, I am now brown haired in most light.

Whatever you decide we will be here for you to help you understand your hair. Glad you found us - your story sounds much like mine two years ago!


April 7th, 2008, 06:01 AM
Thank you so much for your reply, Katze :)

Seems we do not only have similar hair types but also a similar choice of screen names ;) I am from Germany, too, btw.

I never considered hennaing my eybrows, but now that you've mentioned it I agree that the clash between hair and eyebrows is one thing that bugs me about my current look. Somehow my eyebrows now don't blend into my features anymore. I'll definitely give orange brows some consideration.

Yes, I do think I want to give long hair a go. The idea is quite recent and I am not yet sure if I will like it in the long term, but I figured there was no harm in trying since I can always cut it again and I know for sure that I am quite happy with mid-length hair.

I can't see any different colour growing out in your picture by the way. Your hair looks lovely. Did you grow out your highlights or did you also have henna on your hair?

And has anyone here put blonde highlights over hennaed hair? I am currently collecting some hair for a strand test, but was wondering what others' experiences have been.

Kaz x

April 7th, 2008, 06:27 AM
hi Kaz,

from one cat to another...! ;)

I've hennaed my eyebrows and had them get a bit darker temporarily, which was nice. The two times I henna'd my hair it was a disaster - I have a very reddish complexion, and the orange-ish I got with (stale store bought) henna did NOT suit.

I was a bleach head for 15+ years...as soon as my hair started going dark, I bleached it, and felt I 'deserved' to be light blonde. If you look at my pic you can see some orange - from the last 'repair' dye job in summer 2008 - in the lower left, but it's blended in a lot except for the length.

Nightshade knows a lot about natural color and I think hennas...you might want to check out her threads or posts. Sadly, our journals got lost when the old site crashed.

good luck!


April 7th, 2008, 06:38 AM
if you want to grow out the henna try giving your self henna highlights or streaks (i wouldnt use a tip cap....you can try actually, rinse out well before pulling the cap off though!)
That shoudl ease the transistion, you can even use different mixes to the henna that will make it darker (indigo), ashier(amla), or redder(paprika) etc. Other herbs also add temporary effects of colour.

April 7th, 2008, 10:57 AM
I think you suit the sandy color better than the dark freshly henna'ed color. I would say let the henna wash and grow out, and take up cassia treatments. Cassia has many of the same conditioning and thickening benefits of henna and gives a blonde tone.
If you only hennaed twice, it will continue to wash out. Chemical color over henna is never a good idea, you will just end up with a lighter and brighter red instead of any kind of blonde.

April 7th, 2008, 11:02 AM
Herm... you could try blends of henna, indigo and cassia to get back towards ashy as much as possible, and then grow it from there :)

You might find something of use in the articles in my siggy, or in the henna experimentation thread (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=1380).

April 7th, 2008, 11:05 AM
Your natural color with the highlights looked pretty nice. I think the henna makes your skin tone look kind of washed out. But your hair looks nice and vibrant.

You could use an auburn eyebrow pencil on your brows rather than henna, which is likely to stain the skin around them orange. That would look pretty bizarre, I think.

April 7th, 2008, 11:40 AM
I just have to say I think you look great with henna, but I am partial to red myself :). And I'm not a fan of the look of highlights (did them myself once, never again). Personally, if you want to continue with henna, I wouldn't worry about the eyebrows, many people don't have eyebrows that match their head-hair color.

How long do you want to grow your hair out? The parts of my hair that was highlighted (now henna'd over) are still pretty yucky despite years of babying and LHC love. If you have fine, fragile hair, your highlighted parts may not make it to long lengths in good condition. If you want to grow out your natural color, the suggestions of doing henna highlights with the new growth would be good and blending it together. I'm sure there are other, more gentle methods you can do to try to blend the henna, but honestly henna is a huge pain to get rid of totally if you end up not liking it.

I know what you mean about the demarcation line though, as my older medium-brown chemically colored hair with highlights is still noticeable on my length. Hennaing over the whole thing has blended it together for me, but you can still see it. I just let it be, as even virgin hair can have color changes along the length as it gets longer.

And OT- but it's good to see a wrapping mama, love your Didys! I like to wear my little one in a sz 4 B/W indio in a ruck, did a double take when I saw your pic. Sadly, my collection of wraps doesn't get rotated too much anymore, I stick with about the same 2 or 3.

April 7th, 2008, 11:41 AM
Hi! I love your fresh henna color. But I am one of many who think that henna/cassia blends look more natural. Remember to treat only your roots if you don't want to keep migrating toward the bluish reds.

The eyebrows are easy as pie. I, and many others, henna my eyebrows and I don't get stains on my skin. Just clean your eyebrows with alcohol, use a paintbrush or your pinkie to stroke on the henna, and leave be until it dries. I don't try covering it up.

You can also experiment with indigo for darkness, that might be fun-but irreversible.

You'll find with your henna hair that some makeup choices need to be reconsidered. I've changed to a golden-red lip color and use lots of golden and violet and green shades of eye shadows, and I do find that colors like those that are recommended for redheads will really help pull together the skin and hair colors.

April 7th, 2008, 01:00 PM
Their are specially hennas that are not really orange. You can get Avigal, Rainbow, or Morrocco Method, and get a blonde or light brown color. I would say watch out for indigo. If you ever get highlights, on indigo, you will have green hair, and I think indigo will be too darkening for you. Alma sure, or Sage. Once Nightshade claimed Morrocco method light brown might have indigo, but Anthony claims it doesn't, and when I highlighted a test strand I first colored with light
brown Morrocco Method results for indigo were negative. Why don't you cover the red with a combo of Marigold, Light Brown, and Alma, and prehaps Sage. I don't think the red henna works for you. If it did, you'd not be having all these doubts.

April 7th, 2008, 01:02 PM
I also like the henna, and am not a big fan of highlights, though I do think that your hair looks nice both ways.

You could henna gloss and that would limit how much henna build up you get, and you'd still get the benefits of henna. Many have suggested cassia, and that does work for many, but some have found that it isn't that great (me among them). Nightshade's articles are wonderful, and I'd read both of them if I were you.

I also second the notion of switching makeup colors--it'll make your henna look more natural.

Good luck with whatever you do!

April 7th, 2008, 01:07 PM
T Once Nightshade claimed Morrocco method light brown might have indigo, but Anthony claims it doesn't, and when I highlighted a test strand I first colored with light
brown Morrocco Method results for indigo were negative. Why don't you cover the red with a combo of Marigold, Light Brown, and Alma, and prehaps Sage. I don't think the red henna works for you. If it did, you'd not be having all these doubts.

Good to know :) Thanks :flowers:

April 7th, 2008, 01:26 PM
I like your natural color, both by itself, and with grown out highlights. The henna color isn't terrible either, it's a pretty shade of red, and it looks healthy and shiny.

If you are not growing incredibly long I would venture to say that highlights might be all right. You'll just have to put more effort into keeping your length conditioned.

I'll be interested in seeing what you have decided to do.

April 7th, 2008, 03:56 PM
Wow, thanks for the great feedback everybody. Lots to think about! I've just read Nightshade's articles and found lots of good ideas there, too.

I think in the first instance I will play around with colours a bit (clothes and eyebrows...make-up is a bit more difficult as I tend to wear only little and very rarely). I will also do some strand testing on shed hair, to see how bleach/lightening affects it and hopefully also try some of the gloss and plant mix ideas you've all come up with.

My plan is to not do anything drastic to my hair, like highlight or rehenna until I have explored the options quite thoroughly. Also makes sense to hold off until I have worked out a bit more how my hair likes all the other exciting new things I have discovered since finding this forum like shampoo bars and oils... :)

In the meantime, please keep suggestions/opinions coming. I'd still love to hear if anybody had highlights done over henna and how they turned out. I just can't quite imagine blond highlights in red hair and somehow can't find any good pictures of this.


Kaz x