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Thread: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

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    Question Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    This is my current hair color. My dream is some variation of a bright copper. This being the true dream. Realistically I know I won't be able to have that without bleach, but I'm hoping to see how close I can get with the honey lightening method and/or the sun in method. I would space them out and do them at separate times. But my question is I have mostly virgin hair (besides the little bits at the bottom) but it is damaged from using BS/ACV (and way too much) for months. I am attracted to henna (or cassia if I decide to abandon the color dream) because of how it might help my hair "recover" and because I have used it in the past, and bleached over it and that bright orange was my favorite in the whole world. And it never bled! haha. I have green eyes, blonde eyebrows and eyelashes, so it felt so perfect for me.

    I also have a dream of waist or tailbone length. So you can see I will not be able to have my cake and eat it too (at least not for a few years lol).

    So the question is would using the henna first, and then trying to lighten from there make a significant difference in protection from potential damage vs lightening with the "gentler" methods first and then using henna?

  2. #2
    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaconda View Post
    This is my current hair color. My dream is some variation of a bright copper. This being the true dream. Realistically I know I won't be able to have that without bleach, but I'm hoping to see how close I can get with the honey lightening method and/or the sun in method. I would space them out and do them at separate times. But my question is I have mostly virgin hair (besides the little bits at the bottom) but it is damaged from using BS/ACV (and way too much) for months. I am attracted to henna (or cassia if I decide to abandon the color dream) because of how it might help my hair "recover" and because I have used it in the past, and bleached over it and that bright orange was my favorite in the whole world. And it never bled! haha. I have green eyes, blonde eyebrows and eyelashes, so it felt so perfect for me.

    I also have a dream of waist or tailbone length. So you can see I will not be able to have my cake and eat it too (at least not for a few years lol).

    So the question is would using the henna first, and then trying to lighten from there make a significant difference in protection from potential damage vs lightening with the "gentler" methods first and then using henna?
    There is Nightshade on here, who I believe first does henna and then sun-in, whether or not she does it *every* time she does henna, I don't know for sure, but anyway, look at the huge henna + sun-in thread here:
    https://forums.longhaircommunity.com...ad.php?t=19317
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

  3. #3
    Member shelomit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    Post-henna would make more sense to my admittedly inexperienced-in-this-area mind, because 1) you did it before to good results, and 2) if your hair dyes differently than it used to in its current condition, you'll know that before attempting to lighten it further.

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    Member DropStitches's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    I love the fiery copper of that picture you linked to, and I had similar dreams when I was first thinking of henna-ing my hair, and I also toyed with lightening pre-/post-henna (though my natural colour is a bit darker than yours).

    I will say, for myself, Iím heartily glad I didnít do that, for two reasons: firstly, doing a two-step root process sounds like a big pain, and secondly, I do think my hair is probably healthier for not undergoing any kind of lightening as well as the henna.

    I would suggest not doing pure, full-strength henna, but instead starting with a mix - either cassia/senna + henna (say about 75% to 25%, then you can always adjust from there), or a henna gloss.

    lapushka already mentioned Nightshade, who is the henna guru on here - thereís an article on her blog (https://www.nightblooming.com/2020/0...ginger-copper/) about lightening henna that had got too dark with Sun-in, and thereafter using a cassia and henna blend to stop it getting too dark in the first place.

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    Prairie Pintsize Shorty89's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    I would actually say bleach first, then henna. I bleached a streak in my hennaed hair and it came out fairly unevenly and with more damage than if I'd done one bleach before henna. For my purposes (dying bright colours), it's fine but that wouldn't work well for henna. I'd suggest a mild bleach - maybe bleach bath then use a henna/cassia mix. But, do be careful of your damaged ends.
    Lady Meikyo of the Cerise Blade

  6. #6

    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    Thank you everyone! I bought some sun-in and have a little collection of strands that I did nightshades method on. I'm going to wait a week and try it again on the same set. I'm going to keep going with a week wait until the hair dies or I get a color that I can work with. If the sun in doesn't work, I MAY experiment with a bleach cap method on a different strand test. Then I will know what to do. I'd rather have my natural color + length than my hair too dark because of the henna. I'll report back here as I learn in case it's helpful to anyone else in the future

  7. #7
    Henna Seeress Nightshade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    Having done it both ways, I honestly don't think it matters. If you're trying to make it match a lighter copper then do it after (as I was, trying to make my length match my more coppery roots), but I've also lightened up my new growth before applying the Sun In and it works just fine, too.

    I will say that after multiple rounds of Sun-In my length was a little dull and I ended up doing a henna and cassia gloss just to restore the shine, but that was some serious lightening I was doing over multiple sessions--just once makes no difference

  8. #8

    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
    Having done it both ways, I honestly don't think it matters. If you're trying to make it match a lighter copper then do it after (as I was, trying to make my length match my more coppery roots), but I've also lightened up my new growth before applying the Sun In and it works just fine, too.

    I will say that after multiple rounds of Sun-In my length was a little dull and I ended up doing a henna and cassia gloss just to restore the shine, but that was some serious lightening I was doing over multiple sessions--just once makes no difference
    Thank you so much, Nightshade! For your response and all the documentation you've done. And the encouraging people to strand test because I would have already jumped the gun and ruined my hair at this point without reminders, lol. I have my little strand test I am doing some rounds of the sun in, a week apart like I'd do my own hair to see how it holds up and if it can get light enough.

  9. #9
    Henna Seeress Nightshade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    Aw, you're so welcome!

    I'd love to see your strand tests!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Should I lighten pre or post henna?

    So after two rounds of:

    Light wash
    blot dry
    4 rounds of:
    sun in spray
    blow dry on lowest heat
    rinse cold

    The hair looks like it's lifted .5-.75 of a level. No noticeable damage. I'm thinking with two more sessions it would be light enough to get something I am happy with. I think I am going to go ahead and order the henna and start a test of doing the henna first and then the lightening as well. I've swung in the opposite direction now where I want to strand test all possibilities

    Ordered some Fire Genasi excited to start doing some experiments! So nice to take my time with the process, good lesson in patience!

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