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Thread: Improvements to your henna procedure?

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    Mod on sabbatical physicschick's Avatar
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    Default Improvements to your henna procedure?

    For those who have been doing henna for a while, what improvements have you made to streamline your process?

    I've been doing hendigo (roots only) for about 15 years. I read a lot of advice before I got started, but I've gradually ditched some steps that seem unnecessary. I'd love to hear other people's improvements too.

    Mix:
    • I used to include amla in my mix since it was supposed to push the color more brown. I couldn't tell the difference, and it smelled ghastly, so I don't bother with it anymore.
    • I used to have special containers for mixing henna. Now I just use my ceramic cereal bowls. They work fine and are easy to clean.


    Application:
    • I used to henna only if I'd washed my hair in the last 24 hours, since I worried about scalp oils interfering with the dye. Now I go as long as 48 hours and haven't noticed a difference. This gives me more flexibility in my hair washing schedule.
    • Before applying henna, I used to put lotion on my forehead next to my hairline so my skin wouldn't get stained. This turns out to be unnecessary, since I guess my forehead is already greasy enough.
    • I used to apply henna myself, but I was getting too much overlap and buildup of color. Now my husband applies it for me, since he can see the top of my head and does a better job.
    • We use a tint brush to apply the henna. We switched to a wider brush, and now the process goes more quickly.


    Removal:
    This is the area where I've made the biggest improvements.
    • My hair gets really tangled during henna application. (Sectioning my hair makes it tangle.) I used to comb it out with conditioner before rinsing out the henna. I now detangle at the end instead, since a lot of the tangles come out on their own while I rinse in the shower.
    • I used to CO wash out the henna, since some people warned that shampoo would interfere with the dye. However, my scalp hates CO washing, and I had trouble getting all the henna residue off my scalp. Now, after about 6 rounds of CO wash, I shampoo my scalp twice so I'm not leaving conditioner residue or as much henna residue. The shampoo doesn't interfere with the stain, and my scalp is much happier.
    • I clean my ears thoroughly in the shower and then again with Q-tips after showering to get all the henna gunk off of them.

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    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    I always waited to wash, so whether it be chemical color, bleach or henna, I did it, always, on very dirty hair. And I had the world of trouble getting the henna out, if that tells you anything about the adherence factor. So, I would not worry too too much about when you actually proceed with it.
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Member shelomit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    I can think of a few--

    When I was growing up, henna was a family affair. I never applied it to myself, and into my twenties would wait until I was visiting my mother/grandmother/aunties to have them put it in. In recent years, I've been applying it on myself instead and find that it's gentler. I can feel when I'm pulling on my own hairs, so I lose far fewer of them than when somebody else is applying henna.

    Similarly, my mom always put henna on using a spatula. I've reverted to my grandma's method: just using my hands ( ; I feel like this gives more even coverage than using a spatula or spoon. I work quickly enough that my hands don't take much dye, but of course you could wear gloves if you cared much about staining your hands.

    And then sectioning. I used to always go all around the hairline, then take long thin sections moving from front to back. Since I started doing my own henna, though, I've found that it's much easier to take smaller, "circular" sections. I grab a section about an inch thick, work the henna very thoroughly into the roots, and then more superficially along the length. Then I move it out of the way (typically straight over the top of my head to sit in my lap). When all the sections are done, I twist the hair together on top of my head and secure it with a little more mud. Then rinsing goes in reverse order: wash off the surface mud, untwist, and remove the sections from back to front.

    I've also found, as mentioned above, that the cleanliness of the hair doesn't matter. Our traditional method was to apply henna to very greasy hair and always on dry hair. I've done it straight after washing and/or on wet hair and it doesn't seem to make a difference for me at all. *shrug*

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    Mod on sabbatical physicschick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    Hmm, sounds like I could go even longer after washing before applying henna. Good to know.

    Shelomit, thanks for describing your sectioning method. I'll ask my DH if that might work better for him than making long, thin sections.

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    Member shelomit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by physicschick View Post
    Hmm, sounds like I could go even longer after washing before applying henna. Good to know.

    Shelomit, thanks for describing your sectioning method. I'll ask my DH if that might work better for him than making long, thin sections.
    Sure thing! I still proceed from front to back generally speaking, just with those little "locks" rather than a long continuous section. A benefit that I didn't mention above is that it alleviates the need for me to use a comb or stick to part the sections, despite my very short fingernails ( ; I just grab whichever lock feels like it wants to go and work on that next.

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    LHC FairyGodMum lapushka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    Quote Originally Posted by physicschick View Post
    Hmm, sounds like I could go even longer after washing before applying henna. Good to know.

    Shelomit, thanks for describing your sectioning method. I'll ask my DH if that might work better for him than making long, thin sections.
    I wanted to give you my experience with it, FWIW, of course, you have to do you. If it doesn't feel right somehow to go longer, don't because of one person's good experience with it, you know? If somehow it doesn't work as well on say, perhaps, darker hair (could be, right?) then I don't want to be a spoil sport. LOL!
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    Oh this is a great idea for a thread! I've been hennaing for about 20 years now (!)

    Mix:
    - I used to have a super complicated mix and eventually came to realize that all that extra stuff really wasn't contributing to the color like I thought it was. I focused on senna / henna for the basics (nothing is more important to a copper color than simply diluting the color) and then add a few extra things for conditioning, but don't pretend they do more than condition and dilute the henna.

    - I started using a crock pot to dye release my henna. This makes it programmable, consistent, and gives me great results every time. The main thing here is to monitor the first time you do it. Most crock pots are too hot, even on the "warm" setting, so you can heat it up, turn it off and let the radiant heat do the work.


    Application:
    - I used to do a pre-henna shower and apply to wet hair. Now I apply to dry hair and don't bother showering beforehand.

    - My husband uses an old chemical dye plastic bottle to apply the mud to my roots. We have this entire procedure down to less than 10 minutes XD


    Removal:
    - I also used to CO henna, and now use a liquid shampoo and lots of liquid conditioner. It doesn't hurt the color, and I get a lot more of the henna out faster.

    - Hard agree on cleaning out my ears after, and also carefully scrubbing any residual grit out from around my 11 ear piercings.

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    Member shelomit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    Oh, this is not so much a new discovery as a transfer from hand/foot henna technique, but I always scrub at the stupid little dried bits on my skin with a nubby terry washcloth. Just going after them with my hands alone won't get them fully off without soaking--needs a little more traction.

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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    I used to cover my head, then just (no kidding) use pieces of toilet paper, scrunched up, wetted a bit, then rubbed vigorously on a bar of soap, then apply it to what has been spilled over, but do it fast, before it has a chance to do much, and then it will be all right. No advice on getting gunk off after the dye has set. You have to work fast, is all I know... reeeeal fast! LOL!
    WCC method (washing) --- Rinse-out oil (MO) --- LOC/LCO method (styling)

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    Default Re: Improvements to your henna procedure?

    These are great tips, thank you all!

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