Thinking of trying henna

topic posted Sat, November 24, 2012 - 1:35 PM by  Girl
Hello all...Its been a super stressful and depressing year, I won't go into details, but now that the year is coming to a close and life is maybe just a wee bit brighter, I am getting fidgety to get some sort of makeover. Because I look like utter shit from neglecting myself. Anyway, I have very fine, thin hair that is very breakage prone. Some of it fell out this year due to all the stress; I don't think its permanent, but whats left has broken off so it looks thinner. I need a good trim for sure. Stylists always insist on a short cut for me because of my hair type but I simply can't do it, it would feel unnatural. Back when I was younger, I used to color my hair with Feria and it made it look thicker. (I havent colored my hair for at least six years.) Now, I worry it will add to damage. I was reading online that henna dye is actually good for hair? There were some women commenting that they also had fine, thin or breakage prone hair, and they were claiming that henna keeps the hair from breaking and, therefore, helps it to grow. I literally know nothing about henna, so any advice anyone on here can give me would be great! Is it really healthy? Can you still use heat styling tools with it? I worry I will try it and not like the outcome, so how hard is it to get rid of if this happens? What brand is best? I never knew anyone that used it, so have no reference point... Thank you!!!

posted by:
  • Hi Girl:

    I don't know a lot about henna for the hair, but it does coat it, so you wouldn't be able to color it the traditional way until the henna has grown out.

    There is cassia? I can't remember if it's the name of the henna or the name of product or the name of the company. I purchased it a LONG time ago thinking of using it, but it was LABOR INTENSIVE and I didn't get around to using it... yet. It has to sit out and "blossom" in a warm environment, etc.

    Something that I use is a demi-gloss. It has less than the average strength developer and it's a drop in, gently fade color. If you didn't like the color, it wouldn't be permanent and would wash away gently in approximately 12 washes or two weeks. It does lighten hair a bit because it has to lift the cuticle in order to drop in the color molecules for the tint.

    I rather like it because there have been times where I've gotten the color too dark and patchy. Also, this makes the hair really shiny. I use Redken Shades EQ, although I've noticed the line shrinking. I used to use the Matrix line, but they discontinued it, it was great.

    This is just my experience with another kind of color. I still have yet to take the henna plunge. I will/might some day.

    Good luck,

  • Girl:

    A lot of women have used henna and have been quite happy.

    The demi-gloss I get from a beauty supply store. If you shop at Sally's, an attendant there can explain to you how to get a demi- gloss color by cutting the percentage of the developer. I'd go lighter with the color because it's easier to go darker than it would be to go lighter once it's too dark.

    Do remember though, the demi-gloss does wash out... eventually, however after saying that, if you use henna, you will have to do touch ups as well where there is out growth.

    Good luck,

  • It has been many years since I've used henna, but my experience with it was not great. It dried my hair out and left it frizzier than before, and that was while I added some rich conditioner to the paste. Also, since it coats the hair, you will not be able to get a predictable color if you try to color over it, nor will you be able to do highlights or use a color remover- it'll be on there 'til the hair grows out and is cut off.

    I second the opinion of using a demi color. Shades EQ is great and doesn't damage the hair noticeably, and they still make some good reds. If you DIY, Clairol Natural Instincts and L'Oreal Healthy Look are pretty good, but their red shades are limited. Sally Beauty has a line called Ion Brilliance Demi Permanent that has several red shades, but I haven't used it. (I've used their Brights line for my colored streaks, and those are fine) Try to find one that takes 5 Volume peroxide and is ammonia-free.
  • Oh Margaret:

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience with henna.


    Personally, I didn't like the brilliant red color, but that's just my personality coming through. And like you said, you can't do any processing to hair and it is coated until it grows out. I'm not sure about curling, drying, flat ironing, etc. But no chemical processes unless you want some horrible reaction.

    The Ion brand can be diluted to make the developer less harsh, just for a demi gloss color and it lightens gradually, so "no one will notice" :-). I love the demi gloss. It makes my hair really shiny and it isn't as harsh. The Matrix brand was fabulous too. Too bad they got rid of it. Sales weren't very good on it, unfortunately, but they had it in clear too and it made your hair look like glass!

    As I said, go way lighter in the beginning because if you don't like the color, you can always go darker, but to go lighter from dark is not easy, but it does wash out, but not 100% depending on how dark you go. There will be a "stain" depending on your natural color and the darkness of the gloss you add. Eventually though, it does fade and wash out.

    Good luck and Margaret, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I have henna, but it's blonde, but recently, I have been doing the Keratin treatment. That probably isn't a good mix.

  • Margaret and Girl:

    Oops, I boo booed on the response. Some of the first paragraph was intended to agree with Margaret. My dogs are climbing on me. I think they need to go out.


    • Thanks to the both of you for the tips! I am going to try the demi gloss sometime soon, but am thinking I won't try the henna. It makes sense that it would dry the hair out since it is coating it, it would prevent conditioners from being absorbed, I would think. And that was the purpose for trying henna over chem dyes was because I thought it would make my very fragile hair healthier... Also, you guys kept mentioning red shades in henna I wasn't really looking for a strong red color or anything; I had in mind a medium to dark brown with enough red shimmer to not wash out my pale complexion. So after you guys mentioned it, I looked online for further info on the colors, and it does seem henna color is more unpredictable than chems but leans towards really strong reds, is that correct? Or maybe some brands of henna is better than others? I will try the demi gloss first and see if I like it and go from there. I have just been getting itchy to mess with my looks lol :)
  • I have a blond henna. I can go look next week to see where I got it from. The website has thumbnails of the shades. There is clear, I *think* too, but I'm not sure. The process seemed very tedious and if the shade didn't turn out correct (it looked kind of greenish while it "blossomed"), I'd be stuck and it coats the hair, etc.

    Since purchasing it, I've done keratin treatments, but mainly for the humid summers and not for winter time, however, after saying that, my hair is waist length and the growing out process would probably take FOREVER and I don't know know about keratin and henna. I must do research I think.

    Also, I've gotten a new laptop and I lost all the old saved faves (Windows verses Mac), so it's a pain in the you know what.

  • Girl:

    Look what I found:

    Clairol Nice n' Easy Weekly Color Seal Conditioning Gloss ($2.99,

    I believe it's similar to a demi-gloss. I have no idea about the quality or the colors, found it online.

    • I think I may have done something stupid... are you guys familiar with a conditioner called Hask Henna N'Placenta? I got it at Walgreens cuz I was curious and used it today. Thing is, I had planned on using the Redken demi gloss sometime this week to look spiffy for upcoming Christmas parties. Now am not sure if I can use the Redken after using the henna conditioner. Is it the same henna thats in the dye? Does this mean I have to let my hair grow out before dyeing it? Am nervous that my hair will all break off if I use the demigloss now :(
      • Shouldn't be a problem. Henna appears way down the ingredients list and there probably isn't very much in it. If you're concerned, wait a couple weeks until you've washed your hair several times.
  • Henna is permanent and has to grow out, demi-gloss fades gradually. You can dilute regular color. I'd go with LIGHT color with a lesser developer, but it requires math to cut the developer, but you'll be okay.

    Regular permanent color is 40% (hard to penetrate hair and some grey can go with 50%, but it's not really common, thick heavy hair), demi is 5% to 10% developer at the most.

    I am not familiar with what you purchased, but henna is permanent until it grows out. It coats the hair like un-penatrable glue with color in it.

    Can you return it and go to Sally's and purchase the smallest lowest percentage developer with a light color and then go darker if it's not dark enough? Demi-gloss washes out in approximately 12 washes or two weeks.

    Keep us updated and sorry I've been out of town or I'd have been here sooner,

  • OH, you USED it! Can't return it, unfortunately.

    Sorry, I didn't see that!

    • I remember once someone had used henna and was on and off and on medication, didn't mention it to the hairdresser; upon using a permanent hair dye, the area of hair that grew out took to the dye and the area that was expose to henna had a green yellow cast, but almost looked streaky due to when she was on and off medication....
      They tried to use peroxide to wash it out , but in the end after 4 hours the client ended up getting her cut as well.....
      It was a long day. And this hairdresser was a really good hairdresser, but the client just didn't think about telling the dresser about the henna since it was so long ago and didn't realize medication also could effect to process. One other time it was because the client was a swimmer & 5 months pregnant but wasn't showing, again the client did not know it would matter.....
      • Question for Azeeza:
        has the keratin worked for you? why only in the summer not winter? Is it labor intensive? I have been seeing sold here a lot just lately, so I have grown curious.....
  • Hi E.S.S.:

    Well, it's a kind of yes/no answer on the keratin. It works, but it doesn't last as long as it claims and it is labor intensive.

    I only use it in the summer months because it's humid where I live and my hair gets frizzy then. My hair is smooth in the winter months.

  • Hey Girl:

    How did the henna turn out?

    I saw that Demi-gloss and semi-gloss works differently.

    Semi is more mild and does't last as long as Demi, which lasts longer and I believe has a stronger developer.

    Both are not permanent and washes out after so many shampoos.

    I really like the Redken Shades EQ, however I've noticed the line is shrinking and may be discontinued some day as are all products these days, sadly.

    Do tell, inquiring minds want to know,

    • After doing more research, I decided against the henna. The online reviews were hit and miss, with some people complaining about the color being unpredictable, and it drying the hair out. I am going this week to a local beauty supply store that carries the Redken EQ line; if I use it I will post pix and let y'all know how it turned out. Thank you for checking in! :)
  • Girl:

    Remember to go lighter because you can always go darker later. Getting the color out is very difficult, but adding color is a lot easier.

    • Alrighty... the beauty supply store had the Redken EQ, but they wouldn't let me buy it; apparently you have to have a beautician's lincense. So, I got the Clairol Professional Premuim Creme demi permanent. There weren't pictures on the boxes, and the color swatches didn't look reliable, so I asked the clerk for help. I was undecided between dark golden blonde, light golden brown, or strawberry blonde, as my natural haircolor lies in between all three. She convinced me that those colors were way too dark to start off with, so I got meduim golden blonde, 7G, as well as their clear gloss. The color only gave my hair a faint orange tint. I shampooed a couple times with Prell and it seemed to tone it down, so now its not all that noticable I did something to my hair except for the slightly off color. It did make it shinier and added body. Has anyone used the Clairol? Back in the day of using permanent dye I always used Feria because it was so shimmery. Maybe Clairol is just an inferior product, I don't know. Am debating which shade to try next; the strawberry blonde looked fun, but I don't want another funky color.

      How can you buy the Redken EQ without a beautician's license?

      My new profile pic is the Clairol color, btw.
  • Girl:

    Your hair does look darker in your new photo. Is that what you want?

    I was under the assumption that you knew that you had to have a valid cosmetology license to purchase Shades EQ. I'm sorry that I didn't make that clear to you.

    Now that your hair is darker, you will have to wait for it to wash out to be lighter to get a lighter color in it is safely. There are other ways, but it would be more damaging.

    What color are you looking for exactly and what color(s) do you have on your hair currently? If you have virgin hair, that's the easiest color to match, but if you have a bizillion colors in your hair, it's not going to turn out the the way you want. You WILL be taking a chance and I'M NOT KIDDING.

    If you have a dark color added in your hair, there is no way on earth to get it out completely, and most times it turns out light pink and then you need a filler, which is difficult to find and the new color just doesn't stay.

    My recommendation is to ALWAYS GO LIGHT, and if you don't like it, go dark gradually. One step at a time. It costs more, but you can also mix some of the colors too, but GO EASY, MORE LIGHT THAN DARK and make sure they are in the same family of warm verses cool colors or you'll end up with a muddy mess and use a very light developer, 2 - 5%. I think you can dilute it with water, but I'll have to look at my books just to be sure.

    • I'm planning on going darker. I would like to end up a meduim-dark red or reddish brown. Back in the day, I had dark brown hair and it was too harsh for my pale complexion, so I was thinking some red shimmer might soften it. That'swhy I was thinking of trying the strawberry blonde next, it's lighter than I want to end up but has a wee bit of red in it.

      My hair was virgin before I used the Clairol medium golden blonde, I hadn't used dye in about two years.
    • Too bad you're not in L.A. there are several shops that are pretty lax about following the rules.

      Also, I bet you can buy it on Ebay; I've bought professional hair color there. Don't forget the Shades EQ developer.
  • What color is your hair now? It looks, orange in the photo? Is that correct?

    If you have a girlfriend you could go with a medium/dark auburn and add highlights to your hair (with a cap where you pull hair through, foils are too difficult to describe).

    But, DO A STRAND TEST BEHIND THE HEAD FIRST to see if you like the color first.

    You can always go darker and do your whole head on your own if you like a dark auburn color better.

    Personally, I like seeing color depth and I have ombre color hair, dark on top and lighter on the bottom, but that's me. And I go lighter in the summer and darker in the winter.

    Good luck and I hope it all turns out well this time around.

    • I've been using henna regularly for over 15 years. You have to condition right after rinsing it out to avoid the dryness and hold the color better. It fades a bit with regular washing, I dilute my shampoo with water which also saves money. I like the Surya brand, a liquid that's easy to apply.
  • OMG!! The hair on other parts of my body are growing, but I've not noticed the hair on my head getting any thicker. It could be that it's falling out faster than it's growing in, possibly. I don't like this phenomenon!!! :-(

    • actually, your hair on your head is growing, but probably very fine and hard to see.

      I had the same situation, and the doctor reminded me, if i stress out too much including over my hair, it would cause more shedding, she was right. So I took her advise which was hard to do, I just didn't look in the mirror as much, which helped and took those hair supplements every day and eat more protein, which I didn't care for but it is working. It grows back baby fine sometimes, sometimes thicker, but it does come back, My hair has grown back , fallen out again, grew back and fell out again,
      She also said if I found myself too stressed to rub/massage my scalp, which would calm my nerves and help stimulate hair growth. Some how I always tend to forget that one! And it really worked plus put me to sleep better since I did it when I got into bed...
      ; I dunno how many times now since the first time the problem started.. but I tell you each time, I still freak out!!!!
      I also told my hairdresser, he gave the bettie page hairdo, which meant no hassle styling, that helped a lot. But now with the ongoing cycle my hair, falling out and growing back; it has grown back wavy and to now it is really curly, it does make it look thicker, even though on some days with the humidity i look like I stuck my finger in an electric socket! I also take calcium with vitamen d as prescribed: it seemed with the cancer in my thyroid, it caused my hair to fall out. It seems anything effecting the thyroid not only causes weight problems but your hair to fall out...
      My friend was taking medication that effected her thyroid; she got the same problems, Finally after a year she could stop with the meds her hair grew back...

      I hope it all goes well for you and soon!
  • Oh, but the directions said that this isn't supposed to make the hair grow anywhere but on my head. Why are my leg hairs growing like crazy? Hair isn't supposed to be growing anywhere but on my head either. Another place I found a hair was on a mole that hadn't had a hair growing on it for over 15 years. I'll have to check my toes too. Everywhere, but my head. These were long too and I didn't see them the day before and I shave my legs daily! Am I going to have full facial hair tomorrow, like Santa Claus with dark hair? I'm worried.

  • I had my thyroid checked and it was fine.

    I'm sure I just spaced the leg hair growth and the hair on the mole, but it seemed so obvious. It's thick and long and there were three of them.



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