Natural products

My hair without henna

I’m an advocate for the use of henna (Body Art Quality Pure henna, that is) for my hair health. There are so many benefits that I have gotten from using it. The main reason I used henna was because I have very fine delicate strands and low to medium density hair. I needed something that will help my strands be stronger and I wanted that thickness that henna can help with. I like the colour and shine too.

Henna mix

My henna mix

I haven’t used henna in almost a year after previously using henna for approximately a year. I have noticed quite a few things about my hair without the use of henna and I wanted to highlight them:

  • My hair is shedding so much. It started after a few months of not using henna and used to shed a lot before I started using henna. Before my hair would break and shed a lot before using henna. Then reduced greatly when I started using it. My hair in the past few months is shedding excessively.
  • My hair tangles a lot at the roots. Actually it tangles all over probably because of the excessive shedding. It hardly tangled at the roots when I used henna though.
  • One reason I reduced then stopped using henna (besides the fact I can’t find pure henna in Harare anymore), is that my curl pattern was getting looser. I didn’t want my coils and curls to become straight, and that’s what seemed to be happening.
  • My hair is back to looking fine and thin, which I do not like at all.
  • My hair is back to being fragile, and I’m experience split ends more often now.
  • I miss the red shimmer my hair has in the sun.

This is just what I’ve noticed especially in the last few months.

I plan on starting to use henna again starting next month. I’ll probably use it every 3 months, then decrease to once in 6 months, since I don’t want to lose my coil pattern.

Categories: Henna, My hair, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Full Henna Treatment process too tedious? Try a henna gloss treatment….

 I know of quite a few people, who want to try henna but are scared of starting off with the full henna treatment.

Some reasons are:

  • I don’t want bright red or any red colour, I just want the conditioning properties
  • I like my curl pattern and I don’t want henna to ruin my natural curl pattern
  • I heard it can make my hair dry and brittle
  • The process is too long and tedious
  • I just want the strengthening effects of henna, not anything else

 For people like this, I recommend a henna gloss or variations of the henna gloss treatment. I do this when I don’t have much time and I don’t have the energy to spend a long time washing out henna from my hair. I also use it when I want both moisture and strengthening. Its very simple, but since it’s kept in for four hours, the strengthening effects and dye release will be less than in a full henna treatment.

 

This what I do:

My henna treatment has the same ingredients and I use the same materials from my full henna treatment. The process is also the same except:

I add a light silicone free conditioner, I usually use Tressemme Naturals silicone free conditioner, instead of water.

I don’t let the dye release, I mix the ingredients, then use it after about 30minutes.

I keep it in my hair for about 4 hours without heat.

 

Afterwards, my hair is always soft, shiny and with some strengthening.

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My Henna Story: Part 2 – My Full Henna Treatment

 My full strength henna treatment

I just want to emphasise that before putting henna on the whole head of hair, TEST THE HAIR FIRST! Take shed hair strands from a hair comb, and place the hair in some henna. Check after a few hours, then after a day on the condition of the hair. If it is favourable, go ahead…

This might seem like a really long and complicated process at first, but after the first few times, it becomes easier and simpler. Basically I prepare my mixture and detangle and moisturise my hair a day before. Then the next day at night, I apply the henna on to my hair, go to sleep then wake up in the morning and wash it out.

 Ingredients for my henna mix for my medium density neck length hair

Ingredients

Ingredients

100g of pure good quality henna ( for thicker and longer hair, more should be used) – Body Art Quality (BAQ) is recommended

3 teabags of green tea (any other acidic liquid can be used, such as lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, black tea, etc I use green tea because it is the least harsh)

2 tablespoons of pure honey

2 cups of water

Products used after henna application

Organic Root Stimulator replenishing conditioner (or deep moisturising conditioner of your choice)

Leave – in conditioner

Olive/Castor oil (or any other oil or cream of your choice)

Recommended materials

All these materials will most likely get stained, so it’s best to use things you don’t really need for anything else.

Materials and after henna products

Materials and after henna products

Gloves

Old newspapers or towels

Glass bowl or tupperware container (I use a lunchbox container)

Spoon to mix

 Shower cap and/or plastic bag 

Head scarf

Optional: micro heat cap or hooded dryer Mixing it up ( about 1 hour to prepare)

Preparation (about 1 hour to prepare and 12 hours to allow for dye release)

Henna mix

Henna mix

1. Bring the two cups of water to the boil

2. Add the green tea to the water and let it cool

3. Put the henna powder in the bowl/container and slowly add the tea mixture to the powder until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes

4. Cover it with a lid or foil paper, and let it sit for about 12 hours, so the dye releases

5. About 30mins before putting it on the hair, add the honey and mix it. The mixture should have smooth consistency but not runny

Applying it to the hair (30 minutes)

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1. Make sure hair is detangled, hair can be damp or dry (I do it on dry hair)

2. Part workable hair sections with clips or by sectioning then making twists

3. With the bathroom floor covered in newspapers or used towels, and gloves on, choose a section to work with ( I start from the back)

4. Using the gloves, plaster the henna mixture on the section in a plopping motion, not rubbing it in. Be generous, and try to make sure all the hair has henna on it

5. Repeat with all the sections

6. When the whole head of hair is covered in henna, put on the plastic bag or shower cap (I use two), then put on a scarf over it.

After henna application (4- 8 hours to allow henna to marinate, then about an hour to wash out)

Plastic and scarf for the night

Plastic and scarf for the night

1. To allow your hair to let the henna penetrate, wait about 6-8 hours before washing it out. I simply I go to sleep with it, then wake up and wash it out. Alternatively, to shorten the time for soaking up, a heat source such as a heat cap or hooded dryer can be used and the henna can be washed out after 4 hours.

2. After this, the henna can be washed out. This can be done by dunking the head in the bathtub or large dish of water (remember henna stains though) to get most of the henna out. Then to ensure all of it is out, you can run water over your hair in the shower. A slippery conditioner can be used to wash out the henna. It will basically feel like you are washing out dried mud from your hair (my least favourite part about using henna)

3. When the hair is free of henna, apply the moisturising deep treatment and let it sit for at least 30 minutes

4. Wash it out, dry and style as usual

Just after washing out the henna

Just after washing out the henna

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Categories: Henna, My hair, Natural products | Tags: , | 11 Comments

More on henna

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about henna, so I’ve done a post on henna in general that hopefully will assist and answer your questions.

English: Mehndi or Henna Lawsonia inermis in H...

English: Mehndi or Henna Lawsonia inermis in Hyderabad , India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it?

Henna is a plant lawsonia inermis, that grows as a large bush or small tree. It is not a chemical but dried, powdered plant leaves.

 

What is the history of its use?

There is evidence that henna has been used for centuries in Egypt and Jericho as a hair dye and conditioner. It has also been used to decorate the skin in Arabic countries and India. It was used in parts of Europe from the 1800s as a natural hair dye.

Presently it is used mainly in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Source: Tumblr

Source: Tumblr

  What colour is henna?

There is only one colour that henna comes in. As a powder it’s a brown green colour, when mixed with an acid, it releases a reddish brown or orange colour. The deeper the orange the more dye content.

 

I saw brunette/black/ blonde henna, is this still henna?

Synthetic dyes, metallic salts and other chemicals are added to henna to produce commercial boxed ‘henna’. This is not the same as pure henna. Real henna is 100% ‘Body Art Quality’ henna. There is no such thing as ‘black henna’ or ‘strawberry henna’.

 

How does henna dye the hair?

Lawsone in henna binds to the keratin in hair and the hair will shimmer red when the light bounces off the lawsone molecules in the hair. The colour is a reflection of the natural hair colour and the lawsone molecules.

hennafor hair

Is the colour change obvious?

The henna dye is translucent and it depends on the hair being dyed. A natural blonde head of hair, will most likely show an immediate colour change to orange/red hair. A brunette to auburn. Those with black hair, it will show a translucent red in certain lighting and sometimes highlights. Henna blends with the natural hair colour, and to each individual hair strand and becomes more obvious with repeat use. It is a great way to hide grey hair strands.

 

Is it permanent

The henna dye particles bind strongly to the hair strand and with several applications more dye binds to the strands. It is therefore considered permanent since it cannot be washed out.

 

Can it be used in relaxed/dyed/ texturised / damaged hair?

Although it is stated that only BAQ henna can be used on relaxed hair, it is not recommended to use henna on relaxed or chemically texturised hair. It is safest to use on natural hair, even if it is damaged.

 

Is the hennaing process time consuming?

It is time consuming. From preparation, to applying it to washing it out. It is also very messy but the conditioning effects are worth it

 

If there are any other questions, you are welcome to ask.

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My Henna Story: Part 1

Henna for me was a game changer.

 

I have known about henna as a dye used to decorate skin from my school days. I would see my Indian school mates coming to school with the pretty henna tattoos and I would excitedly get my own hands done. I remember vaguely too that they used it to dye their hair naturally.

Women with henna tattoos on their hands Source: Tumblr

Women with henna tattoos on their hands
Source: Tumblr

 So when I, with my extremely damaged head of fine flyaway hair, heard about henna being a great hair treatment for damaged and fine hair, I quickly jumped on the bandwagon. I immediately went and bought a hair dye that had the word henna on it, but it was ‘black henna’ from the Indian grocer since I didn’t really want to have red hair at the time.  I went home and mixed it, looked at it and thankfully felt uneasy enough to go research more.

 

Firstly, any henna that is not a brownish/greenish powder and when mixed is not a greenish/brownish colour, is not natural henna. Whatever it is, might actually cause you more harm than good because it is just a hair dye not henna. Plus the chemicals in those ‘henna dyes’ might be dangerous.

To apply it on the hair; Henna powder is mixed...

To apply it on the hair; Henna powder is mixed with water and then applied on the hair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Second, to do any treatment on your hair, especially henna, make sure you do your RESEARCH! When doing a henna treatment, one needs to be fully informed on the process.

 

So back to my story, I researched more. I got the Henna for Hair book by Catherine Cartwright-Jones (it’s online for free) and I read blog articles on the process. I made sure I was aware of the pros and cons. I was a little worried about the red dye effect, the messy process of applying it and the possibility of losing my curl pattern. Nonetheless I took the plunge. I started off intensely, by doing full henna treatments every week for four weeks, then once a month for about 6 months, now I do full treatments about every 3 months. I do a henna gloss when needed (I’ll explain all these terms in my next post).

 

Immediately after my first treatment, although I didn’t see a difference, no red colour and no change in my curls, praise God, my hair stopped breaking immediately. After about four applications, my hair indoors was a shiny dark black and under certain lights, had a red gloss to it, like highlights. I absolutely loved it. Even to this day, my curl pattern hasn’t changed, my hair is stronger, is shiny and best of all my strands are thicker.

 

The best thing about the henna treatments is that all the ingredients are natural and therefore very cheap.

 

I will explain my henna gloss and full henna treatments in the Part 2.

Categories: Henna, My hair | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Four Ways to Reduce Excessive Hair Shedding

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My hair shedding issues are non-issues finally! My hair is still shedding but I believe it’s now at a normal rate. This is all thanks to a tedious garlic paste,  aloe vera juice and black tea rinse that I did, along with my usual healthy regimen. So I decided to blog about my findings and experiences:

 

  1. Scalp massage

I just started focusing on massaging my scalp, it feels good and hopefully my scalp and hair strands agree. Rubbing of the scalp with your fingertips to activate the sebaceous glands and increase blood circulation in the scalp promotes hair growth and lengthens the anagen phase (the active growth phase). This has to be done daily to see results.

  • You can massage using an essential oil mix. Some essential oils contain healing cell regeneration properties that help penetrate the cortex to repair damaged follicles and stimulate hair growth.  Effective essential oils to use are a few drops (2-3 drops) of rosemary, thyme, tea tree, cedarwood or lavender in a base oil such as coconut, olive, almond, castor or jojoba oil. To store the oil mixture, place in a dark bottle and put in a dark cool place.
  • You can also just use a good basic oil to massage but beware of buildup since oil is being placed directly on the scalp
  • A good mixture is two parts coconut oil, one part amla oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Another good moisturising mix is 4 tablespoons each of honey and olive oil , with a little cinnamon powder

 

2. Hair Rinses

  • Steep some rosemary leaves in water, when it cools down use it as a rinse during wash
  • Boil some water and put about three black tea bags, let it cool and use it as a rinse
  • Coconut milk is a great  tissue-nourishing plant derivative, use it in your wash
  • Wheatgrass Juice, one of the most effective remedies against hair fall or Aloe Vera Juice which is similar, can be used as a rinse or in a hair spritz.

 

3. Hair Pastes

  • Garlic paste – truthfully I was not looking forward to trying this out as a remedy. I was afraid of that overpowering garlic smell but I did it anyway. It’s easy to prepare, just crush a few cloves  of garlic, add it into an oil, then put the paste on your scalp. I kept it in for about thirty minutes, then washed it out. The smell dissipated after my wash, thankfully.
  • Using Ayurvedic Powders such as Brahmi – Add brahmi powder to water to make a paste, add it to damp unwashed hair, cover your hair and sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse, shampoo and style as usual.

 

4. Healthy Eating

I believe the most important remedy is the one that works from the inside. Make sure you are getting your essential nutrients and eat more seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables and foods with calcium, protein, iron, vitamin c, b complex vitamins and vitamin E.

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Exfoliating the scalp…. Just thinking…..

 

stock-vector-crying-baby-girl-crying-small-child-vector-cartoon-illustration-of-cute-crying-baby-girl-51856987I’ve been thinking about my scalp lately. Most of my hair regimen is focused on my hair strands, my scalp not so much. When I’m clarifying and shampooing maybe, but not much.

One practice that has been done by many women here is kukwenyurwa musoro. I remember as a child I used to dread having this done, even more than having my hair combed. It’s basically getting a comb then rubbing, actually lightly scratching the scalp, removing dandruff and flakes. It’s simply exfoliation. I have always wondered though, if it was necessary or if the process didn’t actually harm the scalp. It does hurt depending on how sensitive your scalp is. I always hated it since I’m tender headed.

When you think about it though, we do exfoliate our face, hands and feet, so surely our scalps need to be exfoliated to remove the dead skin cells. Plus, massaging the scalp is beneficial in that it increases circulation in the scalp, possibly decreasing shedding and stimulating hair growth.

Our scalp needs some TLC too, especially with all the products and accumulation of dirt that go on it. Itchiness, dandruff, dryness and flakiness can all be aided with some gentle exfoliation.

I decided to consider less painful alternatives to exfoliate the scalp, probably before I co-wash my hair, so I can wash it out.

I saw the Organic Root Stimulator Scalp Scrub in the pharmacy the other day but I’m considering doing a DIY scrub instead:

  1. Brown sugar and extra virgin olive oil scrub – I would mix 1 tablespoon sugar to 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Brown sugar, honey and lemon – the honey has powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and lemon clarifies. A good mix is 1 teaspoon sugar, half a teaspoon honey and a few drops of lemon.
  3. Oatmeal and extra virgin olive oil/water scrub – mix oatmeal and oil or water to make a paste.

Do you exfoliate your scalp?

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