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better grooming through chemistry - when you don't know what to do... — LiveJournal
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better grooming through chemistry
So for a while I'd thought that I couldn't use henna on my hair because it's been chemically colored. Then I joined the longhair community, and read a post about using body art quality henna to color chemically treated hair. Apparently it isn't the henna that reacts badly with the chemicals on the hair shaft, it's the metallic salts that are sometimes mixed with henna that isn't meant to be used for body art (mehendi).

That information lead me to hennaforhair.com. There's lots of great info there about how to apply henna to your hair, different mixes/recipes people use to achieve different colors, and most important to me, how to cover grey. I'm pored over those pages for hours, and finally decided that I want to try a 50/50 mix of indigo and henna, with some cloves added for warmth (and because I like the smell).

The owner of the page also sells henna, indigo, and other herbs for use on hair. She sends out samples of her wares for $1 a packet to cover shipping. I ordered henna, indigo, and cloves. I also ordered some Cassia obovata, also known as senna or neutral henna. It's just supposed to condition hair and make it shiny. I'm not doing anything with it at the moment; I want to see how the henna works out.

I mixed all three packets together about an hour ago, and mixed it with two tablespoons plus a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV), plus one tablespoon of water to make a paste the consistency of toothpaste. I may have used a bit too much ACV. We'll have to see how the dye strikes. It needs the acid from the vinegar to work its magic.

I just dashed out to the kitchen to see if the dye has released yet. No movement yet; I'm hoping it's warm enough on the stove near the pilot light to release the dye without cooking it. I'm thinking it might take three more hours or so at least, and then I'm going to test it on hair I've pulled out of my hair brush. I should have more data tomorrow.

i feel: curious curious

9 trips or shoot the rapids
emmacrew From: emmacrew Date: December 2nd, 2006 09:01 am (UTC) (base camp)
I think it further depends on the nature of the chemical coloring (i.e. stuff like Manic Panic, which is effectively acid dye for hair, plays OK). But you've got the best resource right there from the hennapage folks.

I've used the "caca marron" henna from Lush, it's henna, indigo, coffee, clove, lemon... and some stuff to hold it together. It makes for some really silky hair in a pretty color. I'm overdue.
tashabear From: tashabear Date: December 2nd, 2006 09:11 am (UTC) (base camp)
Their forum isn't nutty about the Lush stuff, because it's pre-mixed. One of their concern is that with the lemon added, the henna will have already released and died in the brick. That being said, if it works for you, yay! It's still got to be better than slathering your head with chemicals, which I no longer wish to do. Even at $30-60 for materials (though I think I'll just buy a big bottle of cloves at BJs), it's still cheaper than going to the hairdresser.
emmacrew From: emmacrew Date: December 2nd, 2006 09:27 am (UTC) (base camp)
Yeah, the pre-mixing probably isn't super-ideal, though it's possible the cocoa butter acts as a buffer between the acid and the henna? At any rate, I don't want a HUGE color change, it does enough to add a pleasant auburn tint, it's easy for me to get hold of and it smells pretty good. If I get more serious about it I'll probably switch to mixing my own someday, because it would feel mad-sciencey!
tashabear From: tashabear Date: December 2nd, 2006 09:41 am (UTC) (base camp)
That's one of the reasons why I did the write-up and took pics -- it'll be like a lab notebook. :-)
emmacrew From: emmacrew Date: December 2nd, 2006 09:08 am (UTC) (base camp)
Another cool tidbit: C C-J, who owns that page, has a couple of knitting books, too... Enchanted Knitting.
tashabear From: tashabear Date: December 2nd, 2006 09:15 am (UTC) (base camp)
How very cool!
cymrullewes From: cymrullewes Date: December 4th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC) (base camp)
I'm vaguely amused that it is from Stow, OH after driving past Stow, MA and being reminded of all of the towns in New England with common names: Hudson, Concord, Bedford...
tashabear From: tashabear Date: December 4th, 2006 11:53 am (UTC) (base camp)
The irony was not lost on me, especially since Stow is right next to the town I grew up in. :-)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: December 4th, 2006 11:53 am (UTC) (base camp)
Stow, MA, that is.
9 trips or shoot the rapids