Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

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sagefire
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Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

I'm so distraught. I hennaed my hair back in May, and have been touching up my roots with the same mixture ever since. When I first did it, my hair was pretty tangled when wet and I thought, well, I'll just have to get used to it. But ever since I've touched up my roots (did so again yesterday), it keeps getting worse and worse. It's like a wet, sad, tangled rat's nest!!! It makes me want to cry. It feels terrible. My scalp is even itchy after, and my hair is falling out as I try to get a brush through it (when it's dry).

I've read some posts on here, and tried several times to leave an oil mix (coconut, olive, avocado, almond, grape seed oils etc.) over night on my hair with very little results. I've tried Apple Cidar vinegar mixes, leave in conditioners, hair creme...my hair is a mess! Nothing is working. I'm so distraught as I've said before. I'm so embarrassed to go to the salon to get a much needed trim because I just know they will be critical, and damage my hair more by trying to brush it, and try to put all sorts of chemicals in it to fix it.

What do I do?! This morning I was ready to cut it all off because I was damaging it more just trying to brush it. This was AFTER I rinsed out my oil treatment.

I don't want to give up hennaing. I don't want to go back to chemical dyes. I'm just stumped at the culprit and want to avoid this again because I'm about ready to make another batch, in fact. What should I do to mix it this time? Last time I did a 3:4 alma/henna mix and about 20% lemon juice. I even put several tbs of coconut oil and manuka (tea tree) honey in there.

Here was my mixture:

  • 400g of henna
  • 100g of amla
  • 3 tbsp manuka, organic honey
  • 2 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 20 drops of orange oil
  • 80g of lemon juice
  • 1tbsp clove powder
  • cold, bottled/filtered water as needed

What do I do to fix my hair now, and what do I mix my next henna batch with? Did the Alma affect my final color result?

PS - I'm trying to grow my hair long for my wedding in May. I want beautiful long, soft, shiny, hennaed hair for my big day :( I'm so sad. Please help.

alexia2007
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Hi there!

I'm not an expert, but your mix is almost identical to mine, however my results are completely opposite. And I said almost because mine doesn't include the lemon juice or the orange oil.  By your description, I believe your hair and scalp are having a bad reaction to too much acid.  Amla by itself is very acidic.

Also, make sure you're using BAQ Henna from a reputable vendor, because that also makes a difference.

I'm sure the experts will give you a lot of advice, but please don't give up on Henna.  It really make wonders to your hair.

ACWN
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

It is a sad, but rare fact that some people's hair strongly disagrees with henna and other plant dyes. We often hear of this more so with cassia, but sometimes it happens with henna. Instead of making the hair stronger and conditioned, it results in a dry, brittle and tangled mess...

 

Unfortunately, I dont know of any way to fix it. The only thing I can suggest is making your mix simple (you have a lot of unneeded ingredients in your mix..)

 

Cut back on the acid. Lemon juice and amla makes for a very acidic mix, which could be causing your problem. Try something simple... Use just amla as your acid, or use something drastically less acidic like tea. Remove to honey, coconut oil, and orange oil. Cloves are fine, but add them after dye release.

 

However, if your hair is a tangled mess, even after all those oil treatments... I dont know that doing henna again is going to help any. I'm sorry... these are the only answers that I have for you, but I know they dont help much..

Carrie
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Agree that using amla and lemon juice could be more acid than your hair likes. Also agree that there are some people whose hair just doesn't respond well to henna, which is why strand testing is necessary before committing all your hair to henna. Possibly your hair would do much better with a minimal acid, or even a NO-acid mix (just water) in future.

Was your hair damaged before you used the henna/amla mix?  Sometimes damaged hair responds especially poorly to an acidic mix.

Do you use regular liquid shampoo on your hair, and did you use it when rinsing out the henna?  Many people try to avoid shampoos and use instead baking soda/vinegar or conditioner-only, but after henna sometimes that won't get rid of the crunchies. Often hennaed hair will be tangly until you do use shampoo. You can follow that with conditioner if you like, or a dilute ACV rinse.

I'm inclined to suggest that you try clarifying your hair at this point. If it's tangly after that, use diluted (1 part vinegar to 8 parts water) apple cider vinegar as a rinse.

Sometimes you can get dry, hard, tangly hair from too much protein buildup from treatments (and henna isn't one, but it acts like one since it binds with keratin to strengthen hair) and/or too much conditioning or styling products. Coconut oil can also make hair crunchy feeling, and I've heard that honey can as well. Clarifying, in this case, will let you start over and begin to judiciously add things back into your regimen so you can see if they are helping or hurting the situation.

Rosetta
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Of course it might be a reaction to henna, but to me it seems likely that it's at least partly caused by all that acid; 20% lemon juice is a lot (plus you also had amla)! Lemon juice is very drying, even in much smaller amounts. I know that on this site many use it, but e.g. on Long Hair Community not many do and most recommend against it, using some kind of tea (e.g. chamomile) instead in their mix.

Heather2
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

 Hello sagefire. I can sympathise with what you are saying. I have found that after washing my hennaed hair I also have tangles and waves. I  use serum after shampooing it really does help. And I'd second what you've been told about the acid. I used to use lemon juice, however, I find that I get great colour from just mixing my henna with water. Good luck. Don't give up just yet.

xyz
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Sagefire--dump the lemon and citric juices all together, all the oils and spices, and simplify your recipe to the bare minimum.  Choose one of these

  • henna dye released with room temperature apple juice OR
  • henna dye-released with room temperature chamomile tea OR
  • henna dye-released with amla (25 grams of amla to 100 grams of henna) and room temperature water, but only if you like what amla does for you

If I had to choose, I'd go with either the apple juice or the tea.  Amla can be a bit astringent or "stripping" and not the best choice if your hair tends to be on the dry side and easy to tangle. 

Do not put honey, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, oils, terps, fragances, extracts, eggs, yogurt, wine or anything else in your paste.  Too much of a good thing (things, in this case) can be very bad in the long run. 

sagefire
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Thanks to everyone who replied! I am so grateful and relieved that there is some hope out there when I start to redo my mix. I will definitely take all of your wise tips and suggestions into consideration! Agreed, less is more. I guess I was way overzealous with my first time hennaing. I will skip all the lemon juice - for sure! - and cut the oils and honey for next time. 

I can't tell if because of my hair state the way it is, if alma really did anything for me - which originally was to help keep any curls I may have lost with years of chemical dying from going away. I may opt this time to try just apple juice or tea and maybe a lot less alma.

Would any of you suggest I put conditioner in my mix?

I have some good news to report, too.

But first, in answer to some questions raised: I was and am using very mild, organic, all natural (no SLS, no parabens) shampoos and conditioners. I did shampoo after hennaing, and I did do a test strand before committing my whole head, however, there was really no way to tell from my glopped up test strand that it would affect my hair in this way. I don't think my hair was any more damaged that anyone elses. I had a few flyaways and split ends, but all in all, pretty tame and healthy.

I also used the clove powder after dye release. I will be using that again as I found it gives a more pleasing scent.

I also definitely used BAQ Henna (from this site, actually), and I frequently attempted ACV rinses to no avail. I even tried the lavendar conditioner, which sadly, did not do anything for me. Smells nice, though. So, all in all, I think I was doing everything right. I think the one thing I did wrong was use too much acid in my mix like everyone suspects.

Now for my good news - I recently tried a specially pH balanced conditioner from Avalon called Tea Tree and Rosemary and it has worked MIRACLES! For the first time since hennaing, my hair is, in just ONE wash, smooth and shiny and soft again. I can comb through (gently) when wet. And I didn't have to revert to chemical-laden products. I am one happy girl. I noticed it right away when I was rinsing it out. It was that fast.

So, because of it's unique pH levels, and the results I got in just one wash, I am convinced the acid has something to do with the tangled, brittleness I was experiencing. Not sure why ACV didn't help though??

So if any of you out there are experiencing what I went through and have that rare henna affinity like I did, give this tea tree stuff a try and let me know if it worked for you, too! Not to be a commercial for that product on your forum, but if it can help others in any way and continue to support henna, then I think it can be a good thing.

Thanks all!

ACWN
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Glad to hear you found something that helps! Thats awesome.

 

As far as putting conditioner in your henna, you can.. but remember that its going to dilute the mix, and if you have any stubborn grays, its not recommended. If you dont and you want to try it, I recommend replacing the liquid used to smooth your paste out after dye release with conditioner... you wont be diluting it that way.

sagefire
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

ACWN - Will adding the conditioner do anything bad or hinder the henna from depositing dye on my hair? What would the advantage be, if anything?

here's what I was thinking: I would add my new miracle conditioner to my old mix since I still have some of the original mix left, and don't want to throw it away. I have about 1 1/2cups left of the old mix and so I was thinking I would mix a little of the old with a lot of just fresh henna - nothing else since I apparently have PLENTY of acid in my old mix, and then after dye release, mix it with the conditioner instead of the filtered water. Can the new henna still get dye release with old, frozen henna mix?

If I do a whole new application throughout my hair, do you think I'll be OK? I have a few grays, but none very stubborn. I will strand test of course, but like before, I couldn't really tell that it made the strand hair all tangled or not.

On another note, out of curiosity, have you ever mixed henna with hydrogen peroxide? I wonder what this would do to already hennaed hair or when applying more henna. I'm trying to see if I can get a lighter more orange color without the fuss of separate proccesses when root dying. My hair is just a touch too dark to ever hope for achieving this with just henna.

Thanks as always

ACWN
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

Conditioner can inhibit dye uptake with stubborn grays. Too much conditioner will dilute a mix (gloss). The advantage, for me any way, is that its a bit easier to put in and it goes through the nozzle of a squeeze bottle easier. Rinses out a little easier too.

 

Mixing straight powder with dye released henna isnt going to cause dye release, I dont think. I could be wrong, but I think you need an actual liquid to induce the dye release - its like making tea from tea leaves. You're better off making a very neutral mix (with tea, for example, or even just water), then mixing it smooth with conditioner and then combining old with new. Again, I could be wrong, but I think mixing a neutral mix with a very acidic mix should level it out to something much more gentle with the acidic mix keeping the neutral one from demising too quickly - but I'm guessing on this, I could be very wrong.

 

I would not mix henna with peroxide, its not going to lighten the resulting color. Peroxide on your hair is only going to undo the good that conditioner did - it dries the hair out without doing much (if anything) to the color.

 

If you want a lighter color, you're going to have to start with a lighter base, which means you would HAVE to lighten your roots each time before you apply the henna. Been there, done it, its a pain.

sagefire
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

 What you say makes a lot of sense. I will mix my new henna separately and be very ginger with how much of the old I add. I think mixing everything up with conditioner will be my best bet to combat the harsh original mix plus any new acid I bring to the table. At the same time, diluting it with conditioner will minimize how much henna on my hair and making me much darker than I'd like. If I go this route, I will at least know I'll have dye release with both mixes as opposed to trying to achieve dye release with old acid.

Maybe I should get your suggestions on the kind of conditioner to use. Thinking about the pH levels of mine, I don't want it to adversely affect anything and take a chance.

Thank you on your thoughts about the peroxide. Ugh. Guess there's no way of going around it. Thought I could take a short cut. ha.

curlyjen
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

 Hey sagefire, it seems like you already have things straightened out, but i am curious, because i had the same problem with super crunchy feeling dry hair after henna-every time i washed for a while, and found that even tho i was being good-i thought, by using non sls, paraben free, cone free shampoos and condishes, some of those "healthier" shampoos were the problem.  they made my hennaed hair feel so dry and stripped in one application.  the minute i tried my good old cheap garnier fructise volumizing shampoo-my hair was happier.  i still followed that with my healthier conditioners-like it sounds you are doing.  i know we aren't supposed to do product names here, but like you said, it could further the purpose of helping us with our henna-so my abolute best defense after henna has been "yes to carrots" conditioner from walgreens.  it is awesome-just a little bit makes my hair suddenly go from dry to slippery/silky.  good luck to you!  i wan to try your ph condish too:)

sagefire
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

 Curlyjen - I was actually using Yes to Carrots before and after Hennaing, and I think that was actually part of my problem, unfortunately. Loved the product before my hennaing disaster. But after it was not good for me. I know what you're saying about the "traditional" albeit, chemically cond/shamp...When I wasn't seeing any true results from YTC, I switched to Pantene or whatever, hoping this could help undo the damage, and although it was smidge better, it still was pretty unbearable. It wasn't until I switched to the pH balanced Avalon conditioner product, did it get any better. BTW, since a couple of weeks of using it, my hair is only getting better and better. I think I saved myself from further damaged hair. So I can say, it truly does work from my personal stand-point and what I was experiencing. As you'll read time and time again on this forum, every mix of henna is different, everyone's hair is different, etc. but this truly worked for me. Maybe the pH is more alkaline than acidic and since my hair was acidically fried, it needed a strongly opposite composition.

All I knew when I first got the product was that Tea Tree oil has miraculous healing properties of the scalp and skin, and it does! I also read that it can help achieve over-active oil production on the scalp and eventually help reduce the frequency you need to shampoo. I hope that much is true for me, too, since I have to wash daily and is only adding to my damage and dryness woes. I haven't quite built up the courage to go the route of "no-poo" BS/ACV yet, and may never have to if this Tea Tree conditioner steps up.

KimberlyD
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Re: Help! Hair damaged after Henna/Alma mix! Not getting better!

I had similar problem with tangled hair after I wash.  This was before the henna.  I did some research and discovered that the ph of my hair was off.

I bought the apple gee which is designed to get the ph balance back in my hair.  That worked for me ... after one use I was able to wash my hair and run a comb through.  It also stop breaking.

 

The itchy scalp is coming from .. most likely coming from the ph being off.  By a ph strip to test you hair product you use and make sure the acidity is close to 4.5 as possible.  Also make sure to use the entire line shampoo and conditioner of the same brand.

Hope this helps .. I am pretty sure that is the problem with the tangled hair issue.

 

Kim

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