Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

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Alligator
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Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Hi,

I have black hair, with less than 10% gray, mostly near forehead, but some on top and more underneath. In the past, I used to have my black hair commercially highlighted w dark auburn. Now that I have gray, is it possible to smehow do this?

(I realize that henna alone will make the gray reddish, but I want to have it look like actual highlights, and not random strands of reddish. Currently I dont have enough gray for it to look like highlight sections).

(Currently I have Logona "Black" - a henna/indigo dye.) So I have 2 things I want to do:

1) Cover my gray .

AND

2) Highlight my hair (I've only had this done w commercial hair color in the past, which I want to avoid obviously)

Is it possible to do both, perhaps in a 2 step process w different henna mixtures?

My guess is that if I want to highlight my hair w henna, I first have to do some arduous natural lightening process on my black hair with lemon in the sun or something (I really want to avoid any chemicals, for health reasons). And then use henna. If so, which kind? 

And if I do this, should I first cover my gray with the all-over Logona "Black" mixture (which they advise mixing with boiling coffee, plus vinegar). And then do some sort of lightening some section for highlights, followed by a purely henna mix on these sections? If I do this, wont I just undo some of the darkening I just did?

Very confused. Thanks!

Carrie
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

The natural methods of lightening (either lemon juice + sunshine, which will damage your hair more or less, or honey + distilled water which doesn't damage hair) are slow and subtle, and it would be difficult to lighten just your sections/chunks (it sounds like you want streaks of red hair in your black, right?) because typically you have to do this multiple times over a period of days or weeks, and you'd have to try to find the same section you worked on last time but the color difference wouldn't be very noticeable at all, the first few times.

If you wanted to lighten your hair all over, not isolated sections, then using either one of those methods will work easily but it will take time and repeated treatments.

You said you want to avoid chemicals ... the reason the honey + water method works is that it produces peroxide, like the peroxide that comes in a bottle at the beauty supply store. In the bottle, it's stronger so it works faster, making your desired streaks more easily achievable in a single sitting. If you want to avoid exposing your skin to peroxide, you can use a highlighting cap so only the hair gets the peroxide exposure, not your skin.

Whichever lightening method you use, I would suggest you use only henna on your hair, not henna/indigo, because indigoed hair that is bleached (and that's what you're doing, even if you just use lemon juice) turns greenish.

Jen
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

You may not need to lighten at all to get a nice effect. I have dark brown hair with about 10% gray. I use just henna alone and get nice auburn highlights where my grays are. I'm lucky enough to have my grays nicely spread over my head though.

Lavendark
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

So, Alligator wouldn't be able to lighten at all with anything because of the indigo in the original application, right? It would turn greenish no matter what? Guess the only option would be straight henna then for highlights. I sort of thought the natural method of lightening (honey + water) wouldn't result in green over a hendigo. Glad I didn't try this!

ACWN
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Something slow and easily controled such as honey lightening is usable with indigo in your hair because it is so gradual that its unlikely to turn it green right away. However, its best to strand test first.

Carrie
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

If you've just used a hendigo mix that's not mostly indigo (and I would guess the Logona black would be mostly indigo) you can do the gentle lightening with lemon or honey/water without much worry of seeing green. It's so gradual you'll probably see it coming. I probably wouldn't chance it using peroxide, though, since that works faster and you won't see it coming.

But when you've used enough indigo to get black, and you intend to bleach it enough that henna will give you red, that much lightening will reveal the green of indigo.

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Thanks everyone for the quick replies! What a great forum this is! I would be walking around with green highlights if I hadn't found you guys.

So it sounds like my best option is to first do the lightening; then do the henna. And to forget about the hendigo for now. Does honey/water also need sunlight like lemon?

Now I'll do some more research about what I can add to my henna.  I may have further qs..

Meanwhile, another Q about hendigo. If I do the above, then say 2 months from now decide to do the hendigo (ie hendigo at some point after lightening and henna) will the green thing still happen?

Thanks!

Carrie
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Using hendigo *after* bleaching and hennaing is not a problem. Only a problem if you bleach indigoed hair.

Honey/water does not need sunlight but please go read the instructions at the Long Hair Community forum, they are pretty precise for getting any results at all:

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=148

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Great! I have some honey on my head right now, doing some test areas.

The longhaircommunity forum was really helpful. Although I cant seem to find info if you can store the honey mixture once made; in or out of fridge.

ACWN
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

You cant, I dont think. After a while it will probably break down and be useless.

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

I realized that since my water is hard, the honey thing is not that effective (I didnt notice a difference). So I'll have to search for distilled water and try again.

But today I am going ahead with some henna test sections (on the underside of head) because I'm so excited.

I think on one section mix I'll add: lemon juice, chamomile tea, and hibiscus tea. 

And the other section mix I'll add: vinegar, sage tea, and black tea (I was going to add coffee but I see here it doesnt necessarily make the shade browner).

To both mixes, for smell, I'll try: ginger powder, and rosewater.

With my luck, today's cooler than yesterday, so I'm sure dye release will take longer. But I bought a little hair turban, so if I need to go out, I can put it on top of my shower cap. ;) But I'm excited to try it.

I'll deal w the honey thing on the main sections of my head later.

ACWN
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Yeah, distilled water for the honey lightening is a MUST.

 

Dont mix the henna samples and apply to your hair right afterwards, you'd have to leave them on for at least 6 hours and the lemon one wont give you ANY color because it takes at least 8 hours, typically, to dye release.

 

Mix your lemon juice sample, let it sit for about 12 hours, check for dye release on your palm (smear, let sit, wipe, look for vivid orange stain) and when you have it, mix your tea samples and let them sit for about 2 hours (you could possibly get away with an hour if they're kept at about 80 degrees), then test those for dye release.

 

Vinegar I really dont recommend because A) dont know how long it will take to dye release and B) the henna will smell horrible.

 

Once all your samples have dye release, THEN apply and let them stay on for the same amount of time. You really arent going to see too much of a color difference in them though the lemon juice might come out less orange than the others... I say that because I swear I remember someone saying something about lemon juice resulting in less orange after rinsing, but I could be wrong. Or it oxidizes a little faster... or something.

 

Now know that the lemon mix will continue to darken and grow more brown/auburn minimally for a long time. You may not notice it at first, but its something to be aware of.

 

 

Lastly, you will need to put that turban on while the henna is in your hair. Henna likes to be kept fairly warm while its on your head, it dyes the hair better.

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Thanks! Yikes- I thought that as long as you mix in something acidic, whether it's lemon juice, vinegar, or tea, you're good to go with preparing the henna for dye release. I didn't realize lemon juice took much longer to acheive dye release. So you're saying tea is a good way to go, if only because it acheives dye release much quicker than lemon?

I thought I read all the information on this site. But is there a better url or chart or anything regarding different dye release times according to the acid one puts in? (I've already seen the dye release chart according to the temperature).

Thanks!

ACWN
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

No chart, yet any way. If you dont want to wait, an acidic tea is a fine way to go. If you have patience, you can make it a little more acidic by adding a splash of citrus juice. Some people do so just to feel better about

 

Lemon/lime juice: 8 - 12 hours; some folks have had it take as long as 48. You can let it sit at least 24 and get GREAT dye release.

 

Orange juice: 7 - 9 hours; I'm guessing on this. I know it takes a little less time than lemon since its not as acidic, but no one's ever said an actual time line that I recall.

 

Apple juice: 6 - 8 hours. I think one lady got in 3 by putting it in her laundry room and covered it with a bunch of towels, but this was during winter.

 

Acidic teas (chamomile, black, green, hibiscus, zinger, mango passionfruit): 2 - 4; I get good, solid dye release at an hour usually though. I brew my tea strong (3 packets for every cup of water, brewed for at least an hour) and rapidly cool it with a bottle of frozen water. Last time I used mango passionfruit and cooled it till the tea was cool to the touch and still got dye release in an hour. So if you do tea, start testing for dye release at an hour, just in case.

 

Vinegar: ? - ? hours; no ones ever mentioned using all vinegar (as it makes the henna stink) so I dont know.

 

Wine: ? - ?; you can use wine but it can make the henna smell funky (spices help with this one), but I dont know how long it takes.

 

Mostly water with a splash of citrus juice: 2 - 8 hours; depends on how much citrus juice you use. If you use only a small amount, you could get dye release in as little as an hour or two.

 

 

Remember that the temp you keep the henna at also has a lot to do with this. Keep it at 70 - 80 degrees, no warmer. Anything over that COULD cook the henna and cause it to demise before you ever even get to test it.

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

So I did it. First for a week, I honey-lightened specific sections of my hair every day (the sections I wanted to look highlighted).

Then I hennaed it. But I'm not super satisfied.

My black, and my honey-lightened-to-dark-brown hair seemed to "catch" the henna quite well, and these areas do look a bit highlighted.

But... my gray hair did not seem to "catch" it well at all.

My gray hair now just looks like gray hair with a very very light orange tinge. Its still very obviously gray. It's still extra-course, and many top level individual gray hairs still stick out as before (I have shoulder length hair).

Here's what I put in the henna (straight henna from a health food store; it may even have been organic):  lime juice (is this significantly different from lemon juice?); then (because I ran out of limes) some white wine vinegar; clove powder.  I seemed to get a nice dye release in about 9 hours. Then I added a spoon of hibiscus tea brewed w distilled water; and a bit of vanilla extract, lavendar oil, and tea tree oil (just a few drops of each).

Any suggestions?

Should I just try it all again, perhaps w different liquid? Or if I mix in amla, might that help it go a tad browner on the gray? Friends tell me that coffee or black tea will make it go browner on the gray, but I see this site and forum say no.

Thanks!!

Iris
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

I use apple cider vinegar occassionally and the dye release time is about the same as that of lemon juice. It really doesn't smell that terribly either!

Carrie
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

It sounds like you got weak dye uptake. Did you test the paste on your palm before applying to your hair? That way you'll know how strong the dye is before you use it.

Health food store henna isn't as strong as what most of us here are using. A body art quality henna (as opposed to hair-quality henna) is fresher, finely sifted, and has a higher dye content so you get more color on your gray.

You can use mostly tea or water, with just a splash of lemon, lime, or vinegar. Or you can use apple juice. Amla (1 part amla to 3 or 4 parts henna) with water can also be used, in which you would not add anything else for acidity (amla is quite acidic). With mildly acidic mixes like these you'd let them sit 12 hours at normal (68-70'F) room temperature (shorter time at hotter temperatures, which isn't as desirable). Amla doesn't dramatically increase the brown tones in henna, just a little bit. Coffee or tea will not do anything permanent colorwise- just until your next shampoo, if anything.

Covering the paste closely with plastic wrap while it's on your head is important for good color, and leaving it on at least 3-4 hours would be essential if you want deeper color on your gray.

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Thanks Carrie. I used Baldwins henna, which they said is absolutely pure henna, body-art quality.  http://tinyurl.com/3xvn8b6

I did cover it well; and I left it on my hair about 6 hours. I tested it on my palm -- but actually now that you mention it, it was not a dark stain. It wasnt too light either. But perhaps next time I should wait till it's a darker stain?

If I dont use amla, I thought that using mostly tea or water would make the stain lighter and not as long-lasting. Did I misunderstand this concept?

But it sounds like using amla with the henna may be a helpful next step.

ACWN
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

If you got a stain that was about this shade, then you had good enough dye release.

No, less acidic liquids wont make the stain lighter, just more prone to being vivid orange the first 24 - 48 hours. And henna is permanent on hair, unless you use water - especially boiling. With a less acidic liquid, such as chamomile tea, the dye release happens faster which means the dye demise happens faster as well. However, it has a large enough window that once you get it in your hair, its alive long enough to permanently bind to your hair.

 

Boiling water causes instant dye release, but it also causes very rapid demise which means that its not alive long enough on your hair to seriously grab on. Which means it will fade a good deal and grow rather dull.

Alligator
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

I did a henna/amla mix a few weeks ago, with GREAT results! Thank you everyone for the suggestion. (I have black hair w some gray at the temples). The faded orange on the gray changed to a beautiful warm brown, which in most places blended into my hair wonderfully.

In a few areas (where the hairs were all white, closest to my temples) the wonderful color still looked a bit too light for me. So I think I might try a bit of hendigo just on a few areas close to my face.

Now I have a q: Last week, I put on a homemade mayonnaise mix on my hair as a conditioner, which I've done in the past before I ever used henna. This time, when I washed it off, it seemed like it washed the amla-effect off my gray hair. Now my gray hair looks lighter and more orange. Is this possible? I thought vinegar (an ingredient in mayonnaise) helps protect color. Did the egg do something bad? Am I imagining things?

Carrie
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Re: Want to cover gray but highlight too (black hair)

Sometimes a very acidic treatment like lemon juice will temporarily restore the orangey color and then it darkens again in a couple of days. I'd be surprised if your mayonnaise was that acidic though, so I don't know what happened in this case.

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