Newbie Where Do I Start

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Hairfreedom
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Newbie Where Do I Start

I am new to this site and want some clarity.  I am african american, and transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.  My hair color is dark brown or off black.   I have gray hair mostly around my front edges, with some gray strands dispersed mostly throughout the top half of my head.  What I want to achieve with the henna is to cover my gray, and get as much reddish highlights as possible. I am ok with the gray being a copper or reddish highlights; the more, the redder, the brighter, rust or copper the better.  What henna or henna combination would you suggest for me to achieve that desired results?  Also, Cassia, from what I read is a conditioner, should I incorporate that into my process as well.  I would like the look of shiny, thickier fuller hair.  What is also important to me is the ph balance.  What is the ph balance of henna?  Also, is the purpose of using lemon juice or tea is that to adjust the ph balance?

 

 

 

ACWN
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

If you want as much red as possible, I would strongly recommend Raj. Twilight or Monsoon for at least 4 hours. Either one, no combination needed. These high dye content hennas will give you the most red possible on your dark hair, but keep in mind that henna cannot lighten your hair. It will add a red flare in bright sunlight, but in most lighting it will still look the same. On your grays, it will come out a nice auburn. Repeated use on your grays could build them up to a cherry cola or burgundy-ish tone.

 

Cassia is similar to henna, but its effects are only temporary where henna's effects are permanent. Cassia's effects are also weaker than henna's. You could also do zizyphus instead, which has absolutely no dye to it and would do well in between henna-ing.

 

I dont know what henna's pH is. I do know it is mildly acidic by nature, but one of the other ladies like Carrie would be the one to tell you the pH.

 

I DO know, however, that the liquid used is not to adjust the pH balance (or, at least I dont think it is). The reason for the acid is because henna likes it and it helps with dye release, and gray coverage. The more acidic a mix, the longer it will take to dye release... and the longer the dye will remain active/usable at room temp. Some acid is needed to help more stubborn gray take the dye properly. Henna just works better when acid and time are used. The color is stronger and almost always very permanent.

 

Lemon juice is known to be drying for people, but something like apple juice is still plenty acidic for gray while being very gentle on the hair.

Jen
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 I agree with everything ACWN said. Also, henna on its own has a pH of about 5.5. Henna MUST be at least mildy acidic to work. Using a neutral liquid will help keep the pH higher, but you can not use something that has a pH higher than 7 to mix or your results will be poor. 

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

Thank you.  Please see my reply, and let me know what you think.

Is it over kill?

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

Thank you for your reply.  I was leaning towards Twilight, from everything I read on the forum, I thought it would be the best for me.  Here is what I am considering.  Let me know if you think it is too much.

I will shampoo my hair with AS I AM Naturally Curl Clarity Shampoo. I will then give myself a Rhassoul Clay treatment mixing in 2 tbs coconut oil, 2 tbs of conditioner, tsp of hair butter. Once that is complete, I will then henna my hair with the Raj. Twilight Henna.  After my henna process is complete, I am considering using As I Am Naturally Hydration Elation intensive conditioner, and/or I will use a leave in conditioner recipe consisting of: 1 oz Kinky Kurly Knot Today, 2 tbsp aloe vera gel, 2 tsp castor oil, 2 tsp jojoba oil.

Do you think this would be too much conditioning? I look forward to your response. Thankyou.

 

 

 

ACWN
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

I would strongly recommend AGAINST any conditioning treatments containing oils before you henna as it could inhibit dye uptake. Regular conditioner is fine. Afterwards though, you can do whatever you want.

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

Thank you.  Then maybe I will use the Rhassoul Clay treatment with just water.  This will give my hair a good cleansing as well as detoxify.  If I were to use aloe Vera juice or gel, instead of water, that would bring my hair back to a proper ph balance.  Is that beneficial for the henna process?  Would it be best to have my hair more alkaline or more acidic in order for the henna to penetrate more deeply?  What effect would I get by adding hibiscus flowers to my henna brewed as a tea? At the moment my liquid is going to be either apple juice or chamomille tea. When should I consider using zizyphus?

I know I'm asking a lot of questions, I'm one of those persons who like to get all the information I need before making my final decision.

thank you for your help.

ACWN
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

I dont know that I would even do the clay treatment, but just be sure to wash your hair really well before you apply the henna. I dont think it will benefit the henna process any. You just need clean hair, thats all. It doesnt need to be anything besides that. Hibiscus wont really do anything one way or another (IE for color).

Zizyphus can be done at any time, but do not mix it with the henna.

Carrie
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 You do not want your hair to be in an alkaline state prior to henna. Either neutral or mildly acidic is fine. Henna works best in a mildly acidic environment. Not extremely acidic either. 

It would be best not to have anything else in your hair when you apply the henna - no oil, no clay, no residue from any sort of treatment. Just clean hair, exactly as ACWN says. 

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

Thank you.  I will omit the clay treatment, and just shampoo with the curl clarity.  After reading the best acid to use with the henna, I think I am going to try the lemon.  What I want to know is, do you use the bottled lemon juice, or fresh squeezed lemons.  If fresh squeezed lemons, how much?  Also, do you need to strain the pulp out of it?

 

Carrie
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 My recommendation would be apple juice rather than lemon juice, it's a little gentler for hair and scalp but still acidic enough. 

If you use lemon, any kind is fine. Fresh, bottled, frozen, sweetened or not. Pulpy or not. Use enough liquid to make a paste as thick as mashed potatoes, then let it sit covered for dye release. When you have tested on your palm and verified dye release, then thin the paste with more liquid until it's like stirred up yogurt. The additional liquid can be water or the same liquid you used in the beginning.

Carrie
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 I never measure the liquid, just add gradually and stir until it looks as thick as mashed potatoes. It will be lumpy and that is fine. The lumps will dissolve very easily when you stir it up after dye release. 

Jen
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 Agreed! Some batches of henna will soak up way more liquid than others for some reason. If you rely on measurements you can get inconsisitant results. Its almost like making bread where a recipe gives a range of the proper amount of flour. You just add little by little until its right, you know?

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

I ordered 200g of the Raj. Twilight.  I'm concerned as to whether or not I ordered enough.  My hair is a good should length. Do you think this is enough or should I order more to ensure I have enough. As stated in my original post I want as much red highlights as possible. My intention is to take the suggestion and use apple juice instead of lemon juice, but is there any particular acidic liquid that will aid in the depth of color? 

ACWN
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

Just be sure to mix it a little thinner than you think you need (that is often the first time user error, mixing it too thick, aim for stirred yogurt consistancy) and apply to towel dried/damp hair. Damp hair will help it spread if you miss a spot.

No, there is liquid that will aid the color in the manner I think you mean. Basically all the acidic liquid does is keep the henna dye active for longer so it has a better chance of binding to the hair as it should. Acid also helps the henna penetrate gray hair. This is also why we recommend so strongly AGAINST using hot or boiling liquid as it causes instant dye release and the dye demises very rapidly. It results in a lame/weak color that is prone to fading. Acid and time are best for optimal, permanent color.

The only effect the liquid has on the resulting color is whether or not it comes out more of a rusty red (which would be the result of a citrus based mix) or a more true, clearer red (which results from an apple or tea based mixed). Some say the results are more cool with a less acidic mix, but I dont know if I see that personally with my mixes. *shrugs* But I never used lemon juice long enough on my hair (dried it out too much) to see it versus a tea mix.

Higher acidic mixes also seem to continue to oxidize over time after the initial oxidation period, where as a less acidic mix does not. A less acidic mix may also be more in your face orange at first.

The end results end up the same shade at the end though.

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

What would give me the best depth of color the apple juice or tea.  Also, what kind of tea should I use.  I want a more true, clearer red as possible?

This site is a wonderful forum to get people off of chemical dyes.  Keep up the good work, you all are a blessing to a lot of people, who need your wealth of information.  There are so many sites with bad information on the internet.  You all know your henna.  Thank you and God bless you.

 

Carrie
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 If you want truer red, then I'd go with strong cooled chamomile tea. Using juice, because it is more acidic, could push the color darker, more auburn, possibly more brownish but only slightly. But apple isn't as acidic as lemon so I don't think you would have a problem either way, really.

ACWN
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

It'll all oxidize to the same color, so long as you have *some* acid, the color is going to be deeper and stronger than a water-only mix. Either apple juice or tea is going to give you a clear red. Any tea would work - I've used chamomile, mango passionfruit and bottled Arizona brand tea. All came out the same.

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

I finally henned this weekend.  I mixed my henna on Monday, froze it, and thawed out on Saturday, applied to hair for 6 hours.  I then deep conditioned.  It came out great, except my grey looks to deep of a orangey, I would like for it to be a little deeper red.  Also, I see the same color in the front of my scalp. I know it will oxidize.  I think I need to shampoo, which I will do tonite.  I love how it conditioned my hair.  I can really see and feel the difference, especially in the shine of my hair.  I want to continue getting the conditioning properties of henna in between henna treatment.  Do I use the Zizyphus Spina Christi for that or the Cassia Obovata?

Thank you.

ACWN
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

The effects will remain, but if you would like to basically enhance them, either one will be fine.

Jen
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 Thanks for the update. I'd be very interested to know also, if oxidation reveals the color you wanted. 

Which liquid did you use in the end? If it was tea, I'd go for apple juice next time to give a richer, less orange color.

Hairfreedom
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

I used apple juice.  I shampooed last night, which helped wash out some of the orangey.  I read on this site that if you continue to henna, it will darken with each application.  Is that correct?  I would like my greys to take on that cherry cola color.  What does the mixture of henna and indigo accomplish?  I can really feel and see the difference in the condition of my hair.  How often should I henna, if I want the color to darken? or does it matter.  I was thinking of using what I have left this weekend.  I have it in the freezer.

thank you.

Jen
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Re: Newbie Where Do I Start

 Yes, each application of henna will get darker and darker until you reach a point of maximum saturation where there's no place for my dye to bind. The color at that point is different person to person, but its usually between a deep auburn and burgundy. You can do it as often as you want, but I'd wait a week between so you can see how the color matures. You don't want to go too dark!

Adding a small amount of indigo (a couple spoonfulls per 100 g henna) will get you something that may be closer to cherry cola. Using a 50/50 mix will give you a warm brown.

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