Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user

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Vandana
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Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user
Hi folks, This is a very useful forum with so many experts! I love it! I am going to receive my first kit (henna/amla/indigo) this week. I am Indian, have black/dark brown hair. I am finally giving up on chemical demi-permanent hair colors. I have a great colorist but I want to go natural to align with the rest of my life. My stylist used a demi-permanent Wella black/brown color and then added an ash rinse for about 5 minutes before washing my hair out. As it washes out, I get a lovely dark reddish brown highlight in the sun. I do not want too much red, I want more dark brown/black but not jet black. I am applying this myself. What supplies do I need to be successful? Here is what I am gleaning from other posts as well as my questions. 1. Saran wrap 2. Old towel to wrap my head to keep the henna/amla/indigo warm and moist 3. Hair clips to section my hair while I apply the paste 4. A cape to wear to avoid staining my clothes 5. Gloves to apply the henna 6. Bowls. Will the bowls get stained? I have clear, glass bowls but do not want them to get stained. Should I get cheap bowls from the drug store? 7. Plastic for the floor to avoid staining my floor 8. What should I use to avoid staining my skin around my face and the skin around the nape of my neck? I have alba un-petroleum jelly. Is that a good barrier cream? 9. Do I just use my gloved hands to apply the paste? Or, do I need a brush? My Mom says just use my hands. 10. What is the best way to wash this out of my hair? I have read that filling the bathtub with water is a good initial way to rinse it off and then take a shower. My Mom used amla in her hair growing up in India and, at 73, she has the most gorgeous hair ever! I appreciate any and all advice. I am very excited to do this! Thank you, Vandana
ACWN
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Re: Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user

1. Any plastic covering will do. Saran wrap can be hard to use by yourself. I've had great luck with cheap shower caps and grocery bags. Basically what you want is to keep as much air away from the paste as possible. With grocery bags, I just press it down tight to the henna on my hair and that works fine.

2.Towels can make your neck really tired and leave you with a headache. Something lighter like a scarf, a beanie/wool cap or a turbie twist from Walgreens works fine. Much lighter!

3. Yep!

4. Or you can just go naked, lol. I think its easier, the cape is going to get in the way of your arms and you being able to see what you're doing in the mirror. You could also buy a cheap tank top type shirt or a regular t-shirt in black and just wear that. The black will hide any stains.

5. Yep

6. Plastic bowls will. I always mix my large batches in a regular metal mixing bowl. It wont hurt anything.

7. If you're quick about wiping up drips as soon as they hit the floor, it shouldn't stain. But otherwise, yeah.

8. I don't really use it, but yeah. You just have to be REALLY careful about applying close to your hair line cause it will inhibit dye uptake on any hair it touches. I try to do mine on my first day off so that by the time I go back to work, its typically oxidized and mostly faded - sugar scrubs really help with this too.

9. You can just use your hands, but if you wanna be careful around your hairline, you can use tinting brush. You'll just want to apply it heavily.

10. Depends on how long your hair is. If its fairly long, a mermaid soak will do you fine for a pre-rinse. Or, if your shower head has a massage feature on it, you can use that to beat the paste out, then follow up with conditioner to finish rinsing. One person used a power nozzle on her garden hose and hung her head over her porch railing, lol.

 

 

Now, I'm curious.... if your hair is already your ideal color and you don't want it darker... are you using the dyes to cover grey? Cause the thing about plant dyes is they wont color your hair all one matching color. If you have grey, that will go a dark brown (depending on your mix), but the rest of your hair WILL go jet black. That's just the nature of plant dyes, their dye is translucent like a wood stain and will color everything an equal depth.

Now, if you ARE coloring grey and its scattered you can use plant dyes to turn them into more like natural highlights with a mix that would result in a color lighter than your natural color - such as a medium brown. Don't worry, since your hair is so dark, it wont become lighter. It might still go darker, but plant dyes cannot lighten.

Komao
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Re: Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user
I'm trying to find out as much as I can regarding henna and tips and I just wanted to thank you, ACWN. Your answers make good sense to me and when I take the plunge, I like to have this kind of advise so I can feel prepared. I'm new to this site and still searching around for beginner knowledge of henna. I guess I'm on the right forum!
ACWN
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Re: Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user
I'm glad to be of help! If you need any specific answers, don't be afraid to ask 'em. Even if its been asked before, theres nothing wrong with asking it again and there are no stupid questions. Silly ones, sure... but nothing wrong with that either! *wink*
Vandana
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Re: Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user
Thank you! I am covering up white hair. I started going gray in my 20's (genetics). I am a very young 44. I love the idea of my grays getting dark/ almost black. I also would like my hair to get an overall bit of darker color. I do like the way the demi-permanent chemical trwatment grows out and lightens up. I ordered the dark brunette kit. The directions I received were to mix the full bag of henna with the full bag of amla. Let the mixture rest covered with plastic for 8 to 12 hours. Then when I am ready to dye my hair, I'd mix one of the two bags of indigo. I would put half of the henna and amla mixture in the freezer. I would then use the remaining half henna/amla mixture and mix that with the indigo mixture. I'd leave that on my head for three hours. My hair tends to take to color very quickly. I'm hoping this will result in a slightly darker overall color and color my grays almost black. I'm assuming I will get dark reddish highlights which I like. My hair is a bob length and comes down to my hairline. The back is slightly shorter than the front.
ACWN
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Re: Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user

Plant dyes typically do not lighten up over time. Indigo can be picky and may fade, but its best not to expect it to.  Indigo also tends not to stick very well in a 2 to 1 ratio, however, and I always try to recommend a two step hennigo when there is an indigo heavy portion.

Reason why is that indigo needs a good bed of henna to hang onto and there often isn't enough in a 2:1 mix. So what I recommend is applying just henna by itself for 3 - 4 hours, wash (no conditioner) and then follow up with your indigo heavy mix on dry hair. 3 hours may not be long enough. Plant dyes do not act like chemical dyes and aren't absorbed the same way (I don't think), so you may consider shooting for a longer time - maybe closer to 5 or 6. It tends to cover better when left on longer too. Wash out with conditioner only... no shampoo for 48 hours.

Now, if you find the color ended up TOO dark, you can wash with shampoo as this will pull a little of the color out and lighten it up some.

 

Also, if you WANT warmer tones, I would suggest against the amla. Yes, it helps the indigo bind better but it also cools down the tones of the henna in a hennigo.

Vandana
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Re: Basic questions for a first time henna/amla/indigo user
Thank you. Is it OK to skip the hair test step and just try it out on all of my hair? I had my hair colored with a demi permanent dark brown with an ash finish 8.5 weeks ago. I'm mixing the henna/amla overnight and will mix then add the indigo right before I use it. Just wondering if I need to test it first. I'm only leaving the whole thing on for 3 hours as my hair takes very quickly to color. My skin takes fast to henna when I apply it at Indian weddings and it takes 2-3 months to wash off my hands. What do you think? Can I skip the test and (hopefully) be pleasantly surprised? What's the worse thing that could happen?
Vandana
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I love my color!
I'm just writing to say "wow!" I love my color! I know it will take two days or so to settle into the final color but, wow! I tested it at 8am this morning for 3 hours on hair I collected from my brush all week. It looked just great to me. Next, I mixed up the inidigo with salt and warm water and then folded in the henna/amla mixture (I let it sit for 10 hours on the counter and then 2 hours in the fridge while the test hair was getting colored. I did use alba "unpetroleum" jelly around my hair line and I'm glad I did because I did not have a single stain and I managed to carefully cover 99% of the gray hair in my hairline on my face. I use hair clips to separate my hair. It took me about 10 minutes to apply. I wore an old t-shirt, old shorts and used the plastic gloves. I didn't think I'd use all of the mix but I did. I put on the shower cap and used the turbie tie (best thing ever- thanks!) and then cleaned my apartment, made and ate lunch and read. I kept it on for 3 hours and then washed it off initially in my kitchen sink. That took about 15 minutes. Then, I added some conditioner, ran my fingers through my hair, towel dried it lightly and then jumped in the shower. The rest of the mix came out in the shower. I did not wash it, just added more conditioner. I dried and and it's just lovely! I love how the indigo gave it a nice black/brown kick and added richness. The amla appears to have done the trick and it has a nice, soft ash finish which I wanted. And, the henna and indigo mostly covered my gray but in a really nice, subtle way so that it looks like I have some natural dark brownish/red highlights. The gray is not fully covered which I also love! It looks natural and varied. I love this! I am never, ever using chemicals again :-) Thank you! Vandana
ACWN
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Re: I love my color!

I'm sorry I didn't reply before, things got a bit hectic for me with work (dog groomer, got bit... fun fun @_@) but I'm so glad it turned out well for you and that it was easy for you to do! I'm glad some of my tips helped too :)

Now the best part is that you really wont have to apply to your length ever again unless you really think it needs it or the indigo fades. And if the indigo fades, a weak, brief gloss (indigo powder into water based conditioner) should restore the color just fine. But more or less, from now on you'll only really need to do your roots as they come in.

 

Now, I dunno if I said it or not, but try to hold off 48 hours before you shampoo so the color (the indigo, namely) isn't pulled out.

Vandana
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Re: I love my color!
Thank you! Your suggestions were very important and helpful! I am following your advice and am not shampooing for 2 days. I noticed something interesting that I really like: the grays are not fully covered at the roots but they are covered all over my head. I like that they are dark reddish/brown and, depending on the way the sun hits, look dark brown, dark red or light gray. This is exactly what I wanted! And, this is something the chemical colors cannot accomplish without bleaching which I have never done and would never do. Again, thanks very much for your pointers. Vandana
Tracey
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Re: I love my color!
Please tell me what ratio of henna/amla and indigo you used.  Thanks! Trying to find a way for my roots to get a bit darker.  I have very dark brown hair too.
Vandana
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Re: I love my color!
Hi there, I used 2 parts indigo to 1 part henna and some amla. My roots have a nice combination of very, very dark brown/very dark red/hint of gray. I'm not sure that describes it well but that's as close as I can get. My hair also takes very, very quickly to color. I left the mixture on for 2 hours and 50 minutes. I mixed 100 grams of henna with 25 grams of amla and let that site for 10.5 hours. I then put half of that mix into the freezer per the instructions from the lady at henna for hair. I then mixed 100 grams of indigo and then folded the henna/amla mixture into the indigo and then applied it to my hair right away. I like the end result. I spoke with her for 30 minutes the prior week and sent her pics of my hair and told her what I was looking for so she helped me figure out the right proportions for me and the amount of time I would need to keep it on my hair. Hope this helps! Take care, Vandana
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