Hi! I've never tried henna but plan to give it a go after I do some more learning about it. I'm 52, so my hair's been around the block! It's just past my shoulders and actually in pretty good condition, but it's always been porous, partly just due to genetics I think, and also due to a lifetime of traditional box color and/or salon visits for chemical colorings.
In my teens I had gorgeous cinnamon brown hair, but started to gray in my 20's! I'm now about 75% gray (white, actually) at the root, and my root re-growth is only about 1/2 inch right now. The rest of my hair is chemically dyed. Due to an Aveda salon faisco that involved all too many visits over the past few months (the full sob story is just too long to share), my hair color is now a patchy shade of medium brown that has a strong warm red tone in the area that'd be covered by a ball cap, and a gentle golden tone everywhere else. During the aforementioned salon fiasco, my hair was partially highlighted two different times. Mind you, this mess was created by a "color specialist." Eye roll.
I want to take back control of my own hair! I want to start to use henna to cover my gray roots, but I also want to use it on my whole head the first time, to begin to achieve a fairly EVEN color throughout my hair, instead of my current "calico" look.
I plan to start fresh by removing the dye that's now in my hair, with Color Oops. I've used that product before, and love it because it's super effective and totally non-damaging. That way I'll be left with a head of hair that'll be some version of strawberry blond, which is a lot closer to my natural gray roots. I figure that when starting with henna, it's better to begin with not so much color discrepancy between roots and the rest of the hair. I will do timed strand testing for sure, and I know that the henna should be mixed with indigo to get more of a copper brown, but beyond that I have a few questions that I couldn't find answers to on the site:
1. How do I prevent the "hot roots" thing. meaning the gray roots showing up lighter and brighter than the rest of the hair? I REALLY want to avoid that look if possible. So should I just do the roots first and leave it sit on them a long time, and then put the henna on the rest of the hair for a shorter time? Or is it best to just blend a darker shade for the roots? Or some other trick?
2. With chemical color, porous areas of the hair take up DARKER. But I'm reading that with henna, it's the opposite!... porous areas take up LIGHTER, or even not at all, unless you repeat the application?! I just can't imagine that, since I am so traumatized by my porous areas always taking up chemical color DARKER. Sometimes those areas would even take up almost BLACK, even if the chemical dye I chose was a soft medium brown left on only for a short while. Anyway, what can I do to my hair AFTER I remove my color and BEFORE I use henna, to help the henna show up fairly evenly, even though I'm way more porous from ear-level down, than I am on top where the hair is newer/shorter/healthier.
3. I'm reading that using a blow dryer and curling iron on hennaed hair makes it turn darker? That's a bummer, because I'm addicted to my curling iron. I use a bit of fractionated coconut oil to prevent heat damage to my hair. But what can I do (besides throwing away my curling iron) or use to prevent the heat from turning henna darker? If there's no way to prevent that from happening, should I add cassia to make the henna blend lighter than I really want, knowing it'll go darker with heat styling?
MANY MANY thanks for any and all comments or suggestions.