Henna!

henna-powderNot for the faint of heart. No, seriously. If multi step beauty treatments are not your thing and mixing random things and then wrapping your hair in saran wrap/plastic overnight don’t tickle your fancy then don’t even try this cos it takes lots of planning ahead but the way your hair feels afterwards is sooo worth it.

Henna strengthens, conditions and thickens your hair. Depending on your hair colour and the type of henna you use it will also dye it. This e-book from Henna for Hair is pretty comprehensive on different types of henna, how to choose henna and how to apply it so I’ll just add a few things I have learned from my experiences. But before that I stress, read the book. There is nothing about the basics the lady hasn’t included so get to learning.

Yes, the gloves are necessary. I know someone who thought using little plastic bags on her hands was a good idea but unless you are like a ninja when it comes to making sure it wont get on your hands and stain them just take the plunge and buy them. Its either that or orange looking hands for a few weeks.

Either get QUALITY body art henna or get a brand you trust – no inbetweens. That box of henna in your local halal store that looks dented and the lettering has faded cos its been on the shelf so long is not what you want to have on your hair. Neither is the dusty one that the dude behind the counter assures you even his wife uses. How to differentiate pure henna and those with additives is outlined in the henna book link I put up there but if in doubt, get one from a brand like LUSH. All the better if you can google the product and see what experiences people have with it. Whatever you do, don’t just use the first thing you happen to stumble upon. Research and patience with search engines are your best friends.

Protect your floors! Once you have let it sit in a warm place for the required 12 hours the mixture can be kinda hard to handle, especially if you aren’t used to using gloves. So, get those old towels you aren’t particularly attached to and line your bathroom floor with them. Either that or you will end up like me crouched over spots on your bathroom floor with an old tooth brush and toothpaste cos some creative googling told you that would get rid of the stains. If it happens to land anywhere like on the wall (I blame the gloves!) wipe it off as soon as you can to avoid looking like you are experimenting with weird colour schemes.

Rinsing may take longer than you thought. This is especially true if you 1. have long hair 2. have thick hair  3. have a combination of the afore mentioned or 4. have locs. Rule of thumb is to rinse until the water runs clear and it may take a while. Those with loose hair have the slight advantage here because their rinsing will be relatively easy but for those with locs past shoulder length be prepared to stand under the shower until you become a prune. Embrace the idea, your hair will be so fabulous after you wont even care, I promise.

The harvest hair test is important. For those who use hair brushes and combs what this means is that you get some of the hair strands caught in-between the teeth/bristles and put some of the prepared henna on them so that you can get a general idea of that the end result will look like. Very important, especially if you are trying a certain type of henna for the first time. If anything is going to go awry, let it be on the hair that isn’t on your head anymore. For those with locs the harvest hair test may be harder to do but what I did is I snipped a tiny bit off one of my locs and then combed it out to get my “hair sample.”

This may seem like a lot to take in especially after you read the book and you wonder where to begin. But, once you identify what type of henna you want to use and where to buy it all it takes is mixing and using it a couple of times before you can go through the motions without even thinking about it. Henna for me has gotten rid of dandruff, coloured my hair a bit red (you can only see it under the sunlight really) and made it so so soft. It really is the absolute best for conditioning your hair and doing it once a month or once every couple of months will go a long way to naturally making your hair feel awesome. I declare this an asilia prime and will start getting other asilia bots to join in the fun 😀