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 😀

Banana Treatment: Crime or Prime?

Wow…WHAT an experience! Me being the lover of experiments that I am, I decided to try a banana treatment on my hair. Bananas are known for replenishing moisture and adding fabulous shine to hair, as well as being great for the scalp.

To quote miss banana head:

Bananas contain tryptophan, a rich amino acid that is known to be extremely beneficial for hair and skin. They are chock full of potassium which adds super softening properties to the hair shaft. Along with vitamins A, B, C and E bananas contain rich natural oils and carbohydrates. All these goodies shore up the natural elasticity of the hair and prevents split ends.

So I got two extremely ripe bananas and pureed them. Mixed in one egg (because it was my protein DC day) and two dollops of mayo. I let the mixture sit for a bit, and man did it look gross! The mixture smelled only of banana, and I thought that was a good thing because hey, it masked the egg smell right? So wrong. Hmm…more on that later.

I let the treatment sit in for about 4 hours, and by the time those hours were up, I was so ready to wash it off. I did one rinse with cool water because there was egg in the treatment, and then tried to wash out the stuff. It was a MESS! There were banana particles all over me and my bathroom. It took forever trying to wash out the banana bits from my head, and after forty minutes, i was fed up! (aside: if by any chance you end up in this predicament, section the hair into about ten to fifteen sections; rinse and add conditioner to each. The conditioner adds slip, making it easier to pick out the banana boogers and is way more effective than rinsing the whole head. ) Adding insult to injury, I reeked of a banana factory!  Adding more conditioner did not help the situation. This I hated.

However there is a silver lining: Once I was all nice and dry, bathroom washed and all, is when I actually noticed the state of my hair. It was extremely shiny! Unmistakeably so. But even then, randomly amidst the shine were still a few persistent ‘nana flecks. I gave up. The bits were gone in a day but it took about three days for the smell to completely disappear. I know, not fun! I was ready to declare this an asilia crime but guys the shiiiine!

So I’ve done some more reading up on banana as a hair treatment and it seems all hope is not lost. Here are a few tips for those brave enough to try:

  1. Try substitute bananas with banana baby food. It is simply banana with some citric acid as a preservative. It eliminates the problem of particles as well as the strong smell.
  2. If you decide to use bananas, or cannot find the baby food; Make sure you thoroughly blend the banana, adding a bit at a time, and after blending the fruit, take the mixture through a sieve. Straining it ensures there will never be any particles to pick out of the hair. EVER.  (Point to note: Simply mashing will not do.)

All in all i was thoroughly tortured, BUT I’m not ready to let that shine go and so I will not give up just yet. It will take a while to gather courage but when I do, I shall attempt this treatment again. So if your in search of moisture and shine, go ahead, give it a try. However, be advised, it is not for the faint of heart.