Friday, January 17, 2014

My Switch to All Natural Henna (Part 5)

View previous posts on Henna:
1- About Henna and my process
2- The first dying
3- Other products from Henna Sooq
4- Cleansing and Independence

It's been almost a year since my last Henna post and I realized I have a few things to report that might be useful!

If you've read the other posts, you'll know I'm a meticulous person. I like researching something until I know it fully, and then I like developing my own process and adapting it. I was made for an R&D department, unfortunately I'm not in that career, oh well. Accordingly, I've studied Henna until I'm blue in the face. I've found an awesome provider at Henna Sooq (my only complaint is that they run out of the good stuff so you have to plan ahead, a funny story on that to follow). And I've tried several new hair products now so that I'm proud to say there are no chemicals on my head any more. After two years, I feel I have this process honed. Here's what I continue to learn about this awesome process...

Applications UpdateI alternate between going to my hair tech Teresa and doing the roots myself, and earlier this month was my 10th application, where Teresa did just the roots for the first time (usually she does my whole head). We both agreed that I probably don't need to do my whole head but once or twice a year now. However we also both agreed that the gray has multiplied - as it will continue to do, alas we all know it! - and I probably need to shrink my application gap from 8-10 weeks to 6. So that either means doing the roots myself more, or having Teresa do them. She appreciated the shortened process for sure - her arms get tired applying 200-250g of Henna mud to my whole head of thick long hair, so doing just the 30-50g of Henna on the roots was a cakewalk for her, and she did it about 15-20 minutes quicker than I can. Another note, when doing just the roots, you can wash it off quicker - I let it go 3.5 hours this time - and it comes off so much easier.

Something I do and greatly suggest, I keep a Henna journal in my Evernote so I can access it on my phone or my computers. I track the date and moon, whether I cut or just dye, the Henna recipe/quantities, the length I leave it on my hair, and the color results. (See what I meant by meticulous?) For me though, this helps me not only hone in the color for myself based on the season (for instance sometimes the Cassia, sometimes not because of the sun's already lightening rays), but it also helps me compare the results for my friends who are also converting to Heana.

Other things I've noticed this year:
  • Henna doesn't run down the tub like the synthetic dyes used to - there's a light wash out the first wash, and then that's it. It used to be that the red would run like blood down my drain for 2-3 weeks of washing with the synthetic dyes. It's a vast improvement now. 
  • Henna doesn't stain my towels like the synthetic dyes used to either - on a pure white hotel towel, there's a tiny bit of orange through the first week of washes, but unnoticeable on my green towels at home.  It also washes out just fine without bleach from the white towels - IE it doesn't stain permanently. 
  • We're all used to the smell by now but agree it's like hay steaming in a hot barn, LOL. Very earthy.
  • Because Henna Sooq runs out of the red products - Red Raj and Indian Rajasthani, I buy 300-400g at once and use 200 for a whole head process, then get about 3-4 root repeats out of the remainder - meaning I only need to buy from them 2-3 times a year. 

However on that last note - I waited too long the last time and the Henna supply was late coming into Henna Sooq, so I had long embarrassing roots this last November. I had dyed the roots myself in September before we went on vacation, (actually it was August 31 according to my Henna Tracker), and Henna Sooq expected their stock to come in around October 1st. But it was delayed, and delayed, and I finally got my order in around October 23rd, and didn't get Teresa to do my whole head until early November, just under 10 weeks later. I made clear to myself I would never let that happen again and am already on the radar to order again in February when their stock comes in even though my Feb application is the leftovers of that October order. (I had a January 2nd roots dye done with leftovers as well).  So order big and often from Henna Sooq!

Cleansing Update
I still love the Soapnut Bar. I primarily use this, unless I really need a deep cleanse and then I still use the Diva Curl products. I do use the Diva Curl deep conditioner for the Henna rinse out, but much less, and on a regular basis, I follow the Soapnut Bar with the Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner, which I love - you don't have to use much of, my first bottle lasted a whole year (12 oz). I actually apply it wet in the shower but leave it in most of the time. When I bought my second bottle, I ordered their Hair Dew and love it. Now I switch between that and the Cocoveda Oil after a wash to give my hair some shine and reduce the fizz.

For someone with much finer and thinner hair than mine however, these products might be too heavy for them - except maybe the Hair Dew, which is very light, so order samples of the bars to see which one is right for you.

Other notes: 
My hair is extremely healthy. I get split ends after 3-4 months of not cutting, so I maintain a good trim, but I am not oil-treating my hair anymore. The Henna really does my scalp good too - no more itching. My hair is smooth and shiny all the time.

So far I've converted about 4 friends to the process only. It's labor intensive, so many people just don't want to bother. But knowing that I have no chemicals in my world make all the difference to me, so I'm glad for the products in my life and happy to share the knowledge.

Accordingly, I have been asked - yay! - to go speak to a group of women in Moab, Utah about Henna and am super excited to have a fun workshop on the topic.  Stay tuned for pictures and a report back after February!