|Evening light = maximum glow!|
The best instructions I've found are in the free 'How To' ebook by Catherine Cartwright-Jones. She's included lots of info on what henna is, its history, and how it works. She stresses the importance of using pure, body-art quality henna powder rather than buying a pre-mixed product (which can contain dodgy ingredients). I order my powder online.
We've refined our method over the years, to make the henna mixture easier to apply to my ridiculously thick hair. If you're interested in trying henna on your own hair, here are my tips (but do read the ebook for the full picture):
- 100g of henna powder is plenty for shoulder-length hair if the mixture is fairly runny (with a consistency like crepe batter). We found this consistency easier to apply, although it does drip a bit during the waiting period.
- Bottled lemon or lime juice works well for the mixture, diluted with water for a runny mix as above. Non-pulpy orange juice works well too (one with apple base is fine).
- If the mixture is lumpy, you can smooth it out using electric beaters.
- Let the mixture rest overnight.
- Before the application, spread old towels on the chair and surrounding floor.
- Have a willing assistant apply the mixture to your hair!
- Important: start at the front of the head and work backwards (we found this much easier).
- Use ‘crocodile clips’ to manage hair sections.
- After application, use a damp soapy flannel to wipe henna off your face, neck, and ears.
- Ensure the weight of your henna-coated hair is centred on the top of your head before covering it with plastic wrap and/or a shower cap.
- Leave the mixture on for 2-4 hours, or until you've had enough.
- Beware of drips! Wear an old towel around your shoulders and use the ends to wipe up any drips down your face/neck.
I only made it to three hours before washing out the henna last time, as the drips were getting on my nerves. The runnier consistency and shorter waiting-time don't seem to have made a difference to the result.
I hope some of this is helpful! I get around to henna-ing my hair about twice a year, and it's always well worth it. I love the way it works with the lighter and darker tones in my hair, adding a rich glow. My small collection of white hairs also take the dye well, turning brighter red than the rest. :)