Thursday, June 5, 2014

H is for Henna!

I hear that many naturals spend an entire day just to wash their hair. Are you for real? Seriously, a whole day to wash hair??? That’s really ridiculous!

I hate that anyone has to be in such bondage, as I see it, to something so beautiful as hair.

You DON'T have to do everything in one day sisters!

Pre-poo, cowash, deep condition, oil treatment, protein treatment, all in one day??? That's insane. Trust me, hard working Nigerian chics are way too busy for that kind of stress. I mean why over-complicate an already complicated life.

Find out what works for you and your hair and stick to it. Just because someone is doing this somewhere doesn't mean her hair is healthier than yours. I totally understand that longer hair requires longer time and care but that still doesn't justify why I should devote an entire day to doing just hair.

I have always kept my hair routine very simple.
I pre-poo for 30 minutes (not less), cowash and detangle in 10 minutes, 30 minutes for deep conditioning (on days that I really need to do so). Then rinse, rinse again. Towel blot and moisturize [Cantu Shea butter leave-in], seal [my shea butter mixture] and poof, I’m gone!

On days I deep condition I spend about 1 hour 20 minutes in all. On days I don't, 40 minutes.

Less is more.

Now, far from the washday drama and unto hair colouring.
Heaven knows I was bored with black hair and some nice ombre curls wouldn’t hurt anyone but I wasn’t really ready for the commitment. My original plan was to deep condition first, color my hair to a honey blonde color next and then henna it for added strength and additional color but I changed my mind at the last minute and skipped the box color.

So, all I ended up doing was henna.
If you want to do henna, please bear in mind that you must have at least free 8 hours for the henna to release its goodness and another extra 5 hours for it to process in your hair. There's no such thing as a sharp-sharp henna way to it. Lol.
So, I always start mixing my henna on Friday evening so I can put it in my hair on Saturday morning to wash off by noon.

Let me start by saying that I did my research VERY well about henna (Lawsonia inermis)before venturing into it. Yeah, I’m adventurous like that.
My search for pure henna in Lagos led me to Bazaar Supermarket at Ilupeju. I found two brands of henna there. I didn’t pick the first one I saw and didn't bother about the name because the size was small, the packaging was uninteresting and aside from the word henna in front, every other thing was written in probably indian language.

The henna I purchased is called Godrej Nupur Mehendi. It has clear instructions on how to use it as you can see. It also contains henna and 9 other herbs as well, some of which I never even knew existed. (Pure henna without all the extra 9 herbs would have been just perfect but since I did not know how to make henna powder and didn't want to be bothered with the stress of making it, I gladly made do with this one.)



Brahmi: Promotes hair growth
Shikakai: natural cleanser and adds shine
Aloe vera: moisturizes and makes hair silky
Methi: conditions and nourishes
Bhringraj: Makes hair luxuriant
Amla: Darkens hair colour, adds shine and luster
Neem: Fights scalp infection and prevents dandruff
Hibiscus: Rejuvenates hair making it shiny and silky
Jatamansi: prevents graying

It costs about N850; it has aloe vera and hibiscus (at least I know those), it can’t be that bad. If I open it and it’s not a green powder I’ll probably just throw it away. At that price it won’t hurt so much.

I also bought a bottle of lemon juice to mix it with even though the pack says boiling water. Lemon juice is my preference because of my itchy scalp. And it solved it; permanently.

Many people use henna for many purposes:
1. For body art.

2. For color.
When henna is mix with an acid (lemon or lime juice), it releases the henna dye which stains the hair red. The results vary, of course, depending on the condition of the hair. Gray, bleached or blonde hair will readily pick the red stain. Red hue may not be seen on very black hair

3. As a strengthening deep conditioner.
Henna leaves deposits that fill up the spaces along the hair cuticle. This fortifies each strand of the hair thereby stopping breakage. Way better than a protein treatment.

4. For loosening curl pattern.
Henna can loosen your curl pattern if used a lot but I must say this. It will not turn 4c hair to 4b or 4a. I have used henna several times to already know this.

I bought henna because I wanted it to do purposes 2, 3 and 4 for me. The best I got which beat all of them was 3. I must say there were no tiny “O’s” all over the place when I finger-combed my hair. No shedding, no breakage. And boy, did my hair shine.

I noticed that my hair clumped better but like I said, my curl pattern was not looser. Neither was my hair red, though, I would have loved that very much.

When applying henna to your hair, make sure you coat the hair properly. Don’t be stingy with the mixture.

Henna powder is always green not red.

Here’s how to prepare your henna before application:
1. Pour the henna into a plastic bowl.
I used a 500g pack thrice. That’s about 165g for a single application. Just use your eye to measure it. It won’t harm if you use too much though. Just make sure you don’t use too little. With such time-consuming processing time, I'll rather have excess remaining. Thank you very much.

Under sunlight

2. Pour lemon juice into the bowl containing the powder henna.
You can use fresh lemons or limes but be prepared to squeeze out the juice from about 100 lemons to get just enough juice. Save yourself the stress and simply buy a bottle of lemon juice. Life can't be that hard.
If you have sensitive scalp and can’t stand the acidity of lemon juice, you can dilute it with water.

3. Use a wooden spatula to mix both the juice and henna.
We all know our very own "turn-garri" stick. That does the job.
You are looking to achieve a yoghurt-y consistency. Not too watery or stiff. It should be thick and creamy. Dissolve every lump as you stir.

4. Once you’re done stirring the henna cover with a plastic bag and place in a warm and dark place.
The pack says leave for 3-4 hours with hot water. Well, because I was hoping to have color from the henna, I left my henna mixture to stand for about 12-16hours. This allows the henna to release its dye.

After 12 hours, the henna is ready to be used.
At this point, you can mix in your oils eg castor oil, coconut oil etc for more moisturizing effect.

I prepare my hair by cleansing with my Dudu Osun soap. This removes all debris and build up that might prevent the henna from binding properly to the hair. It applies better to wet hair.

At this point, you must use a hand glove. Except of course you don't mind having dark brownish red hands and dirty dark brown fingernails that won't wash off or clear up until after weeks.
It takes weeks for this stain to fade off. Wear an old t-shirt or use an old towel that you won't mind getting stained.
henna tear drop :)

I love to apply it to wet hair. It's much easier to apply that way because the mixture is gooey and can be tough to apply to dry hair.

Apply henna as if you're applying relaxer to the hair by coating each section lavishly from root to tip. You have to put enough of it for the hair to absorb enough.

Once you are done applying it to your entire head of hair, wrap your hair very well with a plastic bag. You can double wrap it again and finally cover with a plastic cap.

This is to prevent the henna from seeping out and staining your pillow. If after wrapping your head, the henna still runs down your face and/or neck, it means the mixture is too watery. At this point, well, err, the best you can do is to wrap everything up with an old t-shirt or towel to absorb the dripping henna.

The processing time is usually within 5hours. After which you rinse off. The rinsing off part is key.
Rinse, and continue to rinse until the water runs clear. Your hair may feel hard after rinsing but it's nothing that a moisturizing conditioner cannot fix. Apply your conditioner lavishly to your hair, detangle and leave on for 2 minutes before rinsing off. Your hair will feel soft and exude a kind of healthy shine that is simply amazing.

VO5 Moisture Milks: My favorite conditioner for cowashing and detangling.

My true hair texture
Your hair will smell herb-y, one that can linger for few days. Some people like the smell. Some don't because it makes them nauseous. True, the first time I used henna, I did not rinse it well and then went ahead to apply my leave-in and it turned red. A clear indication that I did not rinse off the henna well. But because I was late for work and in a hurry, I decided to rinse it off when I returned. Before noon that day, I was more than nauseated with the smell of henna that kept bombarding my nostrils all day.

The smell of henna isn't offensive on it's own. Don't get me wrong. But because I spent the whole day perceiving it, my senses became overwhelmed.

By the time I got home and rinse my hair properly, the smell disappeared and by the next morning I felt so much better.
Follow with your leave-in conditioner.

The results of my henna treatment is always amazing. Like I said, there was no curl elongation or loosening. I only use it for deep conditioning.

No definite length check but I can obviously see growth.

But once I'm out in the sunlight, it reflects tiny hues of red that may not be so visible from afar until you come close. Well, that's good enough for me for now. [Notice how my hairline looks slightly darker]

My next experiment would be to colour my hair with blonde box colour and then henna it. The dye in henna will definitely be more obvious. I know this because I tried it on my weave and it worked.

You can also read more about henna here.

Curly heaven of many "O"s

Till next time which will be very soon, remain beautiful.

Be true to yourself.

Much love.


  1. Wooooow, your curls are really popping. You are my current hair crush, I swear. I have the kinkiest 4c texture ever. So I don't think my curls will ever be like yours. all the same, I love your hair.

    1. Thank you dear.
      Apparently, everyone of us have different curl patterns on our head and no two heads have the same kind of texture. That in itself is amazing!

      I am sure if you used some curl definers, your curls would definitely pop.

  2. Hello Ify, I loooove your curls! I'm transitioning and in a hurry for curls cos I don't like my hair just looking straight. Kindly recommend curl definers for me. Thanks a lot.

    1. If your transitioning and you want curls, you will have to manipulate your hair to hold a particular style while using a curl defining product. This is because, you are carrying two textures of hair and relaxed hair don't hold up styles so well.
      So, I'll recommend, twist outs, braids outs, bantu knots or even perm rods.

  3. Pls where and how do I get to purchase henna cuz I'm natural but want curls

  4. Can henna give u a different color like blonde, green, deep pink and blue and if yes could u list the procedures

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Henna can give you warm blonde but bear in mind, it's a mild hint. As for green, deep pink, blue or even lavender, I am yet to see any Henna give such shades.
      Visit any of the Casabella Stores closest to you and ask for the Colora brand of Henna and pick the shade you want. They come in various shades like Auburn, blonde, black etc. Hope that helps.

    2. OK tnkz but we're can I get the henna u use, can I get it in enugu or lagos

    3. The Henna I used even I can't find it again. That's why I switched to the Colora brand. Get the Colora Henna at Casabella in Polo Park, Enugu.
      Coming from someone who has used both, I'll say they're pretty much the same in terms of quality.

  5. Were can I buy the henna u use, can I find it in enugu or Lagos which is preferable. And one more thing how do I change my hair to black using henna, sorry for asking too many questions but I really need your help concerning the makeup is, could u message me on whatsapp or BBM, I ve a lot of questions 08162136985 or 58E04677,tnk u do much

    1. If you read my first reply, I mentioned that the Colora Henna comes in various colors from black to brown to golden brown. And the instructions on how to use it is on it. Hope that helps now.

  6. I was the one Dat just sent the message, tnkz I hope to hear from u soon

    1. Or u can email me at,sorry ooo Cindy is my English name while Chisimdi is my info name, so u don't get confused, tnkz once again

  7. Just sent u a Facebook request with the name Chisimdi Cindy Egbuna , sorry if am bothering u but am just really curious about henna

  8. Pls whr can I get all dis henna products nd Is there henna cone

  9. Hello Omotara, So sorry for replying late.
    You can get henna products at Bazaar. It's an Indian Supermarket in Ilupeju.
    As for Henna cone, I haven't seen any here in Lagos. But I'm really sure the henna powder does a great job as well.

  10. Hi, pls which henna can i use to turn my black natural hair to light brown

  11. Thanks IfyCynthetic for this enlightening post, it really helped me get it right when i started using henna. I just found out from Ancient Sunrise that mixing any of coffee, wine, yogurt, oil or eggs into your henna actually hinders dye uptake. I guess that may be why you were not getting the red color effect you wanted. It's best to oil treatment separately from the henna.
    Thanks once again for sharing your knowledge.

  12. Great tips, many thanks for sharing. I have printed and will stick on the wall! I like this blog. Heizung im Internet kaufen

  13. Hi. Please I need this henna powder urgently and I am currently in IBADAN. How can I get it?