This post is a 'how to' so I know it won't appeal to a lot of you who are subscribed to my blog, however, there is a woeful lack of information on using Lush's henna so I though writing a blog post might help those out there who, like me, wanted to give henna a try! If you've never considered it then I would strongly recommend it to those who want shinier, thicker, healthier hair AND a new hair colour. Though it is worth mentioning that you can't dye over henna and although Lush's henna fades it doesn't fade completely.
Lush's henna comes in blocks of 6 for £7.95 and you can buy any of Lush's colours (Rouge, Marron, Brun or Noir) to tailor the colour to your liking. I normally use half Rouge and half Marron but on the occasion I'm documenting in this post I used 3 cubes of Rouge and 1 and 1/2 cubes of Marron which has produced a more red/ginger colour than my usual red/brown. For the record, I have mid length hair so this is the right amount for me. I think the next time I use henna I will use a full 6 blocks as my hair is growing quite quickly. For those of you with long hair 6 blocks is essential, for those of you with short hair I would still recommend using 3/4 blocks.
The first step in the henna process is to chop up all of the henna. I use a large, sharp knife and chop it up into quite small blocks but there's no need to spend ages doing this. I've never grated my henna and I haven't had any problems yet!
The next step is to fill one saucepan with boiling water, and then another smaller one with your henna. You then melt the henna down into a more liquid form in the same way as you would melt chocolate, by placing the smaller saucepan (or if you have a glass bowl that would work too although I would recommend using something with a handle) into the saucepan of boiling water to heat up. IMPORTANT: As you heat the henna it is essential to gradually add some water to the henna so that it ends up in the form of a paste that you can eventually add to your hair. I usually add cold water but it would probably be better to add hot water. I'd also recommend stirring the mixture especially well if you're mixing colours.
The final solution will look like the above: a thick paste. You don't want it to be too runny because otherwise it will run down your neck/face when you apply it and this will annoy you endlessly. Once it is in this paste form you should transfer yourself to a bathroom or even outside if you don't want to make any mess indoors, because applying henna is REALLY messy. My method is to sit in my bath when I apply it as that way any henna fall out isn't going to go everywhere and you can shower yourself/the bath down after application.
I always henna my roots first. I divide my hair into about three layers, I henna the roots of the lowest layer first, then I make sure I've applied henna to the hair above it and then finally to the roots of the hair at the top of my head. I also make sure to get the hair around my ears/face as any mistakes made here will be most visible. After this it is just a bit of a free for all. I apply the henna through the midlengths and then the ends of my hair until all the henna has been used up. The final result is that my hair feels and looks as if I have rubbed mud in it, it ends up being VERY thick feeling, lumpy and not terribly 'even'. Don't worry about this at all.
|This is the back of my head, the hair is going down my back. Looks like its muddy but that's henna ;)|
Now, if you want your henna to go more red (whether this be because you've chosen a red henna or if you just want the natural red highlights that henna has to stand out more) you want to keep your hair as warm as possible. I do this by piling my hair on top of my head and wrapping my head in clingfilm, then I add a waterproof shower cap and then I top it off with a woolly hat. Yes, I look ridiculous. But it does keep the henna safely in place so that it doesn't get everywhere which is essential as henna will stain clothing / walls / carpets etc. My system also makes it totally possible to sleep with henna applied to your hair.
I would recommend leaving your henna on OVERNIGHT. So if you apply it at 6pm / 7pm / 10pm doesn't matter, leave it on overnight if you want to see dramatic effects i.e. colour change. If you just want shinier, healthier hair then MAYBE leave it on for less time. However, I apply it for at least 8 hours if not overnight and for me this amount of time is what gives me the desired effect so this is the length of time I would recommend leaving it on. It seems like ages but if you do it before bed it won't feel like any time at all!
I would leave yourself some extra time in the morning to wash it off. I tend to have to shampoo my hair up to 3 times to get all of the henna off, and don't worry too much as it won't dry out your hair as the majority of the shampoo won't even touch your actual hair only the henna that is coating it. Once you have successfully washed the henna out you are going to be left with beautifully soft, shiny, thick hair and a gorgeous colour of your choosing.
So there you have it! I hope this helps anyone who was looking for some tips :)