Salon Allergy Specialist

Salon Allergy Specialist

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Allergic to PPD? Try henna.

I have specialized in hair color allergies for ten years now. Every day it seems like I get the same request, "Now how will I color my hair? I'm too young to be grey!" There are a few different kinds of color chemicals on the market, none of which are perfect if you have had a reaction. Most people don't realize that a reaction can be as small as itching when you get your color done,  hives, blisters, having your hair fall out, nerve damage, vomiting,  anaphylactic shock, and in rare cases, even death.

 One of the choices I personally love, is henna. It's good for you, it's 100% natural and organic. (if you order from the company I do, You can even get different colors depending on what you add to the henna, or what you do to your hair after the henna application. In my salon, I offer cassia, henna, amla, and indigo. Today, I decided to share 2 very simple henna recipes.  I get many requests to share them, especially when clients from distances too far to travel need allergy help. Since my blog is getting hits from several countries and the entire 50 states, maybe it can save some typing too. :)

You need to let the henna rest for about 8 to 10 hours, so leave some prep time! Then, you will need to leave it on your hair for a while too, so you need sitting time as well. If you can get a bonnet style dryer, like our grandmothers used to use, heat will but the time in at least half. I personally don't sit under a dryer, that way I can move around and get things done around the house. With heat, for good grey coverage, at least 2 hours. Without heat, at least 4 hours for good grey coverage.

This recipe is for shoulder length, medium texture hair. If your hair is longer, you might need an additional package of henna (100 gms) for about every 4 inches of hair length past your shoulders. Your hair needs to be freshly shampooed when you apply the henna. If your ends feel dry and snarled when you are going to apply the henna, you can apply a conditioner to the ends. You should know that if  pull on a single piece of your hair and it breaks, use conditioner with moisture. If you pull a hair and it stretches on and on, use a conditioner with protein. The henna will actually bond with the protein, and can help seal in the moisture. The henna is only active when it's wet.

What you will need:
100 grams of henna (I use
Bottled lemon juice (25%) and bottled water (75%) or cooled hibiscus tea (5 tea bags and  40 oz. water)
Glass or plastic bowl
Firm spatula
Color brush (I use one with short stiff 1/2 inch bristles)
A squirt bottle
Plastic wrap, or a disposable elastic plastic cap

You will want to decide which version you want to make first. If you make the lemon juice, I pre-mix in a  glass pyrex measuring cup. I use the same cup for the tea, I boil the water in the microwave, and after I add the tea bags for 2 more minutes. I then let the water cool. I use one or the other. The lemon juice can cover better sometimes, but the juice is acidic and can be harsh on the scalp on some people.

Your mixing bowl can be plastic or glass. Add your dry henna to the bowl, make a small well in the center, and slowly add a small amount of your liquid to the mix. Stir well, and keep adding until the mix is similar to mashed potatoes. If it is too dry, add more liquid, as it will be very hard to rinse out. Cover with plastic wrap, or the plastic cap for 8 to 10 hours.

After the time has passed, remove the cover, and stir the henna. You may need to add more liquid to make a yogurt like consistency.  Place a dot of henna on the back of your hand and check for dye release in 5 minutes. There should be a nice orange dot.

Once your hair is shampooed, conditioned, and you have good dye release, you are ready to go. I generally don't do the usual 4 quarter partings on myself when I do my own henna. I am not sure if this will help anyone, but I start in the middle top, but I move from the front of my head, to as far back to my head as I can easily reach, which is just past the round of my head. I apply the henna from the center of my head, in lines from the forehead to the back of my head, going towards the ear, then back to the top, and towards the other ear. I go over the hair line all the way around. I then split the middle of the back in half, and start on one side, doing horizontal partings, working towards the floor. This makes less work in the back of my head for me. 
You want to make sure you apply the color to the top and bottom of the sections, and apply it very thick. If it is the first time, doing a 2 inch area at the scalp on the first pass is a good start. You can apply it to the ends after the first pass. If your hair gets too dry, use the squirt bottle. If the mixture gets dry, add more liquid. If the mixture feels very sandy, add a touch of conditioner to it. It can help it to rinse out easier. Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic elastic cap.

If you have a table top bonnet style dryer, you can sit for an hour, take a short break, and sit under the dryer again. (I have done this) If you don't have access to one, check your local thrift store, or ask grandma. I happen to have one from both. You can allow the henna to sit for 4 hours and achieve the same effect. I sometimes will heat it up outside the plastic wrap with the blow dryer for 5 minutes at a time once or twice to give it a boost.

When your time is finally up, the best way to get the product out is to get it nice and wet. You want to use warm water, and once you have had the water running on it for a few minutes, then you want to use your hands to begin to massage the henna around the head, beginning to break up the "crust", so it rinses out smoothly. Allow the water to do the work for you, and it will rinse out cleanly. You can shampoo, or just condition it, as I prefer. 

You can add Amla to cool the red a bit. Just mix it into the henna. You can use your henna liquid to mix it, or just plain water. You add it to the henna when you apply.

You can add Indigo to darken the henna. Just mix the indigo with bottled water in a separate bowl with a teaspoon OF SALT. Yogurt consistency. You will add it to the henna when you apply, both the above were used in the photo below. If you apply it in a second, separate application instead of a mixed application, you will get black hair.
 Cassia, a yellow flower, can also be used for lighter hair colors. This is also mixed with an acid, I like chamomile tea. I add the tea very hot, and let it sit for 3 to 4 hours. Yogurt consistency.  I place my client under the dryer for an hour, and it turns grey hair a very soft pale blond color. You can add a sprinkle of henna to make strawberry blond.

The colors you can get with henna and it's organic counter parts are as follows:

Strawberry blond
Dark Brown
and Black. 

Your hair will be softer than it ever has before. It will be healthier than it ever has before, and thicker than ever! Your reds will never fade, you will wonder why you haven't done it before. Try it! You just might like it.

Want recipes? Try my friends book. I know it sounds like I'm plugging it, I'm not. it's like having me next to you! Just change the vinegar or lemon juice to hibiscus tea. (Christine uses it too now!) 2 tea bags per 8oz of boiling water.