I’ve been using henna for hair conditioning, strengthening, shine, and overall hair health since March 2010. My go-to henna mix is always body art quality henna mixed with canned coconut milk. This henna treatment has done wonders for my hair and I’ve raved about it for years. I even devoted an entire article to explain why I mix henna with coconut milk and the benefits I’ve experienced from this combination.
This past summer I decided that I wanted to give indigo a try. After using henna for so many years my dark brown hair had a pretty strong red coloring especially at the ends of my hair. I love the shine and beauty of black hair and desired a new look.
I originally purchased indigo from my local Indian grocery store where I also purchase body art quality henna, and created my usual henna mix yet this time adding indigo. I applied this mixture liberally to my hair. After an hour I started feeling very nauseous. I knew something was wrong as I am chemically sensitive.
I immediately have a reaction to inpure products because I am chemically sensitive, and the indigo that I had purchased was just that. In very blunt terms I threw up and had to rinse this mix out of my hair immediately afterwards. Although the results of my hair were fine, the experience was awful, and I was thinking I would need to swear off indigo forever.
The color from my indigo treatment didn’t last as long as I would have liked, and I knew I would need a few more treatments with indigo to darken the red tint in my hair. I also learned that indigo especially does not adhere to hair when any oil is present. Coconut milk naturally contains oils.
I decided that if I was going to use indigo with henna again I would try Mountain Rose Herbs Henna.
I have been purchasing organic ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs since 2009. I have a deep respect for the company and love the quality of everything that I buy from them. Since they also sell 100% pure henna premixed with indigo or cassia to create different shades of 100% natural hair color I was open to give their henna a try. Even after receiving the Mountain Rose Herbs Henna in the color “black” (a premixed combination of henna and indigo) in the mail, I was still a bit reluctant to use it. It must have sat in the cabinet for at least six weeks!
After finally giving Mountain Rose Herbs Henna a try I can say that I LOVE it!
The process was a bit tedious, yet the results were worth it. To prep my hair for this treatment I washed my hair the day before, but did not add any leave-ins to my hair. I allowed my hair to dry in six twists. You can see my full detailed curly hair regimen here.
Because the henna I used from Mountain Rose Herbs contained indigo, I followed the instructions of how to mix this henna completely. I was hesitant to use any henna without coconut milk, but I wanted to follow the instructions completely to get the best results. I mixed 6 oz. of the premixed henna/indigo in the color “black” with boiling water until it had a somewhat thin yogurt like consistency. The directions suggest to add either 1 egg, 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil, OR 2-4 tablespoons of plain yogurt to the henna for dry hair. I decided to opt for the plain yogurt since oil was out of the question so the indigo would adhere well, and I wasn’t interested in applying egg to my hair. I actually used 5 tablespoons of plain yogurt for good measure.
When I mix henna with coconut milk the consistency is similar to a thick deep conditioner. The Mountain Rose Herbs Henna mixed with boiling water and yogurt was smooth but very grainy. Because I had a feeling this would be messy, I sat on the edge of the tub and applied the henna to my hair in six sections wearing gloves. I didn’t want to see henna bits all over the bathroom floor.
I covered my hair in a plastic bag and allowed the henna and indigo to sit in my hair for two hours. I was beyond thrilled to not have any unpleasant reactions to this henna/ indigo mix this time, and my hair also didn’t feel dry and hard when it came time to rinse the henna/indigo out. In fact my hair was surprisingly soft once I rinsed the henna/indigo out!
Even though my hair felt soft I still applied my favorite DIY deep conditioner. This time I mixed a puréed banana with plain yogurt since I did not have any canned coconut milk at the time. I did an overnight deep conditioning treatment before doing my last and final rinse and setting my hair to style.
I absolutely LOVE the results of this henna/indigo treatment!
My hair feels strong, conditioned, and extremely soft. Rinsing all of the grainy bits out of my hair was the tedious part. When you have curly hair you can’t brush the bits out when your hair dries. I did my best to get all of it out and I feel like I did a pretty good job. I honestly can’t get over how soft my hair feels! The softness of my hair may have something to do with my hair regimen, yet henna and especially indigo has a reputation for being very drying to hair when mixed with water. Using Mountain Rose Henna made my hair feel even better than it did before!
I know that there are a few ways that you can incorporate indigo with henna, yet I prefer to keep things as simple as possible. A one step full henna/indigo treatment without having to mix the perfect ratio of henna to indigo was very helpful for me. Although using henna can be time consuming, I will never use chemical hair color in my hair ever again. I have used traditional hair color in the past years ago and it was only damaging to my hair, plus the chemicals in hair color are extremely toxic. Coloring hair naturally by using henna, indigo, and cassia is the BEST hair coloring option for permanent hair color that strengthens and conditions the hair at the same time. No you can not lighten your hair with henna, yet read about lightening your hair with honey here.
The color and conditioning effect of Mountain Rose Herbs Henna is beyond incredible! You can see the different 100% pure and natural hair color shades of henna/indigo/cassia mixes at Mountain Rose Herbs here!
(Images by Dawn Michelle)