I’ve been using henna consistently in my hair regimen since March 2010, so almost 4 1/2 years now. If you follow me on Instagram @mnmlistbeauty, you most likely saw me post a few weeks ago that I was going to use indigo in my hair for the first time. I decided to add indigo in my henna treatment to darken my hair. The results were wonderful, but the process wasn’t exactly what I expected. I’ll explain.
I purchased Godrej Nupur 9 Henna and 100% pure indigo from my local Indian grocery store. I mixed 100 grams of Godrej Nupur 9 Henna with a full can of organic coconut milk as I normally do, yet instead of applying the henna to my hair right away as I’ve explained before, I let it sit for an hour. I then mixed 100 grams of indigo with water and added this mix to the henna and applied to my hair in sections like I usually do with my henna treatments.
I covered my hair and let it stay in for almost three hours. The consistency of the henna/indigo mix was thicker than henna and coconut milk alone, and I was actually surprised that I used the entire mix for my hair. I did apply it pretty liberally though.
Here is where the process wasn’t what I expected. I had an unfortunate reaction from using indigo as it gave me an insane headache, made me nauseous, and I won’t go into any more detail but it got worse. I have extreme chemical sensitivity so either the indigo that I purchased contained some form of toxins since it was not organic, or I am allergic to indigo.
After rinsing my hair thoroughly my headache lessened and I felt better. The henna/indigo rinsed easily from my hair since it was mixed with coconut milk which is the main reason I always mix henna with coconut milk. I then applied wheat germ oil to my hair to soften my hair further and later rinsed my hair again thoroughly. I have been continually washing my hair with water only so I did not use any conditioners after my henna/indigo treatment. Herbal hair rinses are a great alternative to conditioners when doing the water only hair washing method, yet I only rinsed with water followed my an oil rinse this time.
Since doing water only hair washing, I’ve noticed that if I want to “deep condition” my hair all I need to do is put my hair up in a bun under the running water. When I take down my bun once it is dry my curls are extremely stretched which can provide a great set up for another style and is very moisturized. I use my Tangle Teezer to detangle and smooth my hair into a bun. I continued to rinse my hair daily and put my hair into a bun for two more days before wearing it loose again. I wanted to ensure that my hair was completely moisturized as indigo has a reputation for being drying to hair.
My hair is not as dark especially in sunlight as I would like, but much of the bright red tones that my hair had previously has been toned down dramatically. Usually it can take three applications to achieve a strong color change with henna/indigo especially if you’ve applied strictly henna in your hair for years. Regardless I do love the results, but am hoping to have a much more pleasant experience with indigo my next application.
My future plan is to look for a high quality brand of indigo and this time mix it with Reshma or Dulhan body art quality henna which does not contain extra herbs which Godrej Nupur 9 Henna does. I’ve used Godrej Nupur 9 Henna numerous times successfully, but I am not sure if the herbs in Godrej Nupur 9 henna mixed with indigo created the issue I experienced, or if it was the indigo itself. I am also considering using a premixed henna/indigo from Mountain Rose Herbs instead.
At this point I am mainly using henna/indigo for deep conditioning and hair color. With the water only hair washing method, my hair is stronger, softer, and more manageable than it has ever been prior, so I do not feel the need to use henna as often as before. If you’re curious exactly what I’m talking about read From The Curly Girl Method, To Herbal Hair Care, Now Water Only-Part 1 and Part 2 where I go into a lot of detail about this method of hair care.
Well there it is, my very first experience using indigo. I am hoping to find a better quality henna/indigo mix since I love the color of my hair right now and hope to intensify it more in the next few months. I’m honestly in no rush at the moment though. For examples of different henna and indigo mixes to create different hair colors look here. For more articles on how I use henna, and especially why I only use henna with coconut milk look here.
How do you use henna and indigo? Do you do a one step treatment like I tried, or the two step henna then indigo treatment?
(Images by Dawn Michelle)