Colouring Grey Hair on Black Hair Colour with Henna and Indigo
From: Gary's Wife - White Hair to Stunning Black !
Received : 15.10.07
I bought some Henna and indigo off you a few weeks back and we have tried out 2 applications of it and so far so good.
Attached are 4 photos of a before and after nature, except that I forgot to take a 'before I started' photograph unfortunately - I was halfway through trying to stick the stuff to my wife's head before I remembered about it, sorry.
Some background info: My wife is Thai, and she has that very jet black hair which is so characteristic of asians. She started going grey early and has been dying her hair using chemical products but we were worried about the possible side-effects - more so when I started finding out more about chemical dyes. So we decided to try a natural alternative, see what happened and if it didn't work then just let her hair go its natural colour.
We waited six weeks after the last chemical dye, then twice used a Henna/indigo mix bought in a health shop but the results were disappointing = so even if I had taken a 'before starting' photo it would have been much the same as the ones taken after the 1st application. I looked at a few internet sites selling natural dyes but decided on trying yours out first since the information you give is pretty comprehensive.
The problem with my wife's hair is that it is not just grey, but a startling white, there is virtually no natural colour left in probably more than 50% of it. So I knew we would have to apply it more than once before we'd start to get good results.
Application 1 was rather messy - I'm no hairdresser, so she had to endure me trying to plaster her head with this stuff but we got through it. The photos I took are a bit overexposed but you can see the chestnut colour that we were left with, the overexposure exaggerates it a bit, it wasn't really as obvious as that. Even though the colour was not great there was no white showing, the lighter hairs were not all that noticeable as the top had gone dark (probably got the application right on the top). Her hair felt lovely and had a really beautiful shine to it. The henna was left on for 3 hours and the indigo for 2.
Application 2 (four weeks later) was less messy - I'm getting better at it. The results were much better this time and I was really impressed, more because I think I managed to actually get at the hairs better and coat most of them properly - that must be the trick? Given that the hairs would be startling white otherwise I think the results are pretty good. The next one should be even better and with any luck will go completely black. This time we left the indigo on for 3 hours. The photos were taken the day after.
It's a bit of a palaver putting the stuff on, but really it's a small price to pay considering the only alternative is to put some pretty nasty chemicals on your head. Even if it never goes completely black we rather like the deep chestnut colour that it gives so even if that was the best colour we can get we'd be happy, but I suspect that it's my poor technique that means we're not getting a really dark colour rather than any shortcoming in the dyes. Do you have any suggestions?
You're welcome to use the photos on your website if you want but I'm not sure they illustrate the results well enough for that.
I'll be ordering some more off you sometime soon.
Thank you so much for the in depth report on your wife's henna/indigo applications, and well done for actually doing the applications yourself ! Photos are great, thanks ! Yes, I find it gets easier with time as you get more more used to repeating the applications. And I find that once you've got it all packed in neatly and wrapped up then it's easy to get on with whatever you need to be getting on with and the hours fly ! But that's if you're a stay at home person, otherwise I guess it can be quite bothersome having to wait so long.
As to how to get the indigo deeper, it's difficult as results do tend to vary from person to person and it can depend a lot on the percentage of grey hair. Because the greys are taking on the shocking red orange from the henna, and because of the amount of grey hair, you may find that it's a lot harder to then tone the greys down to pitch black. You could try not covering the hair for the indigo ( but that's very awkward with a 2 - 3 hours application so try lightly covering instead and cut some holes in to the plastic wrap to allow more air to get in ), and also try adding a dash of cidar vinegar and a tablespoon or 2 of salt to the mix before applying. Also make sure the hair is thoroughly rinsed after henna - you can lightly shampoo also after henna but no hair oil or conditioners to be used at that stage. This may make a difference.. I can't guarantee it I'm afraid but I'm sure it's worth trying. Good luck ! hope results get better and better and hopefully you'll find that the colour really starts to build up and last longer.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to write in detail.
Thanks for getting back to me, very nice to hear from you. Glad you were happy with the report and photos!
I read your suggestions with keen interest, we had covered the indigo with a couple of layers of clingfilm to try and stop leaks! I didn't realise you need to let the air get at it so we will definetely try and allow air in around it next time. I'll try the cider vinegar and salt too. One item I left out of my description, we used vaseline around the hairline which was excellent for keeping the stuff off her skin, and easily taken off as it doesn't soak in - my fingers however seem to absorb the henna too readily (even though I wear gloves), I now have the fingertips of a 100 a day smoker.....
No chance of leaving the head uncovered I think, my wife is hyperactive (washing dishes at midnight, that sort of thing) so it's difficult enough to get her sitting still long enough to apply the henna and indigo - I enjoy doing it for her incidentally, she's my darling and it's one of the few opportunities I get to do some pampering instead of always being pampered (which I am) - she enjoys it but I'm not sure if having mud applied to your head can actually be classed as such! I won't tell my friends however cos it doesn't fit with the butch image....hahaha....
One thing that occurred to me when reading your suggestion is you may have a product opportunity there. There are materials you can get which are permeable in one direction only - meaning water can get out but not in. If you were to fabricate some sort of disposable shower cap type thing of such a material in reverse you could sell it with the indigo - no water would get out but the air would get in. Not sure where the best place to start getting such a thing would be however......If it's an idea which makes you rich please give me a share......
You don't actually have to leave the hair uncovered to get the indigo to take, but the way it seems to work is that covering the hair once you have indigo in will bring out more red tones and leaving it open will avoid the red tones and lean more towards blue black.....there's some sort of chemistry going on there. A couple more suggestions that may be helpful - don't make your indigo too runny; if you can achieve a similar consistency to your henna paste you should be fine with that and it shouldn't drip too much. Add sugar if you need to, just to thicken the paste out... as much as necessary to enable a comfortable application without the constant drips. And try some Vaseline on your fingers before you put the gloves on .. that might help as well. And immediately you take the gloves off , wash your hands a few times with warm water and soap and any stains should start to fade although not immediately.. repeated warm water and soap washes will speed up stain removal.
The hat idea is intriguing - I'll keep that in mind ! I wasn't aware of that....interesting.
As for the butch thing, well the measure of a man is how he treats his wife, and a wise man once said that the best of men is he who is best to his wife ! So I reckon by doing good you're definitely on to a good thing ! May you reap abundant reward.
All best wishes
That's very interesting and could possibly explain why the hairs underneath tend to be redder than the ones on top - I had thought it was because I had only managed to get enough paste on the top ones to dye them effectively cos some of the hairs really do go very dark. I think next time I will try to 'massage the hair' every so often to try and get air moving through it, or blow air through the wrap with a hair drier now and again, and see if that does the trick. I'll certainly put vaseline on my fingers next time.
Haha, I never heard that about how a man treats his wife! That's encouraging :o)
Here's a little doodle for you I did earlier while enjoying some lunch.
(it's another product idea!....sou'wester, mortar board and trowel!)
I've attached some photos again of my wife's hair, taken this morning, after application number 3 of Henna and Indigo last night.
I tried your suggestions and am very happy to say that they worked. If you compare the photos to the last ones I sent you'll see her hair is very much darker than before - I had a quick look at the previous photos and they aren't very good, the reddish appearance is greatly exaggerated by the camera, it wasn't as obvious as that. Anyway, these pictures I have adjusted the colour until it is more like how the hair actually appears, the flash makes the red stand out more than it does actually.
I made the paste thicker and added salt this time, damping the hair down with spray to help it stick, and really packed it on. I managed to fashion a sort of top-hat on clingfilm which we left completely open at the top to let the air get at it and then she sat still and watched telly for 3 hours. That really made it go very dark, although I think I had packed the top too much and perhaps it stopped air getting to some of it. Anyway, the results are fantastic, again the photos don't really reflect how good the result is this time but we're delighted with it, I'm sure you'll see the difference.
We're just about to go to Thailand for a few weeks (on wednesday this week), she intends to get a friend to cut her hair quite short so it'll be easier to apply the stuff next time.
Thanks for the suggestions, I'm sure next time will be even better, might even get it totally black you never know!