How Long To Soak Henna?

If you wish to use dye without damaging your hair, henna is a great option. It is a plant-based dye that colors hair reddish-brown and is an easy way to enhance your looks. The application can be a very messy process, and you should wear old clothes while doing it. Also, lay newspapers on the bathroom floor to ensure that you do not stain any surfaces. You should also have a plastic cap in which to wrap your hair. That way, your hair can absorb some warmth from the scalp, making the absorption an easy task.

Here is a mistake that many people make when applying this dye – they are impatient. You need to dedicate a lot of time for this process. When I dye my hair, I spend a whole day on the process. For one, there is the mixing part. You cannot make the paste and go straight to using it on your hair. If you do this, you will not get the full benefits. You should make the dye and let it sit for several hours before using it. I advise that you do this the day before and let it steep overnight.

Making the paste

This dye comes in powder, but I have come across other forms in the past. But for this, use powder as it will be easier to work with. Mix half a cup of powder with a quarter cup of warm water. This temperature is the best as it ensures that the powder gets absorbed easily. Keep stirring the ingredients together till you make a uniform paste. If it feels too thick, add a tablespoon of water. You want to end up with a consistency that is akin to mashed potatoes. It is all about adding a little of this and some of that till you get it right.

The mixing should take place in a bowl made of plastic. Once the mixture is ready, you should cover it and allow it to rest undisturbed. This rest should take place for at least twelve hours for the color to develop. That is why it is best to start the preparation the night before, or even earlier where you can. The dye may look thick at this point, but you will deal with this at a later point. Before applying the paste, you should mix it with water to make it easier to work with. Otherwise, it will be too thick to handle.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. As it steeps, you should wash your hair using a gentle shampoo that does not strip you of essential oils. Rinse it out dry the hair by sitting in the sun. Using heating tools is not advisable in this case. As much as conditioning is essential, it is not necessary in this case as it will impede the absorption.

You should then work on ensuring that the dye does not stain your skin by applying some oil around vulnerable areas. Also, tie your hair back if it is long as this can stain you once you apply the paste. For short hair, using a headband will keep the hair out of your face.

From here, you need to comb your hair to make it smooth and free of tangles. Failure to do this will lead to tangling and hair loss during paste application. Part your hair in two such that it falls on both sides. In other applications, you start by dividing the hair into sections for ease of dyeing. But in this case, this is not necessary as you will work on it by layers.

You should wear old clothes which you do not mind staining before using any dye on your hair. You could also wrap your shoulders with a rag or other cloth.

The Application

The application will take place by sections, so you will start small. It is best to start with the bottom section of the hair. Hold it and brush it with the paste, ensuring that you saturate the hair from the roots all the way to the tips. You should note that this dye is quite different from others such that it takes time to penetrate the strands. Also, it does not spread with ease, and thoroughly wetting your hair with paste is essential. It is only then that the dye will penetrate the cuticles.

After covering one section, twist the hair into a ponytail and lay it at the top of your head. The good thing is that the paste will be sticky, and the bun will thus stay in place. If you want, you can use pins on it to ensure that it holds. When working with short hair, these will be necessary in keeping the hair in place. Move to the next section using at least two inches and keep doing this until you cover the entire head. You can use your fingers to spread the paste from the roots to the tips. Each bun should twist over another one such that you end up with one big bun. This close contact will ensure that the dye penetrates the strands with ease.

After you have covered the entire head, apply the past around the hairline to ensure that you cover every strand. The most important thing is to cover the roots and hairline. Failure to do so will ruin the look.

You can now wrap your hair with a plastic wrap, making sure that you cover your face from getting stained. When doing this, do not cover your ears, or you will end up staining them. This covering will create a warm and moist environment that will allow the paste to set and penetrate the strands. Sometimes, I run errands while letting my dye set so that I can kill two birds with one stone. All I do is ensure that the plastic wrap is secure around my head and wear a cap on top. You can also use a scarf as it will make the dye steep faster owing to the warm environment.

The setting should take place for two to four hours. The longer that you let it sit on the scalp, the better the results will be, and you can get a deeper hue. If you add to the heat on your scalp, the dye will steep better. I let the paste soak for up to six hours when I want to get a better color.

The Rinsing

When you are sure that the paste has sat on your scalp for long, you can rinse it out. Start by rinsing out the dye with some conditioner in play. It will make the removal of the paste easy, as some of it may be hard and difficult to remove. Keep conditioning your hair and rinsing it out. When you get clear water, and your hair is free of paste, your work is over. At this point, your hair should feel silky and strong.

Note that with this dye, the color uptake will not be immediate. So you should wait for a day or two to see the results. At first, when the hair dries, it will look bright orange. After some time, the color not have an orange hue and will be much more profound.

This dye is permanent, so you should not worry about losing color over time. That does not mean that you should not use a color-safe shampoo. You should use products with mild ingredients to ensure that you do not dry your scalp. You will need to touch up your roots over time. When doing this, let the paste sit on the scalp for as long as you did during the first application.

Things to Note

Mixing this paste with oil for hair should not happen as this will impede the uptake of the color. You should apply this paste to new growth when it develops. The good thing with it is that it is natural and will not damage the hair. However, you should properly care for your hair, or else you could lose hair owing to harsh ingredients in your hair products.

Ideally, this paste should remain on the hair for two to six hours. The same goes for natural hair. Leaving it on hair overnight will give you better results as opposed to two hours. You can leave it on grey hair for one or two hours for the results to show.

You should use conditioner to loosen the paste and smooth the hair. That way, you will not strip the hair of natural oils and hue.

Tip: Wearing gloves will ensure that you do not end up coloring your hands in the process. While you may choose to use tools to apply the paste, it helps to use your hands.

Now you know how many hours you should soak the paste to get an attractive hue. All the best and here is to use natural dyes for longer-lasting effects!

About the author

Bridget Stein

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