Here is the evidence, as promised! You are welcome to use these photos on your website. Transformation!
Henna only (mixed with lemon juice as per instructions):
This was taken immediately after hair was washed for the first time. Result or what! Two days later, the colour has more of a red-brown tinge I think. In a few days, I shall try taking more photos in natural light & send them to you. Next time, I may try henna without lemon juice & use less indigo... I'm always open to suggestions! I'm sure many subtle effects are achievable with practice & experimentation. Thanks again for making your excellent quality henna & indigo available (the latter was a revelation to me). Best wishes. Yours truly, David
8.12.06 Thanks for the new instructions, which I've just printed out. I bought the kit earlier in the year & postponed using it, for a variety of reasons, until only 2 days ago... Despite, as it turned out, the unnecessary use of lemon juice, I am more than pleased with the stunning result & now feel inspired to continue experimenting (is this stuff addictive or what?!) Actually, I used henna (on its own) in the late 70s & early 80s - I show my age here! That was before I went grey... It was just standard, cheap quality shop-bought powder but did the trick. I have a dreadful feeling I might also have used (but only once) some of that dodgy so-called black henna, as well as the red kind. Anyway, I survived to tell the tale. This, though, combined with Indigo, is in a different class. Hopefully, will order more in the New Year. Best wishes, D
Dear Sabrina, As I said in my previous e-mail, my hair colour has improved still further & become warmer & more subtle on the second day after application. Here are some photos taken within the last hour in natural light:
Of course, no photo can ever do full justice to the living actuality & ever-changing play of light... But I'm thrilled & delighted with the results.
Thanks again for making this possible,
I should add that in the last few days I've experienced some skin irritation - my scalp covered in little spots or bumps, which I'm trying not to scratch. Applying some pure Aloe Vera gel has helped & I'm hoping that the allergic reaction or whatever it is will settle down.
I think what happened is this:
- I haven't used anything on my hair except for mild shampoo for years, so applying henna & indigo was quite a shock to my scalp.
- because I wanted to be sure that the grey/ white was properly covered, I probably used more henna & indigo than was necessary & I also left it on too long.
- When I washed off the henna & indigo, I didn't clean my scalp adequately. Lingering traces could have caused the skin irritation.
I should stress that the reaction didn't occur immediately. I only became aware of it this week. I'm still thrilled with the colour, which continues to evolve! Hopefully after more shampooing & time the spots will go away.
(I'm not sure if there's a link but I've been troubled by spots on my back for a while, but never on my scalp.)
Assuming nothing dreadful happens (baldness etc!), next time I'll use less Henna & indigo for a shorter period & wash it out more thoroughly.
If you have any further suggestions, I'd be grateful.
No need to include this info in my feedback, because I'm still delighted with the colour & the skin irritation is only a minor, tho unexpected, inconveience, provided it clears up & doesn't get any worse
Anyway, I look forward to seeing my head on your site!
I'm sorry to hear about the reaction. I do have some observations to make which could be helpful to you concerning this.
Firstly, I think the lemon juice in your henna may have exacerbated, if not triggered, the condition you are now experiencing ( just surmising here as I'm not at all sure ). Secondly, it's more likely the indigo that's causing the itching than the henna. Some people - myself included - are indigo sensitive. I always, without fail, get an itchy scalp and hair ( but I can't say I've noticed spots/bumps) after an indigo application. Henna alone works fine for me, but the minute I'm done with the indigo, I'm itching. My theory on this is that indigo is astringent and astringent substances tend to cause irritation in sensitive individuals. I might be totally off track, but that's my theory. The aloe vera gel works for me too - in fact I apply it after my hair has dried following henna/indigo and then it generally settles down and after the next hair wash the irritation vanishes completely without the need for the gel. It could also be the fact that traces of indigo get left behind on the scalp and that the heat of a full head of hair combined with indigo particles left behind causes itching.
In your case, I agree that the fact that you have used the mildest of products over a number of years and cleverly/wisely stayed away from hair dyes, probably means that you are just not accustomed to tolerating any strong substance on your scalp. And indigo is a strong substance, despite it being 100% herbal ( so is cannabis). But I am concerned about the spots and bumps, and if that's an allergic reaction, it isn't a good sign. Proceed cautiously and if this problem persists you may, regrettably, have to give up indigo.
Next time, mix up your henna with hot water only. As you suggest, apply for slightly less time. Also, do ensure that you only ever use cool water to mix your indigo - or luke warm water only if it's a very cold day. Add an egg white to your indigo mix or a whole egg. Don't add salt. Also, try pre mixing your henna/indigo at a ratio of about 65 -70% henna and 45 - 30% indigo which may lessen the irritation ( though to be honest I don't find it any less irritating). Once your hair has dried, immediately apply the aloe vera gel. And that should help it all settle down
Try oiling your hair with a good quality cold pressed olive oil or coconut oil and leave it in at least 2 hours before you shampoo.
I sincerely hope this helps. Will you please keep me posted on how it all settles down, and also on subsequent applications. I'd also be grateful if you would let me use our exchange of e mails ( I will edit as appropriate to safeguard your i/d ) on my feedback page as I think it's helpful to other henna / indigo users and to all those who are considering taking the plunge. It's, unfortunately, not all plain sailing for some and these issues are issues we all need to be aware of. I'm currently investigating another herbal substance which gives fantastic colour and which is milder than indigo but it's going to take me a while to complete some colour trials and then to find a source of supply - that may suit you better in future.
As for spots on the back - get them checked out by your doctor. Could be dry skin, mineral / vitamin related (lack of potassium?) or something else, but worth getting checked out.
Finally, anonymity assured, save I can't guarantee that the masses won't recognise you by your distinctive new hair colour ( are you sure it's ok for me to use those photos on my site ? !). You might well want to consider investing in a red floppy hat with a white bobble on the end, along with a stick on beard, which, this time of year would at least ensure that you're able to mingle and merge with the crowds without being recognised as the hennaed David ! Best wishes
Many thanks for your advice.
think the skin reaction on my scalp will gradually settle down. I applied more aloe vera last night & will shampoo it again soon (I try to minimise the use of shampoo).
You are welcome to use our exchange of e-mails (minus my full name & e-mail address, of course).
As for photos of my moptop, published & be damned or rather blessed!
I have already taken the precaution of adopting the cunning disguise you suggested:
Ho ho ho...
Stay bright, David
I just wanted to let you know that your head has now made an appearance on my feedback page. Thank you very much for allowing me to use it.
I have been pondering the issue of head and skin irritation from henna and indigo and I have had to come to the conclusion that it is very much a question of individual sensitivity and tolerance ( as opposed to danger, except of course in G6pd enzyme deficiency cases ) . No one can know if they may be henna / indigo sensitive until they try it, and even then, I do believe that any irritation - provided it is mild and provided it can be soothed with something simple and natural like aloe vera gel - is worth the risk compared to the sheer poison that comes out of a chemical hair dye. In the case of severe and persistent irritation, however, I would have to say to anyone who “suffers” that they must give up henna / indigo. As I said before, herbal does not necessarily = safe and reaction free. I'd be interested to know how you get on with subsequent applications so we can assess if this really is the long term colour solution for you.
As a matter of interest, please go to my Indigo Dangers Page - http://www.renaissancehenna.com/dangersandwarnings.htm. Scroll down the page and you will find references to 2 individuals, one of whom (Maryam) is “sensitive” and appears to be showing signs of spots and mild irritation after henna and indigo - see her before and after indigo and henna photos and look at her forehead, and compare with another “sensitive individual” ( anon) who says she is not experiencing any signs of irritation at all with henna/ indigo. There are no photos of “anon” but she makes reference to this in our “indigo dialogue” which appears on the page. Maryam says that she is sensitive to both henna and indigo and experiences mild redness, irritation, and itchiness after henna and after indigo, but that she none the less loves using it and wouldn't change her henna / indigo routine for all the world ! She used to use hair dyes and was losing hair and feeling generally unwell; she now says that she feels henna / indigo has actually boosted her health overall, that it gives her an overall sense of well being, and that she enjoys healthy hair and a stronger immune system. So despite the irritation, she perseveres and feels it is quite tolerable. I think that's real the criterion isn't it - if you find it tolerable, then continue to use it, but if it's severe irritation and it makes you suffer, then don't; it means that henna .indigo just aren't for you.
I intend to post these comments up on the site, along with any further feedback from you.
Wish you all the best.
Many thanks for your e-mail. I have taken a look at the site & am thrilled to see my fab moptop there!
What good timing, cos tomorrow I shall apply a mixture of henna & indigo to my hair roots where the colour has grown out (5 weeks) - I've been too busy to do it before now, tho it needs it.
The scalp irritation is long vanished, thanks for your concern.
Will keep you posted.
PS belated Happy New....