Henna and Me – Valencia’s HairStory

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How long have you been natural?
I did my big chop in February of 2003.

How long have you been using henna? When did you start?
I started using henna 2 years ago when I discovered Curly Nikki. I did not use it as regularly as I had originally planned and when I was required to go on bed rest during my pregnancy, I completely fell off. I got back into it in March of this year and have been keeping up with it ever since.

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Pre-Henna

What made you begin using henna?
You can’t possibly look at Curly Nikki and not at least consider henna. When I saw her ‘walk down memory lane’ before and after pics, it was a wrap!  I ordered henna from Mehendi.com within the week.

How would you describe your first experience with henna?
After my first time using henna, I was a little disappointed. I noticed a slight color change but that was about it. I expected some dramatic change. But I kept faith in what Nikki said about it having a cumulative effect. I didn’t do it as often as she did because at the time I was working 3 jobs, going to school full-time, and went to the gym every day. After my next 2 uses (each a month apart), I started to see the benefits.

What type of henna do you use? What is your mix? What is your process?
I gauge what to use in my mix by what I feel that my hair needs. I use Dulhan or Jamila (whichever my Indian grocer has). I mix it with cooled green tea. I add a little honey and, if needed, I add a little conditioner and/or oil. I apply it in detangled sections and create 4 large twists. I cover my head with a conditioning cap, scarf, and winter hat. I leave it on overnight and wash it out in the morning. I hold my head under the faucet to loosen things up and then I use a diluted shampoo to get most of it out. Then, I co-wash several times until the water runs clear. I apply a DC for as long as I can under a cap, scarf, and winter hat. Then, style as usual!

How often do you henna?
I am proud to say that I have been consistently applying henna once a month. That is really good for me!

How has your hair changed with henna?
Henna has increased my hair’s natural shine (meaning without added products), smoothness and strength. My curls have stretched a bit, but not enough to make me stop using it or change my recipe!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about trying henna?
I am sure that henna is not for everyone, but if you look at the before and after pics of some of the natural hair community’s leading ladies, you can’t deny that henna is at least worth a try!

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