Got Skills?: Henna Questions and Shedding


Luv.Lyfe (GOC – Eighth Wave) asks:

I would first like you to know I find your blog to be extremely helpful.  I appreciate the time you take to inform others of the natural community. As a new healthy hair natural, I can go a day without checking your blog for new tips. Thank you for the time and energy used to share!!!

I have had two henna applications with Jamila henna. The first was a henna gloss (I don’t know if that counts) and the second was a full strength henna. After the first henna, I did not see much of a difference other than a slight red tint; however, the second henna provided more color, but I can’t say there has been much change other than that. I thought it would be a shinier or fuller, but I didn’t see much of that. I notice many others (including you from your Henna and Me story) have purchased henna from Mehandi. Is this because this company sells a better quality henna? Or is it because it is the most reputable and trusted company? I saw that Curly Nikki sometimes uses I looked at both sites and decided to go with Butters-n-Bars. The box of henna has the date on the bottom and the henna is in a foil package (both of which I thought were indicative of good quality henna). I’m not sure if you know, but does this company provide good henna? I plan to henna again today, but I don’t want to waste my time on henna that is not of good quality. I also went to the local Indian store to purchase Dulhan. I have a few boxes of that brand as well. Should I use the Dulhan only, mix the two, or is the Jamila from Butters-n-Bars okay?

I would also like to know how the heck do I get this henna out of my hair? I applied the full strength henna at around 9:00 p.m. and kept it in overnight. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to rinse the henna out. I rinsed with Tressame Naturals conditioner over and over and over and over again. Then again and again and again with HE HH. I ended up clogging the tub. I fixed the clogged drain and rinsed again. I waited and applied Kimmaytube and noticed that the leave-in was orange when I began twisting my hair. What? How many times do I have to rinse my hair? Is it okay to use shampoo to clean the henna out? I have Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Threat, but I don’t like the way it makes my hair feel; however, I will use it and DC all day if it means getting the henna out.

Another concern is how much shedding occurs almost anytime I touch my hair (pre-poo, conditioning, moisturizing and styling). I don’t know why that is. I can moisturize, condition and be very gentle and look up to see hair on the conditioner bottle, the comb or brush, the shea butter or coconut oil and my hands.  What am I doing wrong?

I know this is a bit much, but please help if you can?

Thank you very much,


(Follow LyfeisLuv’s journey at

Shelli’s response:

First, thank you so much.  It really encourages me when I learn that women like yourself find my site and the posts helpful!  It keeps me going!

Okay, first, I’ve never used Butters-n-Bars, but if Nikki used it, then I wouldn’t doubt that it is quality henna and the foil makes it sound even more so (as that’s how Jamila from Mehandi is packaged as well).  Next, it usually takes 3 hennas to really see the full results.  Given that your first henna was a gloss, I wouldn’t even count that if you didn’t allow dye release.  So, as long as you don’t experience any negative effects (i.e. excessive dryness or an allergic reaction), give it 3 full strength applications to see the real results.  The first full strength is typically only going to give you the tint of color.

In regard to getting the hanna out, did you fill the tub with enough water to cover your hair and do a head dunk to loosen and release most of it first?  If not and you went straight to the shower and tried to rinse, that’s probably the problem.  Head dunk first to remove the majority of the henna (you should really not have any “mud” left after the head dunk), drain the tub and then hit the shower to rinse with the conditioner (I usually do that around 3 or 4 rounds with HE HH … and I use a ton of conditioner for each rinse … I’d say I go through about half of a normal size bottle, if not a little more, on a henna rinse day). Also, did you deep condition after you rinsed? If not, you should always DC after a henna. I would not suggest shampooing as it is too disruptive to the hair, which already goes through a lot of manipulation with the henna application. When I rinse my DC, I always still have some more henna rinsing out in the water.  Also, I may have a slight orange tint when applying my leave-in, but not that much. However, my next wash day, the conditioner rinse water will be tinted orange as well. It’s only in that rinse though. After my henna day, I don’t see it on my clothes or hands. Once my hair dries, there is no residue.  The first co-wash a week later will always get the remainder out of my hair.

As to your shedding, I shed hair throughout every process. I always have shed hair everywhere just like you described. As long as your shedding is stable and isn’t increasing, it’s probably normal.  I was freaking out for a time too, because it seemed like others shed very little to no hair. But, I’ve always shed a lot of hair. I think I experienced excessive shedding last year due to amla, but now it’s back under control and there is still a ball of hair in every stage of my process … pre-poo, co-wash, DC, styling. Remember, normal shed can be up to 100 hairs a day. If that hair isn’t coming out during the week because it’s “trapped” in your curly hair or a protective style, it’s all coming out on wash day. The one thing that I have stopped doing, because my hair is fine, is make certain that I don’t get conditioner on my scalp when I apply it to detangle as I’ve read that it can soften the root. Given that I use a no poo for my scalp, I don’t need to use the conditioner to cleanse it. And, given that my hair is fine, my roots are tiny and I think that conditioner on my scalp may have contributed to excessive shedding (see my post on this here). However, again, as long as your shedding is stable and it is actually shedding, not breakage (make sure the bulb is present), it doesn’t sound like you have anything about which to be concerned. However, if your shedding seems excessive, you should consult with a dermatologist to determine if there is a real issue and steps that you can take to address it.

Serendipitously, CurlyNikki posted an article on Hair Loss and Shedding on Monday, which may be helpful to you.

So ladies, who’s “Got Skills ;)?” Any feedback on Butters-N-Bars henna? Rinsing techniques? Shedding observations or advice? Go!

12 responses »

  1. first, I think that it takes a lot more than 2 treatments to see real results. I’m on like my 7th henna and just starting to really see thicker hair.

    second, you may want to try the Henna for African Hair by Celebration. You get it from It has an very fine sift and it slides out much easier than Jamila. I’ve used them both and like the Henna for African Hair better. It takes overnight for the dye to release but when it does, it gives a deeper color as well.

    Hope this helps.


  2. Thanks Michelle. I’m truly learning that I must be very patient during this journey. I am working on that!!! With the Henna for African hair, do you still get the conditioning properties if it doesn’t stay in overnight?

    How often do you ladies henna? Would it be too much to henna on a bi-weekly, or even a weekly, basis?


  3. OH yes, you get the conditioning properties as long as the dye releases. I don’t do it overnight…only 4 hours. I can’t do it overnight. i get the itchies BAD!

    Also, I henna every 3 weeks. When I first started, I did it every week for a month.


    • I use to do it overnight as well, but then I read somewhere that it only takes 4 hours too. I was happy because I was tired of staining those pillow cases. Like curlynikki when I first discovered henna it was during the summer so I was henna-ing at least twice a week, but now Like Michelle I do it about every 3-4weeks.


    • I also began using henna with a high frequency too. Because Nikki said it takes 3 to 4 treatments to see significant results, I did 4 in a matter of 5 weeks, I think. However, the one thing that you have to be careful regarding is curl loosening. If you have a looser curl or wave pattern, henna can loosen it. So, keep an eye on it if that’s not an effect you desire. I think I would have been fine if I started doing roots only after 4 full strength treatments. But, I kept doing full strength, full length treatments through December 2010 and I started using henna in April 2010, if I remember correctly. After the big push, I reduced my frequency to once every couple of weeks to once a month, so I did slow down. But, not before I experienced a lot of loosening, which I really noticed by August 2010.

      Btw, it was time for me to re-up as my Jamila was running low (I think I had the decent crop), and I orderded 500g of the Rajasthani Twilight that Nikki recommended the other day (how perfect was her timing on that?!?), as well as 100g of Zizyphus!! Reviews to follow!!


  4. When I henna I shampoo and work the henna down with my fingers (i guess detangling). I typically detangle with every shampoo and condition rotating between the two until the henna is removed. you many wanna make sure you mix it as fine as you can. I just ordered cassia from Butter and bars but have yet to use it. I got my henna from the local indian store for the cheap…


  5. Question, has anyone performed a Apple Cider Vinegar rinse after using henna? Is that a no-no, does it cause harm or do you recommend performing the ACV rinse if you use henna? I am considering henna but I cannot find any information on doing both. Thanks for the information and I love this site!


  6. Thanks for this post. I just re-watched CurlyNikki’s Henna tutorial (after applying the henna an hour ago) and realized that I should have applied it to WET hair. *Sigh*, this is what I get for not reading the instructions. Next time. Next time. Next time . . . . I’ll be sure to re-watch the video before applying henna to be certain about proper procedure. At least I’ll know to do my deep treatment this time to counter the drying effects of the henna.


    • Hey Krystal, you don’t have to do it on wet hair. Nik does it on dry hair now … ever since she had Gia … though she doesn’t do it as often anymore. I also have done it on dry hair for most of this year, though I used to do it on wet hair. I’m doing a henna tomorrow and will do this one on wet hair because I want to pre-poo and wash, since I haven’t done so in two weeks. But, if I’d washed last week, I’d do a dry henna. So, that is not necessarily the issue … though, you may find that wet hair is better for you.


  7. Ok. So I did wet my hair earlier today since it was straightened yesterday and I didn’t want straight hair anymore. Will that cause damage? I’m not too concerned about it, but I guess I should know what I’m in for. I’m sitting under my drier right now for the final 2 hours of my treatment.


  8. I love you blog! I recently started the water only method. I did a henna treatment for the first time last week and I loved it. I can’t use commercial products so instead, I used rooibus tea, beet juice, acv, paprika, and shea butter. I deep conditioned with pumpkin and honey afterwards. I hopped in the shower for the benefit of the steam with the DC in.


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