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How a Faulty Henna Treatment Caused My Hair to Fall Out in Chunks

• Jul 14, 2014

by Cassandre of cassandrebeccai.com

cassflatiron

Have you ever watched your hair disintegrate into a hot mess right before your eyes?

Hair falling out all over the place, color looking all ratchet, treatment made your hair feel like straw?

I have.

It was 6 weeks ago when my BFF was telling me about her grand ol’ plans to do her first henna treatment. She was really psyched about it and was constantly sharing articles and videos describing the benefits, the how-to’s and really just enveloping herself in the world of hennaing (which is easy to do when you’re surrounded with such great forums and blogs).

I’ve never given henna much thought. I just never felt compelled to do it, but her research and excitement convinced me that I had nothing to lose. Boy, oh boy was I wrong! Since that terrible, fateful day of my first henna treatment, I’ve definitely cried a river, but I’m glad that my hair and I have lived to tell the story.

I decided to henna after gathering some of her best found tips and recipes on henna’ ing. I proceeded to concoct my own, modified version of the henna recipes I saw. Ladies, this is where I first went wrong! My mix was a combination of henna, coconut cream, jojoba oil and castor oil. You will find no such recipe anywhere! Although my concoction seemed good to me, in combination with my thick, 4b hair that probably needed to be more detangled than it was at the time, this mix was a formula for disaster.

After applying the henna, I let it sit overnight (my second mistake) because I just couldn’t make time to wash it out any earlier. The next morning I made my first attempt to wash out what looked very much liked dried mud (this is putting it mildy).

Not only did the henna seem to stick to my strands, my hair began to fall out in patches as it matted at the roots. I became extremely alarmed when my conditioner plus apple cider vinegar mix made no difference in the matting and amount of hair I was losing.  My hair felt super damaged and completely “off.” I was in shock especially since I was donning shiny, healthy hair for many weeks prior.

I had reached the point of no return (so I thought). My hair matted so badly, I became desperate and held my cutting sheers up against my roots, threatening to cut. Thankfully, my husband talked me out of cutting off all my hair by encouraging me to take a week to detangle. The logic here was I might regret it if I cut my hair without giving myself chance to detangle it.

I took his advice and thankfully my hair was tangle free by the end of the week. Here are some of my tips to reviving your hair when you’ve made a terrible mistake.

1. Be patient.

Sometimes the best thing to do when you’ve ruined your hair is to cut it off, but don’t make that decision in a hurry. There are ways to regain your hair’s health and those ways will likely take some time, but try. Give yourself a set amount of time and when that time expires, reevaluate your hair goals and decide what you want to do next.

I gave myself 1 week to remove the tangling. Everyday, I slowly pulled apart the tangled hairs with select products. It took lots of patience, but it worked.

If after a week of diligent detangling there was no progress, I would’ve seriously considered other options.

2. Stick to the “tried and true.”

When something happens and your hair results are less than stellar, go back to the “tried and true” methods in the past that have helped you to achieve strong, moisturized hair. When my hair was matted after the henna, I decided to go with a simple oil (almond oil) to help lubricate the strands and used Nexxus Humectress Luxe Leave-in Spray which really helped me in the past when my hair was uber tangled.

3. Don’t over-do it.

It’s so easy at this point to drench your hair in products, but I recommend keeping it simple. Product build up can actually work against your hair recovery efforts.

One of my favorite books to reference for help in “crisis” hair situations is Audrey Davis-Sivasothy’s “Hair Care Rehab The Ultimate Repair and Reconditioning Manual.” It’s packed with easy to apply tips on all kinds of hair issues. Pick it up as soon as you can so you can be ready for your next hair care disaster.

What are some things you recommend to help others recover from a hair disaster?

Cassandre Beccai: Just another naturalista playing by my own rules!

About Cassandre

Just another naturalista playing by my own rules! Got hair that doesn't seem to grow past your shoulders? Check out my free Grow Your Hair Faster Video Course

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64 Comments on "How a Faulty Henna Treatment Caused My Hair to Fall Out in Chunks"

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sandy
Guest

The title of this article does not reflect the content. I am still left wondering how the henna caused her hair to fall out in chunks. This is a bit misleading. In any case, if you choose to henna, be sure to use the Body Art Quality of whatever brand you choose to use. You also have to mix it with a liquid (green tea, lemon juice, A.C.V, etc) for the color to develop.

O
Guest

You can mix it with just water and it won’t cause your hair to fall out if it’s BAQ henna.

CurlyGirlLov
Guest

its not misleading she stated that she changed the recipe causing her hair to matt and fall out in chunks and then she proceeded to explain how she went about fixing her grave error. she likely didn’t do a test strip before applying and otherwise she would have known that her hair wouldn’t taken well to her current mix and she could have tried a different recipe or realized that henna was not for her before having to detangle her entire head and remove the hair that fell out from not responding well to the henna recipe

PMS
Guest

I feel like the title is misleading because the root of her issues did not stem from the henna but from her own inexperience with henna. A better title would have been “What I learned from being #TeamTooMuch: my first henna experience”

LovelyTee
Guest

LOL at #teamtomuch. I think the first time doing anything you should follow the instructions then tweak it later down the line to add all those other things slowly not all at once the first time.

Cass
Guest

haha! love that! I didn’t chose this title, but I’ll ask about changing it to your suggestion. Thanks!

PMS
Guest

I have definitely been #TeamTooMuch of various degrees #TeamTooMuchHeadbands ruined my edges and #TeamTooMuchProducts ruined my pocket book. Thank goodness hair grows back!!!

Allyson
Guest

How unfortunate was her first henna experience! As I have successfully used henna several times myself, I cannot help but wonder what went with her. What type of henna did she use (natural, coloring)? I do understand henna treatments aren’t necessarily beneficial for all types of hair, but these are alarming side effects!

Tiffany
Guest

I am SO sorry to hear that happened to you. I’m in love with my henna treatments; but if I had that happen to me on the initial go-around, I’d definitely kick it to the curb. I don’t know if you’ll ever try it ever again (it’s very understandable if you didn’t), but maybe you should lay eyes on CurlyNikki’s Henna Gloss Recipe if you do? Again, so sorry to hear about your bad henna luck, and I hope your hair bounces back as glorious as ever!

Princess4
Guest
I’ve seen Jamaican black castor oil take someone’s hair out at the root, her hair fell out in patches from the follicles. Just because something is natural or organic doesn’t mean it will work for you. Just because something works for everyone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Every head of hair is different, everyone’s scalp is different and reacts different, so does hair and follicles. You probably should have done a test on a tiny patch and maybe stick to the traditional way of mixing the henna. I’m sorry that happened to you. After seeing what jbco… Read more »
B
Guest
I recently big chopped again. My hair was not recovering from “an old accident” and was uneven because of the accident and what’s worse had started breaking a lot. So I chopped it down to teeny ween afro. Also although my hair was mid shoulder length, half of that length was from times before I was fully versed in hair care. There was hair on my head that I used to condition with fabric softener! *hides* and it was starting to show. So it had to go, the stylist cut off a little too much but that’s a story for… Read more »
1queen2
Guest

Never heard any 1 using fabric softener, did it help .

natural13
Guest
Although a good article explaining how to save your hair from a disaster it doesn’t actually explain the title of how henna ruined her hair but describes her first and second ‘mistakes’ how were they mistakes? and HOW did henna ruin her hair? Isn’t actually explained. I’ve been using henna for almost a year every 3/4 months infusing it with similar oils and herbal essences hello hydration conditioner and although everyone’s hair is of course different (and I’ve never added coconut cream) how was that a mistake? I clicked on the article as it said ‘ladies read this before doing… Read more »
O
Guest

It may be the type of henna — not body art quality (baq) — and the concoction she mixed it up with caused the problem.

The author admits she made up the concoction obviously because she has seen receipes with oils in OR coconut milk/cream but NOT both.

Shaniqua
Guest
I liked the content of this post, but I find the title to be a bit misleading. It wasn’t so much the henna treatment, as much as it was how the henna was prepared. As a piece of advice to anyone reading this who was considering trying a henna treatment but is no hesitant, don’t be. There are two things you can do to avoid an outcome like the one described here: 1) If you’re going to prepare your own mix, follow a set recipe from a tutorial by someone who has had multiple henna successes before. Learn from their… Read more »
Jenny
Guest

I’m glad that you recovered from the mishap but henna acts like a protein. I believe you done a keratin treatment before so this plus the keratin could have wrecked your hair severely.

nylse
Guest

you basically overloaded on protein — that’s what happened. i’m glad you and your hair survived.

nylse
Guest

the title is misleading — it should read how my version of a henna treatment caused me to lose hair…which is why its important if you’re going to be adventurous to do a strand test.
henna has never made me lose hair, never. but then again i keep it simple and mix with tea and add some honey.

Kira-lee
Guest
I think the mix of henna (which is similar to a protein treatment) and the coconut cream (also used by some as a protein treatment) probably casued the hardness and matting, esp if the hair wasnt detangled before. Most recipes i’ve seen and tried myself incorporate a conditioner to help distribute the henna and they also make mention to use a protein-FREE conditioner since most henna applications last a few hours. I’m sorry this happened but I appreciate that you share your experience so that others can learn. Also another tip that may help henna-newbies or researchers is to test… Read more »
Zelphia
Guest

I use Nupur 9 Henna and coconut milk all the time.

B3Fearless
Guest
Great tips for handling hair disasters! I’m also glad that the author acknowledged the mistakes she made in her henna process. I only wish the author had mentioned the type of henna she used. Most of the time when I have heard of henna disasters the first thing that the person got wrong was the QUALITY of henna they used. The henna on your hair should be body art quality (BAQ) and it’s best to have one that is finely sifted (no twigs, leave, branches, etc.) I have heard people in the past talking about using colored hennas such as… Read more »
cryssi
Guest
I totally feel your plight. I bleached a fist sized patch in front of my head. My hair melted, I wore a comb over for months. I went to an amusement park and found a really large headband to cover it, but it flew off on one of the rides. My brother thought it would be funny to not tell me and let me walk around for a while with a giant bald patch in front of my head. I cried when I rinsed the bleach out and my hair was sitting in the sink, I wanted to just shave… Read more »
1queen2
Guest

I am glad u r OK now .

Tridounette
Guest

Hi,
Normally henna is safe for hair. Was it an henna Body Art Quality ?
If your hair was desintegrated perhaps there was sodium picramate in this henna.
Real henna is simply lawsonia inermis and nothing else.
When I used henna my hair was shining and beautiful. I have thin hair and it was stronger.
I stopped it because I was fed up with red hair.

Sorry if my english is not correct, I’m French and I’m not fluent.

1queen2
Guest

my hair was dull and dry .

Bentonite Clay, Alma, & Shea Mix
Guest
Bentonite Clay, Alma, & Shea Mix
I found myself transitioning again after 3 years of being natural.… this time I’m getting rid of the Henna Gloss. It is just not for my hair. It did loosen my 4B curl pattern way too much which made it look ratty kind like an old Kinky Curly after too many months of install. This experience had me online looking for a reversal to the effects and lead to Alma treatments to get my curl pattern back. I’ve replaced the henna with Alma treatments since then and now I have no complaints about my hair regimen and won’t be modifying… Read more »
Esther
Guest

So, it wasn’t the henna that caused the disaster then, it was the undetangled hair and the way you approached the application?

Cass
Guest

Yes, precisely.

yeahisaidit
Guest

It’s not the Henna’s fault she didn’t know what she was doing…

1queen2
Guest

I was using the henna it was drying my hair out until it was just breaking off my hair should have been longer but it was breaking just even by touching it so I don’t use henna anymore every body cant use henna especially if your hair is already dry .

Shaniqua
Guest

May I ask what you do to moisturize? Afro-textured hair tends to be naturally dry as a fact, but there is plenty one can do to kick up those water levels inside the strand. If your hair was breaking just from touching it, and please understand I mean no offense by this, it doesn’t sound like your hair was getting the moisture/treatment it needed before the henna even came into the picture.

Amy
Guest

So can we change the title to this post? I mean, I can sympathize with the author to a certain point but come on?!?!?! This unfortunately is a case of poor decision making. If you look anywhere online, the max you should have henna on your hair is 3–4 hours. Besides that, I’m sure the combination of products also played a role in your misfortune. Ladies, Henna alters (relaxes) curl pattern so maybe this is one “at home treatment” we need to start leaving to the professional. We can’t always play chemist lol.

Pattie
Guest

Before I went natural last summer I mixed the henna with lemon juice/water and it totally dried out my hair. After days of trying to revive my hair I decided to go natural and cut my hair. I still like Henna, but I mix it with water/coconut milk. I also like amla,shikakai aloe vera powder.

Sabi
Guest
Often when trying a new thing we do entirely too much, she should have added honey to the henna right before use and left it at that…all the extra oils, and then ACV…for what exactly..just too much. My first time using henna I used henna and water, I needed to see what this product did on it’s own. I simply made sure I did the henna on freshly washed, DC’d, and detangled hair. DC’d well after it. And now am able to ‘experiment’ a bit more with henna & coconut milk and honey. That is as far as I’ll go… Read more »
Carmen
Guest

So the avocado wasn’t too much added protein after doing the henna?

Sabi
Guest

Also don’t ever ever forget to eliminate all extra proteins when doing henna…even the tiny bit in your cheapie ‘henna rinse out’ conditioners will matter. I DC’d with an avocado, hibiscus tea, and a ton of honey after Henna and my hair is always soft.

Shan
Guest

What a nightmare! I love henna and when done properly it really is a benefit to your hair. I agree with Sabi, less is more when it comes to product and u can never allow henna to dry in ur hair. Without a doubt allowing it to dry will not be pretty. Water, henna and a little lemon juice is all u need in the mix unless ur doing a gloss but that’s a different topic.

Cygnet
Guest
Although some henna users like to incorporate oil into their henna mixes, the recommendation from Catherine Cartwright Jones (Google the name; she has hennaed for years and has done a university paper on it) is not to put oil in it at all, especially if you’re using henna to color the hair because oil can interfere with color deposit on the hair. I always put olive oil in any powder-based mask-type treatment I use on my hair; but I’m fair-haired and wasn’t going for that much color. Oil in my henna never affected color uptake in my hair, I still… Read more »
NaturalSenior
Guest

One thing I’ve learned when trying something new, even when making a new recipe for the first time…follow the directions! After you know what you’re doing, then and only then can you “experiment”.

Jacky
Guest
Nice article, thanks so much for posting. Something similar, but not as bad as this, happened to me in the past ( when i was transitioning ). My experience happened when i left egg yolk on my hair for too long, while trying to do a protein treatment. My hair was basically stuck together when i tried to rinse the egg yolk out of my hair, i freaked out. I don’t remember exactly how i fixed the problem but it involved a lot of lubrication( with conditioner and oil ) which melted the concoction off when i rinsed it out… Read more »
LovelyTee
Guest

The reason I am natural today is because of a hair disaster that caused my hair to fall out while relaxed.

straightnochaset
Guest

I am so sorry to hear about her nightmare. I’ve been contemplating henna for a while now, and have been researching if anyone had a really bad experience with it. I’ll admit that reading her story spooked me and made me reconsider trying it at all, but I thank you ladies for your responses. I’m still not sure if or when I’ll try it, but if I do I’ll try and keep it as simple as possible.

Shaniqua
Guest

I recommend looking into the henna bars that are sold by Lush. They’re very simple to use (just add water) and everything has been mixed into them already. I wouldn’t say stay away from henna based on this post. Honestly, the writer did a lot of things wrong that caused her experience. Research is very important when deciding to do things like this. From the way she prepared her mix to the state she had her hair in for application, there was no way she could have come out with favorable results.

Dananana
Guest
I agree with Shaniqua, if you’re new to hennaing, go with the bars from Lush. They’re foolproof, less drying, and they give a nice color deposit. Just use a cheese grater (mine was $3 at Walmart) to avoid chunks in your mix 🙂 As far as hennaing overall goes, I’m done with it. I tried many different methods and hennas my first three years of being natural, and more often than not (Lush bars and Vatika oil being the only exceptions), my hair wasn’t a fan. After every henna session, it was like straw, and it broke at the drop… Read more »
Dananana
Guest

*correction* When I said let the henna sit overnight to develop color, I meant in a bowl in the fridge, not on your head. Never let henna stay on your head for more than 4–6 hours.

LaNeshe
Guest

Henna is great with the use of body art quality henna and not a lot of added ingredients. All I add is water, honey, and a dollop of conditioner. Works great.

Angel
Guest

Lush henna from Lush Cosmetics is the way to go. You don’t’ need to leave it in all day either. It’s not messy or a pain. It comes in premixed bricks, just add hot water and stir and apply it to your hair. I leave it in about 5 hours. At least 2.5 hours is recommended. I’d never use the powder stuff that you have to mix and fix yourself. It’s too much trouble. Lush henna is already mixed correctly for you. No need to go anywhere else for henna.

http://www.lushusa.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Lush-Site/en_US/Home-Show?gclid=CL3N3JWDyL8CFaVZ7AodBmQADQ
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/qa98di18zfrhwnc7i478_400x400.jpeg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/qa98di18zfrhwnc7i478_400x400.jpeg[/img]

Angel
Guest

Oh and rinsing it out is a snap without much tangling.

NubianPrize
Guest
It’s best to get good advice from a trusted source. I’ve been using henna & indigo for the past 4 yrs to cover my gray edges & dye my hair back to its natural jet black. Dye powders like Bigen & Kiss just made my hair dry & brittle so it broke off so I did online research & kept hearing about the excellent websites hennaforhair.com & mehandi.com. Same company but 2 addresses. Also has a forum to ask questions or you can call their phone number & leave a message & they’ll call back later with answers. They also… Read more »
LMcB
Guest

I love the Mehandi.com website as well. I have been using their hennas and indigo to condition and cover my grays for 6 years and I have never had a problem. Their henna is Body Art Quality (BAQ), which is the safest to use in hair (if used properly).

S.
Guest

After researching for several years, I too decided to purchase from Mehandi.com. I bought 3 grams of the “henna for african hair” and did my first test henna application about a week ago. So far, so good. I’ll do the rest of my hair sometime in April.

It is absolutely essential to research, purchase REAL henna from a reputable source, and do a test application before applying henna to the whole head.

angellight
Guest

This happened to me also after a Henna treatment, by Nupur Henna. Horrible! I had just spent months growing my hair back and now this set back. Thanks for the tips,almond oil, etc. Everyone cannot use Henna!

Shebababy126
Guest

Henna treatments are not for everyone…what might work for one person might not work for the other…everyone’s has their own individual hair type and texture.…I almost fell for giving myself a henna treatment after watching all the vlogs..blogs and testimonies.…I tested a portion of my hair and my rresults were similar to Cassandre’s.…I’m not knocking the treatment it’s just not for me.…Thank you Cassandre’ for not only posting your good experiences with products but also informing us of your bad ones…hope you get you hair back in healthy shape.

LovinMel
Guest

Clearly there were some mistakes made here but it is comforting to know I am not the only natural that has a aversion to henna. Henna just didn’t agree with my fine 4b hair

Jade
Guest

Did the brazillian treatment she do before have something to do with it? I would definitely think there is a major possibility. Henna doesn’t do well with chemically treated hair. Not true for all, some people have amazingly resilient hair, but not all do.

Tisha
Guest
I love this Article! Not what happened to her hair but that a lot of Hair Disaster’s can be managed WITHOUT cutting off all your HAIR!! On You Tube some are SO quick to Cut it OFF when it’s not Necessary! Natural hair is resilient. How can it fight a comb so much and yet be taken out by one little henna or flat iron mishap?? But you have to go into damage control which means you will have NO LIFE besides your hair for a week or two. And something else I have learned (the hard way) while I… Read more »
Toni
Guest

Goodness! I got to “I let it sit overnight” and my mouth dropped open. I’m so glad that she was able to come back from this! I am no master at henna treatments, but I learned to follow those tried and true brands and recipes (Thank you, Curly Nikki) and learned that I also can’t henna my hair as often as some other people. Glad that it worked out.

Salimah
Guest

I use body art quality henna, warm black tea (water) and lemon. Covers greys on my edges. No hair loss. This recipe works very well.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/image-30.jpg[/img]
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/image-30.jpg[/img]

Li
Guest

Why did you use castor oil when your hair doesnt like it?

Tee
Guest

I love that you blogged this! I’m a hennahead, but I’ve got about a gazilliion medical issues that mess with my hair and skin…lovely. 🙂

S.
Guest

So sorry this happened to you! It’s going on a year so I hope you have recovered. I would choose plain ole virgin organic coconut oil for “hair recovery”. (Aldi now sells a 14 oz jar for about $5.)

I have never been a fan of “product” for haircare. I like to keep it as simple as possible.

DearWifey
Guest

This just happened to me. I usually use the otc henna but I heard so much bad about PPD’s I decided to use natural organic henna. My hair is a mess. After one week it feels like dry grass. I have been using argan oil and olive oil to no avail. It is so sad, my hair was finally at the ideal length for me. Time for a chop and a regroup!

Nadegeous
Guest
I guess henna is more difficult to find in Canada than it is in the US. The only one I could readily find available was at Lush, which was about 5x the price, but I definitely recommend it. The henna is organic and already mixed with moisturizing agents (I forgot whether it is coconut oil or cocoa butter, and a bunch of other feel good stuff) and my hair is always amazingly soft. I usually keep the henna in my hair for about 8 hrs under a plastic wrap, and immediately follow with a deep conditioning treatment for another 8… Read more »
hanna
Guest

am really in love with my henna . i apply it every month and it keeps my hair strong and healthy . my advice is don’t use any henna, there is some kinds of henna not useful for natural hair .

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