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

by Cassandre of

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?

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