How to Mix Henna and Cassia
For best gray coverage, mix henna and cassia with an acidic liquid, such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, to help the pigment adhere to hair (I have also used plain water in a pinch with no adverse effects). If I’m looking to add yellow, I favor adding lemon juice, and if I’m adding red, apple cider vinegar.
You can also experiment with mixing henna and cassia with various other liquids such as coffee or teas, alone or in combination with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (see box on opposite page). The main criterion to consider when choosing tea is how the color of the tea will combine with the herbal colorant. Lemon juice or chamomile tea mixed with cassia will add a boost of brightness to cassia’s blond result. Similarly, adding lemon juice or chamomile tea to henna will brighten henna with a hint of gold. Conversely, using raspberry or pomegranate tea and apple cider vinegar will give cassia and henna a red assist.
Add liquid to the pure herbal powder until the mixture is the consistency of pudding (see photo at right). For example, if you’re using 31/2 ounces (100 g) of powder, start with 1/2 cup of liquid, stir, and add more as necessary to make a thick pudding consistency. The amount of powder you need varies by hair type and length (see box on page 106). Then cover the mixture and let it sit, undisturbed, for several hours (at least 2 hours; overnight is best). Henna does seem to be a bit lumpier than cassia, but after sitting for several hours, the lumps in the henna will disappear with stirring.
Excerpted from Natural Hair Coloring, © by Christine Shahin Wood. Photography by © Mars Vilaubi. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.
This original article first appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.