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This site is my online journal that documents my attempts to reach various goals inspired by the principles found in the book, Think and Grow Rich. Join me as I strive to meet financial goals, fashion goals, school goals, hair-care goals, and everything in between. I hope that other young women will relate and find my journey useful to read about; this blog is for me as much as it is for women seeking resources for personal development and freedom. To get a daily dose, follow me on twitter and facebook...and don't forget to follow my blog!

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Try with Cassia: Nature's "Clear" Alternative to Henna

Besides the dry, frizzy bush, and the constant teasing from my boyfriend, there were actually a few perks to not taking care of my hair. First and foremost, I spent zero dollars every week trying the latest and greatest hair concoctions. Secondly, I never had to subject myself to late night, bleary-eyed, "fotki stalking" of the internet's most beautifully-coifed, natural haired women. Now that I am working to upgrade my locks; however, I have been reduced to the above afflictions. Just the other day, one hour after I woke up, I found myself scouring the aisles of Whole Foods for hair products.

What could possibly drive someone to make a 20 minute trip to an overpriced natural food store so that they can spend $22 on natural hair stuff first thing in the morning, you ask? Don't blame it on the alcohol...blame it on CurlyNikki, NaturallyCurly.com, and Henna instead.

As I've been discussing with my last few blog post, one of the many goals I will be tracking on this blog deals with me getting out of my "natural hair rut", as I like to call it. Instead of the lack luster 'fro I've grown accustomed to rocking, I'd like to fashion my hair into long, loose, thick, shiny, dark curls. To do this my plan included many of the recommendations from one of my favorite hair bloggers, CurlyNikki.

On CN's blog, she talks about how Henna changed her (hair) life and how she's such a proponent. She points her readers to this thread on NaturallyCurly.com for how she got her start using Henna.

Dear friends, that thread dates back to September 2007 and is 132 pages and counting. The amount of info on that thread about Henna is ridiculous. After sifting through that thread all week, I was nothing short of obsessed with Henna and what it could possibly do for my hair—hence me waking up first thing in the morning and speeding down the freeway to Whole Foods.

Once at Whole Foods, I purchased Light Mountain Neutral Henna because I wanted to get my feet wet with Cassia before I completely jumped in. "Whoa, whoa, ThinkandGrowChick" I can hear you say. "Neutral Henna? Cassia? Just what are you talking about?"

Well dear friends, after losing nearly a week of my life to reading that Henna thread on NaturallyCurly.com, I feel as if I'm almost an expert. To be clear, Henna is a plant indigenous to Africa, India, and other parts of Asia. Since forever, women in those regions have been using the plant in a paste to impart strength, shine, and a red tint to their hair. There is a second plant called Cassia that has similar effect to hair as Henna, but it is not permanent and does not leave the red tint (thus it's nickname as "neutral henna").

Though Henna is permanent, supposedly, continuous use will provide one with bionic hair. Judging from CurlyNikki and some of the other NaturallyCurly.com members, Henna is the truth and I couldn't wait to try it. I dashed out to Whole Foods to pick up some Cassia, in the hopes that if Cassia did well in my hair, I would try the longer lasting Henna.

Here's the Light Mountain Brand I bought at Whole Foods. Apparently, one should be weary of store brand Henna/Cassia because they tend to be lower grade and have harmful, metal additives in them, but I felt okay using this one because other NaturallyCurly members had success with it and the box clearly stated that the only ingredient in it was Cassia.

Next, I mixed the stuff up with freshly brewed green tea and a little lemon juice, and I let it sit for about 5 hours.

Mmm, green, muddy goodness.

Here I am with this ancient crap all over my head. By this time it was, oh, 3am, but I was trying not to look crazy tired in front of the camera. I had laid a towel over my pillow because it was my original intent to sleep in it. That quickly changed when the mix kept running down the nape of my neck and all over the towel. I couldn't sleep like that, so I decided to just stay up until it was finished.

Let me be the first to say that this stuff was quite a challenge to rinse out. I shampooed about 3 times, but still felt a lot of grit in my hair, so I just decided to condition my hair in the hopes that the "slip" provided my the conditioner would slide the gritty leftover right on out. I was correct; next time I plan to just co-wash instead of using shampoo. After my hair was clean, I sectioned it back into four parts a la maneandchic and added the all natural Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in conditioner. Next, I set my hair using the Twist n Curl method via CurlyNikki and I went to bed.

Ta-da! This is how I woke up. Well, obviously I had to take my hair down and such, but this is how my hair came out. I love it! It's so cute!

Here you can see the shine. Call me crazy, but I swore my hair was ever so subtly red, even though I used Cassia which imparts a golden tint, if any, on the hair. It turned out pretty good though, I'm excited to see how true henna will turn out on my hair.

Anyone else out their have experiences with henna? Did using it give you bionic hair? Share your comments below.


  1. I love it! Your hair looks amazing :)

    I'm currently googling all I can to learn about henna, (which is how I came across your site lol) and I think this post has sealed the deal! - I'm too leary to buy it off the internet, but I just called the WF in my city and they sell Light Mountain for 6.50. It isn't BAQ but whatev. Hope this "ancient crap" gives me results like yours. LOL

  2. Thank you Selah! Hit me up directly either on here, my email, or twitter (thinkngrowchick) and let me know how your cassia experience goes. I type this comment to you with a head full of HENNA!!! I got 3 more hours to let it sit, but once it's done, I will definitely post to let everyone know how "the read deal" goes. Make sure you check back!

  3. Did you have to add the lemon juice? The lemon juice is known to release the dye in it. That may be why you saw a kind of reddish tint as your hair is already dark. The green tea is known to release the dye, but maybe that would make it a darker colour. Did you add any oils, honey what have your? I didn't see it it was noted.

  4. This is adorable. I'm in the process of going natural but I'm transitioning with a weave. I love your blog btw! Very inspirational! I read every entry...Im thinking bout my 6mo. plan now! :)