Thursday, December 14, 2017

Vatika Henna Dye for Fine, Stubborn American Gray/White Hair

**I'm not getting paid at all, this post is not sponsored. Vatika probably has no clue I'm even alive.**

henna dye for stubborn gray hair

The majority of my family members have gone white-haired very early in life. My grandmother had yellow-white hair by age 16, my mother by age 27 and my brother by 30. I was lucky enough to have survived with a minimum of gray/white hair until I moved to India in 2011. After moving there, I noticed I kept getting more and more and after coming home in 2012, it really started turning white. By last year I had large chunks of gray-white hair, not the salt and pepper kind, that stood out quite a bit.

Normally I wouldn't care because I have bigger things to worry about than fighting a battle over hair color but in the last year, I've just started wanting to dye my hair. I dyed it when I was younger quite a bit, often sporting some wild colors long before the current color-craze existed. I just haven't found a dye I'm happy with.

My hair, being rarely touched by any styling products, has always been very soft and I like to run my fingers through it and just feel the sleek, soft, delicate feel of my hair. I like the way it feels blowing in the wind. So it troubled me immensely when I dyed my hair last year with a common American superstore product and my hair didn't feel that way anymore. I got even more irritated when 3 days after dying it, all the gray showed and the rest of my hair was dyed and not so natural looking. (I bought gray-specific hair dye!)

Fast forward to my second attempt in which I did more research on American websites in regards to American products and enlisted the help of someone who dyes hair often with over-the-counter dyes. I learned I needed to first pretreat my hair with 20 Volume. Something that I now know is virtually a thick form of hair-murdering bleach. Instantly after using it for just 10 minutes I knew I had made a profound mistake that would haunt me. No amount of conditioner, oil treatments or hair repair solutions worked, but the dye did indeed take better and it lasted a lot longer. My hair still hadn't fully recovered but I had a good 3-4 inches of growth with random chunks of gray again.

So I got the whim last time we went to the Indian grocer to try Vatika Henna dyes. After all, there's no insanely harsh chemicals in them and worst case scenario, I'll be gray again in 3 days lol. Here's my hair-dye journey with Vatika Henna.

I knew I would blog this so I took before shots of what my hair looked like.

henna hair dye for stubborn gray hair

hair dye for stubborn gray hair

henna dye for stubborn gray hair
I know there are many different screen resolutions out there however, in each of the above photos you can see that my hair is more than 50% white with brown mixed in. In the second picture you can see that area of my hair is more than 75% white at the top of my head. My hair is a dull shade of brown, nothing exciting.

Before I started dying my hair, I put Vaseline all around the edges of my hair line. I know henna stains and doesn't wear off of skin quickly and I had no interest in having mehendi orange splotches scattered all over my head and my neck. The next step was to check out the contents of the package. I was pleasantly surprised that inside I found 6 small packets of dye. This is genius! I could mix as much or as little as I needed.

henna dye for stubborn gray hair

Then I realized I wasn't sure how much I needed so I decided to start with 3 packets and if I needed to add more to my bowl, I could add more. So I open one packet and...another surprise, there's a package inside of a package. I can only assume this has something to do with prevent the product from losing potency and I hope it's also done to prevent newbies such as me from tearing into the tough to open outer package and getting powered dye all over the place.

henna dye for stubborn gray hair

I followed the instructions exactly and mixed the powder in the packets with water.

henna dye for stubborn gray hair

Upon seeing the volume of mix I had in my bowl, I decided 3 packets would be enough to do my hair. It looked to be about the same amount of product I had dumped out of American hair dye packages. Away we go!

henna dye for stubborn gray hair
My apologies for the brightness in this photo as it skews the color of the dye however, it was the only way I could capture clearly what the mixture was like after stirring. I got a thin mix of dye which did kind of worry me a bit. I know what mehendi feels like that you want to stay on your skin and this was really watery in comparison. Still, I'm no expert and I know I followed instructions so I just made sure to keep going until I got all the lumps out and had a smooth liquid.

Then I applied it to my hair and let it sit for 30 minutes. I didn't take any pictures of this part because once I got it on, I put my hair up in a cap so as not to get the dye all over my clothes and home. After the time had passed, I rinsed it all out. There was no well-defined instructions on this part so I used the American rule of thumb - rinse until your water runs clear. Another pleasant surprise, this didn't take nearly as long as it had with American dyes in the past.

One thing I noticed with the henna is that it had started to dry in places. This wasn't alarming as mehendi does the same thing so I'm sure that is common with henna products of all types. Though I will say at this point I worried I had left it on too long for the strength of color I wanted as with mehendi, the longer you leave it, the darker the stain. One thing that stood out to me as I rinsed my hair is how soft my hair felt again. My hair is never soft when it's wet and while rinsing I felt like it was really soft and silky again. I couldn't wait for it to dry!

I waited 4 days to take my after picture. Immediately upon removing the dye, it was a bit darker than I had wanted but, I know after 3 days, hair products tend to relax and settle down so I gave it time. My hair is still a little darker than I had wanted however, it looks good so I'm not complaining. My hair is still really soft and the henna seems to have either masked or repaired the damage done by the 20 volume almost a year ago. This makes me very, very happy! But enough with all of that, here are the end results.

henna dye for stubborn gray hair

henna dye for stubborn gray hair

henna dye for stubborn American gray hair
It indeed looks very natural, even my natural highlights are showing through. There's no gray anywhere and the volume of my hair has improved. My hair is not getting as oily as quickly either. I'm definitely impressed with this dye!

Have you ever used henna dyes? Share your experience in the comments.


  1. Henna is quiet frequently used in North India for dyeing/conditionig hair and also beards. Prolonged use often turn hair orange. That is one of the side effects of prolonged use of henna.


  2. My hair still feels better and looks less dry which is something I usually have trouble with. I'm surprised about the orange color being from prolonged use. As your hair grows, that should grow out too. I'll check into that more though.

    1. I am not sure whether the hair dye is henna mixed with something else to suppress that orangish hue. Plus your hair would prabably be different from indian hair. The henna applied to hands also turns orange after sometime because it is its natural colour.

      If you go to a muslim area you will definately find many old gentlemen with flaming orange hair and beard. Henna hair dye is more common among them.