Saturday, March 15, 2008

My cassia experiment

My hair has never been shiny. Not surprising, as the rough cuticle of curly hair makes shine elusive for so many of us.

But then I learned about this totally natural stuff called cassia obovata. It's a type of henna but without the coloring properties. Its main purpose is to condition and impart shine. It's also good for the scalp, but for me, that's just extra!

I used some today. The process is not simple but it's not as involved as with henna. You just mix some up with water until it's the consistency of pudding and then slather it all over your head. It's good to massage your scalp with it to really get it everywhere.

It's messy. No doubt about it. But it doesn't stain like henna does, so you don't have to worry about leaving permanent traces of your hair treatment everywhere. I put mine on in the shower (you can apply cassia to wet or dry hair, as long as it's clean). Then, I wrapped my head in plastic wrap, put on a shower cap, and then a towel on top of everything. The idea here is to create some heat.

You have to leave it on for at least two hours. I left it on for three hours because I'd read that gray hair (which is the predominant color of my roots) picks up a kind of golden color from cassia if you leave it on long enough. My hair is still drying at this moment but I don't see that my roots look any different. I'll be able to judge better tomorrow, though.

Rinsing this stuff out is a small ordeal but not horrible. I'd read that it helps to dunk your head into a sink or bathtub of water just before you're ready to rinse, so I did that and I do think it helped the cassia come out of my hair under the shower more easily. But as I rinsed, my hair felt dry and brittle (which I was warned would happen), so I just kept doing conditioner washes Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut until it felt better. And then, just to make sure my hair got all the moisture it needed, I applied some Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner and let it sit for about three minutes. Then I rinsed just about all of it out. Normally, this conditioner packs a wallop but still my hair felt somewhat dry, so I used a little Jessicurl Aloeba as a leave-in, scrunched some water out, scrunched-dried with my Curl-Ease towel, and let my hair air-dry.

It's a little soon to know whether I got more shine, but I think this is another effect I'll best evaluate tomorrow. My hair still has about another 15 minutes to go before it's completely dry. I'll report back when I have a verdict!

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