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Henna & Traditional Color

Q: I used to use color with developer, then tried henna (which I used about 4 times over the course of several months); the last time I used the henna was Sept. '06. Then in November I colored with Clairol Natural Instincts; I had a question about the product & called the Clairol 800 number. The rep said you shouldn't use a product with developer until henna has completely grown out (or been cut off). However, I'd already put the Clairol product on my hair and was not having a bad reaction, so I left it on for just 10 minutes and it was okay.
 
      I haven't colored since then (last Nov.) and now I really want to color. I have many inches of new growth, but there's still some old color starting about 3-4 inches down from the scalp. It's been more than 5 months since the henna, and more than 3 months since the Clairol. Is it safe for me to use a product with a developer at this point? (No more henna for me!) If so, anything specific I should look for or stay away from?
 
      Thanks in advance for your reply. Which I look forward to getting soon, as I really want to color!

 
A: The main problem with using henna and then trying to use traditional hair color methods is that henna coats the hair shaft and can prevent the chemicals from penetrating the hair shaft and processing properly. You can end up with your color not processing, with the results being splotchy or patchy, or not coloring the hair at all.
 
      There are methods for removing henna that are touted by different sources, but none of these are guaranteed and the results depend on the individual. You can find the basic henna removal instruction here. It’s possible that your henna applications didn’t coat your hair too badly and that was why the Natural Instincts product gave you adequate results without problems.
 
      Your best option would be to see a professional and explain your hair’s history if you want to use a more radical color process. However, given that you have already used the Natural Instincts once “post-henna” with positive results, you should be safe to use it again. Just be aware that if you’re planning to use any other color formula you may find yourself facing problems with the henna, particularly when it comes to using lifting formulas.
 
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