Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Henna Based Natural Dye

Q: A year and a half ago, I had my hair colored for the first time, in a salon. I didn't want to do it myself because I was afraid of what the results would be. I had light brown highlights put into my very dark brown hair.
The salon advertised that they use natural dye that is either vegetable or henna based. I thought that the dye would be better for my hair since it was natural. But other than the pleasant smell (it smelled like fruit), there wasn't anything really special about it. It just caused a lot of problems.
After about six months, the hair had faded a lot and my roots were very noticeable. My hair became an ugly, brassy, reddish blonde color. No matter what I did, the color wouldn't go away! I bought a box of permanent dye but there were hardly any results. I went to another salon a few months later. This one used a chemical based permanent dye. The color showed up great at first but it was almost gone after the first wash.
My hair won't absorb any color! Do you know why this is? Is it because the dye that was used at the first salon was probably henna based? I read somewhere that hair that has been dyed with henna will not absorb any dye other than henna. Is this true?
I don't want to have my hair dyed at the first salon again. It is the only salon I know of, in my city, that uses this kind of dye. It was expensive. I don't want to dye my own hair. I heard that henna's results can be unpredictable. I've also heard that repetitive use of henna can turn hair weird colors like bright orange, green, or even purple. Is this true?
I have tried to grow out my hair. Right now, the discolored part is a little over halfway down the length of my hair. I don't want to cut if off yet. That would leave me with really short hair.
I don't like waiting for my hair to grow out. It looks silly right now. The majority of my hair is my natural color and there are some pieces of hair that are reddish blonde, around the middle of my head.
I read that double processing (bleaching and then dyeing the hair) works. If I got this done, it would obviously be at a salon. Is that an option for me? Would they do that to the discolored pieces and try to match the rest of my hair? Would they do that to my whole head? How would this affect my hair? Would it destroy it?
Are there any alternative options for me? What about demi-coloring? I really don't want to damage my hair. I hope that you can tell me some options about how I can fix my hair. Thank you for all of your help.

A: Typically, the problem most people face when using henna-based "natural" hair colors is that henna will coat the hair shaft and prevent the hair from being able to absorb other hair coloring or processing chemicals, which can have dramatic effects on the results of the subsequent services. It sounds to me like this is what you are dealing with.
My initial recommendation would be to visit your hair salon and explain that you have used a henna based haircolor that that you believe this to be the cause of your hair's resistance to the subsequent color services. The salon should have some treatments available for removing the henna residues and for dealing with the problem.
If this is not an option for you, here is a suggestion from some other regular users of henna based color on removing the henna:
Saturate the hair strands with 70% alcohol applied with cotton balls. All the hair to sit for 5-10 minutes with the alcohol in place and then apply a coating of mineral oil to the hair, comb it through with a wide-tooth comb, and cover the hair with plastic wrap or a cap. Use a hair dryer or blow-dryer to heat the hair for at least 30 minutes.
Afterward, shampoo the hair using a clarifying shampoo. Apply the shampoo directly to the oiled hair then add water to create the later, as this will work to better remove the oils. Be sure condition the hair well after shampooing as you may need several shampoos to get all of the oil out. I have to be honest and tell you that this won't remove all of the henna from the hair but it should remove enough to make your hair more accepting of hair color and help you get the better results.
If you use the process to remove the henna residue as well as you can, and you worry about damaging your hair with additional color processing, do try the semi- and demi-permanent colors. These may not last as long as expected because of any residual henna, but they will allow you to get some tolerable results while your hair grows the hennaed portions out.