I have black hair with gray and white highlights. I wanted to cover the gray and make it BLOOD RED.
So for the last year I have been using red raj henna by henna sooq (www.hennasooq.com)
I'd used henna before (even henna from henna sooq!) but never found that it gave me the deep cherry cola/deep red tones that I wanted.
I tried adding lemon juice, taking it away, adding coconut oil, taking it away...sugar, tea, beet juice...EVERYTHING.
Finally I started using Dechlorinated boiled hot water and 10 drops of organic lavender oil. EUREKA! It finally stained and didn't itch so much! BUT the caveat was that it was like trying to get a cat out of a catnip factory. It took DAYS to get the mixture out.
So on a whim I found a bottle of Sally Beauty Supply "Ion Color Brights" in Red and Fuschia. I added an entire bottle of "red" and half a bottle of Fuchsia into my henna mix and left it on over night.
It applied super easy, washed out like a breeze, and gave me night deep saturated color, except it stained my scalp. Got a little over zealous with the Ion stuff.
So the next time I bought A tube of Ion Red, a tube of Ion Fuschia
, and a tube of Clear.
I mixed 1/2 a tube of red, with 1/4 a tube of Fuchsia and 1/4 tube of Clear.
Applied it to my roots, left it on overnight again, washed it out.
Once again, easy to apply, easy to wash out, stained beautifully, but didn't stain my scalp!
I waited three days and let it oxidize and then super conditioned my hair using 1/4 tube Clear, 1/4 tube Fuschia, and a cup of conditioner. Left it on all day (didn't drip or stain my skin) under a shower cap and a woolen beanie. Even went to the grocery store, no problem, people just thought I was cold.
My hair is super shiny, super soft, and I only wash it once a week with no problems.
I did end up mixing my giant bottle of conditioner with the rest of the Ion Colorbrights Red. Just so that when I wash once a week, it touches up the color. I feel like the henna roughs up the pores and the colorbrights smooths them again.
I only have to retouch now, every 6 weeks. Once every three months I might do a "comb thru" with the red and Fuchsa mixed with conditioner and leave it on overnight to "refresh" the color all over, but for the most part its just touch ups, which take about 10 minutes to do, and 5 minutes to wash out.
I highly Recommend the Ion Color Brights. I had previously tried Manic Panic, NRage Demi dye, Beyond the zone semi permanent, and Special FX. Although I have to say I liked Special FX I didn't find that it worked any better than Ion Colorbrights and it is difficult to get.