Lets talk about Henna!
It is a small tree native to north Africa, parts of Asia, Australia and India. The dye is extracted from the leaves, once the plant is mature the leaves are removed, dried and grounded into a powder. Henna plant leaves contain a compound called naphthoquinone: one of a group of natural pigments that are believed to be responsible for changing the colour of fertilised fruits and protecting plants against ultraviolet light, dryness and pests. A dye is formed when the natural precursors in the henna powder (known as hennosides) react to slightly acidic conditions, such apple cider vinegar, and oxidise.
How Henna works on hair
The dye molecule in henna has a strong attraction to the protein in your hair, it sticks firmly to the surface and even underneath lifted and damaged cuticle in the hair, when used consistently the large molecules will slightly weigh your hair down, create a slight stretch and make it feel thicker so has great benefits for strengthening your hair. Because henna coats your hair with each use, over time the colour will become more obvious so if you don’t mind the slight lightening effect then take advantage of the benefits that can come from this organic herb of nature.
What are the benefits of henna?
Henna is one of the few materials found in nature that has an affinity with the hair’s keratin, meaning it gives astounding lasting colour without the need for harsh chemicals to fix the colour in place. It is also a wonderful ingredient to use if you want to add body to the hair, increase shine, and make your glorious crown look and feel beautifully healthy. It is both a treatment for the hair as well as a natural colourant.
What colour will my hair change to?
It turns black or dark brown hair a lighter shade of brown which can really only be seen in bright light of the sun
Grey hair will be turned a burnt orange colour so we will discuss tips later for utilising henna with Indigo to dye your greys back to black with this natural process
Henna produces dramatic transformation on blonde hair. If you are planning to dye your fair hair brown or darker you could start with a red base to avoid khaki tones and patchy coverage.
Various Tips for using henna
Ensure that hair is well clarified and damp before you begin the process you will want your cuticles to be raised so that the henna can do its job!
If you want to use henna for its strengthening properties and don’t mind the lightening effect you could give yourself an intense henna treatment every four to six weeks. This will further add to the benefits of meeting your hair goals. Take the required amount of henna depending on your hair length and thickness this will vary. Put the amount into a non-metallic bowl. Add warm water enough to form a thick paste. To get more intense results its best to add a couple of teaspoons of something acidic such as apple cider vinager or lemon juice. Form a smooth paste and cover the bowl and store at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is best. The Henna takes time to release its dye (Lawson pigment). Once ready saturate your hair stands, wrap your hair with a plastic cap and let it sit for 2-3 hours. Rinse it out with water and do not use shampoo during this rinse.
Extra Tips for using henna for it’s strengthening properties as a regular hair mask treatment for kinky, coily and curly hair types.
- Ensure to detangle hair before the clarifying shampoo takes place and it would be best to avoid conditioning the hair between the wash and henna application process
- Follow the directions above and in addition you could use a couple teaspoons of Aloe vera powder and Slippery elm or marshmallow root to allow more flexibility in the application
- Add some oils such as a melted teaspoon of Pro keratin strengthening butter or oil it has all of the right lipids to protect the hair strands and impart extra nourishment to the hair
- Always use a deep conditioner as the hair can become so strong from the use of henna that it could have a tendency to break if the moisture/lipid balance is thrown off.
- Give your hair a deep conditioning treatment on a weekly basis at least, this is good practice for reaching your hair goals.
The reason for this extra advice is because of the nature of these hair types, they require more oil than straight hair which has the ability to absorb the natural oils that come from the scalp and slide down the hair shaft. We understand that if these extra measures are taken when using henna then setbacks will be avoided and your beautiful crown will be happy!
Quick tip for covering greys with Henna and Indigo
Step 1 After Henna Treatment let your hair air dry
Step 2 Mix Indigo powder in room temperature water to a thick creamy consistency
Step 3 Saturate your hair with the mixture and wrap your hair in siren wrap. It doesn’t have to sit and be used immediately. Let your hair sit for about 1 to 2 hours before rinsing it out.
The results will be more noticeable in a few days.
Using Henna and Indigo separately or stacking them will give you darker results, I know guys this process is a little drawn out and not as fast as a chemical dye at the salon but it’s a safer alternative to ensure that we aren’t introducing unscaly chemicals into our bodies which can sometimes cause permanent hair loss and many other health hazards.
Be careful when shopping for Henna dyes as added chemicals are sometimes mixed in by some manufacturers.
The Inki names which may listed on the ingredients to avoid are: Lead acetate, metallic salts, silver nitrate, copper and PPD this list could help you avoid using harsh chemicals unawares.
A lot of these things are found in powerful semi and permanent hair dyes and can cause damage to your hair.
Henna has one colour molecule which is reddish orange if you see a Henna product that claims to dye your hair any other colour then its not likely to be pure Natural Henna. If its labelled natural black henna then it most likely has been mixed with PPD. This ingredient can cause damage to your skin and scalp. The toxins seep into your body and can cause cancer cells to develop. The colour of Natural henna powder should be a dull green colour not bright green. I advise to test this product on purchase by mixing a sample of it with water and let it sit for a minute to check the colour, natural henna will not be too dark.
For all you textured hair gals…If you want to be absolutely positive that you are using the best henna we recommend purchasing the Curly proverbs Henna and Aloe hair mask, this perfectly balanced pre mixed combination will ensure for a greater balance of moisture please see out blog on place the link for plant gels for hair hydration to learn more about the great benefits of Aloe Vera for hair hydration for all hair types.
I hope that this information was helpful and gives more clarity on some of the type of ingredients and practices that will assist you in your healthy natural hair journey.
What are your thoughts on this post
Have you ever used henna to colour your hair?