Rediscovering henna has been a wonderful natural alternative for hair color and hair health! I’ve used henna before in the past which resulted in dry parched hair. What I did not know at the time was that the henna I had bought was labeled “dark brown henna” and had chemical hair color and metallic salts in the mix.
Pure henna comes in one color, red, and although it can be mixed with other natural ingredients for other colors, it cannot lighten your hair.
Cloves, walnut hulls, coffee and black tea can be added to darken henna for a dark brown color. Indigo powder can be added to henna for a rich black as well as soaking the henna in an iron bowl overnight. Beetroot and hibiscus flowers can be used for a strong burgundy color. Methi powder and lemons can create a burnished highlight.
There are two other forms of “henna” that aren’t even henna at all, “neutral henna” and “black henna”.
“Neutral henna” is Cassia obovata and has a golden dye that will give blond and gray hair a yellow hue. It is also used as a conditioning treatment for darker hair to which one does not want any color added. “Black henna” is really indigo also known as Indigofera tinctoria. Indigo is used with henna to create a shiny black hair color or can be used alone. Indigo is very similar to henna in appearance. Any product labeled “black henna” or “black mehndi” that is black or brownish black in color isn’t true indigo and could be PPD, para-phenylenediamine, an extremely hazardous aniline, coal tar dye.
Henna benefits maintaining healthy hair growth because it repairs and seals the hair cuticle creating less breakage.
Coating hair with henna allows moisture to retain better in hair making it more resilient and much stronger with a natural shine. It has been used for years as a natural remedy for hair loss, graying of the hair, dandruff, and hair lice. Henna is an excellent deep conditioning hair treatment.
Body art henna is the only henna safe to apply over previously processed hair that has been colored, relaxed, or permed.
It isn’t okay to use any chemical hair dyes over henna. It is also very important to buy quality henna from a trusted source. Godrej Nupur Mehendi Henna is one of my favorite hennas because it contains nine Ayurvedic herbs. This henna is 100% pure Rajasthani Henna with a gorgeous herbal blend of shikakai, aloe vera, methi (fenugreek), bhringraj, amla, neem, hibiscus, jatamansi and brahmi.
When using henna make sure to use plastic gloves, wear old clothing or black, and mix with a plastic or bamboo spoon. Allow your mixture to sit overnight so that the natural dye will release. Also protect your surroundings and apply with patience. Parting your hair into four sections is a simple way to make sure you have covered your hair completely and thoroughly. Mixing henna with coconut milk, honey or sugar will change the consistency from grainy to smooth making it easier to apply, wash out, and clean up.
For more information about how I use henna read Henna For Hair 101.
(Image by Mountain Rose Herbs)