Henna Is So Much Better Than Texturizers!!


I’ve been so amazed with how henna has really changed my hair over time.  I first tried henna March 2010. I’ve been using it monthly and in January and February of this year I used henna weekly.  For a moment I was very concerned with my curls being loosened, yet the overall affect has been so much greater than my initial concern.

My hair is stronger than it has ever been, longer than it has ever been, and shinier than it has ever been.

Two years ago when I started growing out my hair I wasn’t sure if I could really grow it long.  My goal is waist length and I honestly feel confident that I will make my goal because of the progress I’ve made so far.

Along with using henna monthly I am also making all of my hair care products in my kitchen.  The freedom of not relying on store bought hair care is amazing!  It is also great to only use two main products, my DIY Green Tea Hair Cleansing Rinse with marshmallow root extract or DIY Herbal Hair Rinse and an ceramide oil mix.

Above is a picture of my hair with a texturizer with some new growth in 2006.  The texturizer ended up causing extreme breakage over time.  I ended up cutting off all of my hair and started from scratch after trying dreadlocks for a year and a half.

Below is a picture of my hair texture in July 2011.  After cutting my hair completely of the summer of 2008, I kept it short for awhile because it was colored for a Wella Hair Industrial.  I again shaved off all of the color in the spring of 2009 when I started growing my hair out for good.


Henna has helped me achieve the hair that I’ve always dreamed of having without harsh chemicals.

When I see my 1/2 inch of new growth every month is doesn’t look anything like it did when I used a texturizer or in the early days when I was relaxing my hair.  I can notice a slight variation in color though since henna does give a mahogany red tint to my dark brown hair.  I doubt anyone else can see it though.  Henna has been wonderful for weighing down my curls so that they hang versus only standing out, yet I still have the volume that I do love too.

Henna coats the hair strands while also filling in weak areas of the hair.  Although it changes the weight of the strand with plant deposits, it does not break down the chemical structure of hair the way that texturizers or relaxers do.  The result is stronger, shinier, and healthier hair.

Henna provides excellent conditioning and strengthening on all hair types and textures.  Not everyone has noticed curl loosening, yet I have noticed a change in my hair since I’ve been using henna for over a year and a half monthly.  I do think henna has helped to weigh down my curls, and my hair falls differently.  Henna has made my curls more uniform and definitely shiny.  Some days I wish I had known about henna sooner yet I’m glad to know about it now!

My favorite henna mix is with coconut milk and usually hemp seed oil.  I explain my specific henna mix and the types of henna powders that I’ve used in this article.  I share in detail why I feel coconut milk and henna make the BEST combination here.

Happy Hennaing!

(Images by Klaus Roethlisberger and Dawn Michelle)

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  1. says

    Henna and I have a love hate relationship, first it is a mess to apply and it stains my hands and finger nail for months, it also changes my hair texture and makes it coarse. However after a few washes my hair comes back to normal I am wondering if the protein in henna is a bit too much for my hair texture, I have some cassia that I will re try and see what happens.

  2. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Trish,
    I wasn’t too crazy about henna until I started mixing it with coconut milk which gives it a thick conditioner consistency which makes it easier to apply. The coconut milk also doesn’t allow the henna to dry hard on the hair so it is easy to rinse. Everyone’s hair is different, yet I’ve experienced an amazing overall improvement in my hair strength and manageability since using henna. I’ve never tried cassia personally, yet have heard wonderful reviews on it. I also always use gloves for the application and rinsing of henna so that it does not stain my hands and nails. Although my hair regimen has changed a lot of this past year as it grows, I will always love and use henna.
    Enjoy your day,
    Dawn Michelle

  3. says

    I love henna. It has given gorgeous wavy, thick hair. My hair grew 2 inches in a month just using henna, no protective styling or anything. I henna two- three times weekly ( I deep condition after using homemade deep condition olive oil and honey). Before I apply my henna I do a mini pre poo to avoid dryness. Henna is the best thing ever and its cheap. I used to use Jamila, but I have fell in love with Dulhan, although I have tons of Nupur Mehendi, which I can get two to three uses from if I freeze it. I love the fact, I have little to no shredding or breakage. People think I go overboard with the henna but the proof is in the pudding:)

  4. says

    Thanks for the coconut milk tip will give it a try with my henna because I do have 3 boxes in the fridge and I don’t want to be wasteful.

  5. Dawn Michelle says

    Jaeda, it’s so great that you have also had a wonderful experience with henna. I bought Nupur henna today at my trip to the Indian Sweets and Spice store. Dulhan is also a good brand as well.

  6. says

    Dawn, Nupur Mehendi is great. You can usually get several henna treatements out of it. The color stain is a brown, so it makes your hair more brown, because of the some the ayurvedic herbs, it says so on the back. But it super safe to use frequent. Dulhan is my fav, but I am out and so
    I have tons of Nupur Mehendi. I go to Indian Store once a month to re-up.

  7. Dawn Michelle says

    Thanks Jaeda on letting me know the dye release color of Nupur henna. My hair currently has more burgundy highlights so I’m hoping that I will like the tones Nupur will give my hair. Enjoy your day!

  8. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Jaeda,
    I haven’t had the chance to henna my hair yet. Things have been busier than usual lately but I hope to soon. I’m planning on doing more articles on henna and will definitely include my thoughts on Nupur henna when I do.
    Have a beautiful day,
    Dawn Michelle

  9. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Wanda, I mix 100 grams of henna with a full can of coconut milk. I don’t use water or tea or anything else. After the dye has released I add 1/4 cup of hemp oil. Have a beautiful day!

  10. adallicious says

    Hello, I find your blog very interesting. Also watched a video of yours on youtube. Do you have any pictures of your natural hair texture without henna or texturizers. I recently started using henna and I would like to have an idea of how my hair would look after long term use of henna. The conditioning benefits are great. It has strengthened my fine hair a lot. Also have you ever mixed henna with just water, and if so, what results did u get. I currently use coconut milk, but I wonder if it’s really necessary, or whether I can just use distilled water instead. Thank you for your time.

  11. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi adallicious,

    I wore my hair very short for so many years. This is the first time that I have began growing it out. At some point I may put up more photos of my hair to share.

    When I first began using henna I mixed it with tea or water as so many others had. The henna dried hard on my hair, was nearly impossible to completely rinse out, and left my hair extremely dry. That is why I always suggest using coconut milk in your henna mix especially if you have dry or naturally curly coily hair.

    It is so much easier to apply and rinse out henna when mixed with coconut milk. It also allows you to have a positive experience with henna. When I hear bad reviews on henna, it sometimes has to do with how the henna mix was prepared or that the person did not used body art quality henna. Both are extremely important.

    Best Wishes!

  12. RockStar says

    I make wash day, henna day and deep condish day all the same day. needless to say, I either get up really early to do it, or I stay in for the day. I cleanse with a sulfate free poo or I co wash, then I henna, after thoroughly rinsing henna, I ALWAYS deep condish. Henna has lots of protein, which strengthens, but can make hair feel stiff and dry at first. The deep condish balances that out. sometimes I make my own, sometimes I use an organic condish like Avalon ylang ylang shine.

  13. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi RockStar,
    Doing everything on the same day makes it so much easier! I’ve gotten to the point where I do henna on dry hair then just rinse, deep condition over night if I can, then co-wash. When my henna mix is more like a very smooth milky paste, applying it to dry hair is extremely easy. Thanks for sharing your process! Henna is so amazing! Even after using it for more than 2 1/2 years I am still on awe of it.
    Best Wishes!!

  14. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Nina, Be glad to! Post a comment on the Minimalist Beauty Facebook Page so that readers will know more about your pageant. Also please share more of your beauty perspective as a pageant contestant. Best wishes to you darling!

  15. Janaya Jones says

    I love your blog first off! I really want to try Henna, since I’am going natural and want to include it in my hair regimen, but My hair is naturally a light auburn color, and I dont want to change the color with the henna. WOuld you suggest anything? Would Cassia be a good alternate?

  16. Dawn Michelle says

    Thanks Janaya! Henna will add more red to your light auburn hair for sure. You could use cassia alone yet the result are not as long lasting as using henna. Another option would be to mix cassia and henna so that the color wouldn’t be as noticeable. You can also find premixed cassia and henna with companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs Henna and Light Mountain Natural Hair Color. Let me know how it works out.

  17. Delinda says

    Thanks for the information. I was considering a texturizer…… I’m desperate for hair help. I’m almost two years in now and I need help. My hair is 4c, tightly kinky coily, tangles easy and I end up just wearing twa’s. I’m desperate to break out of this phase……two years is too long. I’m going to Indian store TODAY! Thank!

  18. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Delinda,
    Henna is amazing and I hope that you enjoy the benefits of it as much as I do. It took me three applications of henna before seeing its benefits. I also used it weekly for some time as well. It is something that I’ve seen more and more improvement with my hair over time. Also keeping your hair stretched with braids and twists have been really helpful for me. Even though I spend much of this year doing the Curly Girl Method, I’m back to twist outs and have already noticed great results again with stretched styles. Let me know how it all works out.
    Best wishes!

  19. Michele says

    I wish I had found your blog sooner, better late than never. I currently have a texturizer in my hair and was wondering how the henna would affect my hair as it’s growing out. I wear my hair short. Prior to that, It was down my mid back but drier than the sahara desert. I wore a wig most of the time because I didn’t know how to deal with it. I currently love my hair now, but I’m afraid of the long term effect of the texturizer. Any advice? I am definitely going to try the aloe vera conditioner you talked about.

  20. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Michele,

    When I applied that same texturizer to my new growth years ago it did more damage than good. You could do a strand test with henna if you are not sure, yet I hear many women use henna with their relaxers without a problem. They wait a few weeks before application and use it to stretch there relaxer applications out. For me my best results and hair growth has been with henna. Here is how I use henna.

    Also check out some of the natural conditioners and styling products that I’ve tried too. Leaving a good conditioner in my hair as well as shea butter has made the most difference with keeping my hair soft and moisturized. The aloe leave-in is really good as a refresher or when hair is in braids and twists. When my hair became longer it was no longer enough alone to keep my hair moisturized.

    Best wishes!

  21. Whitney Bray says

    Hello =)
    I was wondering, Is henna good to use on transitioning hair? my hair is about 8 inches natural and 5 inches relaxed on the ends… Im growing it out until its the desired length then cutting my relaxed hair off…

  22. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Whitney,
    Henna is wonderful for transitioning. I’ve read on many hair boards that women also use henna to help them stretch out their relaxer applications for long periods of time.
    Best Wishes!

  23. norma says

    please tell me if doing henna is a method of “relaxing” ones hair. Also can one use henna over a wave nouveau. I am a bit tired of this but I don’t want to do to perm. My hair is very soft and is not growing like it use to.

  24. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Norma,

    Henna promotes hair growth while making hair strong, and has been better for my hair than anything else. I can’t say that henna “relaxes” hair as it works differently on different hair types, and is not a chemical hair texturizer or relaxer. It does minimize frizz and makes hair more manageable with consistent use. After my third application I noticed a big difference, and have continued to use henna for the past three years.

    My hair is fine although I have lots of it. Because henna coats the hair shaft and fills in damaged areas in the hair cuticle, it loosened my curl pattern some by weighing the hair down with consistent applications. It really depends on your hair type and porosity. You can read more about my experience with henna here. And yes you can use henna over Wave Nouveau. I’ve read about many women using henna as a way to stretch their relaxer applications successfully on hair boards. Just to make sure that you get the results that you desire, you can always do a strand test.

    Hope this helps <3

  25. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Muniyrah, I currently have stocked Reshma, Dulhan, and Nupur 9 henna at home. You can see how I mix and use henna here. Best wishes!

  26. Adell says

    Hi Dawn Michelle! I have 4a hair ( extremely tight coils). I really want a looser curl pattern. Recently, I have decided to truly read blogs and seek help. Your blog is truly helpful. Which henna would you suggest for a beginner?

  27. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Adell, I offer a bunch of tips on how I henna in this article. As long as you use body art quality henna you should be fine. Happy Hennaing!

  28. queenbee9 says

    Dawn Michelle__have you ever tried the Lush Hennas (from the lush store) they seem custom made for beginners and do not have much of a dye release time– mix it up with a hot liquid put it in an applicator bottle, take a bubble bath and GO! The condish and lemon juice are already in the dye released bars when you buy them.

  29. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi queenbee9,
    I have not tried any Lush products because I enjoy making my own. I use body art quality henna from my local Indian grocery store. You can see exactly how I mix and use henna here. I make a simple henna mix which is easy to apply and rinse. Hope this helps!
    Best wishes!

  30. feesah says

    Hello! I have never heard about Henna, I was wondering where do you buy it from?

  31. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Feesah,
    I purchase henna from my local Indian grocery store. There is a list of body art quality hennas that I use and have used with great success in this article. I’m sure that you can also find these same henna brands on Amazon etc. I always mix my henna with coconut milk which I go into detail about why in this article.
    Happy Hennaing!

  32. Trina says

    Hi Dawn Michelle,
    It really does depend on your hair type. I have tight coils and while the henna has loosen my coil and z’s it has made my afro softer but, no curls like your in the picture. Perhaps, with more treatments that would happen for some, but I don’t think my hair will do that no matter how much henna you place on it. However, henna is still well worth use and does help in managing my hair. It’s just that if, they don’t share the same hair type it is going to look different.

  33. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Trina,
    I feel that henna makes the curls that you already have the best it can be. Henna won’t change the look of your natural curls to a completely different curl pattern. But some have definitely experienced a loosening of curls, less frizz, and stronger, shinier, and more manageable hair. I’m so glad that you are enjoying the benefits of henna.

  34. Tanya says

    Hi Dawn Michelle! I’ll be doing a henna treatment in a few weeks and will try the coconut milk in the mix. Do you place your mix in the fridge for the eight hours or leave it out? I worry that it may go rancid if left out.

  35. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Tanya,
    I wrote this article which shares in detail how I’ve been doing my henna treatments lately. I mix and apply henna immediately now and share why in the article. Any leftovers can be frozen until your next henna treatment. I hope this is helpful to you. Happy Hennaing!

  36. Stephanie says

    Hi! Love your blog. You have totally sold me on henna. I was so desperate for a hair solution that I was going to texturize it.

    I’m really excited about henna, and I want to try it immediately. Problem is – I currently have crochet braids in right now (cornrows with synthetic hair woven in).

    I can’t take down the crochet braids just yet, but could I still henna my hair despite them being cornrowed? Also, will henna help soften/ slicken my edges? My hair is 4c and kinky and coarse as heck.

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks a bunch!

  37. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Stephanie,
    You will be able to do your first henna treatment once you’ve removed your crochet braids. Enjoy your current hairstyle until then. Henna makes whatever texture that your hair is the best version of itself. I started using henna every week initially then monthly. You will notice a difference usually by the third application. You can read more article on henna so you know more on how I use it here.
    Happy Hennaing!

  38. Alexis says

    I am definitely going to try henna out. I have two things to ask you. When you applied henna weekly , did you buy the product every week? and can you also post a picture of the henna bottle please and thank you ? :)

  39. Alexis says

    lol sorry for bothering you … one more question ,am i allowed to deep condition my hair after putting henna in ?

  40. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Alexis,
    Whether you use henna weekly or monthly is up to your hair goals. If you already have dark brown/black hair using henna weekly for strengthening, conditioning, and manageability is fine as it won’t alter the color of your hair intensely and only provide highlights. After your hair has been sufficiently coated with henna to your liking you can then follow up with monthly treatments. If you have light colored hair you would first need to consider if you want to dye your hair red. The color that pure henna provides is red which does not show more than red highlights in dark colored hair mainly in sunlight. If you are looking for conditioning but not color consider using cassia also referred to as neutral henna.
    Hope this helps!

  41. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Alexis,
    I purchase body art quality henna from my local Indian grocery store. You can see the brands of henna that I have tried here. <3

  42. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Alexis,
    Deep conditioning is necessary especially if you have dry dehydrated hair.

  43. debbie says

    Hi Dawn Michelle
    Help! I have been teaching in Saudi for 2 months and have made the desion to go natural. The last tex I got was in June. I want to continue bur finding that my hair is very dry and the new growth is hard to manage. Is this because I work out everyday and sweat? I don’t want to go back to tex, would henna help stretch and soften my hair? Please help me

  44. Dessa says

    Started today after reading your blog forva couple of weeks. Removed my install & deep conditioned last night. Applied henna today. Ill remove in a few hours.
    The application weighed & stretched my hair a lot. Intetested to see how that affects my hair over time.

  45. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Dessa,
    Sweet! Keep us posted on how henna continues to work for you. Henna has been my only constant in my hair regimen over the years. It will always be a keeper too. Best wishes!

  46. Shell says

    UNFORTUNATELY, henna did not work to soften or weigh down my super kinky tiny coily 4c hair. Only Baka Beautiful natural laxer mix had that effect. Henna even caused mechanical damage to my very very fine hair because it was hard to rinse off! I am now experiencing mixing Baka with other things. Thank you so much for this article though. It has encouraged me yet again to avoid chemicals. The temptation is huge right now.

  47. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Shell,

    I’m sorry that you didn’t have a good experience with henna. Did you try mixing it with coconut milk and oil(if hair is extremely dry)? That is my henna mix so that it is easy to rinse off and not drying to hair. I saw the biggest difference after my 3rd treatment.

    Most henna mixes suggest mixing with water and or lemon juice which is awful for dry curly/coily hair. Also one of the easiest ways to soften hair in general is to stop using stripping hair cleansers and commercial shampoos. Best wishes!

  48. Autumn says

    I’m a 16 year old and just yesterday had taken out my braids after about three years of growing my hair out naturally. I’ve tried relaxers multiple times in the past but they always ended up killing my hair and forcing me to chop it all off. I’ve decided to go natural instead of straightening my hair, but i’m VERY tender headed with a 4a texture hair. My mom’s very cautious about what kind of products we put in my hair due to many mishaps in the past. I was wondering if Henna would help tame my curls for when i comb through them. I dont mind a little color; I just want some looser curls and less frizz. Will henna work for me? Thanks!

  49. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Autumn,
    Henna is AMAZING! You will notice the benefits of using henna by the third henna treatment. I also wrote about henna here and here. I hope that these articles will help you before you try henna. Happy hennaing!

  50. Annie says

    Hi Dawn,
    Came across your blog while looking up why my henna did not cover gray. Boy have a learned a lot (almost too much) from your blog. I do want to minimize as much as possible. My biggest concern is anti aging, hyper pigmentation and trying to get over going to the salon for hair color every 3-4 weeks. I think I used a sub-par henna product (not sure if it was true henna, but i purchased at an indian market. Anyway, I have chocolate brown hair with reddish highlights, what/which products exactly do you recommend? How long should i leave the henna in my hair?

  51. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Annie,

    In this henna article I share a bunch of body art quality hennas that I have tried as well as a recipe for how I use it. I no longer add oil to my henna mix which I wrote details about this experience here. If you are looking to cover your grays to more of a chocolate brown color you may be interested in Mountain Rose Herbs Henna which is premixed henna, indigo, cassia mixes which are all natural and excellent quality. I share my experience using MRH henna here. The only thing with using indigo with henna is that you can not use oils in the mix as it prevent the indigo from working. This also includes not using coconut milk. Instead I used yogurt. Adding apple cider vinegar to your henna mix will help the dye adhere to gray hair.

    Hope this helps!

  52. Alexia says

    I really want to try henna but I’m not sure where to get it. Can you help me please?

  53. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Alexia,
    If you live in or near a major city, you can find body art quality henna at your local Indian grocery store. You can also find body art quality henna on Amazon. One of my favorites is Godrej Nupur 9 Henna. Happy Hennaing!

  54. Steph says

    I have 3b/3c hair. Will henna make my hair wavy, like 2c? How can I make it loosen my curls more?

  55. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Steph,

    I have heard from others and noticed with my own fine hair strands that if you have a fine textured hair that henna will coat it more heavily showing a more elongated curl. Initially when I started using henna I applied it weekly. I noticed the results of henna after the 3rd application. Because henna has so much strengthening abilities I noticed that after a few months that weekly henna treatments weren’t necessary and monthly was perfect. It is important to take notice of how your hair responds to henna and deep condition accordingly.

    In general henna will give your hair incredible shine, manageability, and strength while promoting healthy hair growth. On top of that you will have a beautiful red tint form the henna hair dye. Henna provides a natural red tone to all hair and depending upon your natural hair color more red will show. With continual us if henna the color will become richer. Dark brown/black hair will only show red highlights in sunlight yet the color can still be intensified with continual usage.

    Happy hennaing!

  56. Steph says

    Thanks for your reply, Dawn. I have a mixture of coarse, medium, and fine strands. My dark brown hair is very lightweight, fluffy, and frizzy. A gentle wind blows and my hair is all over the place. I hope that the henna will give my hair more weight. Do I deep condition after hennaing? How long do I have to wait until I can wash my hair?

  57. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Steph,
    Yes deep conditioning is important. I share more tips on my henna process here and here. I hope this helps!

  58. suzi says

    hey! I am interested in using henna for it’s conditioning properties but I don’t not want to lighten my hair or give it red tones. Should I be using henna or cassia? I’m confused-are they two different things? I just want to make sure I’m ordering the right thing from MRH. Thanks!

  59. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Suzi,
    Henna won’t lighten the hair as it deposits color to the hair strands. If you want to avoid any color change use cassia alone which is also referred to as neutral henna. The benefits of cassia last for a bit over a week versus the benefits of henna last for a month. I hope this helps!

  60. Gwen Fredericks says

    I would like to purchase Henna, could you advise where I can order it.

  61. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Gwen Fredricks,
    You can find body art quality henna from an Indian grocery store. You can also find my favorite Godrej Nupur 9 Henna here. Happy hennaing!