Today, I’m going to talk about a very renowned natural beauty product: Henna! Many questions come to mind when we talk about henna. So in this post, I’m going to answer the most frequently asked questions, and I will also share with you my personal experience in the following henna review post. PS: I’m not a henna expert, but since I live in India, Henna is such a household product, and my mother, aunts, and grandmother used it on their hair and/or bodies for years.
So, let’s get started!
First of all, you need to know what this thing called Henna is. So What is Henna?
Henna is a pale green powder that derives from Lawsonia Inermis plant’s crushed leaves. Lawsonia Inermis grows in areas like India and North Africa. That is the only real henna.
Henna stains/dyes anything red, and doesn’t exist in any other color!
The red dye in henna is called Lawsone.
Then what are all these types of henna on the market labeled as Neutral Henna, Black Henna, Brown Henna…?
As I said, Lawsonia Inermis, the greenish pale grass-like smelling powder is the only real Henna. Neutral henna is another plant called Cassia Obovata, and it’s also know as Senna. It is recommended for blonde hair, it slightly enhances its color but it’s mainly used to strengthen and thicken the hair, rather than a dye.
If henna brands claim to dye your hair black, brown, burgundy, or even blonde, then it’s either a little bit of henna mixed with a bunch of dangerous chemicals such as PPD and mineral salts, or it’s utterly chemical and there’s no henna in it at all.
In some cases, Indigo, which can be combined with henna to get brown to black colors, can be labeled as henna or black henna. Indigo is a blue dye (the same used in jeans) but it’s natural and totally safe. It’s actually awesome for your hair. So if you want to get black/brown colors from henna, you only need to mix it with pure indigo powder and the proportions would depend on your desired color. The more indigo, the darker the color.
Otherwise, there’s no way you can get blonde hair with henna. Henna only adds a red tint to the hair and darkens it, it can not bleach it. So please try to avoid all these harmful “henna” brands that may damage your hair and cause you severe allergic reactions.
What are the uses of Henna?
Henna is a natural, safe and nearly permanent hair dye. Over the centuries, women used it to dye their hair and keep it strong and shiny. It is also used for traditional and tribal ceremonies such as weddings. In north Africa, for instance, it is used for the bridal tattoos on hands, feet..etc.
What Color will I get if I use natural Henna alone?
It depends on your natural hair color. If you’re going to use it on gray/blonde hair, it’s going to turn out a rich fiery red. If it’s light/medium brown, it’s going to add coppery/red tones to it and it will darken with multiple applications. If your hair is really dark, henna would barely be noticeable, at least indoors.
It’s actually quite hard to tell exactly what color it will turn out, but you can still test the color on a hair ball and see what it looks like. It usually turns out really great and beautiful, so don’t be afraid, you won’t end up with a crazy orange color 🙂
What are the Pros and Cons of Henna?
Pros: Besides the coloring effect, henna significantly strengthens hair and even thickens it! In fact, the Lawsone dye molecule penetrates the hair shaft and binds to the keratin while sealing the cuticles. This is indeed a deep conditioning and strengthening treatment that leaves your hair healthier, (even slightly) thicker, and of course shinier and softer!
Moreover, Henna is anti-fungal, and it kills head lice and fights scalp problems such as dandruff, dryness, itchiness…etc.
Cons: Henna application can be really messy and it would stain anything. So you’d rather not do it by yourself.
Henna can be drying to the hair as well. It is a great conditioner indeed, but the hair would probably get dry at first after this intense treatment. This can be solved easily. Hot oil treatments, and deep conditioning would take care of this really fast.
It would be also tricky to get rid of the henna color. You’ll have to wait until it completely washes out.
How to use Henna?
It is simple. Grab the needed amount of henna (make sure it’s pure Lawsonia Inermis i.e body art quality Henna), depending on your hair length/thickness, and mix it will boiling water, or lemon juice for a stronger color. You can mix it with anything acid as well. Feel free to add any other ingredient you want, be it oil, eggs, honey, tea… Anything is okay to mix with henna and would only enhance the benefits from it. Afterwards let it brew for a couple of hours, and then apply it to the hair and leave it from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the color intensity you want to obtain. Do not leave it for longer than 8 hours because it would be extremely drying.
So, that was all you needed to know about henna, I guess. I hope it was helpful.
If you have any other questions, feel free to submit them in a comment.
Next post will be about my personal experience with Henna. Stay tuned 🙂