Henna, Natural Hair Dye
What is Henna?
I recently found out about the wonders of Henna, searching online and reading other people's experiences encouraged me to try it. First of all I am going to tell you what is Henna in simple words.
It is a green powder extracted from an Indian plant called Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) which produces a reddish pigment when mixed with hot water and acidic liquids. In this powder's particles there is Keratin which also is in our hair,so when both come together, the Keratin attaches giving you existing hair colour a red tint. It doesn't make your hair a fire engine red unless you have platinum blonde hair, and the resulting shade depends on your own existing hair colour.
How to prepare your hair dye?
Dying you hair with henna is actually not that bad as everyone portrays it. It can get messy but it's worth it in the end.
The first thing you want to do is put on some gloves, henna will stain your skin (does Henna tattoos ring a bell?) and wear some old clothes. Grab a plastic bowl (metal bowls can react with henna giving bad results if the henna you bought isn't pure) to put your mix in. Place the powder (150 gr for medium hair) and pour boiling hot water and the juice of one or two lemons. (You might notice that as soon as you apply the hot water, the paste starts to smell earthy, and a bit like grass; the smell is a tad strong but nothing you can't bare) Stir until you get a thick paste light yoghurt or brownie batter. If it's too thick, add more hot water; if it's to liquid add more henna powder. The lemon juice will help release the pigment, so the colour is more vibrant and rich on your hair. Let it sit until it cools down (20 - 30 mins / some people leave it sit overnight but it still the same result)
Before you apply put some moisturiser of pretolleum jelly on your hairline, ears and neck to avoid stains.
When you have your paste ready, apply it on towel dried hair. If your hair is dry the henna application will be even messier. Part your hair and start from the roots, then cover the shaft of your hair until the ends. Once your hair is fully covered in henna, put plastic wrap on it to maintain the heat. Then you should leave it on for 3 to 6 hours. The longer you leave it the more conditioned your hair will be. Henna isn't only a natural hair dye but it is an amazing deep conditioner. It makes your hair super silky and glossy. You'll notice an improvement on your hair's health and body.
Will henna only dye my hair RED??
No, you can add natural ingredients to change Henna pigment or to enhance the red tint. Take into consideration that Henna will only darken your hair colour, it will not lighten up your shade by any means. You can't go blonde with this.
Things you can add to get a redder tint:
- Beet juice
- Red Wine
- Clove water
- Cinnamon water
Things you can add to achieve a brown tint:
- Pure ground coffee
- Black tea
- Regular tea
Now this the real messy part. You will need a bottle of your favourite conditioner and loads of water. Don't rinse it in your kitchen sink, or in your bathroom sink, or in your bathtub. Rinse it in the shower, PERIOD.
When the 3 to 6 hours have passed and you have removed the plastic wrap, you hair will feel like stiff mud. Let the water run on top of your head and let all the henna rinse off. DO NOT SHAMPOO! the shampoo will strip off the colour and remain for a shorter amount of time, just rinse it with water for now. It might feel like you've been under the water for ages... and trust me you have; but hang in there it's almost over. You'll see your shower floor stained, so just put some water on it and it'll go away. Then put a reasonably big amount of conditioner on your palm and then lather it all over your hair, massaging your scalp and henna leftovers. Conditioner will not strip the colour off, so it's safe to use it.
After you've rinsed your hair, when it dries it will feel stiff and dry; this is normal. The next time you wash your hair now with shampoo and all, it will go back to normal. You will notice your hair healthier from day one, it will just be a little stiff like hay.
If you're not content with the result, don't worry. Henna isn't permanent, although it might be after several applications (it will eventually fade but will take longer). If you want to remove the colour right away you can with mineral oil (although it won't remove everything)