Published: 04/13/2015 - Updated: 04/08/2016
Everyone always wants healthy hair. There are a lot of different products you could use for this and for caring for your hair, and yet, a lot of products today contain chemical agents that could damage your hair.
In addition to chemical damage, hair health also depends on other hormonal factors, a good diet, stress, genetics and environmental contamination.
Henna is a little-known ingredient for hair care and it can act as a natural dye. It is also known as Mehendi in India, where its usage is popular for painting designs on the skin, or for the well-known temporary tattoos.
Henna is a natural dye that comes from a bush scientifically named lawsonia Inemis. Its properties as a dye were discovered because in the desert, its leaves a generally crushed to create a paste, which is then applied to the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands so as to keep them fresh in heat and dryness, which is how people discovered its ability to dye.
Later on henna leaves were dried so they could be crushed into a powder to be used to dye skin and hair.
Henna powder is used to dye hair, and unlike other chemical dyes, it is less harmful to hair and can even condition the hair, preventing thinning. It can be used to cover greys or to make hair shinier.
How to Prepare Henna
- To prepare henna, you need henna powder and some sort of liquid with an acidic pH, either lemon or orange juice. In this case, mix 1 cup of henna with one cup of orange juice.
- Cover the mixture with plastic and allow to set for half a day, 12 hours, in a warm area.
- Once these 12 hours have passed, transfer the mixture into a plastic bag, close and cut off one of the ends.
- Then apply the henna from the roots to the tips of your hair.
Advice for Applying Henna
Applying henna can sometimes be more complicated than common dyes, and at times it can even be a disaster. However, if you take the appropriate precautions, you will have a successful process.
Use gloves, remember that henna dyes the skin as well, so it is important that you protect your skin.
Don’t forget to cover your clothing. You could use a towel that you don’t use any more, place it over your shoulders to prevent staining your clothing or your shoulders.
Apply a layer of Vaseline around your hair line and your forehead so as to prevent the henna from staining the skin around your hair.
It is very important that you make sure your hair is covered evenly. Once you has finished using the henna paste, cover your hair with a shower cap and apply heat by using a blow dry, to keep it warm. Wait 40 to 50 minutes before removing the cap.
Lastly, rinse with warm water and a conditioner. Do not use shampoo.
Henna for Strengthening your Hair
This natural dye not only helps change your hair color, but it can also strengthen your hair, making it healthier.
When henna is applied regularly it can fight dandruff and it can nourish your scalp. Its ingredients also act as a conditioner and it can even stimulate hair growth.
Henna can also prevent thinning hair, making it more voluminous, although results are variable depending on each hair type.
One of the good news when talking about henna is that it isn’t a chemical product, which means that most of the time, using it is fairly safe. It won’t cause allergies because it is an alternative to chemical dyes for individuals that are allergic to compounds in chemical preparations. However, although it is safe, you need to keep a few considerations in mind.
Henna tends to dye hair a reddish color, but you cannot predict with certainty how it will turn out in different hair types, although some say that in dark hair, the red tint is only noticeable under sunlight, whereas for blond or lighter hair, it tends to turn them more copper. If you have greys, it tends to give your hair an orange tint whenever using natural henna.
Henna has a slightly spicy aroma which could bother some people that suffer from respiratory conditions, or those that are easily irritated by this type of fragrance.
Lastly, although this isn’t a side effect, you need to remember that henna can dye skin, so if you don’t apply it carefully, you could create unwanted stains on the skin, which is why we recommend handling it with care.