Women have been experimenting with their appearance for ages to look young, fresh, modern, interesting, extraordinary and, what is most important, beautiful. Probably no one knows for how long they have been using natural products and recipes, such as henna to dye their hair as the habit is as old as the humanity itself. In ancient times, they were using herbs, plants, mixing them together for thrilling colors continuing to look younger with covered grey hair.
In spite of the crazy wide range of available chemical hair dyes of today that provide the utmost predictable and trustworthy results, many women still prefer to use natural hair coloring products and the most popular of them is henna. Most of you have heard or even had the experience of dyeing hair with henna, but there are many things you might not be aware of.
This natural hair dye is extremely useful with several benefits at once – henna gives you a rich redhead color, smooths your hair, nourishes it with necessary strength and flexibility, repairs the acid-alkaline balance of the scalp, makes it thicker, silkier with extra shine. Henna itself is an amazing kind of conditioner, which locks the nutrients and moisture in the hair structure building a protective layer on it.
Henna is totally devoid of ammonia and toxins, which might harm your skin. Moreover, henna is an effective treatment for dandruff and scalp infections. You can use henna at home by yourselves and get these benefits and a desirable rich color with little cost.
Henna is irreplaceable for those who are allergic to chemical substances and have grey hair. Generally, colorless henna is widely used as a quick and efficient hair mask to recover the damaged hair and promote fast hair growth. Also, it protects hair from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and dust, which surrounds us everywhere with the air pollution.
Nowadays the market is literally filled with products stated to be henna, but only a few of them are trustworthy. Many companies sell products with little information about the ingredients used in them, or they lie about them giving the wrong list with missing ingredients.
The most common misinformation of all is the color availability in the products. Remember! Natural henna dyes the hair in the red-orange color range only, so no blacks, browns or blondes are possible.
The misleading information might be the result of confusing names “Neutral henna” or “Black henna” used for Cassia obovate and Indigo plants respectively. These also have pigment capsules in their structure but they have nothing to do with henna.
For reference you might take the fact that Indigo is mixed with natural henna to provide brown to black colors, and Cassia obovate is for light, grey or dull blonde hair to give it a yellow shading, but it has no effect of coloring on dark hair. Natural henna has an olive green color and a sweet smell of freshly cut grass.
To get your hands on 100% pure henna products, first check the country that produces them (Israel, Egypt and Turkey produce relatively good quality henna besides the major Indian products that are the best).
You may as well go to the local Indian market or shop and buy body art henna (used for temporary paintings on the body for aesthetic or cultural purposes), which has a stronger pigmentation and is well enough sifted and pure. In case there are no Indian markets in your city, you can order them online from licensed websites.
Things You Should Know Before Using Henna As a Hair Dye
Henna dyeing takes a lot of time so prepare for a long procedure. Once you have got the right product, make sure you know the right way to use it. Contrary to the common belief, you do not need 500g henna for BSL (bra strap length) hair. The amount used depends on how long and thick your hair is: for short hair you generally need 100g, for collar length – 200g, shoulder length – 300g, BSL – 400g and 500g for waist-long hair.
Take a non-metallic bowl to make the mixture in it. Metals may result in chemical reactions providing unpleasant surprises for you in the form of greenish hair. All you need is warm water or milk (to avoid dryness) and henna or Mehendi powder.
In some cases, you might want to add some lemon juice to reduce oiliness of your hair, (though it is not recommended if you have dry hair scalp). Stir these ingredients thoroughly and then pour some water on the ready mixture’s surface and leave it for 10 to 12 hours.
Once the mixture is ready for usage, stir it and start applying it on clean, washed dry hair just the way you apply other hair dyes – from the roots to the edges. Make sure you do not use a hair conditioner or any sort of balms as they make the hair surface too smooth for henna to be impregnated into the hair strand. Or at least wait for an hour or two after their usage and then start henna dyeing.
After applying the mixture, wrap your head in a cellophane bag and let it remain that way for one to four hours depending on how tense you want the color to come out. Wash henna mud off your hair only with clean water though very thoroughly so that your head scalp does not get itchy. Use a little conditioner if needed.
The henna dye recipes good for others may not work out so well for you, so you should adjust them to your hair type. For the product to indulge into your hair scalp additional 2 or 3 days are needed after you dyed your hair, and shampoos and soaps will wash the product off your hair along with coloring substance not letting it give you the desirable results. Do not wash your hair for three more days so that the color sets with all its depth.
The process of applying henna mud mix is rather messy. Henna may get on everything around you, so you might want to do it in the bathroom rather than anywhere else at home to be able to wash the drops while still wet, otherwise they leave stains.
Also, use gloves so that your hands are not painted and put on an old T-shirt or one you do not like much. For protecting your skin, apply some balm on your forehead, ears, neck and jaw lines. A shampoo can also be used for this purpose just like in every hair dyeing process to quickly wash afterwards.
If you are expecting your hair color to even out, you had better not use henna at all. Your roots and hair ends are going to differ from the rest of your hair after dyeing with henna. However, if you have highlights only, the results might be positively thrilling with red and orange shining strands, so go for it!
Henna is permanent on hair. After lightening a few shades, when henna is finally oxidized, it will remain as it is on your hair until it grows out and is cut off unless chemical bleaching is used.
For chemical hair dyes to set, you will need to wait for two to three months after henna dyeing and vice versa, so make sure you are 100% sure to go for it. Unpleasant results of shading cannot be removed so fast.
Also you cannot have very predictable color outcome, as henna is a natural product and works with your natural hair color mixing into it and creating new hues. That is why you might see varying results on different people’s hair after following the same list of dos when dealing with henna.
You will also have to wait for a while and make several applications of henna before you reach the desired outcome. As any hair dye, henna sets stronger and deeper with every following application: the color sits on the previous shade and creates a deeper and steadier base.
Henna, as well as other natural hair dyeing plants can be drying, but it never locks out the moisture. You can still use your conditioning and smoothing products freely, though we recommend that you let several days after you dyed your hair before you use them, so that the color is steady enough not to be erased. However, if you have extra dry hair, do the way that suits you best.
DIY Henna Hair Masks
There are a lot of various recipes with henna that will provide additional effective results contrary to those of using only henna and though we recommend that you keep it simple there are still ones we would like to recommend you.
1. For richer color and thick hair, you might want to use Henna, Amla, Tulasi, Shikai and Bring raj mix. There are ready mixture packages of these plant powders available on the market, but you may also buy them separately and combine them yourselves.
To make the needed mixture you will need 2 cups of henna powder, half cup of Amla powder, two spoons of Shikai powder, one egg white, two spoons of lemon juice, one spoon Tulasi powder and one spoon of Bring raj powder.
Stir all this together with coffee or tea decoction and let it rest overnight. In the morning apply the mixture on your hair; cover it with cellophane food bag and wash after 45 minutes to 1 hour. The results will be more than pleasing.
2. To promote your hair growth with the help of henna do the following: boil a quarter kilograms Gingili oil until it gets hot and then add 5 or 6 cups of henna to it and let the mixture boil for another 5 minutes.
Then switch the fire off and let the mixture cool down. Put it into a bottle or a bowl with a cover and keep it for future uses. Apply this on your hair 2 or 3 times a week for over two months. You will be astonished at how fast your hair grows.
3. Green tea has been long known for its conditioning effects on hair and reducing hair loss and breakage. It prevents the growth of DHT that causes hair loss, adds elasticity and strength to hair.
Lemon on the other hand helps reduce oil of the hair, so the mixture of henna, lemon juice and green tea will become your favorite homemade hair conditioner for oily hair. To make it, soak 2 cups of henna powder into two cups of freshly brewed green tea liquor in an iron bowl and let it rest overnight.
In the morning add 2 tbsp. lemon juice and 2 tbsp. beaten yogurt to the mix and apply it on your hair. After three hours wash the mixture off your hair with mild shampoo.
Also check out: 60 of the Best Ever Hair Care Secrets Revealed
Besides these, there are numerous recipes with henna to fight dandruff, hair loss and scalp infections. Henna efficiently struggles against the fungal infections that result in itchiness and dandruff when used in the contents of remedy masks for them.
However, you should make sure you know the right cause of these conditions, as henna will do no good and even harm a little if the cause is dryness or some severe scalp infection that reacts badly to henna.
Anyway, despite a few drawbacks, henna’s given benefits are far more prevailing. To add even more advantages of henna usage, we should say that it prevents your hair from splitting and falling. Nevertheless, any hair mask only helps from the outside.
If you need to have pleasing results, you need to change your diet first. Your hair might tell a lot about the condition of your body functioning in the form of hair loss, split ends, shine loss or other bending from the norm. Keep healthy and this natural product with so many benefits will work its best on you.
Photos courtesy of Pinterest
Don’t miss: How to Dye Hair Two Colors At Home