(COLORS, APPLICATION, PRO’S & CON’S)
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( updated April 2021)
What is Henna?
Henna is a dye prepared from the flowering plant, with seeds . The plant grows much better in hot countries. It has many properties, it can be used as an anti-fungal, it can also be used as a sunblock ( but you will end up with suntan lines as it fades) It has some insect repellent uses.
The plant Lawsonia Inermis grows to around 12-15 feet. Other names it can be found under are – Henna Tree, Mignonette tree or the Egyptian privet . It has also been used to dye fabrics like silk, wool, and leather. An amazing amount of uses for this plant.
The name Henna can also be found to describe temporary body art, often associated with Indian Weddings or temporary tattoos ( Mehndi or Tattoo ink, Hina or Lawsonia Inermis).These can last for 1-4 weeks or even longer on your skin. ( normally a brown henna) Totally beautiful designs and skill in drawing these.
After seeing different information on using Henna, I found this report on Black Henna by NHS/UK
It seems as though Black Henna has PPD in it.
This can can be used for temporary tattoos, often found in use by people on beaches, and this can give enormous problems, with people having reactions to a Henna tattoo on holiday. Be aware of what they are using.
USING HENNA FOR YOUR HAIR
From everything that I have read so far, you need to make sure that you really want to continue with Henna as a Hair Dye.
It is is very hard to remove and it can give a terrible reaction if you try to add a chemical dye on top. I have heard that it could burn your scalp. I think this is in part due to some henna having metal salts in the product, and the reaction it can cause.
I have to say I am very wary when looking into the brand of Henna that I want to buy to see if they contain any metal salts.
The first ever henna product that I tried ,had a lot of sandy particles in it, I found that hard to deal with and wash out of my hair. Since then I have changed brands.
WHAT ARE THE PRO’S OF USING HENNA DYE?
It gives a choice of oranges or reds naturally or can be mixed with other herbs and plants to give a choice of many colors. It can look fantastic when just picking up greys in a lighter tone to look like highlights ( great if your greys are evenly spread through your hair).
(Curly Hair Lounge –“Achieve Different Colours With Henna As A Natural Hair Dye”)
Henna strengthens the hair and helps to prevent split ends.
It can help with hair loss and thinning.
It can soften the hair, and make it feel glossy and conditioned because it smooths the cuticle. My hair has never looked so glossy, gone are the days of a dull finish!
Often a good choice for people who can’t use a chemical dye, due to being sensitive to PPDs,
WHAT ARE THE CON’S TO USING HENNA HAIR DYE?
Henna is a permanent hair dye, though it will fade with time, it doesn’t come out easily, as mentioned before . It is at its brightest for 4 to 6 weeks.
You should still do a strand test, it isn’t for everybody. People can react to anything that they use.
I have read it is hard to go lighter once you have used henna.
From what I have seen it is safer to grow out the henna if you want to go back to chemical colors. In this article they recommend to wait two months or longer after your last henna application. They also give advice on predicting the color you could get with the different blends of henna. ( I found this part very hard to gage, there are many different blends and brands out there to buy, what are you going to end up with? And what about your grey hairs, will it take differently – the short answer is Yes! )
CAN YOU USE HENNA AS A BLONDE?
I have seen the use of a Henna product on blonde hair, giving a strawberry blonde. This isn’t using the normal henna, it is often called Neutral henna or Cassia obovate, then using something like lemon juice to activate it. Sandra Bloom ( “Does Herbal Colouring Work for Blondes” ) she has much more information on using this method. This is really for people with light hair, not to go from brunette to blonde. I have never tried this type of product, due to being brunette.
USING HENNA AS A BRUNETTE
I am a brunette, so I had never thought of using Henna at all. In my mind it was always linked with the color red or orange. Since digging deeper, I have found some information on changing your color to black , red high lights or even brown with some mixing of other natural and plant ingredients.
For anyone like myself, that would rather stay brunette.
There is a video by MIM to show how to blend the different ingredients needed .
I would like to avoid orange roots!
HOW HENNA SEEMS TO WORK
I have seen on numerous sites, that if you have grey or white roots , these will come out a different color to your main hair color. So this can look great if you have ‘salt and pepper hair’, so the henna can look like highlights.
This is because it wraps its self around the hair strands, and doesn’t penetrate it.
So it will depend on the base color, to what color you will end up with.
Also the strength of your hair comes into play again, on how well it takes.
Gosh its like going in for some exam, the stuff you have to read, just to get a hair colour!
I never realized going natural with henna would be so complicated! And frustrating.
I have read, that you should leave some weeks after using a conventional hair dye, before you use a Henna mix. Again the advice seems to change, depending on what product you are going to use. As mentioned before ,once you have chosen to use Henna, you need to be sure that is the route for you, as it is harder to go back to other products.
If you have tried HENNA and it wasn’t for you, how can you remove it naturally?) The MORROCCO METHOD ( using heavy oil)a well written piece of advice.
(This really detailed article by MIM has a great blog , helping also if you want to use some other type of product. )
I haven’t tried this so far, again not sure if that would change too, if you are using a semi- permanent hair color.
I think it is best to get some professional advice before you try. I am not sure a normal hairdresser would be keen to deal with henna.
This article by All About the Gloss – How To Remove Henna From Hair ( No Bleach Methods) The first method they suggest is an oil method with oils such as Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive oil, a great conditioner and clarifying shampoo. Also loads of old towels, and a plastic shower hat, it sounds very messy!
After washing your hair you are basically covering your hair with the blend of the oils, then on pops the shower hat and you need to leave it as long as you can.
They suggest overnight, I am not sure I could go to bed with that mess on my head. Then they suggest washing and conditioning your hair. I think this is going to take quite a few trys, especially if like me you have been using henna for some time.
A Little Fun Video on Henna.
I came across a video today, a professional hairdresser trying Henna for the first time. It is quite light hearted and fun and does show some of the pros and cons to Henna, plus why you probably wont get a hair salon to do this for you. He has a huge amount of subscribers on YouTube 6.6m .
I do have some issues with the video, the length of time he left the product on, wasn’t anywhere near the time normally needed.
A lot of natural Henna would be left to mature for hours . I think if you want to check it out , there are more relevant comments below his video.
A lot from people who have been using Henna through their lives and have grown up with its use in their countries and families, India for one example.
Henna has been used for thousands of years ( Some articles date it to over 9000 years old !), so even if it hasn’t been tested in the same way as a chemical color, there has certainly been a long trial of people using the product. Even Cleopatra used henna to decorate her skin.
There are many Henna products on the market. You do need to read the label and see where you are getting your product from to check out the quality of the product and where it was grown.
Some are pure Henna, others have blended other natural ingredients to produce other colours. Also some work better than others for coverage of grey or white hair. As I have found, this can take a few applications before you get the results that you are hoping for.
RADICO- COLOR ME ORGANIC – This plant based Organic product isn’t just Henna but a blend of different herbs including Henna. They say that results should be in around an hour! Wow, even the one I am using now, takes 2 hours, others I tried before could take 4 plus hours, which pretty much messes up your day.
The company is based in India and USA. You can find a lot more information on the link or here for Amazon. They have also won a lot of awards over the years. That always gives you a feeling of confidence.
This is the brand that I am going to try next. They have a very interesting website , with a huge amount of information to help you to make the best choice for you, linked above.
Another brand that I have tried is-
LOGONA This is a Henna base , to use their Chocolate Brown color for instance, they suggest using brewed coffee or tea instead of the boiling water to create a deeper color. ( I tried the coffee one, but it didn’t make any difference with my hair)
I did find it hard to cover my greys with this brand, even though the chocolate one was better, once you start washing your hair, it left ( for me) orange or reddish colors near the scalp.
(Info from the link )-
“Organic henna from the Egyptian fair trade project Sekem Farm
100% herbal coloring
Free from synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives
Free from peroxides, ammoniac and any other chemical substances”
They are also against animal testing. You can find the full range of hair colors HERE
There is also a non- toxic hair colour, that is also certified organic called PURE ORGANICS .
This does have Henna listed in the ingredients. The video below explains the best way to mix it to use.
PURE ORGANICS HAIR COLOR
KHADI Another Henna blend of hair colors from India. They offer a number of other products as well, including soap and oils.
On their Indian site they also offer a sun protection product.
There is a good review written by the blog Damselinnodistress.com who tried the dark brown color on her mum.
I have been using this brand recently, the prices can really vary from site to site, even with the different colors on offer. I tried the brown with cool undertones ( Ash Brown) , so that the finished colors didn’t contain any red or orange. The company offer many other products such as a cleansing shampoo to use before coloring and some hair oils to extend the lasting time of the Henna. More information on how these colors worked when I tried them below. I hope that it helps you decide what is the best route for your hair.
Another Clean Brand of Henna Color is Light Mountain Natural Hair Color with a built-in conditioner.
This brand is on the EWG Verified – as a green no 1 rating. Fantastic , here on Amazon .They make a number of colors and a product to cover grey’s. They do not use any PPD’s, no ammonia, no peroxide ,no chemicals whatsoever. Not something I have tried as yet but they certainly look to be a great clean product.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I USED HENNA FOR THE FIRST TIME
Well , I eventually stopped again with the chemical hair colours. I bought a Henna product from our local Organic Bio shop called Henne . I had seen some good results from peoples reviews and it was really inexpensive, so what was there to loose ?
I have to admit to being scared stiff of going like an orange glow stick!
I had seen some people saying that it hadn’t taken to their hair, it seems to be effective on certain hair types and how your hair takes to the henna.
The time they give ,for leaving it on your hair, seems to really vary, so I went for it and left it on about two and a half hours. It smelt sort of earthy which wasn’t so bad. It still smells better than the chemical stuff.
I stuck a plastic hair covering over it and a towel and sat around. I was really nervous once I had rinsed off the Henna mix. They suggested that you wash your hair before hand then just rinse off the product , not shampoo it.
I was really disappointed with the out come after all that nervousness, it hadn’t touched the grey hair! Undefeated I went and bought another brand.
THE NEXT PRODUCT I TRIED BY LOGONA
This one was much more expensive than the first one. When I opened the box it was still a packet of the Henna mix. I really struggled to know which colour to choose.
I just wanted a brown mix, not too dark.
They do say that it won’t lighten your hair but will darken any other hair that you have already coloured before. So I was just attacking the roots.
I think I had bought the wrong colour again , though they do suggest that you use it three times in a row to gain the colour that you want to achieve. This brand worked much better for my hair, but there was a little “orangy “high light when my hair was in the sunlight. I hate the colour orange! For me it should just be on the fruit! So I have tried the original one to tone it down. I think the next try is the Chocolate colour as they say it is better for greys.
I do think you feel better knowing what you are using won’t harm you. Of course you still need to do a test on your own skin for any allergies . But you can use the Henna the next day if you want, which is great.
Yes the condition of your hair is much better too. I will keep on till I get it right, I can’t go back now to the chemicals , even if they are less hassle to use, and they are quicker of course. The risks are too great.
USING THE CHOCOLATE COLOUR LOGONA
Wow Yeah!!!! It worked , I am much happier, this colour seems to work much better , I have only put one coat so far , and it is much better as an overall colour.
Well on with the trial, I had been using the Chocolate colour which was fine when you first put it on, as it washed out for me, I ended up with an orangey red tinge on the roots. Not totally happy with that. So I was on the hunt again.
I found a place to buy the Khadi Ash Brown Henna Colour- I am in love!!!! It only takes two hours to work – that was a huge plus for me. That is the longest that they recommend, you can leave it for less time. I was convinced at first, that wouldn’t be enough time, after trying the other brands. Then the colour doesn’t show any red or orange, what a result!
I absolutely love it. Another plus , it’s Organic too.
The only difference I have found is that you do need to be careful with the temperature of the water you mix the powder with, as it can change the color. I have been using a thermometer in the water and leaving it in a bowl of water the same temp, so that the temperature of the product remains the same throughout the application process.
I think that the other day I had a left the water at the wrong temperature, as when my hair dried I could see a little greenish hue! Luckily that only lasted until the next day for myself. So best to keep the water at the correct temperature.
They do suggest using a special shampoo before you apply the color without the additives, you can purchase this too from the same company. Also to protect the color afterwards, they sell an oil to extend the color. All I can say it has been a game changer for me.
I hope that when you decide to try Henna you are successful too, it is such a relief to know you can use something natural.
MAKING COLOURS FROM FRUIT
I was reading an article from MNN.COM it is really interesting to see they are now trying to make colours from fruit such as Blackcurrant. I love that idea, taking inspiration from nature. There is also a very clear explanation on using Henna too.
INDUS VALLEY – They make two products for colouring hair, one is Organic with no chemicals at all, this is HENNA based with other natural products.
Matricaria Chamomilla, Rubia Cordifolia, Indigo feratinctoria, Lawsonia inermis (henna), Embilca Officinalis, Bacopa Nunnieri, Trigonellafoenum-graecum, Cassia auriculata..
WHAT ARE AMLA & INDIGO POWDERS USED FOR IN HAIR COLORING?
Often around the subject of Henna is Amla & Indigo powders.
AMLA – Is often used to enhance the darkening of Indigo if you are going brown with your color. It can be used to reduce the red tones of henna. It can help bind the indigo color so that it lasts longer.
INDIGO -from the plant Indigofera
“How to Use Henna and Indigo as Natural Hair Dye “(Kamaayurveda.com ) Many fascinating facts about using Indigo. I never realized that it can prevent greys, help with new hair growth and baldness. Help with dandruff and gives a great condition to your hair. Mixing it with henna is what gives you the color brown and black hair.
Staying to pure and organic ingredients, helps to avoid any nasty additives from some brands.
Organic Dye Blog spot give advice on how to mix these with lemon juice , the ratio of powders to give the finish you would like to achieve.
They also have a recipe for men who would like to have brown hair.
There are recipes of many blends to get the color you have been aiming for. Great tips.
Final Thoughts– Looking into Henna, from the initial fear of putting on a color that I knew was going to be difficult to remove ( I was so worried about being an orange glow stick)
I feel much more confident about using a natural product.
Yes, I agree it isn’t for everyone. Yes, you still need to see if you have an allergic reactions to even natural ingredients. You do need to make sure that it is the right route for you. If you are always changing your hair color, from light to dark and back again, then it probably isn’t one you want to try. It is hard to go blonde again without some serious oiling of your hair to remove color.
But the wonderful thing I have found, is the great condition of your hair, it feels thicker and glossy. The colors that come through when the light catches your hair is beautiful. I am still amazed at the amount of colors that can be achieved by blending Henna with other plants.
Just make sure you go for pure and organic ingredients ( Making sure there are no metallic salts in your brand)
Have fun with a natural product.