We’re not exactly beginners when it comes to dyeing our hair from time to time, or even going as far as bleaching to change our look. We’ve put our hair through a lot when it comes to color processing, and it has taken a toll on the health and color of our natural hair.
A safer alternative to processing your hair with chemical dyes is coloring hair with henna. It’s been around for centuries to naturally tint the tone of our hair. The flowering plant that’s called henna has often been used for temporary body art tattoos and to stain leather.
A henna dye naturally creates a red-copper tint to the hair and skin. Most henna products that are prepackaged contain other additives that creates a neutral brown or even a black dye. For the true henna effect, using the natural powder found in organic food stores will be free from any color additives.
Here are a few reasons why you should choose henna for your next home treatment, and a how-to guide for coloring hair with henna at home.
Why Choose Henna?
Unlike permanent or semi-permanent hair dyes, henna coats the hair cuticles to condition it and add a natural tint. Bleaching, perms and relaxers are filled with synthetic and chemical ingredients that can damage the scalp and cause irreversible side effects.
Over time, henna will significantly improve the texture of your natural hair while preventing any color fading for months at a time.
Not only does henna tint the hair but also conditions since it closes off the cuticle when applied. While henna powder can be used on its own for a red-copper tint, it can also provide additional benefits when paired with different organic ingredients.
Dyeing your Hair at Home
- Purchase pure, high-quality henna that’s free from any additional ingredients that comes in a powder form. It will have a strong herbal scent and appears green. If you have chemically-treated hair, using henna may give varying results since the product works best with natural, virgin hair.
- Determine the natural hue of your hair before using henna powder. Similar to testing a patch of hair with traditional hair dyes, apply a small mixture to a 1-inch thick section to determine how the color will turn out and to avoid any allergic reactions.
- To mix your henna powder, take a few spoonfuls into a plastic mixing bowl and gradually add warm water. The mixture has to be a paste, not too runny and not too clumpy for best results.
In this step you can add any product to boost the color and texture of your hair.
- Once you’ve mixed the powder with the liquids, place it in the dark under room temperature for 12 hours to process the natural pigments. Think of this as brewing tea, using warm water will help release the natural compound. Check in to continuously mix the product.
- Before you begin dyeing your hair, it’s important to cover areas of your bathroom and skin to prevent staining. Henna is notorious for causing everything to stain in seconds. Use petroleum jelly on the hairline and back of your neck to keep your skin from staining a bright red.
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- Apply protective gloves and an old t-shirt, covering everything that henna could touch.
- To distribute the henna dye into your hair evenly, divide your hair into 3 inch sections for easier application. Separate your hair down the middle and then divide it across the back of your head.
Keep the sections small since henna is a dry consistency and is difficult to blend into the hair.
- Comb through your hair to remove any knots and tangles.
- Using a hair coloring brush, begin applying the henna dye starting from the root to the ends. Making sure to not apply the product directly onto your scalp to prevent staining.
- With each section, blend the henna into the hair by massaging it with your hands for even color distribution.
When you finish all sections, cover your hair with a shower cap. This will help prevent the henna from drying and flaking off.
- Leave the product on for up to 4 hours for a rich tint.
- Once the henna finishes processing, rinse it under cold water and use a conditioner to wash away any residue. The color will appear vibrant on the first day but gradually will fade after a few washes.
After using henna you can expect less frizz, bouncier hair and a natural shine. The organic compound of henna stimulates hair growth and prevent premature grays from sprouting. The advantages of using henna compared to box hair dyes is endless- try it for yourself!