With increasing awareness of the adverse effects of synthetic and ammonia based hair dyes, most users of hair dyes are switching over to organic and natural hair coloring products; and henna is the most popular choice for many.
Undoubtedly, henna for hair coloring is the best natural alternative to synthetic hair dyes.
What Is Henna?
The name ‘henna’ generally refers to the dye that is prepared from the semi-dried and pounded leaves of the Lawsonia plant.
Henna is the Lawsonia plant leaves in powdered form or compressed blocks used for hair dye or body art.
Another variation of the henna is Mehndi, a henna paste which is usually packed into cone-shaped tubes for the convenient use of drawing tattoo like designs on the skin. Mehndi is used by most women in India, Pakistan and Arab Countries on auspicious occasions such as weddings, religious events, and traditional ceremonies.
Henna is used extensively to dye the skin, hair and nails as well as on fabrics and leather.
Types Of Henna
The natural henna is modified into several variations by adding different natural ingredients into it to produce henna in different colors and shades.
There are also different varieties of henna hair care products available.
The ‘natural henna’ (Lawsonia inermis) when used as hair dye it gives a reddish brown color to the hair. Of course, the color will vary a lot according to the original color of the hair.
The other henna products popularly sold in the beauty shops are like the “black henna” and “neutral henna” may not contain the original henna at all. These varieties are instead made from other plants or other substances altogether.
The ‘neutral henna’, the powder obtained from Cassia obovata leaf which is used as a hair conditioner to make hair glossy and thick with a healthy scalp. It is also useful for fighting dandruff and head lice.
The ‘black henna’ is the powder obtained from the leaves of the indigo plant (Indigofera tinctoria). Usually, the manufacturers might also add into it other unlisted dyes and chemicals like p-phenylenediamine (PPD) to increase the depth and brightness to the black color. It is commonly sold as natural hair dye, but it is not approved by FDA as it can cause skin irritations and other side effects in some of the users. In reality, there is nothing called ‘black henna,’ because it is a different form of the natural dye obtained from the indigo plant leaf.[6,7]
Henna is one of the best alternative options to the chemical rich hair dye. It can give you a ‘shiny and bouncy’ hair without the chemicals normally found in the synthetic dye.
It is known for its ability to block the harmful UV rays of the sunlight that can otherwise cause damage to the hair.
The natural ingredients in henna do not cause hair fall, and it actually promotes better hair growth. It is an excellent hair conditioner that works like other synthetic conditioners, but without the harmful chemicals.
Some of the reported cases of side effects associated with henna are mostly found with the henna paste used for body-art or tattooing. It can cause occasional allergic reactions, darkened stains on skin, or alter the skin color.
The ready-to-use premixed henna paste often comes with adulterated ingredients which are found to be bad and unhealthy. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale and import of the henna paste.[10,11]
Some of the unhealthy ingredients found in the henna paste are silver nitrate, carmine, pyrogallol, disperse orange dye and chromium. These substances are capable of causing severe allergic and inflammatory reaction. These reactions become more active when the henna laden skin comes in contact with hairdressing products and hair dyes.[12,13]
Always the natural henna paste you can prepare yourself at home is safe and best for health.
Henna Hair Dye For Hair Coloring
Henna is oldest known hair dye used by women and men since the ancient Egyptian historical period.
The use of henna as hair dye and for body-arts is very popular in all the countries in Asia and Africa from the ancient time. Since a century or two, the popularity of henna hair dye is increasing in Europe and America.
Currently, many of the hair dye manufacturers have come out with several combinations of henna for hair with various other natural ingredients in order to create several shades and colors of natural hair dye.
Originally, the preparation and application of natural henna dye are a cumbersome process that involved few lengthy procedures.
Like the synthetics hair dye, this natural hair coloring substance is also used in different ways with unique application procedures.
Now the henna packs are available in ready to use the form; which just needs to be evenly spread onto the hair and left for few hours to let the hair absorb the color.
However, the finest form of henna dye must be prepared by you at home, especially for the pure quality of this dye.
The natural color of the pure henna on hair is normally reddish brown…however with other natural ingredients added into the henna to form various color option like the synthetic hair dye.
Some of the natural ingredients added into henna are cassia obovata and indigo leaves powder…the color will vary according to the proportion of ingredients used.
The color also depends on the quality of the henna and the actual color of the hair itself.
Some of the manufacturers of the henna dye also include certain chemical ingredients into pure henna to bring more shine and softness to the hair as well as to create different color shades. But these henna dyes can damage the hair in the long run.
Benefits of Henna Hair Dye
Free Of Chemicals:- Constant use of chemical rich shampoos and hair dyes will certainly damage our hair sooner than we ever thought of. Pure henna is 100% natural and does not have any serious side effects associated with it.
Of course, don’t take all the henna hair coloring solutions for granted as some of them come with added chemical ingredients or a mixture of other organic ingredients that may not be safe for the hair and skin. As we had mentioned earlier, the ‘black henna’ and ‘neutral henna’ is very different from the genuine henna.
Henna Is A Natural Hair Conditioner:- Just like the synthetic hair conditioners, henna can also be used as a hair conditioner that will add shine and silkiness to the hair. It will also make the hair strong and remove the dryness from the hair.
The organic and safe substance in henna stains the hair to form a protective layer around the hair. The hair is well protected from the external pollutants in the air and water and also shields the hair from the harmful UV rays in the sunlight.
It is also found that when henna is mixed other natural hair care solution like olive oil, coconut oil or yogurt, it becomes an excellent natural hair conditioner.
Fights Dandruff:- Dandruff is one of the major cause for hair fall that affects a large number of people. Henna contains natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that will gradually work on the scalp to remove dandruff and other fungal infections.
Most of the natural remedies for dandruff problem usually have henna as a major ingredient in them. As a DIY method, if you have the dandruff problem, you could add two teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar into sufficient amount of henna powder and apply this paste onto your scalp. Repeat this procedure twice a week and you will notice that dandruff is gradually vanishing from your scalp.
Healthy For The Scalp:- Some persons experience increasing hair fall because of the imbalanced levels of acid-alkaline balance on the scalp. Usage of henna is healthy for the scalp as it does not alter the natural acid-alkaline balance on your scalp, unlike the chemical rich hair dyes and shampoos.
Promotes Hair Growth:– Another big advantage of henna is its effect in promoting healthy growth of hair. It strengthens the hair and avoids premature thinning and breakage of the hair. When the hair strands are strengthened, they will naturally grow longer and thicker. Most of the people who regularly use henna are experiencing less amount hair fall compared to others who use chemical hair dyes and shampoos.
Protects The Natural Hair Color:- Pure henna is a transparent dye that will actually reflect the natural color of your hair. People with deep black/dark hair color would see that their hair has turned into shining dark color with the henna application.
However, if your hair is gray or light dark, it may add a bit of a reddish brown color to the hair. Henna is not meant for reversal of gray hair.
You will also see the henna hair colors in different shades of colors; it is actually because of the other natural/chemical coloring ingredients that are mixed into the henna powder.
How To Use The Henna Hair Dye?
If you are buying the ready-to-use henna dye pack, it is very simple and straight forward to use it. But if you are making the henna dye by yourself, then the procedure is bit cumbersome but more effective and beneficial to the hair.
STEP 1: Simply mix required amount of henna powder or pieces of brick/bar into lukewarm water and mix it thoroughly till a paste-like consistency is achieved. Usually, the cover of the pack will have the manufactures instruction on how to prepare the mixture.
STEP 2: Make sure to protect your face and neck (use Vaseline/ultra-balm or olive oil) as you do before other normal hair dying procedure. Instead of using hair dyeing brush and comb, you will need to wear a suitable pair of gloves and apply the henna paste to your hair with the help of your hands and fingers, just like you do shampoo your hair.
STEP 3: Once the application is over, use hair pins to gather up your hairs together over the head and cover the hair with a plastic scalp cover (the heat produced by the plastic scalp cover has added benefits). It is good to leave the hair with henna application untouched for about 5 to 6 hours.
STEP 4: 5 to 6 hours after the application, thoroughly rinse your hair with cold water till all loose particles of henna powder are gone from your hair and scalp. Finally, you have the henna dyed hair with beautiful color and shine. You may also use any mild organic shampoo just once to cleanse your scalp.
Some Precautions: After dyeing your hair with henna, you should not use any other permanent hair dye over it at least for 30 days. If you are not happy with henna dye color, then you could remove the henna color first for getting back the natural color or to apply any other hair dye.
Methods To Remove Henna Dye From Hair
It may happen so that you are not pleased with the hair color after dyeing, and you wish to remove the henna stain from the hair.
Henna is quite a stubborn stain and it is not easy to remove the henna stain from the hair. Normally it takes about 2 to 3 months for the henna color to fade away naturally.
However, you can try to reduce the henna color on hair over a week’s time by following any of the three tips below:-
- Use a mixture of coconut oil and olive oil….apply this oil mixture in sufficient amount all over your hair. Then wrap you scalp and hair in a thick cotton towel and let it stay overnight on your head. In the morning, you can shampoo the hair and thoroughly rinse the hair with lukewarm water. Most of the henna color will disappear with this process.
- You can also apply the mineral oil (a byproduct of petroleum). After an hour or two, shampoo the hair and then thoroughly rinse the hair with water. The mineral oil is a good solvent that will lift most of the henna colors from the hair. You might repeat this process again on the next day to remove the left over henna colors on hair. However, this could damage hair if the mineral oil is repeatedly used on hair.
- Gently soak the hair with diluted alcohol ( 70% alcohol and 30% water). And then with sterile cotton balls apply the pure alcohol all over the hair (avoid scalp). After 5 to 10 minutes apply the mineral oil over the alcohol drenched hair. About 45 minutes after the mineral oil application, shampoo the hair and thoroughly rinse the hair with water. A good portion of the henna color from the hair will disappear with this process. However, this procedure will make your hairs remain dry and dull for few days.
That is all for now on henna hair dye. Always the natural hair care solutions like henna are better for hair and health.