I’ve been getting a lot of questions about henna, so I’ve done a post on henna in general that hopefully will assist and answer your questions.
What is it?
Henna is a plant lawsonia inermis, that grows as a large bush or small tree. It is not a chemical but dried, powdered plant leaves.
What is the history of its use?
There is evidence that henna has been used for centuries in Egypt and Jericho as a hair dye and conditioner. It has also been used to decorate the skin in Arabic countries and India. It was used in parts of Europe from the 1800s as a natural hair dye.
Presently it is used mainly in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
What colour is henna?
There is only one colour that henna comes in. As a powder it’s a brown green colour, when mixed with an acid, it releases a reddish brown or orange colour. The deeper the orange the more dye content.
I saw brunette/black/ blonde henna, is this still henna?
Synthetic dyes, metallic salts and other chemicals are added to henna to produce commercial boxed ‘henna’. This is not the same as pure henna. Real henna is 100% ‘Body Art Quality’ henna. There is no such thing as ‘black henna’ or ‘strawberry henna’.
How does henna dye the hair?
Lawsone in henna binds to the keratin in hair and the hair will shimmer red when the light bounces off the lawsone molecules in the hair. The colour is a reflection of the natural hair colour and the lawsone molecules.
Is the colour change obvious?
The henna dye is translucent and it depends on the hair being dyed. A natural blonde head of hair, will most likely show an immediate colour change to orange/red hair. A brunette to auburn. Those with black hair, it will show a translucent red in certain lighting and sometimes highlights. Henna blends with the natural hair colour, and to each individual hair strand and becomes more obvious with repeat use. It is a great way to hide grey hair strands.
Is it permanent
The henna dye particles bind strongly to the hair strand and with several applications more dye binds to the strands. It is therefore considered permanent since it cannot be washed out.
Can it be used in relaxed/dyed/ texturised / damaged hair?
Although it is stated that only BAQ henna can be used on relaxed hair, it is not recommended to use henna on relaxed or chemically texturised hair. It is safest to use on natural hair, even if it is damaged.
Is the hennaing process time consuming?
It is time consuming. From preparation, to applying it to washing it out. It is also very messy but the conditioning effects are worth it
If there are any other questions, you are welcome to ask.
- My Henna Story: Part 1 (tafistresses.wordpress.com)