Like we always say, just because you’re natural, does not mean your hair has to be boring. We here at Thank God I’m Natural totally support taking risks when it comes to your mane, and for some women, using Henna to color your follicles just might be the change you need. Some women swear by Henna, saying its done nothing but great things. While some women run for the hills at the mere mention of it. Take a gander at our little list of Henna facts and judge for yourself. Henna’s red hue is the perfect color for the upcoming Fall — and a safe, healthy hair dye alternative!
What is Henna?
Henna is a small tree with branches that has leaves on both sides. The Henna leaves are made up of a dye called lawsone, which makes for an orangey-red color. A majority of the dye is located in the vein of the plant known as the petiole. The dye from the plant is used to naturally color women’s hair. Like combining two strings together to make one stronger strand, Henna has the tannin molecule in it. Once the molecule binds into the hair, the strands become stronger as the color takes to the hair.
How long have women been using Henna?
Henna is about as old school as you’re going to get! Henna has been around for about 6,000 years. While the verdict is still out on where the practice originated, some researchers have traced back its roots to ancient India.
If I use Henna to color my hair, what color will it be?
That’s where the risk comes in. The color your hair will be after using Henna to dye it depends on the color of your hair. Don’t forget, the dye in the Henna plant has an orangey-red tint to it, and when you use Henna, your hair, you’re staining it with that color. If your hair is blond, after you Henna it, your hair could be a robust red or a playful strawberry blond. If your hair is brown, the Henna may make your hair a chestnut color with some red highlights that you only see when in the sun. (Cute, right?) If your hair is medium brown, your hair might look like a Irish Setter Dog (not a good look) If you’re one of our more seasoned naturals, and you have all gray hair, Henna may make your hair look a bit tangerine.
What if I’ve colored my hair recently and I want to try it?
Pump the breaks sweetie. It’s advised that women who may have a relaxer (that doesn’t apply to us), dyed or bleached their hair in the last year to not use Henna. You don’t want to have too much going on in your hair to cause damage. Wait until the color grows out and then try it out.
How do you Henna your hair?
Use the Henna that is also used for body art to color your hair to ensure high quality results. Mix it up with lemons until the consistency is similar to yogurt. Some women add red wine or vinegar as your mixing, anything acidic will do. Let it sit overnight, and then you’re pretty much done. The reason why the Henna mix needs 24 hours is because it allows for the dye to be released from the leaves. However, there are several other ways to mix your Henna, this is just one. Be sure to do a strand test on your hair first before completing a full application. To find your ideal mix, dye release time, application time, rinsing method, etc. all require some experimentation. Henna is not an out-of-a-box product, so it may take some tweaking to find your ideal results. Remember, results are not guaranteed and your color could be different every time.
So there you have it ladies. Henna is a great alternative to coloring your hair without using harsh chemicals, but be careful. For some people Henna does wonders and adds a beautiful hint to your hair. For others, Henna is like a bad boyfriend you never want to talk about ever again. Consult with your beautician about using Henna on your hair before you jump in. If he or she gives you the green light, we say go for it.
For more information about henna or coloring natural hair, check out my new book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair now available online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders and at the TGIN Store.