Adity is a beauty professional & web writer whose articles focus on DIY recipes, beauty, skincare, nutrition, health & wellness.
Using Henna for Beautiful and Healthy Hair
Henna is a flowering plant that grows in hot/dry climates. It has been widely used as a cosmetic all over the world since ancient times, especially in Middle Eastern and South-Asian countries, Ancient Egypt, India, and Africa. In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra had been known to have used henna to color her hair. In Islam, henna is considered auspicious.
Henna is mainly used as a hair dye and conditioner. It gives a magnificent reddish-brown color to hair and is excellent in treating hair loss and promoting hair growth.
Henna contains a tannin dye molecule, which is released only upon crushing the leaves and mixing it with an acidic base such as vinegar or lemon juice. The juice causes cellulose from the cell walls to dissolve, thereby releasing the dye molecule.
Henna seals oil into the hair, closing off the cuticle, leaving the hair conditioned and shiny. Henna is a permanent hair dye, and the color stays for around six weeks.
Why Should You Use Henna Instead of Regular Dye?
Stops the Premature Greying Of Hair
Henna stops premature greying of hair. It is an excellent alternative to hair color for those who are allergic to chemicals and want an herbal alternative. Chemical treatments generally damage hair cuticles and leave them dull and vulnerable to wear and tear. Since henna acts as a natural coating for the hair, it protects the hair from damage. Henna can even reverse the damage caused by hair treatments.
It is a natural sunscreen. Henna coats the hair strands semi-permanently, thus protecting sun damage and pollution. It also reverses the effect of pollution on hair as well as dryness due to excessive blow-drying.
Excellent Natural Conditioner
It is an excellent natural conditioner. It improves hair texture by giving it more body and volume. It repairs and seals the cuticle, thereby healing the hair shaft. It gives hair a sleek and shiny look. Henna nourishes the hair from the scalp to the tip and leaves it stronger and healthier.
Gentle Detoxifying Properties
It has detoxifying, antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It helps in eliminating dandruff, head lice, and other scalp infections.
When the henna paste is applied to the scalp, it instantly cools down and removes excess heat from the body. It is used to bring down fevers and is very effective against sun-stroke.
Therapeutic Scalp Effects
It is therapeutic and calming and thus helps in reducing headaches, improves blood circulation, and provides rest-full sleep.
Fights Hair Loss
Henna is a natural remedy against hair loss. It cleanses the scalp without disturbing the natural mantle of the scalp balances the PH, thereby preventing premature hair fall.
Read More From Bellatory
How to Apply Henna on Hair
How to Apply Henna Powder
- Add tea leaves to boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add about five tablespoons of pure henna powder in a bowl and pour the strained tea water into the powder to make a fine paste with the consistency of toothpaste. You may increase or decrease the henna quantity depending on your hair length and volume.
- If you want to highlight your hair, you may add some coffee powder to this paste.
- Mix nicely and let it soak overnight for about 6 to 8 hours.
- On the next day, add some curd and a big tablespoon of mustard/olive oil. If your hair is oily, you may add the juice of half a lemon into the mixture and blend nicely.
- Apply on the hair from scalp to tips and on top of the head. Cover with a shower cap and leave it for 2-4 hours, depending on whether you want to condition or color your hair. The longer the henna soaks, the richer the color of the dye.
- Wash off the henna from the hair without using shampoo. Apply coconut oil to your hair and leave overnight.
- On the next day, wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
How to Apply Henna Oil
- Heat 1/4th liter of mustard oil in a pot.
- Take some fresh henna leaves, crush them lightly and add them to a pot of boiling mustard oil.
- Allow the mixture to boil for some time.
- When the mixture starts turning reddish-brown, turn off the flame and allow the mixture to cool.
- When the mixture has cooled completely, strain the oil and store it in a bottle.
- Always mix the oil with yogurt or lemon juice before applying it to your hair.
- Leave it on your hair for a couple of hours and rinse it off with a light herbal-based shampoo.
- When preparing henna paste, it is best to use an iron utensil for soaking the henna overnight. If soaked in an iron container, henna forms a blackish pigment and helps cover grey more effectively.
- If your hair is very dry, you may add 1 or 2 eggs into the henna mixture.
- While making the henna paste, please ensure that the consistency is neither too thick nor too watery. The consistency should be like toothpaste. Too watery or thick paste will make the application on hair difficult.
- Henna paste should be applied to clean hair without conditioner. Otherwise, it won't color properly. It is best to apply henna on towel-dried and semi-dry hair. It makes the application more even and quite easier.
- Always use conditioner after washing off the henna. This will not only seal the color and diminish the odor, but it will also impart a soft and shiny texture to your hair.
- Remember to wear hand gloves before application to avoid staining your hands and fingernails.
- Apply some Vaseline along your hairline to prevent stains.
- With excessive dry hair, massage some coconut or olive oil on the hair before application. This helps retain the moisture and prevents the hair from becoming more dehydrated.
- During winter, since henna is cooling in nature, add a couple of cloves to the water while boiling the tea. It helps keep the head warm and imparts a richer color at the same time.
- In case you want a darker burgundy tinge, add half a beetroot to boiling water.
- Check the label before buying henna to avoid duplicates. Always use pure henna powder, which is the herb 'Lawsonia Inermis.'
Read more about henna warnings here.
Using Henna as a Natural Dye
When used as a coloring aid, henna is a better and more natural option than traditional dyes. It provides texture, shine, body, and strength to the hair without any side effects.
So ditch artificial hair colors and give this natural colorant a place in your daily hair care routine!
© 2013 Adity
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