It seems the once old ways of doing things have made a comeback! Henna has been used for thousands of years and it said to be traced back to Cleopatra herself! Henna is making a come back, even though permanent hair color is now boxed up and manufactured in just about every shade imaginable, still the damage it does to ones scalp and hair is turning peoples attention to good old henna.
So what is henna?
Lawsonia Inermis, commonly known as henna, is a natural plant that mainly grows in dessert oasis. The plant is not red, like you may imagine it to be, instead henna is a green leafy plant. the leaves actually contain lawsone, which is an orange, reddish dye. That is the ingredient that gives the henna the ability to stain hair permanently!
Why use henna on the hair?
Besides the fact that henna itself is an all natural way of coloring hair, it also conditions, strengthens, and helps keep hair healthy. That is something not even your hair dresser can promise you with the hair color she uses! Henna, when used properly, can aid in repairing your hair in ways you never imagined. In fact, some people use henna just for a conditioning treatment, without allowing the dye to release. But when using henna as a natural hair dye, you will surely reap the conditioning benefits of henna as well.
How do I buy henna?
This is a great question, and a VERY important one. There is a growing market for henna, and sadly the quality found in typical “health food stores” isn’t even henna at all. As a matter of fact, pure henna can not lighten hair, or turn hair any other shade than a red or reddish orange tone. There are many mixes available which state things such as “blonde henna” or “black henna” Be warned this is not henna in its true form, and has ingredients added (making it compound henna) to it which if not used properly could cause your hair to burn right off if you ever bleached or colored your hair!!!
True henna does not need to even be marketed “for hair” as a matter of fact, you want to be sure you are buying Body Art Quality Henna, or BAQ Henna. Since henna is traditionally used for cultural temporary tattoos, body art quality is the best to get. It will give a good amount of stain, and stay in your hair wash after wash.
A good brand to look for when buying Henna is Jamilla. The Jamilla brand Henna is said to be one of the highest qualities you can buy, and is pure and free from compounds.
If I use henna, can I chemically color my hair ever again?
If you use true form BAQ henna, there is no damage associated with using henna even soon after dying your hair with chemicals, nor is there any HEALTH risk using dye on hair stained with henna. HOWEVER, it is important to know that because henna is such a strong stain, it may not allow the chemical dye to properly process your hair. It is always best to do a strand test if you wish to apply a chemical dye in hair that is treated with henna.
NEVER apply color on any compound henna (those labeled “blonde” and any color other than RED) These compounds often have undisclosed ingredients and metallic salts that can interact with typical chemical hair dye and can possibly melt the hair right off your head! Also, NEVER put a compound henna over any hair that has ever been chemically colored; the same risk applies!
It is my advice to stay away from compound henna all together, pure henna, although offering only a red shade, gives a beautiful color! With each application the color tends to deepen until a wonderful auburn appearance is achieved.
Most people who switch from chemical hair dye/color and switch to henna, love it so much that they never go back!
There is great information on the web through many forums and websites, be sure to check them out (especially the forums) to get real reviews, information, and see true before and after photos.
http://www.hennaforhair.com/faq/index.html (Henna Fot Hair)
http://www.hennahut.com/henna (Henna Hut)