The Truth About Henna
The FDA recently announced that temporary black henna tattoos can cause burns and scars on the skin. But the “henna” products that cause these reactions have chemical additives and are not purely plant-based. Many prepackaged hens contain other plant substances, synthetic dyes, and sometimes dangerous compounds such as PPD (paraphenylenediamine) that can cause severe blisters.
There is only one “genuine” henna (Lawsonia inermis), often called “red” or “rajah” henna. Henna powder from the rajah is used to dye hair, dye textiles, and for Mehndi, a “temporary tattoo” body art practiced mainly in India and Nepal. Women use it to apply decorative patterns to their skin, mainly on their hands and feet, to prepare for special occasions such as traditional Indian weddings. When used as hair color, it adheres permanently to the hair, and the color is enriched with repeated use. Henna is also an excellent conditioner that improves hair health.
Two plants used similarly to real henna (red), black “henna” (Indigofera Tinctoria), and neutral “henna” (Cassia Obovata.) Black henna is used in the same way as red henna but is dyed black instead. Cassia is used primarily for its conditioning and antimicrobial properties, but it can also improve the tones in blonde hair.
When you mix henna for a hair dye, you have to add something acidic like lemon juice or apple vinegar to activate the dye. To enhance the production of dye, add a tea tree, cajeput, or ravensara essential oils. Other essential oils can be used for this purpose, but these three seem to work best. To mix the liquid with the henna powder, you can make a tea (choose hibiscus to enhance the reds) or simply use hot water. Add liquid until it has a yogurt-like consistency. You can be creative and add other things to the mix, such as beetroot powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, etc. to create a custom blend. When the henna has taken on a dark brown hue, the dye has dissolved and you can now apply it to the hair (remember to wear rubber gloves!) Cover the hair with aluminum foil and/or a towel and let it work for at least four hours or overnight. Using heat, for example with a hairdryer, can speed up the process. If you wish to condition the hair without changing the color, leave the henna on for a short time, or simply use the neutral cassia/alheña. Mixing henna for the skin is a very similar process, but it must be done in a thicker paste, like the consistency of mashed potatoes. You can apply the henna with a bottle or a tube of polish.
Dying My Hair With Henna – safe & natural dye
I dyed my hair with henna without any help.
See how to use henna hair dye and check out my results.
I go through the whole process – show you before, during, and after.
I used Lush Henna because it’s just way simpler to start with and I wanted a more basic process.
Visit my blog for my full article on WHY it’s important to use chemical-free dye!
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