Henna Hair Coloring

Henna hair coloring has been used for over 5000 years. Henna is made by grinding the dried leaves of the henna plant (Lawsonia inermis) into a powder. It was first developed in Egypt and later migrated to other regions. It continues to be very popular today in countries all around the world.

henna plant

Natural henna hair dyes contain a molecule that bonds to the protein in hair. It coats the hair surface with a permanent dye. This gives a translucent, shimmering quality to the color which can be stunning in sunlight. Henna dye is known to make hair soft, shiny and healthy. Using henna on hair over time is said to repair split ends, strengthen hair and intensify color. Pure 100% henna only produces various shades of red to auburn. Any other colors such as golden brown, dark brown or black can only be obtained by combining henna with other plant extracts or chemicals.

henna hands

In addition to coloring hair, henna is also a popular dye for skin tattoos. Henna skin tattoos have been a traditional form of body art in many cultures for thousands of years. They play an important part in ceremonial body decoration and are a symbol of good luck. Here's a fascinating look at the history of henna body art and photos of stunning designs. If you're interested in learning more, here's a wonderful online community of henna devotees who practice this beautiful art form.

Advantages of Henna Hair Coloring

Pure henna hair color is a 100% natural product. It is completely plant-derived and contains none of the chemicals found in conventional dyes. Natural henna for hair adds volume, luster and shine to hair. A very popular henna product called Rainbow contains no additives, chemicals, or pesticides and is rated highly by users.  In addition to hair color there are many other  natural cosmetic and body art products that use henna.

Applying henna powder paste can be messy and leave hair color stains on skin, clothes and towels. Also, the entire process of henna hair coloring is time-consuming. Schedule at least 2 hours in addition to preparation time and clean-up. Check out this list of henna directions to learn how to mix henna, apply it easily and get the best results.

Using henna for your hair has many benefits. In addition to the many henna safety features it has from being an all natural product, it also promotes healthy, strong hair. Just be mindful of the extra time and effort that it requires. Here's a great source for high quality, chemical-free henna that is triple sifted and double sealed to maintain freshness.

Get Your Best Henna Color

Henna hair coloring can make your hair darker but not lighter. They work best when you want to enhance your original color or go 1-2 shades darker. Immediately after using a henna hair color the shade may seem too bright but it will tone down during the next 48 hours as the dye settles in.

The final resulting hair shade depends on several factors, including:

  • how long henna dye stays on hair during processing
  • your original base hair color
  • how much heat is applied during processing

Getting grey hair coverage with henna is possible but challenging. Grey hair tends to be coarser and more color-resistant so allow extra time for henna to work. To cover the grey even more effectively mix the powder with strong, brewed coffee instead of water and add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

Compound Hennas

Pure hennas always produce shades of red, crimson and auburn. Some “henna-based” products achieve different shades of gold, brown and mahogany. But these alternate colors are only obtained by adding either plant extracts or chemicals. When henna is combined with extra additives to extend its color range it's called a 'compound henna'.

Avoid 'compound hennas' that have chemical additives, especially if you've recently colored your hair with a conventional hair dye. These 'compound hennas' can contain metallic salts which could end up severely damaging your hair if they come into contact with conventional hair dye chemicals.

To use a 'compound henna' that is an organic henna powder, check the ingredients labels to make sure only plant extracts have been added. Some of the more widely used extracts are walnut, saffron, chamomile and rhubarb root. For a safe and rewarding henna hair color only purchase henna that is either 100% pure organic henna or has had only plant extracts added to it.

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