Saturday, January 31, 2009

Herbs for the Hair: HENNA

Most recently, Henna, Lawsonia alba, has been written in the press for its use in Mehendi art for the skin. Henna is also a wonderful natural hair conditioner. Cleopatra,'tis said, appreciated its benefits and added henna to her beauty arsenal. Many colors of henna are on the market. Neutral, Persian Red (my fav), Egyptian Red, Brown and Black are the most common. Blends of these five basic colors lead to shades like Chestnut, Mahogany, Strawberry and more. All henna has tones of red to it. The difference in the intensity of red color depends upon where and when the plant is grown and harvested. To use henna at home is very inexpensive, very easy and very good for your hair. Henna coats the hair with additional protein, giving it more body while seeming to repair damaged hair. Henna primarily is a color enhancer. It will provide highlights and bring out natural highlights without dramatically changing hair color. To be on the safe side test the effects on several underneath strands, before treating all your locks.

This is powdered Persian Red Henna mixed with water to form a mud like paste. The paste is then applied to the hair. It is nice if you have a friend to help you apply the goop to your hair so that it can be done thoroughly and evenly. If you don't have a buddy just slap the henna paste on as best you can. Rub it in well. When you are done clean off any henna that may be on your forehead, ears, temples, sink, floor as henna is indeed a stain and will stain your skin for a couple of days. It is not a bad idea to wear gloves for the same reason. Allow the henna to remain on your hair for 35 minutes to two hours. The longer you leave it on the brighter the color and the longer it will last. Then rinse and wash. It takes a bit of rinsing to get the henna mud back out of your hair!

This is the result of Henna on brown hair.

In the sun the henna high lights really do shine.

After a red Henna treatment above, Before Henna below. Both photos were take outside on relatively sunny days.

For short hair use 2 to 3 oz of henna. For long hair like this use 6 oz of henna. Henna is a stain, not a dye and it will both wash out and grow out over a period of three months. If the desired effect is not achieved, distilled water and lemon juice mixed and used as a rinse will help strip the henna from hair, so you can start again. Of course The Rosemary House sells henna and is happy to help you learn how to use it!


La Tea Dah said...

I love henna and have enjoyed using it in my hair. I once worked with a woman who had the most beautiful hair! The color was shiny and perfect. Her secret was henna --- it was above and beyond --- so pretty!


Kellianne said...

Thanks for sharing! Your hair looks wonderful...I can't wait to give it a shot.

Linda said...

Very nice -- I like the henna look!

Anonymous said...

can you tell me if that is grey in her before?
Thank you!

~a former redhead who's hair looks like her before!