3 April 2011

The Buzz...Clueless about Henna?

I hope that we can all share on this post.

For weeks I've been thinking about Henna. Why? I think I heard someone say.
I was aware of Henna used in mehndi art to decorate hands, feet or any part of the skin in intricate, but awesome designs. I've never had it done, but would love to some time. Up until I started blogging and reading up on how to maintain the best natural hair possible, I'd never known about Henna being used on hair. And I guess all the information that came my way was somewhat overwhelming. But, if you are like me, there are some things which just need to be broken down finely and plainly...ahhh, sad but true *Smile*

I'll say though that it was encouraging to see how people really tackled applying their own recipes. Especially the Vloggers on Youtube and the blogs/sites of other natural hair wearing ladies out there.

Nevertheless, it is not about reinventing the wheel but I really wanted to blog this for persons who might be just like me...clueless about Henna!

*Shout out to Afropean Queen for pointing me in the right direction. Gracias, chica!*

Some interesting facts as it relates to Henna and hair:
  • It comes from a plant called the Lawsonia inermis. This plant is traditionally found in the hot climes of countries like Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Libya, Morroco, in Africa; Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East; and, in Eastern countries such as Pakistan and India. 
  • Henna's dye molecule is red-orange in colour. If you do decide to use Henna in your hair, it is important to remember that results will vary depending on the initial shade of your hair. It deposits colour onto your strands of hair or locs, it does not lighten as peroxide would.
  • Apart from being a natural way to colour the hair, Henna's properties are also good for strengthening the hair, it is anti-fungal & anti-microbial and promotes shinier hair.
  • The best Henna for hair is 100% pure Henna - the Lawsonia inermis; exactly what is used in body art. It contains no lead, no metallic salts nor any other chemical dye. It is ALL NATURAL! Much safer than the mass-produced commercial dyes on the store shelf, eh?!
  • If you are going to mix and apply your own Henna treatment at home, it may be very messy! Also,the smell of the concoction may not be to your liking.
  • Debatable: Curl loss in natural hair...? Hmmm...maybe someone can shed some light on that. 

Now here are some other interesting things I found out about Henna:
  • There is no such thing as a 'black henna plant', 'red henna plant' or other variation. Companies who may claim that they have used such in their products to produce henna in other colours, have actually mixed other ingredients and chemicals to the Henna to achieve this end result. Be aware as well that there might also be NO Henna at all in these concoctions. All I can add is that if you are someone who follows a natural hair care product regime, straight away you know that this a no-no!
  • Have you seen the term Neutral Henna? - It is really NOT Henna but the herb Cassia Obovato. It apparently does not change the colour of your hair. However, Cassia treatments can strengthen and thicken natural hair.
  • What about Black Henna? - Pure Henna is NOT black. What I did find out was that Indigo dye - whose dye colour is blue - is very often mixed with Henna to give a beautiful jet black colour!
  • If you are going to mix your own Henna colour treatment, try adding clove or even lemon juice. These additions have been proven to darken the shade of the Henna mixture and to boot, your hair will smell nice! On the other hand, stay away from mixing Henna with water as the result may yield a dull brassy colour which might not be what you want to achieve.

Final words...

Be patient...and please do a hair test first on a few strands of your natural hair. I know from my own loc journey, I have fuzzy hair in abundance to spare! As you get better, maybe then you can experiment with more natural ingredients such as Amla. 

Are things a bit clearer for me? Yes!  That's what a blog is for! Writing helps. I so do hope that if you were in the 'grey' like me that light bulbs are on.
Am I ready to henna my locs? Not yet! I can wait until my hair gets longer.
As it regards my wanting to use the Nature's Gate Henna Shine Enhancing Shampoo: I'm one step closer to trying it. The company does say that it is non-colouring and will impart only natural highlights which makes sense.  As it stands, my hair is jet black (first time in ages)! Kinda like it this way for now, until my locs are much longer. 

Surely though for those of you who do follow through...go bravely! Okay, just kidding! But do post details on your mixture/recipe and your experience during the process. Appreciate it! And, let's continue to share the love and the information!


*Useful resources*
Such a wealth of knowledge and well worth the read.

Simply adored this YouTube video - naturallycurly.com


  1. Great informational post! I'm not ready to dye but that shampoo does sound interesting. Be sure to let us know how it goes if you try it!

  2. Thank you for the encouragement! Yeah, I keep reading the label if I go into the store. I know the ladies at the counter probably say to themselves: "Here she comes again!" But, I just never washed my locs on my own, just done the retwist so I want to be sure whatever I use won't dry my locs out too much.
    But, I'll let you know and if you do, keep me posted.
    Enjoy what is left of your weekend!

  3. Guess what? I used henna for the first time last week and again yesterday; I actually had it on my mind to mention it to you and then along came this post! Great minds thinking alike?

    I didn't use henna powder, I used henna blocks from Lush, where the henna is blended up with cocoa butter and some herbs/essential oils for conditioning, and then solidified. Both times I left the henna on overnight, about 8,9 hours total. ! used the Caca (yes, Caca) Rouge version, which is the strongest red of the 4 that they sell. (Lush hennas don't need extra time for dye release before you apply them.)

    Brief review: I loved it. I think it's the best thing I've ever done for my hair. The colour is rich and beautiful, and it did a great job of covering the hair that is—how shall we say? not the colour I would like it to be? But the best thing was the conditioning effect. It made my hair shiny and smooth. I could not believe it because my hair is usually very coarse and bushy. The henna really worked wonders; I was so fussy! I'm definitely going to continue doing a monthly henna treatment.

    However! While I was doing the treatment I was thinking that I would probably not have used henna on my hair when I had locs. Because it takes a lot (a lot lot lot) of rinsing to get it out and I wouldn't have had the patience for it and would have been worried about some of the henna not coming out and staying in the locs. Just something to think about if you're considering trying it.

    Keep good!

  4. THERESE! Yes, great minds think alike! So,the Lush product, the Caca Rouge (I just could not resist saying it), has such a flaky/grainy texture that it would be too much of a fit to get the Henna out of locs? I can really only rely on the online pics of what the soap looks like, so let me know.

    I'm over the moon right now, actually! Per chance, just a teensy chance, did you take any pics since you did the Henna treatment?

    I'd more use henna for its other properties not so much the colour; 'cos I so do want strong, vibrant, shiny locs. And that is why I am leaning toward the Nature's Gate Henna shampoo.

  5. hey chica, glad I was of some assistance. I am currently sitting with my hair Henna'd up. I will probably do a few posts on my Henna process next week. I can tell you one thing though, messy and smelly are correct. That Video is soooooo cute. Have a great week.


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