So what exactly is this ‘henna’? Henna or lawsonia inermis is a plant that is harvested for its leaves, which are then dried and powdered. This powder, when mixed with ant mildly acidic additive makes the mixture leave behind reddish-orange stains, especially on hair, skin and fingernails.
The henna that is best for coloring hair is the ‘body art quality’ henna, as this is the most finely powder henna that leaves behind the richest color.
What Color Can I Get when I use Henna for Coloring Hair?
Beware of commercially available henna that is marketed in bottles that claim color classes such as for black, brown or blonde hair. Pure henna has only one color dye and that is a reddish brown colored one. The color that you get when you use henna for coloring hair will depend on the natural hair color of your hair though, as hair that has been dyed with henna retains original hair color but shimmers red when light falls on it. As henna combines with a person’s natural hair color, it gives very beautiful and natural looking overall results.
How to Make a Henna Mix for Coloring Hair?
The idea is to trigger the staining properties of henna using some kind of acidic liquid when making a mix for coloring your hair. One can mix henna with lemon juice in such quantities so as to make a thick paste that can easily be applied to one’s hair. If the skin of your scalp is dry, it might be sensitive to lemon juice so to avoid the resulting itchiness, you can even use grapefruit or orange juices to mix the paste. Vinegar, wine and mildly acidic herbal teas also work but they may stick.
Yogurt is also used by many people who wish to dye hair with henna but it is not recommended as it doesn’t work as well as lemon and it worsens and preexisting dandruff problems. Though a little clove powder may intensify your color, try not to fall for heightened color temptation and add things that do not work, such as coffee, or things that do too much, like terp.
Your henna paste must be left to rest overnight at room temperature. This resting is important to get the henna to release its dye and this is indeed a slow process. If you want it sooner than it is best to rest the henna in a warm place (not a hot one) which has temperatures at around 35 degrees calcium and you should have it ready for application in about two hours.
How to Properly Apply Henna for Coloring Hair?
The following points should be kept in mind when you go for henna hair coloring:
- Wear gloves while applying henna on to your hair, as it is sure to stain your hands if it gets on them.
- Avoid being stingy with your henna mix. Thick applications of henna that run all along the lengths of your hair give richer and longer lasting color.
- Mix your henna in appropriate quantities so you never run out. For short or collar length hair, you may need about 200g of henna and for longer hair such as waist length; you may need about 500g of henna.
- Wash your hair and dry it completely before you apply your henna.
- Hair must be well combed so as to make portioning hair for henna application easier.
- Start at the back of the head and work the henna into the hair, clear down to the scalp.
- Henna should be applied well, like a thick cake frosting as more henna makes the stained color richer.
- Work in clearly defined sections to smear henna on so that no area is missed out.
- To stop the henna from dripping and staining other things and to keep it moist and warm, it is best to cover the applied area with a plastic wrap.
- Make sure that you clean off your hairline and ears if you are to avoid staining them.
- Leave the henna on for about 2 to 4 hours and then let it soak in a full tub of water. This will help you to rinse it out easily when done.
- Shampoo out the rest of the remaining henna from your hair. If you hate the left over smell, try putting some lavender or rosemary essential oils into your bath water.
Do not panic if the hair color you have now achieved is bright copper. This hair color usually darkens within a day or two. Henna can also be used for coloring beards and moustaches.