Chemical-based hair color is not an option for many consumers: allergies, pregnancy, color-resistant hair, and sensitive scalps prevent many from using chemical colors. A new study linking chemical color to brain tumors is now impelling many former users to search for a viable alternative. Happily, there is an answer: henna, the natural hair colorant.
What is henna? Pulverized leaves, roots and stems of the Lawsonia plant family: Lawsonia Inermis, Lawsonia Elba and Lawsonia Spinoza. When mixed with hot water and applied to the hair in a paste mixture, these leaves create subtle and natural highlights to all shades of hair without drying or chemically altering the structure of the hair.
How do you get 13 shades of henna? When 3 basic shades; Red, Black and Natural are mixed in various proportions, you are able to achieve 13 shades.
If hair is bleached or unusually dry, use a deep conditioner before adding color. Henna coats the hair and will lock in the moisture of conditioner.
MAKE SURE HAIR IS DRY Henna is most effective when applied to dry hair. If hair needs washing, shampoo and dry before applying henna.
BRUSH HAIR BRISKLY Brush hair thoroughly to rid of dust and build-up.
TIMING IS KEY The longer you leave in henna, the more intense the final shade will be. Shorter time will result in a lighter shade. Dark hair takes longer to absorb. Light hair absorbs faster.
1. Gather materials; you will need: henna, a non-metallic mixing bowl, a wooden or plastic spoon, rubber gloves, aluminum foil, boiling water and shampoo.
2. Cut piece of aluminum foil approximately the length of your arm. Put aside until after henna application.
3. For fine, short hair, use 3.5oz. (4 heaping tablespoons) For shoulder-length hair, use 4.5oz. (6 heaping tablespoons) For thick, shoulder-length hair, use 9oz. (8 heaping tablespoons) For very, long, thick hair, use 17oz. (16 heaping tablespoons)
4. Put henna in bowl. Add boiling water, gradually stirring (like mixing dough) until mixture reaches the consistency of sour cream. Proper mixing is important - mix thoroughly for 5-7 minutes.
5. Put gloves on, apply mixture to dry hair. Start application at the crown of head and always work over a sink to prevent mess.
6. Work henna into hair. Continue clockwise in a circular direction.
7. After henna has been applied to each section, pile hair like a pyramid.
8. Wrap hair with aluminum foil to seal natural body heat. For best results, henna should remain on hair for recommended time length. Refer to color chart.
9. Unwrap head, rinse thoroughly with warm water, until water runs clear. For maximum color and sheen, wait 24 hours to shampoo. Henna will continue coating hair shaft. Color will begin to fade in 6 weeks. Re-apply in 4-6 weeks for stronger and vibrant hair.