Henna – An Anti-Viral and Therapeutic Wonder
Published: 26 October 2015
By: Charmaine Davis
Henna’s botanical name as well as the plant it comes from is Lawsonia Inermis and the red-orange dye which is extracted from it is called lawsone. Henna is also known as Mehandi and Mehndi. Henna is anti-viral as well as therapeutic and will condition your hair leaving the most amazing gloss and shine. Allergies are rare with Henna but everyone is different so please test before use.
Our Henna is body art quality (BAQ) which means that it has been grounded and sifted finely. Using BAQ Henna makes it so much easier to wash out of hair.
Can Henna be used over synthetic dyes and chemically treated hair?
Henna can be used over synthetic dyes and chemically treated hair with no effect as it is a natural dye containing no chemicals associated with synthetic dyes. It can also be applied to hair that has been washed first or not washed, whatever the case it does not affect the dye.
Henna is a permanent hair dye. Unlike all synthetic dyes Henna can be used as often as desired without causing damage. It does not contain para-phenylenediamine (PPD), lead or metallic salts and toxins associated with synthetic dyes which can cause damage as well as serious allergic reactions. Henna should be made up and left overnight to release dye content (see instructions below) and leftover Henna can be frozen in bags for use another time eliminating wastage. I cannot stress enough to please be aware that some commercially sold Henna products in various colours pertaining to be natural herbal Henna do have chemicals in them and are not at all natural. I have tried many different ways to achieve a different colour and have not been able to make my hair black unless using the traditional method which is to first put Henna on, wash out and then apply Indigo after. It is the only way to get brown or black hair but watch this space!
Frequent use of natural Henna, Indigo and other plant based hair products will help to correct damaged and chemically treated hair.
What hair types?
All types of hair are suited to Henna, Indigo and other plant based dyes and conditioners whether Asian, European or African/Afro Caribbean hair. The only thing you need to worry about is the present colour of your hair and the colour you would like to achieve. However, the fun part of using natural hair dyes is the experimental process. Experiment with the different plant products and see what you can achieve. I never know what colour my grays will be but I know whatever colour it ends up being I will love it so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Note that when using Henna and Indigo for the first time it may take more than one application to achieve desired colour but in any event, the true colour will be noticeable within 2-3 days as hair will become darker a few days after applying.
For all hair types, when using Henna for the first time on gray hairs it will take on a lovely orange-red colour however, frequent use of Henna over Henna time and time again will eventually become a deep red colour.
Henna and Indigo on African/Caribbean Hair
For African/Caribbean black hair, Henna used on its own will not turn black hair red but will leave hair with an amazing shine, not achievable with synthetic dyes. You will however have red highlights over time with frequent use of Henna solely (if not using Indigo) which will be clearly visible in the sun or under bright lights. Note: if you do have gray hairs, they will turn orange-red, which is also a glorious colour. To get black hair from gray, apply Henna then Indigo as mentioned above and below.
To achieve healthy looking hair then use Indigo mixed with Amla, Brahmi, Bhringraj and Hibiscus which will enhance black hair shine and leave hair feeling healthy and thick. Do not use Indigo solely on gray hairs unless the aim is to achieve blue hair. Like Henna, it will not change black hair but will change gray, white or light hair. Use Indigo on its own if your hair is completely black (no grays in sight) and you would like to have an exciting blue-black colour.
Frequent use of Henna on its own will soften really thick hair, almost the same effect as fabric softener making clothes feel silky soft. For hair with really tight curls Henna will loosen curls. Indigo on the other hand will make hair feel stronger. Your hair will feel softer with Henna and thicker with Indigo so, if you do have very thin hair be aware of using Henna solely frequently. In this regard it is probably best to use Henna in conjunction with Indigo and other herbal powders such as Amla, Bhringraj, Brahmi and Hibiscus (which volumises hair making it feel thicker). Always use conditioner after using Indigo as it will leave hair feeling brittle. Experiment and see and feel the difference.
WARNING: Henna is unsuitable for anyone who is Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme (also known as favism after the fava bean) deficient. This is a genetic condition which is common in people of Mediterranean and African origin and all known triggers are best avoided including Henna. If unsure as to whether or not you have this condition, please consult with your doctor.
Before experimenting please take time to look at the below table as a guide to what colours can be achieved from current hair colour:
Current hair colour
What you can achieve
70% Henna/30% Indigo: light brown
50% each for an inbetween brown
30% Henna/70% Indigo – darker brown
Light or dark Brown:
70% Henna/30% Indigo to retain same colours
50% each for an inbetween brown
75% Cassia/25% Henna – copper (golden)
70% Henna/30% Indigo – light brown
50% each for an inbetween brown
30% Henna/70% Indigo – darker brown/Black (depending on length of time Indigo is left on hair)
Any combination above can be used but hair will remain black and shiny. However, constant use of Henna only will give red highlights visible in sunlight but a wonderful shine.
30% Henna/70% Indigo – will give black-jet black (depending on length of time Indigo is left on hair)
As you can see from the above table it is fun experimenting with Henna and Indigo and you get the drift in the table patterns i.e. to get a lighter colour (i.e. light brown) always use a greater percentage of Henna to Indigo; to get darker colours, a greater percentage of Indigo to Henna (although time left on hair is also a deciding factor); and an inbetween or even colour 50% each. Cassia can be used on all hair types to enhance shine but will give blonde and grays a slight yellowy/golden tint.
NB: Always wear gloves and protect clothes as Henna stains. Henna will not stain earlobes, forehead or neck and can be wiped off those areas after application.
Mix Henna with enough lemon juice to make a thick paste (like extra thick set custard or yoghurt). Always mix Henna with any acidic liquid such as lemon, apple or orange juice to release the dye known as lawsone (orange colour). Never mix with water alone (combination of water and lemon juice acceptable) as the dye release will not be strong. If you hate the smell of Henna then ginger can be added to your Henna mix, although some people prefer to use vinegar or coffee. Can be used within 2-4 hours if needed urgently but rest overnight for best results.
Apply to hair with cone or simply using fingertips which is far easier (make sure you have gloves on!)
Start from the back of the neck upwards applying generously from scalp to hair ends until hair completely covered.
Wrap hair in cellophane or any type of plastic (drycleaning plastics are very handy for this purpose) and leave in for as long as you can but for at least 2 hours, no less.
Wash Henna out thoroughly using shampoo*. Finish hair off as normal.
Hair colour will get darker and the true colour will become apparent within 2-3 days.
*If using Indigo after Henna to achieve black hair, see Indigo pack for instructions.
GUIDE FOR USING HENNA:
50g-100g – short hair (depending on how short)
200g – neck length hair
300g – shoulder length hair
500g – waist length hair
To purchase Davis Finest Henna in powder form please visit here.