When it comes to extensions, Indian hair is often one of the most sought after. Although genetics and diet play a large role to gorgeous and healthy locks, some Indian traditions play an important part in maintaining their healthy hair. One of these traditions is using henna as a conditioning treatment and dye. In this post, I share with you how to apply henna on your hair.
Many beauty and spice stores stock henna, but it’s important to check the box package. This is because many brands mix the henna with metallic dyes to change it to different colours. There’s no such thing as purple or black henna. Henna is always a reddish-brown and the intensity of the red depends on the region in the world that the plant has been cultivated. These products are potentially damaging, especially if you use chemical products on your hair because the metals in the mixed henna will react with chemicals that is found in many store bought products. If you’re looking for an all natural black dye, henna can be mixed with indigo, which is safe to use.
Unlike chemical dyes, henna on hair is completely permanent. With the exception of some people who are as rare as unicorns, henna cannot be removed with bleach or any other method. If you use henna on your hair and decide to use chemical dyes again, you will only be able to dye your hair darker. Some people claim success with stripping the colour off your hair, but this will leave it dry, straw-like and in constant need of deep treatments. The only other methods would be to grow the colour out or to cut it off. Over time the intensity of the red does fade slightly, but not the colour. Also multiple applications will cause the colour to build and become darker, in some cases it may even make your hair appear purple.
How to apply henna on your hair
To apply this natural dye is messy. However the process to apply henna on your hair is an easy one. Wear old clothes and use old towels that you don’t mind staining, as henna does not wash out of fabric. Always apply Vaseline or olive oil on your hairline to ensure that it doesn’t stain your skin. If you accidentally do, unlike on your hair, henna can be removed from your skin and fades over time. If the product does come into contact with your skin, quickly wipe it with a damp paper towel or cloth.
This is my technique for when I dyed my hair with this natural product:
- two packets of henna powder (my hair was approximately shoulder length then, I would need a lot more now),
- a comb,
- warm water,
- a teabag,
- a glass bowl,
- shower cap, and
Use a glass bowl as it will not stain. Pour 60ml warm water over the teabag. Leave to brew for a few minutes before removing the teabag and squeezing out the liquid). If you use boiling water, wait for it to cool first or else you will burn yourself.
Mix the tea and henna powder until the mixture is smooth. Slowly add conditioner until the consistency resembles toothpaste. It can be thicker but should not be runny.
Using a comb, divide the hair into quadrants to apply the mixture to your hair. Working from the bottom quadrant up, ensure that you covered each section thoroughly. It’s safe to use your hands without any gloves, but remember henna stains. If you do get any stains, check out my post on how to remove dye from your skin.
Clip your hair up and cover with a shower cap and leave on for a few hours. The longer you leave it on, the more intense the colour will be, but the mixture must remain wet. This is why it’s important to wear a shower cap.
Rinse most of the henna out then shampoo and conditioner as normal. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. After a few washes you might find dye still running out of your hair.
This was originally posted on 16 July 2010 on my now defunct ‘Littlecity’ blog on Lovelyish. The original post has been edited and adapted for O so inspired.
Do you have a different method to apply henna on your hair? Let me know in the comments below.