Monday, November 12, 2012

Henna: A Non-Toxic Hair Dye Option

Love to dye your hair but not so happy about the chemicals involved and the possible harm to your hair, health and the environment?  Henna may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. 

Detail shot of Henna (Lawsonia inermis) leaves
Detail shot of Henna (Lawsonia inermis) leaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What Is Henna?

Henna is a flowering shrub native to Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australasia.  Henna (Lawsonia inermis), an element found in the leaves, produces a burgundy dye molecule, which bonds with protein quite well and makes a great hair and skin dye. 

There are many myths surrounding henna, including the fact that it comes in a variety of colors.  Any pure henna hair dye will result in some level of reddish tinge.  If the dye says it will give your hair a black or brown color then it most certainly has other chemicals or products in it.  Pure henna can only change your hair to red.

Benefits of Henna

While pure henna can only change your hair to red, other henna-based hair colors can give you the hair color choices you’re looking for. 

Henna is a natural hair dye and most henna-based hair dye products are also all natural and vegetable or plant based.  For example, some other henna products are really mixes of amla, indigo, walnut and rhubarb, with other plant dyes added.  Take great care to read the package to ensure it is 100% natural.  If the product has a developer added then you know it has chemical ingredients. 

Henna isn’t permanent.  No hair color is truly permanent and Henna is no different.  However, it fades much more naturally and gradually.  Chemical dyes can actually change color as they degrade.  Typically, henna dye simply fades. 

Henna also contains other properties, which are said to thicken and strengthen hair as well as add gloss and shine. 

Tips for Using Henna

A painting from the late 1800s showing the art...
A painting from the late 1800s showing the artistic fashion for henna-enhanced hair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Plan ahead and know what color you’re going to get.  Henna cannot be stripped out of your hair and the results are there for a good long time.  They’ll fade over time but to get rid of the color entirely you’ll have to cut it out.

Don’t use henna hair dye if you’ve recently used chemicals on your hair, i.e. chemical hair dye, perms or relaxants.

The henna hair dying process takes a long time - some recommend sleeping with the clay-like mask on your head, so make sure you have time to devote to doing it right.

When it comes to natural hair dye, henna is a tried and true method people have been using for thousands of years.  It’s all natural so it doesn’t harm your health, your hair, or the environment.  Make sure you’re using a pure henna product or a vegetable-based hair dye, and for best results make sure you’re not expecting a drastic change.  Even with henna, you’re going to have to live with the results. 

All-Natural Henna Hair Dye Options:
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