Henna is a great and natural way to colour your hair. It’s highly pigmented and a natural conditioner. Now at first I was hesitant about dumping what is essentially mud on my hair to achieve a flaming red colour. But after seeing the long term effects at the nightmare of my hairdresser, I can’t go back to conventional colour. Henna is very permanent and it stains your hair.
Just to establish a bit of background and proper nomenclature, henna is a plant, Lawsonia inermis. True henna is red. From my research and conversations with henna artists, henna can be blended with other plants, like indigo to achieve darker colours. But, true pure henna will only contain the Lawsonia inermis plant.
Possibly the best thing about henna is just how permanent it is, especially for red. Anyone who colours their hair red with conventional dyes knows how quickly the colour fades. But the nice thing about henna is it doesn’t fade easily. With root touch ups, my hair is able to go about 3 months before it needs to be recoloured. Conventional colour lasted me maybe a month.
I use tea to mix my henna, but water can also be used. I use tea to add the golden hue to it. Personally I prefer this with my skin tone and eye colour. You can find all sorts of recipes on Pinterest and online, but I do warn you about adding lemon juice to the henna as I’ve read the acidity of lemon can damage your hair overtime (I’ve never actually tried it so I can’t speak from experience).
Henna will only deposit the colour to your hair, therefore it won’t lift any colour. Because of this, results will vary. It is crucial to perform a Strand Test before fully colouring your hair with henna. This will show you your results before actually colouring the hair on your head. For my strand tests, I like to perform 3 at different time increments so I can see different results.
Despite the plastic wrap being messy, you can get a good understanding how the colour will look. For a strand test, I take bunches of hair from my hair brush and colour that. Then I let it set for the different time increments. I do a 45min-1hr, 1.5 hr, and a 3 hr time. You can leave it on longer, but I don’t have the patience for that. Also henna does have a barnyard type smell to it, and if I can achieve a desired colour while minimizing the time I have to endure the smell, I shall. I’ve also heard the smell described as resembling a caterpillars and a bad forrest.
I should note henna is very messy in general. and it does stain everything! Cover hard surfaces with newspaper, or if your like me, cut up paper grocery bags and you can use that. Adding lotion to your skin will help the henna not stain your skin. Don’t forget your ears and neck! I always forget my neck
To colour your hair you just sort of glob it on. I have seen it done with a brush, bottle or henna cone, but I just glob it on. For a full tutorial, here’s a link to my YouTube.
When it is time to rinse it, your bathroom is going to look like a mud puddle. But it is easily washed, at least in my experience. Some water and a magic eraser usually does the trick.
The best thing for me with henna is just how silky my hair feels after I’ve rinsed it. I don’t actually wash my hair with shampoo or conditioner until 12 hours after colouring it. But! The henna is a natural conditioner so your hair does come out very smooth and healthy.