Who would have thought that nature could provide such vivid hues? Here you see the strength of “redbeard” henna.
Since the dawn of time, people have been finding ways to improve, change and diversify their appearance for cultural and personal reasons. These methods of beautifying yourself are just as diverse as they are natural and one of these, is the art of henna hair dying.
Henna has existed in the Middle East as well as areas of Africa and Asia since the time of the ancients, so it is definitely a tried and tested process for all different hair types. Of course it is not limited to dying hair, it is also used on skin, fingernails as well as leather, silk and wool. But when it comes to dying your hair, there are a few things you should take into account.
To begin with, if you are used to getting your colour from a bottle, you should be aware that this process is completely different. While there are several colours available which are all known today as henna, the truth is that natural henna, which comes from a plant called lawsonia inermis contains a property called lawsone and this turns your hair a red-brown colour, depending on your natural colour.
The colours known as black and neutral henna actually come from completely different plants, however the dye process is the same. Just be careful when you are buying your henna products, if they are labelled “compound henna” this means that it is not purely natural and are actually combined with various metallic salts which can damage your hair.
Henna itself is one of the natural ways to protect your hair. It penetrates your hair, preventing dandruff and split ends and is a natural way of making it shine. Once you have decided what colour you want, make sure you have enough time put aside because this is a slightly lengthy procedure, like many others which are purely natural.
In the Middle East, you can usually buy henna in a local shuk or market. Just ask around. Best to ask people with experience on where the best henna can be found.
How to henna:
1. You need to start by making a paste. Take the henna in its powder form and make a thick paste by adding lemon, orange or grapefruit juice.
2. Leave this to sit over night.
3. Then when you are ready to start applying it, add some more lemon juice, or some herbal tea to make it about the consistency of yoghurt. It will feel like coating you head in a thick layer of icing, but don’t be afraid to really cake it on.
It might look strange, but wrapping your head in plastic is the next step, try it out! Image via pretendtious
4. Now comes the amusing part. You need to wrap your head in shrink wrap, for between 2 and 4 hours. While it will feel heavy, it is actually very soothing and is a natural way of ridding yourself of headaches and letting yourself relax. The final step is to rinse out the henna, which can take a bit of soaking and then shampooing normally.
The colour that you are first faced with is not the colour which will remain. As the henna reacts with the air, the colour will change, so it is only 3 days later that the colour will truly settle. Enjoy nature’s own hair dye, but make sure you wear gloves, remember, henna also dyes skin and you don’t necessarily want to walk around for the next month with red hands!
Image via AfghanistanMatters