Natural Henna – The Basics
Posted on 19 June 2013
Trying henna for the first time for some may seem like a daunting task, but using natural henna in your hair is actually really simple, very rewarding and can be quite a bit of fun.
Firstly, let’s look at the benefits of using henna: this natural method for colouring hair has been around for centuries. Natural Henna is a great alternative to modern chemical hair colours, it actually coats the hair, conditioning and protecting each hair individually. Unlike chemical hair colours, henna does not damage your hair or strip away any colours, it adds colour to it and of course is the best way to colour your hair without chemicals.
As with all hair colours, it is suggested to do a patch test to ensure that the colour is suitable for your needs, I would suggest doing this with some hair from your hairbrush a couple of days before your henna day. To do this mix a ½ teaspoon of the powder with a tiny amount of hot water and the hair from your hairbrush, leave for a few hours, rinse and observe – this is pretty much the colour that you will expect for all of your hair after the treatment.
Once you have chosen your henna colour, (view our Colora Henna Colour Chart here) it is best to set aside a good few hours to apply your henna. I would suggest doing it in the afternoon so that you can have a sit out in the sunshine (especially in winter) and make best use of the time that you will be sitting, relaxing and letting the henna do its thing. Have a good book, some emails to catch up on, some journaling to do or maybe just enjoy a glass of wine, good things do take some time and in all honesty having some relaxing time in your back yard or balcony with a dollop of henna on your head sure beats a couple of hours in a salon with smelly chemicals.
Remember that henna is a naturally derived hair colour, it looks like greenish brown ground up herbs, mixed with water is looks like chocolate cake mix and it has a wonderful earthy smell. Be warned that henna also will colour anything that it comes into contact with, so make sure that you cover your floor with newspaper, wear some old clothes, use some old towels and most importantly use gloves. It is also a good idea to use some pawpaw ointment around your hairline to prevent the henna colour from staining your skin. Another good idea is to have someone to help you with colouring your hair, a friend with a sense of humour and some skill with applying hair colour will make the process easier and more fun, but is not essential.
Everyone has their own recipe for getting henna to work the best, and really you could liken this to spaghetti bolognaise; everyone has their own little secret recipe, they are all good in their own right, but all essentially come from the same basic ingredients.
As a cautionary note, it should be mentioned that if you consider colouring your hair with henna, you will need to grow out the colour, it is quite difficult to remove once it is on. Also choose your colour carefully, use our Colora Henna Chart to find the best colour for your hair, it makes sense to say that trying to colour light blonde hair with black henna will produce some discouraging results – think before you henna! Also, for those with more than 20% grey hair, it is advised that you use the Colora Henna Crème as this has added coverage for greys. Lastly, as henna will coat and not strip your hair, do not expect henna to lighten your hair, you can only go darker and healthier with henna.
Overall, henna is by far the most natural way to colour your hair, it also conditions and strengthens your hair so it is excellent for long hair or those wanting to grow out a shorter style.