Henna is a dark green-black strong smelling powder made from the crushed leaf of the shrub Lawsonia inermis. Traditionally major producers include countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Egypt, where the hot dry temperatures see the plant flourish.
The leaves of the henna plant contain the pigment lawsone which interacts with keratin in the skin, nails and hair, to provide a vivid red-burnt-orange colour, and has over the centuries (since the era of the pharaoh 9,000 years ago) been widely used in traditional forms of body art for ceremonies like weddings and other festivals, as well as for hair dying purposes.
It was discovered that not only did henna provide a good dye job, but that it has a bounty of health benefits for the hair; with regular use, hair becomes stronger, as well as more lustrous and shiny.It has an amazing ability to retain the pH balance of the scalp, so henna naturally and effectively cures dryness and dandruff, as well as premature greying of hair. It is also free from harmful chemicals, kills lice and gives a radiance no chemical dye can, and the more it is applied the better it is for the hair.Henna use was really popular during the 1970s and ’80s, but use faded as that space became filled with the use of foils, balayage, and other colouring techniques.
Everyone’s hair is so different, some more and some less porous. So while one person’s hair may not change colour much, another person’s hair could end up being a much brighter reddish colour. So, if you feel like experimenting a bit, note that it would be wise to do a strand test on a little bit of hair prior to coating the whole head with your henna paste.
Apart from not smelling that good, using henna to colour your hair can be really messy, so plan the process well before you start your treatment. Henna is not really suitable for use on blonde hair but will add a beautiful dimension to hair that is auburn, brown, mahogany or darker. Post henna treatment, stand in the sunshine and enjoy the myriad of pretty reddish highlights as they reflect the light.