What is henna?
Henna is a plant belonging to the family Lythraceae, whose botanical name is lawsonia inermis. It has in particular dyeing properties, which are increased with the temperature of the medium where it was grown (it prefers temperatures between 25 and 45 °). To obtain the dye, the leaves are harvested, dried and pulverized (powdered).
In powder form, henna is used to color hair, beautify hair, and make tattoos on the skin. Warning: some products, applied in the same way as henna, are called henna without being true henna. Neutral henna, for example, does not contain lawsonia inermis. Some henna dyes in black contain lead, heavy metal and very toxic to the body (causing high-dose nerve dysfunction, it can also at a lower dose promote the development of cancers).
What are the benefits of henna?
- Beauty: it gives a beautiful hair auburn coloring, gives them shine and volume.
- Protection of the hair: it deposits a protective sheath on the hair and thus repairs weakened hair.
- Anti-dandruff: laboratory studies have also demonstrated its antifungal (which kills mushrooms, or mycoses, often at the origin of dandruff) and astringent (tightens the pores of the skin, which allows it to better resist bacteria and mycoses, and less dry out).
- Oily or dry hair: more empirically, those who use it also notice a rebalancing of hair: dry hair is less dull, less brittle (moreover, the protective sheath allows them to strengthen), oily hair produce less of sebum. We can also see a slowdown in hair loss.
Contraindications to henna
- Hair colored and permed: it is incompatible with all colorations (or discolorations), especially chlorine-based, and chemical treatments (permanent, coloring). As the henna sheaths the hair and stays for a long time (at least 5 weeks), do not apply henna if you plan to make a chemical stain or perm.
- Fragile and damaged hair: it can sometimes be badly tolerated. In this case, wait until the hair is in better condition (especially after burns related to chemical dyes too violent or poorly laid). In this case, a short haircut can relieve the hair and give them time to restore their health. Henna will later be a good complement of care.
- Allergies: no known allergic reaction. However, it is not a neutral plant. For very allergic people, always be wary (talk to your doctor). Avoid henna containing preservatives that are irritating or allergenic.
How to choose your henna?
- Color: Depending on the desired result, you can now choose from a range of colors. Only the real henna gives these famous auburn reflections. On certain natures of hair, the neutral henna can accentuate golden reflections (brown hair, blond).
- Light hair (blond, white or gray): natural henna gives a carrot hue. If this is not the desired effect, prefer a neutral henna, which will still have protective properties and beautify the hair. Attention, it can give yellowish reflections on some types of white hair, Do not hesitate to try on a previously invisible area, or better, on a cut wick or hair recovered on a brush or a comb.
- Medicinal virtues: If we look for henna for its medicinal properties (anti-dandruff, balancing for the scalp) choose a natural henna (the other plants used do not have the same medicinal properties).
In all cases: check that the henna contains only vegetables (read the list of ingredients on the product label), and in no case heavy metals (also valid for henna tattoos). Natural henna must contain 100% lawsonia inermis leaves. Some henna also contain preservatives, which can be irritating or allergenic (to be discarded if possible). It is easily found in all organic stores, sometimes in supermarkets, in the department of hair dyes. Some supermarkets do not offer at all, others offer but are easily out of stock: it is clearly not a product of mass consumption! From 2 to 10 € for one to two applications.
How to apply henna?
- The basic recipe is simple:
- Use a pot (or a half pot depending on the abundance of hair, or their length) of henna. Pour the desired amount into a bowl. Incorporate little by little hot water (see boiling, as for tea), until you get a creamy cream. Do not hesitate to put a lot of water: it will be more effective wet than dry.
- Let it cool before applying.
To enrich it, some people advocate the following amenities:
- To intensify the coloring: wet the powder with strong tea.
- For delicate health hair: add a yogurt, or two tablespoons of olive oil (or both): olive oil is particularly good for nourishing hair keratin. For oily hair, avoid olive oil.
- You can add vinegar, which accentuates the shine of the hair. However, henna alone is enough for this purpose. Note that vinegar has degreasing effects (choice: cider vinegar and alcohol are effective, avoid colored vinegar).
- Some people find it more effective on clean hair, others on dirty hair. It also gives good results on hair
- Before any dyeing, it may be desirable to test on a strand of hair not visible, or on hair cut (or recovered on the brush).
- Apply it by wick.
- Let the hair rest, wrapped in a cloth (be careful: the henna stains a lot!), Or plastic. More or less long depending on the desired effect (half an hour minimum).
- Avoid wrapping hair in aluminum foil, which is very toxic to the body. Plants, often slightly acidic, attack slightly metals, which release molecules polluting the body.
- use gloves: henna also colors the skin. In the absence of gloves, the skin will keep an orange tint for 5 to 6 days. Problem: the gloves pull the hair ... A varnish protects the nails well. In case of an accident on the skin, make a clay mask to blur the marks.
- protect the face, neck and ears with a greasy cream (healing ointment, olive oil or even a moisturizer).
How to prolong the effect of his henna?
Coloring: the effect is in principle durable. But it is not effective on newly grown hair, or on the roots. It must be renewed regularly (every 5 weeks).
Dandruff: In this case, to complete any treatment, it is imperative that each person in the household has their own hair equipment. Like the toothbrush, it does not change.
Oily hair: it is necessary to aerate the hair so that it greases less and so that the scalp does not accumulate fungus or bacteria. Use a comb is essential, for detangling and massage the scalp. For no hair, the brush is sufficient (it just straighten hair on the surface).
Dry hair: it is necessary again to unravel the hair, which then has a tendency to tangle. In order not to break or attack the hair, using a horn comb will be your best ally.