May 3, 2012

It's Only Natural..."Henna"

On my journey towards healthy natural hair, I did a lot of research on what would help me to achieve my desired results. I went on different blogs, websites and forums dedicated to natural hair care trying to find what could provide my hair with the  the type of treatment to allow it to grow healthy and strong and one topic that kept on popping up was Henna. Now...when I thought of henna, what comes to mind is the henna that is used on the skin for body art in Indian culture. I had absolutely no idea that henna could also be used on the hair for color and as a treatment, but since I found out what it can do, I've been using henna as a treatment in my hair for a year now and I love it!
Henna is a flowering plant, lawsonia inermis, that is usually found in hot, dry climates that can dye skin, hair, leather and wool. When it comes to hair, Henna has pros, and also some cons to go along with it:

The Pros of Henna:
- Can help to thicken hair
- Helps strengthen hair
- Adds shine
- Helps in preventing hair breakage
- Acts as a temporary hair dye

The Cons of Henna:
- Can loosen curl pattern (might be a pro for some people, lol)
- Lengthy and messy process
- Can make hair dry ( deep conditioning is a must after rinsing out the application)

I do more of a Henna gloss, than a full on application and by Henna gloss, I mean adding conditioner to the mix for added softness. I use a modified version of one of my favorite bloggers, MopTop Maven, recipes ( I was highly upset when her website went kaput last year, but we are still given the pleasure of having access to it. You can see her tutorial here). In my version I use the following products:

- 100g of Henna
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups of conditioner
- 2 Tbsp Brahmi Powder
- 1 Tbsp Amla Powder
- 3 Tbsp Brahmi oil

The Henna and other Aryuvedic products can be found online or at any local Indian grocery store (I usually travel to the grocery store, Little India, in Manhattan, located on E. 28th St. between Lexington and Park Ave.) I start my Henna mixture by opening up 100g (1 pack) of Henna powder into a plastic bowl. The two brands of Henna that I use are Mumtaz and Jamila (I find them to be the best quality of Henna for my hair). Depending on how long or thick your hair is, you may need to use more than one pack.

 Next, taking 1 cup of boiling water, I slowly add it to the Henna powder and mix it using a plastic spoon (the henna has a reaction to metal). The water is added slowly to the Henna powder to avoid my mixture becoming to watery, since the consistency needed is that of paste. Continue mixing until the Henna paste is smooth, adding water as needed.

In my Henna mixture I like to add Brahmi and Amla powder. Each of these powders has a different property that I find helpful in maintaining strong, healthy hair. I use Brahmi and Alma by the brand Hesh. The website states:

Hesh" Brahmi Powder
Ayurveda's most potent hair vitalizer 

Hesh Brahmi Powder has the following advantages: 
- Cools the scalp and induces sound sleep 
- Controls dandruff 
- Makes hair long, dark, Dense & lustrous 
- Strengthens hair roots 

"Hesh" Amla Powder
Dark and Healthy Hair Naturally

Hesh Amla Powder has the following advantages:
- Promotes hair growth 
- Controls hair fall 
- Cures scalp infection 
- Controls premature graying of hair 

I use these powders for some extra added goodness, lol. Also Amla helps in retaining your natural curl pattern, so more than likely if loosening were to occur, this can help to prevent it. I add both powders to my mixture with some more hot water, until smooth.

After the addition of the powders, I then add 1 1/2 cups of conditioner to the mix. Conditioner helps in combatting the dryness that can occur when using Henna, and it makes the paste much smoother and easier for me to add to my hair. The conditioner that I currently use is Hollywood Beauty Olive Cholesterol. Depending on how I feel, I may use one cup of this brand and a 1/2 cup of Herbal Essence Hello Hydration (such a great conditioner, btw!). The conditioner is then mixed in and I let the Henna sit for 24hrs before use. This allows the dye found in Henna to be released.

Before application, I add in 3 Tbps of Brahmi oil for added moisture and do my final mix of the Henna.

Now to give you fair warning, the application process can become very messy. Because of this I line my bathroom floor and sink with newspaper. This allows for easy clean up. Since I apply Henna using only my fingers, I also put on a gloves, so my hands do not become stained. I part my hair in 4 sections and start to apply the Henna section by section until my entire head is evenly covered. I like to make sure that my ends and roots get a good amount of the Henna, since it's those two sections that I need the most treatment. On a side-note: one of the things I love about using Henna is that I can get a really great peek at my natural curl pattern :)

Once I finish applying the Henna to my hair, I cover my head with two plastic caps and keep it on overnight. There is no time limit for how long Henna should stay in your hair, some people only keep it in for an hour, some for a few more, but I prefer to have it sink into my hair while I sleep.
The next morning I rinse out the Henna. This is done by standing under the shower. Do not manipulate the hair while the Henna is still in. It's better to use the force of the water to take the Henna out, than to use your fingers. Once the Henna is completely washed out, you can shampoo as usual. I use a cheapy shampoo, like Suave Almond & Shea Butter. It has been nothing but great to my hair after using Henna. The shampoo is used to get out any residual Henna that can get left behind after the original rinse.

After shampooing, I deep condition my hair and let it sit for at least 25min, that way, I get as much moisture added back to my hair as possible ( Henna can be very drying, almost like a protein treatment, so deep conditioning is helpful and needed [I recently bought a new deep conditioner that I love and will do a review a little later] ). Then I rinse and add my leave in conditioner.
I love Henna and apply it to my strands every month and would recommend it to anyone who has yet to try it. My hair has become thicker and my hair shed has been little to none, which has allowed my hair to grow. It can be used on all hair types and the benefits are all the same, so it's not just for natural heads. Go ahead and try Henna, you won't be disappointed, trust me :)


  1. What color did it come out ? I want black & also using mumtaz but no indigo

  2. My hair is naturally more on the jet black side, so it didn't really change color. I actually have a few gray strands :( that changed to a reddish hue though. If you are really looking to dye your hair black with henna, I would definitely suggest mixing in some indigo.
    Thanks for reading!!

    1. After applying and rinsing out the Henna, you immediately add Indigo (comes in powder, mix w water) and apply in the same process as the Henna, wrap your hair in plastic, only, the Indigo stays in your hair for 1 hour. Upon rinsing, your hair will be black cat - black!! If your intention is dying your hair jet black, you MUST first apply the Henna SEPERATE of the Indigo. I use Mehandi Pure Henna, Pure Indigo for African/Black chemically -treated hair - website : Mehandi. com - pure products, usually ships in 1-2 days