What does it take to have great hair? Is it just great genes? Genes could be the case for some lucky ones but most of us are stuck with hair problems that range from dandruff to thinning. If your hair troubles include brittle, dry hair, an unhealthy scalp or heavy hair fall, a henna treatment may just be what you need to fix them all. Also, unlike chemical-laden products that are available in the market, henna is completely non-toxic and natural.
A henna spa is one of the most effective, inexpensive ways to nurture your locks and counter the effects of damaging beauty hacks such as straighteners and hair products which are so common nowadays.
What Is Henna?
The plant Lawsonia inermis (the henna plant) grows in hot, dry climates and is native to northern Africa, northern Australia, western and southern Asia. For thousands of years, henna has been commonly used by people in most of these regions to draw temporary tattoos on their skin, color their hair, and treat hair issues. The leaves from the shrub are harvested, dried and ground into a fine powder before being made into a paste to be used for these purposes.
Benefits Of Using Henna On Your Hair
1. Improves Hair Growth And Reduces Hair Fall
Treating your hair with henna is excellent for maintaining scalp health. It balances the pH of your scalp, removes excess oil, and helps unclog follicles. This, in turn, reduces hair fall and promotes hair growth. Your hair will also be nourished by the nutrients in henna and protected against the damaging effects of pollution, sun, and chlorine.1
2. Deep Conditions Your Hair
When you apply henna, it creates a protective barrier around each one of your hair shafts, thereby locking in moisture. Well-nourished hair also tends to have less breakage and split ends. Combining henna with other hydrating ingredients, such as curd, will help to maximize the conditioning effect it has on your hair. From oily to dry hair, henna can be used on all kinds of hair.
3. Combats Dandruff And Scalp Itchiness
The antimicrobial and antifungal properties of henna, along with the cooling effect it has on the scalp, makes it a great remedy to fight dandruff and an itchy scalp.2
4. Acts As A Natural Hair Dye
In many parts of the world, henna has been used for thousands of years to color hair or add highlights. The intensity of the color that henna produces depends on how long you leave it on your hair — the longer you leave it on, the darker the hair gets. Many people find a minimum of 3-4 hours is necessary to dye your hair.3
How To Apply Henna On Your Hair
Along with henna, it is also a good idea to add a few other natural ingredients such as Indian gooseberry (amla), soapnut (reetha), aloe vera, acacia concinna (shikakai) and neem to your hair mask for maximum benefits.
If you have naturally dry, curly hair, using just henna may dry out your hair even more. Adding eggs and curd to the mixture will give added moisture as eggs are a rich source of proteins (making curly hair soft) and curd makes it shiny. The curd will also neutralize the acidic properties of henna and condition the hair. You could also oil your hair before you apply henna to lock in moisture, but this is not always necessary.
- 3 portions Henna powder
- 1 portion each Shikakai, Amla, Neem powder, and Reetha powder
- 1 portion Aloe Vera
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed powder
- 2 teaspoons Curd
- 1 teaspoon Castor or Olive oil
- Powdered flowers like Hibiscus
- Mix all the powdered ingredients first. Add aloe vera, curd and castor/olive oil to the mix. You can add water to this mixture to get the consistency you want.
- Divide your hair into 1-inch sections and start applying the mixture from the roots and work out to the tips using a hair dye brush.
- Once your complete hair is covered, wear a shower cap so that it doesn’t drip and stain your clothes.
- Let it sit for an hour and a half. You can steam your hair while you wait for added moisture.
- If you are looking to dye your hair with henna, you should leave it on for at least 4 hours (or more if you want a more intense color). Leaving it on overnight is also a good idea if you want a rich color.
- Rinse with cold water first. Then use a herbal shampoo to remove any remaining henna. You could use a conditioner as you normally would after shampooing.
Tips To Follow
- Ensure that the henna that you buy is 100% organic because many manufacturers add harsh chemicals to improve the color.
- If possible, grind fresh henna leaves rather than buying it from the market.
- While applying the henna, make sure your hair is completely covered from root to tip.
- Any extra paste can be removed from your forehead (or anywhere else) using petroleum jelly.
- Apply coconut oil to your skin along the hairline and on the ears in order to avoid the skin from being stained.
- Henna stains almost everything it touches, so avoid wearing your best clothes while applying henna. Also, wear gloves to protect your hands.
- Make sure to do a patch test to rule out any allergies. You could also consult your dermatologist to figure out your hair type and create herbal masks that suit your needs.
- Since henna cools your scalp, it’s not a good idea to apply it when you have a cold or a cough. It can aggravate your cold or sinus-related issues.
- Henna will be ineffective for those who have recently gone through any chemical hair treatments such as straightening or perming.
- Trying to stain your hair with henna while your hair is already colored will also not work. In fact, it may even damage your hair. Ideally, you should wait until all the hair with the chemicals have grown out and your hair has returned to its natural state.
In order to have thick, lustrous hair, you must make sure that your diet is balanced and that you give your hair the care it deserves. Applying a henna hair mask every fortnight or even once a month may just be what you need to get the tresses of your dreams.
|↑1||Miczak, Marie Anakee. Henna’s Secret History: The History, Mystery & Folklore of Henna. iUniverse, 2001|
|↑2||Semwal, Ruchi Badoni, Deepak Kumar Semwal, Sandra Combrinck, Catherine Cartwright-Jones, and Alvaro Viljoen. “Lawsonia inermis L.(henna): ethnobotanical, phytochemical and pharmacological aspects.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 155, no. 1 (2014): 80-103.|
|↑3||Cottis, Halle. Natural Solutions for Cleaning & Wellness: Health Remedies and Green Cleaning Solutions Without Toxins or Chemicals. Page Street Publishing. 2017|