What Is Henna & How Does It Color Your Hair?

Henna or Mehendi powder is made from the sun-dried leaves of the Lawsonia Inermis plant. It is a single ingredient product that can also be used for the application of beautiful temporary tattoos to the skin and is also the best alternative to chemical hair dyes which are harmful for your skin and health. And if you’re someone that develops allergies to PPD (paraphenylenediamine) and/or any other synthetic chemicals found in conventional hair dyes, henna hair dyes are the perfect option. Lawsone, the red-orange dye molecules (ranging from 0.3% to 3% or higher at harvest) that naturally occur in henna leaves is what stains your hair or skin a reddish orange to reddish brown.

Henna Plant

This dye is released when the henna powder is mixed with a mix of water and citric acid (lemon juice or orange juice). When applied to hair the dye migrates into the hair shaft and binds with the proteins in it to color your hair. Unlike chemical hair dyes henna hair dye is translucent, which means that it will attach to your natural hair color to give your hair natural highlights and lowlights depending on the varying shades of your natural hair color.

You must be wondering how you get varying shades of browns and auburns and black with henna? Well, you do that by mixing henna with indigo powder (processed from the indigo plant or Indigofera tinctoria). In order to color your hair effectively with henna and indigo it has to be mixed and applied in the right away, pre-mixed henna and indigo dyes do not work as well because of how the dyes in henna and indigo develop. They both have different rates of development or the amount of time both dyes take to release is different. We will cover that in the next blog.

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