Lawsonia inermis, or henna, is a flowering plant that can be used to change the colour of your hair. Henna's colouring effects are from lawsone, an organic compound that is burgundy and bonds with protein. Lawsone is concentrated primarily in the leaves of the henna plant. Since crushed leaves can be difficult to use when colouring hair, henna mix is usually sold in powdered form. Henna will only add red pigment to your hair. Any product labelled "black henna" or "neutral henna" may contain little or no actual henna. Other ingredients can be added to the henna mix to push the colour towards more red, subtler red, more brown or more golden, but there will always be some level of red.
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Things you need
- Plastic, wood or glass bowl
- Plastic spoon or spatula
- Henna powder
- Lemon or lime juice
- Conditioner (optional)
- Plain, unsweetened yoghurt (optional)
Determine how much henna you need for your hair. For hair that is collarbone length and normal thickness, use 100 grams of henna powder. For hair that is shoulder blade length and normal thickness, use 200 grams of henna powder.
Mix the henna powder and lemon or lime juice in a bowl. Use enough juice to make a smooth, thick paste, similar to the consistency of toothpaste. Cover the bowl and let it stand until the dye is released, up to 24 hours. The colour may turn from green to brown as the dye is released.
Add more lemon or lime juice to the mix until you reach the consistency of yoghurt or whipped cream.
Apply the henna mix to damp or dry hair and let sit for two hours. Rinse.
Determine if the conditioning henna mix is right for you. It provides deep conditioning and can be used as a colour refresher or for a very subtle colour change.
Mix two to three tablespoons of henna powder and lemon or lime juice in a bowl. Use enough juice to make a smooth, thick paste, similar to the consistency of toothpaste. Cover the bowl and let it stand until the dye is released, up to 24 hours. The colour may turn from green to brown as the dye is released.
Mix the henna paste with conditioner or plain, unsweetened yoghurt.
Apply to damp or dry hair and let sit for as long as you want. Rinse.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid using metal bowls or spoons to mix the henna; henna can react with metal.
- The fresher the henna powder is, the better your final results will be.
- Use body art quality henna for optimal results.
- To make the final colour redder, add ground cloves, cognac, grape juice, beetroot powder or paprika powder to your henna mix.
- To make the final colour more brown, add strong black tea, strong black coffee, ground coffee beans, walnut powder or red wine to your henna mix.
- To make the final colour more golden, add chamomile tea, marigold, rhubarb root or turmeric to your henna mix.
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