Henna is a wonderful botanical with a colorful history (pun intended). Here at FAR Botanicals we refer to it as “sacred mud”. For thousands of years it was used in Africa and Asia not only as a hair and skin coloring agent, but also as a health and healing aid. In contemporary times, mother Africa and Asia’s gift of henna has found its way around the world, with its legendary properties buffeted on the waves of beauty guru blog posts and hair forum testimonials.
Among traditional communities, henna is referred to as having the aspect of “baraka”, an Islamic and Judaic term meaning “blessing”. In the past, henna was highly regarded as a very important medicinal plant in traditional cultures, and it still is today. Its ability to bond well with protein is the primary reason it makes such a potent coloring agent for skin and hair, this along with its naturally occurring anti-bacterial properties may also explain why it works well with assisting with wound healing.
Outside of traditional cultures, people are most interested in using henna as an alternative to synthetic hair dyes and secondarily, as a conditioning treatment, however if used incorrectly henna can leave your hair dry and prone to breakage. Some key things to note before you begin using henna or if you currently use henna and you are experiencing problems:
To lessen Henna’s potential to dry out your hair, include a quarter cup of Safflower Oil with every cup of henna mixture. Not only will this reduce Henna’s “bite” but it will also make it easier to rinse out. As a bonus, Safflower oil is rich in ceramides which help maintain the strength of our hair.
To avoid over-coating your hair in henna, wait between 6-8 weeks before applying a fresh treatment. If coloring your hair is the primary reason you use henna (not for conditioning), then apply a fresh treatment only to your new growth every 4-6 weeks.
After every henna treatment follow up with a deep moisturizer or protein-free conditioner, and remember now that your hair is henna-treated, deep conditioning at least once a week is a step that can’t be skipped.
Henna is a wonderful gift from nature and many people have had great success with it over thousands of years. Using henna to color and condition your hair does not mean you are guaranteed to battle chronic dry hair issues. With a little extra care, you can tap all of henna’s benefits with none of the draw backs.
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