Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Ghana Hair Chick's Letters: Henna for Natural Kinky Hair

Hello!
I hope we've all been quite good. Today I would like to share some information on henna use for natural hair. I took down my twists this past weekend and decided to do a henna treatment as usual. After I posted a picture of my hair in henna on the GHC Facebook page, I got questions about henna and I decided to share what I've learnt about it so far.

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Henna is a natural herb originally from Asia and the Middle East. Women in India especially have used henna for their hair for generations. I also have a friend from Iran who said henna is a regular part of their hair care routine and has been for hundreds of years. Most women in these countries use henna for  conditioning, strength, shine and color. Henna contains a dye which binds to hair strands very tightly. This dye is a reddish orange kind of color and is released as henna is mixed with acidic liquids and left out. The longer henna is allowed to sit in a paste form mixed with an acidic liquid, the more dye will be released. Some of us who have muslim friends may recognize this dye as the color on the feet and hands of our muslim brides. They dye their hands and feet with henna to celebrate their marriage.

Anyways, apart from color, the henna dye also acts like protein in binding to hair and making it conditioned and strong. This means just like a protein treatment henna can dry out hair and make it dry and brittle. It is very important to follow up a henna treatment with a good conditioner or to mix a conditioner and oil into the paste before applying it to your hair.






From personal experience, the henna dye is not very good at penetrating kinky hair and giving it color. If you do a henna treatment for color you may have to repeat it several times before you see any result. I have done 3 treatments so far and cannot tell the difference in hair color, but then my hair is naturally brownish to begin with so that may be why. I use henna in alternation with protein treatments monthly, so I should do 6 henna treatments per year, but with protective styling that usually reduces to 3. So far, I like the results on my hair since it helps with breakage and also making my hair strands stronger. One disadvantage for my hair is that my hair actually shrinks more after henna and the coils are tighter, making it more difficult to manage my hair. Other ladies report a loosening of curl pattern, so I guess the response to henna is very specific to your hair.

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Do you use henna? Share your experience with us!

16 comments :

  1. Henna does not give color to your hair, it only enhance the color already there. If you want to make it black, you have to add indigo powder and if you want it red add hibiscus powder.

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    1. I knew about the indigo bit, but never about the hibiscus. I'll research further on this. To think that I have dried hibiscus sitting in my hairdrobe. Thanks for the info.

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    2. Thats right. I recently read up on henna and the indigo powered.

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    3. Actually henna itself can dye your hair depending on your hair type. After mixing it with an acidic solution and allowing dye release, a lot of women with straight hair use it as a dye. You can add the hibiscus powder to it if you're looking for more red, but its natural dye does a good job of dying straight hair.I have used henna with hibiscus powder in the past but didn't get any hair color. The issue with Afro textured hair is the kinks and coils make it difficult for a lot of things to penetrate the shaft. Even then, some women with a looser afro texture use henna alone quite successfully as a hair dye. It all depends on your hair.

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    4. Yvonne, I did the henna + hibiscus thing yesterday into today. I got no colour whatsoever. All I got were red, yes red palms that would takes weeks to clear up, and freaking hibiscus residue, that refused to go after washing, all over my hair. And yes, there was an acidic addition to the mix.

      At least, now I know it won't work for me. One more thing not to bother my head about.

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    5. This is not accurate information. Henna for Hair is the best place to get information on exactly what henna is and is not. I am not affiliated in anyway other than I have had excellent results with henna after learning about it from the site.

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  2. Looks like it worked for you. Your hair looks full and lush. Btw, how long did you leave it on your hair for?

    www.stylefash25.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much! I leave henna in overnight everytime I use it. That's usually 6 hours. However, an Indian friend told me that may be too much and it may dry your hair out, but since my hair is so kinky I figured the longer the better. I am yet to experience really bad dryness because I mix my henna with conditioner and olive oil right before use to help prevent dryness. Thanks for reading!

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  3. I wanna try a henna treatment, but certainly not by myself!

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    1. Berry, you can do it yourself. It is just like deep conditioning.

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    2. Haha! Its actually super easy to do. Just make sure to cover your sink and floor with some towels or paper since it can be quite messy. Remember to clean up immediately after washing it out, otherwise it will stain your bathroom!

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  4. I love henna treatments and personally I believe that it should be done at least bimonthly if one has fine hair (thin strands) because it strenghtens the hair and prevents unnecessary breakage.

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    1. I think I will follow your advice. God knows I need some change in my hair life, lol.

      Besides, I think you meant every other month, not bi-monthly, cos that will mean twice a month, which will be a lot.

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    2. Thanks Hadassah! I've definitely seen an improvement with my hair and I plan to do it a bit more regularly now.I'm think of mixing in some Ghee next time before I apply it to my hair.

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  5. My hair is very light..can henna help thicken it..and where can i get it to buy

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