What is Henna?

By Katelyn from Morocco Method

Made from the leaves, roots and stems of the Lawsonia plant, henna works its magic without damaging, without drying and without chemically altering the structure of the hair.  To debunk any myths, perhaps the best way to define henna is with three simple words that describe the results it yields — sheen, body, color.  Henna is, in many ways, the ideal colorant. Chemically-based dyes often cause split ends and lifeless hair; henna does not. Rather than permeating the hair, henna coats the hair shaft, preventing brittleness and breakage. And, because it coats, it wears off gradually over a period of approximately 8-12 weeks, eliminating the dark-root problem you must contend with when using chemical tints.

So what is the big difference between henna and chemicals? The answer: your health. Synthetic color actually changes the chemical makeup of your hair. Bleaching oxidizes the melanin, making it lose all color. Other permanent colors actually penetrate the hair cuticle, its protective coating, removing color from in inside and usually depositing a new one. This requires alcohols, peroxides, acids, etc. Years of use can cause significant damage to your hair and scalp. This is what causes those split ends, brittleness, and breakage. Synthetic colors contain toxic chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, scalp issues, hair thinning, hair loss, and even more serious health problems.

Why don’t more hair salons use henna?

The reasons why a lot of hair salons don’t use henna are lack of information, pure henna products, time and predictability of end results.

When hairstylists are generally taught how to use chemical hair colors, and the henna they have access to contains harsh chemicals and metallic salts. In fact, most of the time the henna doesn’t contain any henna at all! These hennas react oddly to other chemical colors, and trying to remove tainted henna may result in green hair. They are simply misinformed, and their clients take their expert advice on henna. This gives henna a very bad reputation. MM Henna contains no such additives, with only pure natural ingredients.

Henna is also very time-oriented. You need to mix henna about 8-10 hours in advance, then the henna needs to sit on the hair for 2-4 hours. Often times multiple applications of henna are needed, or they have to use the Two Step Application method.

Finally, there is no definite way to determine the end result color on a client’s hair. It depends on the base hair color, how long it’s left in, how long the mix sat, how much gray they have, if they’ve dyed their hair chemically, etc. Also, you cannot change a brunette to a blond with henna. Henna requires some trial and error, and people paying others to do henna might not be patient enough. Doing a test strip is often not indicative, because henna will bring out highlights and lowlights as well.

Covering Gray Hair

Henna can cover gray hair! But even with chemical color, gray has a tendency to be stubborn. It has a tendency to grab only red tone from the henna, but this can be easily fixed. Use Red henna! It’s called the Two Step Application:

1. Mix Red Henna as you would your Brown or Black henna. Apply to your hair and let sit for 1 hour. Rinse and dry immediately.

2. After your hair dries, apply your chosen shade of Brown or Black as normal.

The Red Henna acts like a primer. It grabs all the gray hair and then provides a good surface for the Brown henna to grab. If the first coat of Brown/Black is too red, do another coat of Brown henna 24 hours later.

Don’t’ want your gray brown? Our Marigold Henna can turn your grays into a golden hue!

But remember: it takes 72 hours for henna hair to come to its full, beautiful color. It might not be the color you want immediately after you wash your hair, but it can be perfect in a few days.

Henna on Chemically Dyed Hair

If you have dyed your hair before and want to make the switch to all natural hair color, you can! But you need to wait 6-8 weeks after chemical color to apply the henna, so it doesn’t interfere. If your hair is bleached, you might need to do the Two Step Application, as described in “Covering Gray Hair.”

Mixing Red into your Brown

Let’s say you don’t want orange tint, but your are fine with some auburn. Adding 10% Red Henna to 90% Brown will tone down the orange brassiness henna might sometimes have.

Black Henna

Many people think they need to do a henna treatment with an indigo gloss to achieve black hair color—not with MM! Our Black henna contains indigo flowers, which is how it achieves such a dark shade, so there’s no need for indigo gloss.

Marigold (Light Blonde) Henna

Marigold is our most versatile shade. It softens chemical highlights, creates natural blonde sun-streaking effects, or can tone down a too-brassy hair coloring result. It contains more than just Lawsonia plant, but they are still all natural plants: cinnamon, marigold flowers, cassia obovata, and chamomile flowers.

When mixing Marigold, use chamomile tea and lemon instead of black tea and raw apple cider vinegar to maximize its brightening potential.

DO NOT mix Marigold! Marigold is meant to be used alone, and mixing it with the Browns or Reds may result in interesting but unwanted color.

What Neutral Henna (Colorless)?

Used by itself, our Neutral (colorless) Henna gives your hair added body, thickness and a lustrous, healthy shine without any coloring.

HAR_henna_lt_brnCheck out our wide selection of henna products complete with guidance charts to help you pick the right colour!

One thought on “Henna – Is it really all about the “red”?

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