Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ayurveda for Hair: Henna

Henna: Lawsia Inermis

Henna is plants in which the leaves when finely grounded and added with water become a very beneficial natural hair dye with several conditioning benefits.  It is one of the most commonly discussed types of Ayurveda I come across when I look for information or read articles about Ayurveda for hair.

There are 3 types of Ayurvedic powders that are used as hair dyes.  Lawsia Inermis is the only one of the three that is Henna.  Henna leaves a red, auburn tint to dark hair.   The results from a henna treatment may vary depending on the natural color of your hair. 

My results using Nupur Henna

Henna can be mixed in a variety of ways.  Do your research and find a preparation you feel most comfortable using.  Henna is always mixed with purified water.   Some Naturalistas mix in additives to alter the final color results like coffee, tea, indigo(for brunette results), or amla powder.   Some Naturalistas add yogurt, apple cider vinegar, conditioner and/or oils and make a “henna gloss” along with the main ingredient, purified water.   Ingredients are mixed into a bowl of henna adding small amounts at a time until the henna is made into a cake batter consistency.   Some allow henna to stand a few hours before applying to allow the dye to release and decrease the amount of time it needs to be in your hair.  Research your options.

 Once the paste is ready for application be sure to wear gloves.  Your hands will have a burnt orange tint for weeks if you don’t.  I apply to my hair by sectioning it into four parts.  I apply starting with the back section, taking smaller sections and applying the henna from root to tip.  Once my entire head is covered with henna I place a plastic cap over it, pat it down, and go on with the next 4-6 hours of my day.  I’ll be quick to throw on a slouch beanie and run errands in my henna! =) 
Henna may also be purchase in the form of a bar as well. 
 I have never used this method.  Seems like too much prep work.  Anyhow, Lush Cosmetics sales a line of Caca Henna Bars for those who want to try it out here is the link to watch their preparation video.   How To Henna using Lush

 “Black Henna”: Indigofera Tictoria
Henna doesn’t dye the hair black.   Only Indigo will.  Indigo is also derives from plant leaves however is commonly used to dye blue jeans.   Indigo looks like henna.  It isn’t black and if you purchase any indigo that is black don’t use it.  It will more than likely be a coal tar dye called PPD(for short) and be toxic often causing serious injury to your hair and body.  When purchasing indigo or "black henna" be sure it is green powder and not black.  Indigo can also be purchased in blocks like henna. I have a client who dies away her gray naturally with indigo.  I prepare the henna first and apply it to her hair allowing it to sit 2 hours, rinsing out all the henna then applying the Indigo and water paste , to her hair.

“Neutral Henna”: Cassia Obovata

For those of you who want the conditioning benefits of henna, without the red undertones, you may want to try Cassia instead.  Cassia leaves a yellowish tint on the hair so most women use it for coloring their blond or full gray hair by mixing it with lemon or orange juice into a yogurt paste consistency.  Apply the paste 12 hours after mixing  from root to tip, just like henna.  Leave it on for 3 hours and rinse.  For us darker haired users, Cassia Obovata is used as a deep conditioner by stiring in warm water to yogurt consistency, section hair and apply all through the hair.  Wrap in plastic wrap or plastic cap and leave in for an hour, rinse, and wash.  It is said the hair will feel heavy, thick and silky and benefits last a month.  Looking  forward to seeing my results soon! 

I wish I would have read more about proper rinsing prior to my first henna treatment.  It took what felt like forever to get it completely rinsed out of my kynxx!  It took me half an hour to remove the paste the first time. Rinsed in my white ceramic shower and afterwards my tub was orange for weeks as well as my feet, not a good look.    Now, I rinse it out in 10 minutes.  I rinse in the stainless steel kitchen sink and I use a hose attachment to get the same rinsing action of being in a shower. The key for me was using a rinsing conditioner.  The best ones are $1 and I also co-wash with them.  VO5 and Suave conditioners are thick, cheaply prices so you can use a whole bottle to rinse the henna out without breaking the bank.  I use very generous amounts and the henna slips right off and not a lick of grit is left.   It also tames the tangles and minimizes the drying effects of henna. This again is my method of choice.  Do what makes sense for you.

 Deep Conditioning
Deep conditioning with a good moisturizing conditioner is a must following a henna treatment.  At least for my kynxx it is.  Henna leaves my hair feeling dry and bittle to the touch.  Due to the heaviness of henna the hair tends to be stretched and curls will be looser immediately afterwards.  For me, this stretched state is temporary although many say the looser texture is a permanent result.  Once I deep condition my curls bounce back over the course of the next day or so.   

My next Ayurveda for Hair topic will discuss benefits of 5 Ayurvedic powders I use on my kynxx!



  1. Hey, what do you mix the Nupur henna with? I really love your hair results, I've used henna 3 times and haven't got results close to that. I usually mix my henna (Jamila) with lemon juice and lavender oil, but I want a more intense colour...

  2. I varies...sometimes I use Lemon juice, others extra virgin olive oil or conditioner...It really just depends on what I feel my hair needs. ~Kynxx

  3. Good Afternoon,

    I am about 1 year natural and was considering ussing henna. How long do the color results last? Do the fade eventually?

  4. Good evening Jennifer...dying your hair with henna is permanent just like using a chemical dye. The color will have to grow out. If your hair is very light you will notice but if its dark it will mostly be noticed in sunlight. The color fades a bit with time but it will always be there until it grows out or you dye it again another color. ~Kynxx

  5. Hi Kynxx...i'm2yrs natural and i wanna dye my hair. My hair is dark brown i want my hair to be a lighter brown with auburn it possible for me to achieve this with henna? If so, which kind?

    1. Hi Shavone...henna will not lighten dark hair. It will only deposit color but it won't lift it.

  6. What color is that in the first pic

  7. What color is that in the first pic

  8. Did you let your henna mixture sit before applying it to your hair? If so, for how long?