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Using Henna as a Natural Hair Dye

Henna has been used as a natural hair dye for centuries in cities where it grows naturally. Henna produces an attractive red-brown color that can be used on the skin or hair; here we’ll talk about how to use henna as a hair dye. Used properly, henna gives a color that ranges from bright orange to deep mahogany, and conditions your hair to give it strength and gloss.

What Is Henna?

Henna is a powder made from the leaves of Lawsonia inermis, a small Asian tree. When the ground leaves are mixed with water and an acid, they release a red-brown dye that bonds to hair and skin easily. The best henna to buy is “body art” henna; be sure to get it from a source you trust so you know it doesn’t have any dangerous additives or adulterants.

What To Buy

You will need 100 grams of henna powder, some citrus juice (orange, lemon, or grapefruit), some plastic wrap, hair dye gloves, and Vaseline.

How To

The night before, mix up your dye paste. Sift the henna lightly to break up any lumps and remove stray bits of stem. Slowly add the juice, stirring, until you have a paste the consistency of cake frosting. Cover this with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature overnight.

The next day, wash and dry your hair and put on your hair dye shirt. Pull your hair back temporarily and apply Vaseline liberally to your hairline, ears, and neck, to block stray henna from staining your skin. Working in sections, work the paste into your hair and pile your hair on top of your head. Once all the dye paste is in, wrap your hair with plastic wrap and clean up any henna on your skin with a wet paper towel.

Leave the paste in your hair for at least one hour. It can stay in up to four hours. When you’re ready, wash it out with cool water until the water runs clear; then lightly shampoo and condition your hair. It may take up to 24 hours for your hair to reach its final color; henna dye darkens when it is exposed to air, so the color you get right when it is washed out is lighter and more orange than the final color will be. In the evening, cover your pillow with a washcloth, If any dye paste is left in your hair, the cloth will trap it before it stains your pillowcase.

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