I tend to be very heavy-handed when it comes to what I put in my hair. Having struggled with breakage, weak hair and a recovering product junkie, I have become a skeptic when it comes to natural hair elixirs and anything that is not coconut oil.
So when I heard about the benefits of adding henna to your natural hair routine, I took it with a grain of salt as what works for another person’s hair may not necessarily work on mine. I did not dismiss it though and after doing my research online, I decided to give it a try.cHeck! The Indians have been using it for years and they have gorgeous hair.
Henna is a derived from the dried plant leaves of the henna tree. It is a plant dye that stains the hair a rich red-brown and because it coats the hair shaft, it makes it heavier adding strength and preventing breakage. This promotes length retention without changing the composition of hair.
Its hair coating properties are also what adds volume to hair making it appear thicker while adding shine.
It’s best if you use an all natural henna as opposed to the commercial ones which may not provide the full benefits to your hair due to added chemicals and synthetic dyes.
Preparation and Application
I used Soudan Henna. I put the henna in a mixing bowl and added lukewarm water and lemon juice then mixed it to a yoghurt like consistency. The acidity of lemon juice helps to bring out the dye in the henna. I covered it in cling film and then put an old t-shirt over it so that the heat generated would fully release the dye.
The following morning, after spritzing my hair to add moisture I applied it. Be sure to cover your hands and lay newspapers on the floor to avoid staining your hands and the floor.
Place a plastic shower cap or bag over your head and let it sit for between four to six hours.
Rinsing the henna out is going to need a lot of water and patience to make sure you have rinsed it out completely. My hair felt dry afterward but I followed it up with a deep conditioner made of honey, olive oil, and bananas which quickly corrected this. I let the deep conditioner sit in my hair for about an hour and rinsed it out.
I definitely noticed a lot less breakage than I normally have on wash days and my hair had more shine.
So is it worth it?
I would need to do it more often to see the long term effects on my hair but as a first time user, I was very pleased.
It is a very time-consuming process, however, given the overnight preparation time and that it the conditioning time once you’ve applied it on your hair. It’s also very messy and can run up your water bill because you’d probably need an entire river to completely wash it out and get the tiny twigs out.
An alternative would be to have it done at your local salon which shortens the conditioning time to under an hour when you sit under a hooded dryer and you can leave it to your hairdresser to help you rinse it out.