How are you all?? I’m so happy we’re FINALLY in February – I feel like January literally lasted for 50 years! And I don’t know about you guys but it was a super busy month for me so here’s hoping that February is a little more relaxed.
I know I’ve said this a few times but henna really is one of my favourite hair products. I honestly credit henna as one of the products that has helped me achieve strong, healthy hair. I was first exposed to henna through Curly Proverbz. She’s literally one of my favourite hair YouTubers and she credits henna with being one of the most crucial aspects of her hair journey. I was confused at first because I only knew henna as something used to create artistic and intricate patterns as body art. I had no knowledge of its immense strengthening properties.
To put it simply, as your hair goes through regular wear and tear, little gaps and tears appear in the hair cuticle (i.e. along the hair strand). Henna strengthens the hair because the Lawsone, the main strengthening component of the henna, goes into those cracks and tears and binds with the keratin in your hair, thus strengthening it.
Before we go any further, just a couple of very important points when it comes to using henna on your hair:
- Henna WILL colour your hair. If you have dark hair, it will give a brownish-reddish tint. If you have light hair, it will literally change the colour of your hair to brown or dark red so be aware of this if your hair is coloured or a lighter colour. I have dark hair so, with prolonged henna use, my hair has a brown-dark red tint in the sunlight.
- You MUST MUST MUST use BODY ART QUALITY henna. If the henna promises to give you blonde/black/red etc hair, it is not pure henna and it can cause problems for your hair and skin. Body art quality henna is the only henna you should use on your hair. I personally only use Jamila henna because it’s super smooth and it’s body art quality.
- Do a patch test before using it – by this, I mean apply a little henna to your skin 24 hours before using it on your hair. Just because it’s natural, it doesn’t mean you can’t be allergic to it. So always do a patch test first.
- Henna STAINS EVERYTHING – skin, clothes, tiles, sinks etc! So I would use gloves to apply the full on henna treatment AND you should cover your clothes and the surrounding area when using any of these treatments.
There are three main ways I personally use henna (in order of their strengthening abilities):
- A full on henna treatment
- A henna gloss
- A henna spray
Full on henna treatment
This is the most strengthening of the three and should be used with caution. I do this once every 6-8 weeks and it honestly fortifies my hair like no other. For my hair, it is better than any protein treatment I’ve tried plus it’s fully natural so I’m a huge fan. If you go online, there are a million recipes for creating a henna treatment – many of which depend on what you aim to get from the treatment. So for example, if you want the hair dye properties, you should probably leave out any oils. If you need more protein, you may want to add in some coconut milk or yoghurt. Personally, I use henna for the strength, shine, definition and length retention. So here’s my recipe (feel free to adjust quantities to your hair length/thickness – I tend to just eyeball it but I’ll try to estimate the quantities):
- 1 cup of BODY ART QUALITY henna (I use Jamila henna – link above)
- 3 tablespoons of amla powder (optional) – full of vitamin C, can help to darken hair, adds shine, promotes growth
- 2/3 of a cup of green or black tea – for definition, reduced shedding, shine (I make about one cup of tea with 2 tea bags – adjust liquid based on your preference)
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil – for softening, shine, makes the mixture smoother, stops my hair being super dry afterwards
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar – for definition, shine, softness
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil (optional – I just like the smell lol)
I mix these ingredients together until they’re like a thick cake batter and leave it to process for at least 4 hours. Anything too watery and I find it too messy. Anything too thick and it’s a pain to get through the hair and wash out. I wash my hair with shampoo and then I apply the treatment to all my hair for a MINIMUM of 4 hours. Most times I’ll just leave it on overnight the rinse it out in the morning with conditioner. You must ENSURE that you deep condition with a super moisturising deep conditioner afterwards – the same way protein conditioners can harden your hair, henna can too.
A henna gloss
Henna glosses are probably the easiest of the three. My method for doing this is simply mixing 1-2 tablespoons of henna with my deep conditioner and deep conditioning as I usually do – for 30 minutes to an hour with my steamer or a heat cap. This way, I still get the benefits of the henna without the time consuming process. It’s not the most strengthening option but it gets the job done. This is the best place to start if you’re new to henna. Starting with the full on treatment might be too much for your hair if you’ve never used henna before.
A henna spray
Not gonna lie, I haven’t used this henna spray in quite some time but I still love it. Again, this is a recipe I got from Curly Proverbz, which I just adapted slightly to suit myself. I’m gonna include the link HERE. In mine, I tend to omit the shikakai and I add peppermint and rosemary for growth. This does stain so be careful of where/how you spray it around.
Those are the three main ways I use henna! I have seen a noticeable difference in the strength of my hair since I started using henna on my hair and I don’t plan to stop any time soon! If you try it, let me know! And feel free to comment or email with questions!