Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To Henna or Not to Henna....That Is the Question

So, I've been hearing a serious and continuously growing buzz about Henna in the Napptural Community. I, personally, have never tried henna; however, I am extremely curious. I have read that henna is an incredible deep conditioning treatment for natural hair and that it even helps to ease one's natural curl pattern. So, for you Nappturalistas who have made the decision to henna your hair, here are a few tips to make your henna experience the best it could possibly be for you:

  1. Henna is an all natural plant dye. It should be green in color (like pea soup). If it is red, black, orange, or anything other than green AVOID it! It is most likely a mixture and contains ingredients that may react (unfavorably) with other products you may have or may use on your hair.
  2. Freshness and crop year are extremely important! Because henna is a plant it can grow stale. Stale henna doesn't develop color as well as fresh henna. Also, if you are looking to henna for the color aspects, the crop date may have an effect on that. Different crop years hold different color potencies. I do want to state that henna WILL NOT LIGHTEN YOUR NATURAL HAIR COLOR.
  3. Purchase BAQ or Body Art Quality henna ONLY! Henna seems to be a rather loosely regulated industry. For that reason, Nappturalistas should only purchase henna that has been deemed safe for application to the skin. Take no chances.
  4. While this may differ depending upon the brand and type of henna you purchase, I recommend that you mix your henna with an acidic liquid. Lemon juice, orange juice, whatever you have on hand. If lemon juice is drying to your hair, I'd add a little honey as a moisturizer. It may also help with the earthy smell. (although some people like this).
  5. Wear gloves and henna your hair in a well news papered area.
  6. Beware the curl loosening properties of henna. It doesn't chemically loosen your curl pattern such as BKT treatments or that creamy crack. It simply weighs the hair down as it deposits upon the hair. Now, while this isn't permanent (henna washes out) if you are a frequent henna head, it can drastically loosen your curl pattern.
  7. Don't have concrete expectations for color. The color that henna may give your hair is an absolute variable. The color grows richer and deeper when exposed to sunlight and it largely dependent upon your natural hair color.
  8. Don't rush the development of your henna paste. Allow it to set for each and every minute required per the specifications of the packaging.
  9. Use an applicator brush to apply henna to small sections of your hair to ensure that it is evenly and thoroughly applied.
  10. Rinse henna from your hair thoroughly. If you don't you'll have little grits of green paste in your hair. Not a pretty site.
  11. Lastly, HAVE FUN!

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