Henna 101: How To Dye Your Hair Naturally

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It's no secret that experimenting with permanent bleaches and dyes will do some serious damage to your hair. And though there are some great temporary alternatives that won't dry out or break your strands, there is really only one method when it comes to safely dying hair permanently: Henna.

Henna is one of the greatest tools in the beauty world - it can change your hair color, and it can create some seriously cool designs all of your body - but when it comes to vamping up your style with this natural product, it's a tad different than your classic dye job.

What You Should Know When Considering Henna
Eid-ul-Fitr mehndiFor starters, Henna only comes in three colors. Because Henna itself, and any other ingredients added to it are naturally occurring, getting wild, neon shades or adorable pastels are out of the question. If you're working with Henna, most women will go for red, brown or black. Also, if you're looking to lighten hair, Henna is a no go because it's ingredients will not strip your hair of its color and therefore will not lighten it.

Henna is also wonderful for women who are not looking to cause any harm to their locks. LUSH representatives told StyleCaster that because Henna dyes only coat the cuticle of your hair and does not trickle in to your hair's inner-most layer, it can keep hair moisturized and won't strip your hair of its natural texture like regular dye does.

A word of caution, though. If your hair has been treated with chemical dyes, you should not be doing Henna right away. Since chemical dye penetrates into your hair's cortex and Henna doesn't, the layering of the two different types of dyes usually means old color will come through the Henna. Pioneer Thinking suggests waiting at least two months after chemically dying your hair to try Henna.

Getting Started
Before doing anything with your Henna, be sure to test out a piece of your hair with the color to see if you like the color, and also test how long you should leave it in to get the color you want. Unlike regular dyes, Henna can be left in your hair for up to two hours to reach a rich pigment, which means a little experimentation is completely necessary.

Once you've got all that settled, prepare your bathroom and your person because things are going to get messy. Line your bathroom with newspapers or paper towels, put on your least favorite shirt and keep a towel over your shoulder for good measure. Then, take the Henna powder and empty the contents into a glass or plastic bowl. Be sure to stay away from any metal products when you're mixing up your Henna.

Boil water to add to your Henna, mixing it in slowly until you get a paste. If you want, you can also add some eggs you've beaten into the mixture to make sure your Henna is sticky. You even have the option of adding hot coffee if you want to make a red color a little less pigmented, but be sure to add less water if you're also going to be putting coffee.
Once you blend the contents together, you'll have a green-ish paste that looks entirely unappealing and smells kind of funky. That's exactly what you want! Before putting it on your head, apply a cream or salve around your scalp to make sure the dye doesn't change the color of your skin. Always wear gloves unless you want to wind up with red hands. When that's all settled, put the dye into your dry, clean hair, working it in from the bottom layers to the top. Once the hair is completely covered, take a plastic bag or plastic wrap and cover your hair with it to keep all the Henna in. You can also put a towel on top of your head (the plastic should protect the towel from getting covered).

Set a timer for the length of time you want to keep the Henna in your hair. Once it rings, hop into the shower and rinse out the Henna. Skip out on your shampoo and simply apply a conditioner to make your hair extra silky.

And that's all it takes to get rich, healthy color without the potential damage. Happy Henna-ing, peeps!


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