Henna is a natural hair and skin dye that has been used for centuries. It's derived from the dried leaves of the Lawsonia inermis plant, which releases a vibrant red color in an acidic environment. The process for mixing henna takes at least a day, but you will find that the result that lasts four to six months is well worth the wait.
Things You'll Need
- 1 cup henna powder (80 grams)
- 1 cup lemon juice
- Plastic or glass bowl
- Wooden Spoon
- Plastic wrap
- Desk lamp (optional)
- Rubber gloves
- Petroleum jelly
- Duckbill clips
- Applicator bottle (optional)
- Plastic hair cap
- Throwaway towel
- Mascara wand (unused)
Gradually combine henna powder and lemon juice in a glass or plastic bowl. Stir until smooth.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Flatten the plastic against the mixture to eliminate air pockets.
Place covered bowl in an area with a temperature between 75 and 85 degrees. Let mixture sit for at least 12 hours to release and separate colors.
Comb hair into sections to be colored and hold in place with duckbill clips. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your hairline. Put on rubber gloves.
Stir henna paste to remix colors. Spoon the henna mixture into an applicator bottle. To apply without a bottle, scoop the henna into your hands.
Apply henna to hair from root to tip, smoothing the paste into the hair as you go. Cover hair with plastic cap and let henna sit for as long as desired, up to eight hours.
To apply henna to eyebrows, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the skin directly around your brow. Use your fingers or an unused mascara wand to comb color into the brow.
Remove plastic cap and rinse hair thoroughly in warm water, washing if desired. Use the pads of your fingers to gently remove excess henna paste from your scalp and eyebrows.
Tips & Warnings
- When using henna on your hair and eyebrows, seek a henna that is labeled as "body art quality," which is the best and longest lasting henna type on the market today.
- Do a strand test on hair you have gathered from your brush or comb. After application and rinsing, wait a few days and check the strands, as this will give you the most accurate color result.
- Slightly dirty hair is best for a healthy henna application. Go a day without washing your hair or using hair products.
- Coffee and other natural additives can be used to tweak the final result, from strawberry blonde to chestnut brown. Natural additives also help with the resulting scent of henna'd hair, which often has a grassy smell.
- Leftover henna mix can be frozen in the bowl for later applications.
- Test for allergies by mixing a small batch of henna, and apply to the crook of your elbow, observing over several days until the color fades naturally.
- Do not use henna on hair that has been colored or otherwise chemically processed within the last two months, as this will lead to hair damage. Always perform a strand test on hair that has been processed.
- Hair that is more than 20 percent gray may turn orange with use of henna. Perform a strand test.
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