What Is Henna?
Henna, Lawsonia inermis, is a desert flowering plant. The powdered leaves have been used since ancient times as a natural dye. The red pigment, lawsone, is a tannin found in the leaves of the henna plant which are naturally dried, crushed and sifted.
You cannot see the red color on the leaves because it is hidden by the green chlorophyll pigment. Just think of a maple tree. Its leaves have beautiful colors that are hidden until the green chlorophyll disappears in autumn.
How Henna Colors Hair
Your hair is made up of two or three layers, depending on your hair type and genetics. The three different layers are:
- the cuticle, which consists of several layers of flat, thin cells which overlap like the tiles on a roof
- the cortex, which makes up the major part of the hair fiber, gives the hair its mechanical and physical properties and contains the protein keratin
- the medulla (or medullary canal), is located in the center of the hair fiber. If present, this layer consists of thin spongy tissue, transparent cells, and air spaces. Coarse hair generally has this layer, while fine hair does not.
Chemical hair colorants penetrate the cuticle and enter the cortex to chemically change the actual color of your hair. This can cause the layer of protective cells on your cuticle to become fragmented, making it difficult for natural hair oils to travel down and hydrate the ends of your hair.
Henna works on the cuticle which adds a further protective layer. Henna pigments bind with the keratin protein in hair and provide a permanent coating to the cuticle. Unlike synthetic hair dyes, henna pigments do not chemically alter hair.
Natural henna is a reddish-orange dye and does not come in colors. There is no such thing as black henna or blonde henna. When you see henna in other colors, color pigments have been added.
The pigments may be natural botanicals such as indigo and black walnut for dark brown or black, cassia obovata and chamomile for warm yellows, and hibiscus for a deeper red. Henna and natural botanical pigments will not lighten dark hair.
Beware: Commercial boxed henna hair dyes that are available in a variety of colors are often mixed with synthetic chemical dyes, lead or metallic salts for added color. Many of these synthetic components have been found to be unsafe and may cause severe allergic reactions.
Henna is Great for Hair:
Most people think of henna as simply a hair coloring product. Although it may be best known for providing vibrant red color, henna is also great for hair care. Henna is a natural deep conditioner that coats the hair shaft, seals in moisture and natural oils, tightens the cuticle, enhances body, adds loads of shine and makes hair silky soft.
Since henna coats the hair shaft and tightens and closes the cuticle, hair is smoother, there is less tangling, hair is stronger and more resilient, and light is better reflected which creates a vibrant shine.
Henna helps soften highly textured, coarse curly hair and its natural antifungal and antibacterial properties may help with dandruff, scaly scalp and excess shedding.
What is A Henna Shampoo Bar?
I wanted to create a henna shampoo bar that would have all of the benefits of henna. With each test recipe, we added more and more henna until we got a perfect balance--a great lathering shampoo bar that naturally cleans and conditions your hair and scalp and has loads of conditioning henna.
If you have limp, lifeless or dull hair, our combination of deeply conditioning henna, nourishing oils, and coconut milk will enhance the volume, refine the texture and boost the shine.
Our henna shampoo bars have extra free oil to help prevent the dryness that henna can sometimes cause.
We have left these henna shampoo bars unscented. We have so many customers with sensitivities and we did not want a scent or an essential oil to prevent someone from using these unique bars.
The Big Question Is . . . Will The Henna Shampoo Bar Color My Hair?
Henna paste as described above can change the color of your hair. We used to make three different Henna Shampoo bars; Auburn, Chestnut, and Strawberry.The goal was that each type of bar would be helpful for different colors of hair.
What we discovered from our own personal experience and customer feedback was that whether your hair was blonde, red or brown, the type of Henna Bar used made no difference in the highlights. Each bar produced the same results on every hair color. The feedback showed that these three bars helped . . .
- enhance highlights and shine
- condition hair
- strengthen hair
- enhance body and luster
Our henna shampoo bars are not strong like a pure henna paste treatment.
We have had a number of people with light hair and dyed hair use our henna bars without any problems.
That being said, all hair and hair dye is not created equal...so to be safe, try a test strand before using on your whole head.