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: 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?

Natural Henna ShampooI wanted to create a henna shampoo bar that would have all of the benefits of henna and perhaps impart a bit of color highlights. 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 henna.

If you have limp, lifeless and 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?

Being a natural product, the results of the natural henna and botanical colors can never be guaranteed. Since there are so many variables, the resultant color, if any, will be different and unique for everyone depending on hair type and condition.

We have found that people who allow the henna shampoo to sit on their hair a while before rinsing tend to see more color highlights.

Below is a chart that shows how the henna colors would affect your hair if you were using the straight henna mixtures (not a shampoo bar).

 

Hair Color

Henna Color Black Dark Brown Medium Brown Light Brown Red Dark Blonde Medium Blonde
Chestnut Warm Shine Highlight Shine Warm Brown Red Brown Red Brown Chestnut  
               
Auburn Reddish Highlights Sherry Red Medium Auburn Light Auburn Red Red  

Henna Bar Testing

We gave some henna shampoo bars to friends, family and some local customers and asked them to take notes after the first week and second week of use so we could share some results that may be helpful.

Hair Color Henna Bar Used Notes
Virgin Dark Brown Auburn Shampooed 4-5/week with auburn bar. Shampooed and allowed to sit while showering before rinsing out. "Hair is fuller with a lovely luster. Seems more manageable." After 1 week minimal highlights. After 2 weeks noticeable auburn highlights.
Virgin Medium Brown Auburn Shampooed 4-5/week with auburn bar. Just shampooed and rinsed out. "Hair is so shiny and it feels like I have more hair." After 1 week no change in color noticed. After 2 weeks "warm red highlights--especially in sunlight."
Virgin Medium Brown Auburn Shampooed 3-4/week with auburn bar. Shampooed and rinsed out. "Hair is so soft and has a sheen." After 1 week no noticeable highlights. After 2 weeks "highlights are a bit more noticeable, but not a lot. My hair has LOTS of volume and is usually pretty limpy."
Virgin Medium Brown Chestnut Shampooed 5-6/week with auburn bar. Shampooed and allowed to sit before rinsing. "My hair felt so soft and thick. After one week there was a glistening shine. I am not sure about the color maybe a bit of rudy red. After two weeks my hair felt too heavy so I went back to my normal shampoo (coconut milk). A few days later my hair was less heavy and I saw some nice highlights. I waited a week and went back to the henna."
Virgin Medium Brown Chestnut Shampooed 4/week with chestnut bar. Shampooed and rinsed out. She did not notice a change until a friend asked what she used to "deepen" her hair color. The change was from a "drab brown to a rich, warm color." More shine and more body.
Virgin Medium Brown with some gray Chestnut Shampooed 4/week with chestnut bar. Shampooed and allowed to sit while showering. "Hair had shine and body." After 2 weeks, "the gray is still there but now looks more like highlights than gray."
Virgin Light Brown Chestnut Shampooed 5-6/week with chestnut bar. Shampooed and rinsed out. After 1 week "hair feels great. I can't tell if there are highlights or just more shine." After 2 weeks, "It is hard to tell when you look at yourself every day. Still lots of shine and a noticeable warm brown color that is maybe a bit darker but for sure richer than my own natural color."
     
Completely Gray Chestnut Shampooed 4-5/week with chestnut bar. Shampooed and rinsed out. He insists that his hair now has some color, but his family says it is wishful thinking!
Colored Dark Blonde (naturally brown) Chestnut Shampooed 4-5/week with chestnut bar. Shampooed and rinsed out. "At first there was some added color that seemed splotchy. Then it seemed to darken and the color evened out. I really like it now."

As you can see, there is quite a bit of variability! As usual, we suggest experimenting with samples!

A Note For Those With Colored HairNatural Organic Henna Shampoo

Our henna shampoo bars are not as strong as a pure henna treatment.

We have had a number of people with 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.