Henna hair conditioner
Henna is crushed or milled powder from leaves of the plant Lawsonia inermis, which is mixed into a paste and applied to stain skin, hair and nails. It is an ancient art form and beauty treatment. It has been used in Ancient Egypt, and for centuries in Northern Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and in Asia. In another post I talked about the tradition of applying henna to paint intricate designs on the hands and feet of a bride and her wedding party. In this post I will focus on the practice of using henna to dye hair and as a hair conditioner. This treatment not only dyes the hair, but leaves it vibrant, soft and lustrous. Dried natural henna has to be activated by mixing with a substance like lemon juice and water and allowed to sit for at least 6hours to allow the dye lawson, be released from the leaf. Natural henna only stains a deep reddish brown color. Natural henna does not induce any allergic reactions. Most commercially mixed henna products sold as a liquid, cream or paste already have added chemical dye. Many of these chemical dyes can cause an allergic reaction which manifest as itching, hives, or sensitivity to future use of henna or other dyes. Be careful when shopping for henna products, it is preferable to purchase pure natural henna, or henna enhanced with only natural dyes such as Cassia Obovata for added reddish color or Indigo for darker color.
My recipe for Henna hair conditioner
My recipe which I obtained from my mother,which she learned from her neighbors in Khartoum, Sudan, involves soaking henna powder mix with lime juice and water overnight, then adding a whisked egg and natural yoghurt. Apply this generously to the hair from the roots to the tips, wrap a plastic bag around it and keep for 3 hours. To shorten the treatment time you may sit under a hooded dryer on low settings for ½ hour to 1 hour. The hair is then washed thoroughly, with a final rinse of tea water to lock in the color and shine. This treatment leaves the hair lustrous, soft, and with a tinge of reddish brown. Any grey hairs will be dyed a deep red color. This color treatment is semi-permanent. It will need to be repeated every 6-8weeks to capture new growth, and it fades faster with frequency of washing the hair.
Henna powder: 8 tablespoons or ½ cup
Lime juice: from ½ slice lime
1 egg whisked
yoghurt: 2 tablespoons
water: ½ cup
1 teabag, for rinsing.
In a bowl, mix henna powder with lime juice and water. Allow to soak overnight or at least for 6 hours.
Then add yoghurt and 1 whisked egg.
Apply to hair generously from roots to tips.
Apply plastic cap around hair. Maintain for 3 hours or 1 hour under hooded dryer set on low heat for maximum color absorption.
Rinse thoroughly with water. For the final rinse, add 1 teabag to a kettle of boiling water, then dilute to lukewarm with cold water and rinse the hair with tea water to lock in color and shine.