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The Benefits Of And How To Henna Relaxed And Natural Hair Part 2

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African american woman touching her hair In the previous post we took an in depth look at what henna is, how it works and the pros and cons of using henna as part of a healthy hair regimen. In this post we want to take a more practical approach and get to ‘mixin and applyin’. The whole point of processing the henna plant is to harvest the dye that it produces to reap the benefits of it.

When it comes to mixing, it is often recommended that you use something that is acidic or at a pH level of about 5.5 for ultimate dye release of your mixed henna. At this point we should note that there are studies that have proven that acidic substances such as lemon juice actually inhibit the release of henna dye and that methods of fermentation using plain water seems to work the best.

This however depends on what side of the world you are on, how you define fermentation and the type henna you purchase. Without arguing semantics, the basic science states that acidic liquid dissolves the cellulose in the powder allowing the lawsone (the dye in the henna) to be available to bind with the keratin particles in your hair.

We are getting sciencey again but bare with me. You see, its important that the hydrogen atoms in the lawsone remain intact for any binding action to take place. If it remains intact the lawsone should bind without any issues to the keratin, producing a rich dark color, if this doesn’t happen you will be left with something of an orange persuasion which also means less strengthening benefits.

The Henna Mix

It is difficult to say exactly how much liquid to add to your mix, but you want a paste like consistency. The best way to do this is to add a little liquid at a time until you get something similar to mashed potatoes or thick cake batter. Seal the bowl that you mixed the henna in and store in a cool dark place overnight for the dye release magic to happen.

Other popular acidic based liquids for mixing henna include green tea which is slightly acidic, often used by hair gurus such as Curly Nikki or coffee which is what I get at my henna salon. Rain water, grapefruit juice, wine and cola are all great candidates as well but somehow the idea of pouring a can of coca cola in my hair just isn’t as appealing as coffee but to each his own.

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Emily CottonTop

About Emily CottonTop


Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer for BlackHairInformation.com. Born and raised in St. Andrew Jamaica, I first moved to the United States in the year 2000 in order to find a job after college. I spent one year living in New York before moving to Texas in 2001. I went natural in 2008 after a bad perm experience and have enjoyed my hair ever since. I am still learning and I like sharing my experiences with my cottontop :)




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4 Comments

  1. 1
    MsCurlyKat says:

    I love henna! My hair isn’t relaxed, though. I used it for several years, I switched back to regular haircolor for a while just so I could have a little fun with lift since henna doesn’t lighten, only deposit. I have done chunky blonde highlights 1 shampoo before henna and gotten a nice tonal highlight, though. I will go back to it probably when I get a little more gray-I ultimately want to go to my natural color but am waiting to get MORE gray, looks kind of drab right now with my little bit of gray. I always used either fresh squeezed lemon juice (preferred) or bottled lemon juice mixed in, with a couple drops of lavender or tea tree oil mixed in to cut that grassy smell. Also I would apply it at the crown first, then work my way out to the hairline, so I could pile it all on my head. Then I used a piece of that plastic wrap that’s sticky on one side to cover it. I always did it when I was staying in all day, then I would take a few hours’ nap, or if I was up late I would put it in, put a towel on my pillow, and set my alarm early to wash it out.

    • 2

      Sounds very similar to the way I henna Mscurlykat. I used to love the color I got with henna on my color lifted highlights. I’ve decided to give color a rest this year but I will probably be back with a vengeance next year! I’m still henna-ing every 6 weeks though. It works just as well as a protein treatment for me.

  2. 3

    BHI thank you so much for all your help. I beyond appreciate. I want to try the henna as well. My hair is black; not so dark like jet black though; so I’ve wondering what degree of reddish tint I would get from henna-ing. I would not mind something extra light that’s a little visible in the sunlight but I’m not too keen on obvious dye. I already got the henna because I was of the impression that it would not change the colour much and I plan to use it tomorrow but I am a little anxious. Should I still use the henna or just stick to aphogee, which works just fine for me anyways? Thanks a lot.

    • 4

      Hello love, on black hair or jet black hair you do not see an obvious “I just dyed my hair red” kind of thing, but u will see the hint of color almost like a rinse I while you are in the sun. It really is pretty!

      My mantra is if ain’t broke don’t fixing it… I adore aphogee so I would not phase it out because for a quick protein fix without fuss… It’s the best. You should try the henna if just one time, just to see how it is for you. That way you can judge for yourself if you should use it again. Some women swear by henna… Others hate it so it is defin. Trial and error.

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