Henna Paste Recipe: All You Need to Know on How To Make the Best Henna Paste for Hair
If you are into your journey towards a more healthy and natural beauty routine or you just want to give your hair a break from the aggressive, toxic and allergenic ingredients of chemical hair dyes, you must try henna.
Henna is a plant traditionally used by many cultures for hair care. It is known not only for its coloring properties, but also for several benefits it provides to hair and skin.
Regular applications of henna paste improve hair health and strength, enhancing shine and thickness; stimulate strands growth, preventing split ends and hair loss; regulate sebum production and pH level of the scalp, curing dandruff and oily hair.
This means that while dyeing your hair with henna, you will give your strands a whole intensive nourishing treatment! So, take that well-earned chunk of your time to cuddle your inner goddess with this DIY henna guide. Your hair (and you!!) deserve it.
Henna types explained
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Natural henna stains hair with a permanent, intense copper red tint. It’s mostly visible on light-colored hair, while it gives a mahogany shade to dark strands.
However, it’s possible to achieve different tones mixing henna powder with other plant-based compounds. While there are many allegedly dyeing herbs available, the only ones strong enough to durably color hair are two: natural henna (lawsonia inermis) and indigo (indigofera tinctoria, also called black henna).
Indigo is often added to henna to stir the reddish color to brown nuances. Note that indigo can’t be used alone, cause it needs to bond with henna in order for its color to adhere to the hair.
Another herb, cassia obovata (sometimes called neutral henna) has a mild staining power that can be used for blond tones. Obviously, cassia only works on fair or grey hair.
Reaching the exact shade is somehow challenging and it requires an inclination to experiment. Although it’s perfectly safe and even funny playing with pure herbal dyes, we can rely, lucky us!, on some all-natural ready-made mixtures. You can see my personal favorite here.
How to Make Henna Paste: All You Need to Know and The Best Recipe
In my ten years love affair with henna, the only obvious downside I’ve experienced is that it was making my hair dry in the first few days after application.
The good news is that I’ve tried out many recipes and I’m going to share the simplest and most effective secret to use henna even on dry, fuzzy hair: flaxseed gel.
Non-metallic bowl and spoon to stir (be careful, henna can stain light-colored plastic equipment)
To prepare the flaxseed gel, boil 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds in 2 cups of water for about 5 minutes, until the water reaches the consistency of egg whites. Drain the jelly out of the seeds while it’s still hot, then mix it straight away into the henna powder. Add a bit of gel at a time, stirring to avoid lumps. The paste is ready when it’s like a thick pancake batter.
Let the henna paste oxidate in a warm place until it reaches the optimal release of color before applying on the hair. I put the henna paste on a heater or in the sun in a hot day and it’s normally ready in 30-45 minutes, when the color of the surface turns from green to brown. In case your henna is already mixed with indigo, wait only 15-20 minutes before to apply, otherwise you’ll risk to lose all the darkening effect of indigo.
You may now add extra ingredients if you want to influence the final nuance. Lemon juice will accentuate the warm orange tone of henna. Otherwise, you can add indigo paste to your henna paste in variable proportion to obtain a darker nuance, from auburn and burgundy to deep brunette. To prepare the indigo paste, pour water with a pinch of salt into indigo powder to get a mud-like batter, then mix it with the henna paste that has already oxidated.
Put on gloves and cover neck, clothes and surfaces: the paste stains! If your hair is grey or dye resistant, make sure it’s freshly washed with a cleansing shampoo before to apply henna. Apply henna paste thoroughly from roots to tips with a brush or just with your hands. Bundle up your hair in plastic wrap and a towel to keep it warm and wait 2-4 hours.
Rinse your hair. You can use conditioner to remove all traces of muddy henna paste from your strands, but it’s better to avoid shampoo. Don’t be shocked by the initial shade! The color will darken in the next 48 hours.
To get a black color, dye hair in two steps: first with a 100% henna paste and then with a 100% indigo paste within the next 24 hours.
How have you enjoyed your henna experience? Let us know in the comments