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Henna as a Natural and Safe Hair Dye

written by: •edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/1/2011

Are you trying to live a natural life devoid of chemicals and dyes? If so, you have probably head of henna...only, is it really any better for your hair than regular dye?

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    What is Henna?

    Henna is a type of shrub that grows in Africa, southern Asia, and northern Australasia. The leaves of the plant contain a dye called Lawsone. This dye can be removed from the leaves when they are ground into a fine paste. When this paste is applied to the hair, hair becomes a dark reddish brown color.

    Since the dye Lawsone only creates a red color, those blonde and black colorants that claim to be made from henna are mixed with other ingredients. Some of these dyes may be mixed with other plant derivatives, but most of the time they are mixed with chemicals.

    Henna will effectively dye your hair a red color, but it won’t remove any bleach from your hair. As you apply henna to your hair, your hair will absorb the color. This product is long lasting, which is why it is a great alternative to some other hair dyes.

    Henna and Your Hair

    If you are able to find a pure henna dye, then this kind of color is better for your hair than regular hair dye. Why? Aside from the fact that henna is all-natural, it also happens to moisturize hair leaving it soft and shiny rather than dry and brittle.

    Many hair salons will tell you that henna ruins the hair making it impossible to color over once the dye has set in. This information tends to be false. The truth is that henna conditions the hair leaving it soft and luxurious.

    Just remember that some henna dyes come with added chemicals and metallic compounds that can ruin your hair. Look for the best henna products at a natural store, and make sure to read the ingredient list carefully. If you don’t like the color that true henna produces, there are some other natural hair dyes available.

    If you are looking for a natural blonde color, try: cassia obovata; catechu; saffron; chamomile; or rhubarb root natural hair dyes. Those that want to dye their hair black should try vashma or karchak. Also, there are some natural blue dyes available including indigo and woad.

    The important thing to remember is to avoid any extra chemicals that might be included in some store bought dyes. If you can find the actual henna (or other) plant, try mixing the right concoction on your own. The result of using a natural dye will be subtle, but it will also be a nice change from those chemical colors.

    Want to try another color? There are also a number of recipes you can try for organic, natural hair dyes you can do at home.