Henna has a history of more than 5000 years. Since ancient times Henna has been known for its medicinal properties and as a cosmetic for hair conditioning, body decoration and tattoos. Henna, commonly known as “Mehandi” in India has the botanical name – Lawsonia inermis. It is a large shrub and grows in places where the climatic conditions are hot and dry. The world’s best quality Henna is produced in Rajasthan because of its favourable climate and the quality of soil. Today Henna has gained popularity throughout the world for its medicinal and hair nourishing properties.
12 Amazing Benefits of Henna for Hair Growth & Hair Health
If you thought henna can only be used to colour hair and give it a hint of brown or rust, think again. There are countless uses of this simple plant, each one aimed at giving you a healthy scalp and strong hair.
Henna is one of the best hair beauty ingredients that India has shared with the rest of the world. Since years, if not centuries, women have used the power of this natural compound to strengthen, nourish and beautify their tresses. Back then, they would use the leaves of henna for hair treatment; the modern woman uses henna powder for hair therapy.
Among the most commonly known benefits of henna for hair is that it is a natural hair colouring agent and conditioner. But do you know of the many other reasons you should seriously consider for using henna powder in your beauty regime?
1. Henna improves hair growth
The natural properties of henna promote hair growth. The powder can be used to create an essential oil that nourishes and encourages growth.
Apply henna pack twice a month to make hair healthy, glossy and voluminous. It helps bring back the lost health of your hair and repairs damaged locks. Henna restores the acid-alkaline balance of the scalp without affecting the natural balance of your hair. Steep henna for two hours in amla-brewed water and apply on hair including scalp to get the best results.
2. It reduces hair fall
The combination of henna powder and mustard oil is an excellent remedy for hair fall.
3. Apply Henna on Hair for Deep Conditioning
Henna is a deep conditioner that leaves your hair feeling absolutely gorgeous. Henna is a very good conditioner for your hair. It covers each hair shaft and builds a protective layer that safeguards the strands from damage. Regular use of henna makes your hair thick and strong by locking the essential moisture in the hair. This herbal hair pack adds a natural shine and gloss to your mane and makes them two times stronger.
4. Mehendi prevents dandruff
Using henna regularly on your hair cures dandruff and prevents it from coming back.
5. Henna controls scalp itchiness
Henna has antifungal and antimicrobial properties that cool and soothe your scalp. This controls scalp itching.
6. It is a natural hair dye
If you are reluctant to use chemicals on your scalp but want to cover greys, henna is a natural alternative. If you want a rich coloured mane without affecting the health of your hair like other chemical dyes, then henna is your answer. It has no amino acid or other chemicals that takes away the moisture from your hair which leaves it damaged and dull.
7. It repairs splits ends
Dry and damaged hair is prone to split ends, which worsen the situation. Henna breaks this vicious cycle and gives you deeply conditioned and nourished hair.
8. It maintains balance and keeps scalp clean
Henna retains the natural acid-alkaline balance on your scalp. It removes dirt and oil without messing this balance, unlike chemical-based products.
9. It makes your hair thick and lustrous
Regular use of henna in your hair not only prevents hair fall, but you can use henna for hair growth and get locks that are healthy, thick and lustrous.
10. It makes your hair shiny, soft and manageable
Henna’s nourishing properties make it perfect to turn dry, damaged and unhealthy hair into soft, shiny and manageable locks.
11. It can be used for Oily Scalp
This overnight Multani mitti and henna hair pack ensures that your oily scalp does not cause any hair fall.
12. Mehendi for Dry Hair
Warm coconut milk and add a few tablespoons of henna to it along with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Remember the quantity of henna needs to be double of olive oil. Mix the ingredients to a thick consistency. Apply this hair pack evenly on your hair and scalp. Keep it for an hour and then wash your hair with a mild shampoo and conditioner.
A word of caution. Make sure you purchase organic or authentic henna. Also, remember to use a mild shampoo and conditioner
The leaf is used to make medicine.
Historically, henna has been used for severe diarrhea caused by a parasite (amoebic dysentery), cancer, enlarged spleen, headache, jaundice, and skin conditions. These days, people take henna for stomach and intestinal ulcers.
Henna is sometimes applied directly to the affected area for dandruff, eczema, scabies, fungal infections, and wounds.
In manufacturing, henna is used in cosmetics, hair dyes, and hair care products; and as a dye for nails, hands, and clothing.
People also use henna on the skin as temporary “tattoos.”
How does it work?
Health Benefits Of Henna
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the many impressive health benefits of this versatile beautifying plant.
Although most people would associate henna’s effect on the hair to dying its color, it actually plays a number of roles in that part of our body too. Henna has been proven to increase the strength of the hair and therefore represents a safe dye that doesn’t permanently affect the health of our follicles.
Henna helps to improve hair health. It helps seal the hair cuticle, preventing breaking, and increasing the shine and appearance of the hair. It also prevents dandruff.
Reduced Hair Loss
For people suffering from hair loss or baldness, henna also inhibits this from happening. The traditional mixture is putting henna juice or oil into curds and then mixing this into your hair, as this increases the efficiency of the treatment.
Improved Nail Quality
People often forget about maintaining healthy nails, but the cuticles and space under the nails are prime locations for infection and bacterial presence; therefore, treating your nails with henna is a wise choice. Drinking the water in which leaves have been steeped helps to prevent nails from cracking and reduce inflammation. Applying a poultice directly to the nail beds can clear up irritation, pain, and infection in the nail beds.
Although the antioxidant capacity of henna has not been widely studied, the oil has been proven to be an astringent, which has led some people to use its juice and oil on the skin to reduce the signs of aging and wrinkles, as well as the unsightly appearance of scars and other blemishes. This is complemented by the antiviral and antibacterial effects that can protect the body’s largest organ – the skin!
One of the most notable uses of henna is for protecting the skin against infections and eliminating inflammation. It has been applied to burns, wounds, and scrapes for generations, not only because it can add a protective layer against foreign pathogens and substances, but also because it has natural cooling abilities that literally suck the heat from the skin. This makes it very useful for sunburns, in a similar capacity as aloe gel.
Henna is also able to bring down fevers, according to Ayurvedic traditions. When people are suffering from very highfevers as a secondary symptom of another condition, that rise in temperature throughout the body can be dangerous for organ function and metabolic processes. Bringing the overall temperature of the body down is essential, and henna can accomplish this by either inducing sweating and effectively “breaking” the fever, or simply cooling the body and providing some relief.
The juice of the henna plant is not always praised as being particularly beneficial, but in fact, the juice of the plant can be directly applied to the skin for fast relief from headaches. The anti-inflammatory effects of the compounds found in henna help it reduce that tension and promote healthy blood flow in the capillaries, which is a common cause of headaches and migraines.
In a similar vein as the headache solution outlined above, henna oil is used topically for arthritic and rheumatic pains. As we age, our joints become more painful as cartilage and muscle deteriorate. This can result in painful inflammation in many different parts of the body. By applying henna oil to the inflamed or affected areas, you can guarantee a healthier and broader range of motion to maintain an active and happy life.
Reduced Sleep Issues
Henna oil has been directly linked to alleviating certain sleep disorders, so if you are suffering from insomnia or chronic restlessness, adding a bit of this oil to your herbal regimen can get you back into a regular, restful schedule of sleep by soothing the body and mind, easing it into a relaxed state before sleep.
By soaking the bark or leaves of the henna plant in water and then consuming the consequent liquid has been connected to improved spleen and liver health. The liver works as a crucial level of protection for the body and helps to eliminate the toxins that accrue in the body. By optimizing its function and ensuring its health, you can prevent a wide range of other health conditions.
Regulated Blood Pressure
If you consume henna water or seeds, you can enjoy a hypotensive effect that relieves stress on the cardiovascular system and effectively lowers blood pressure. This can help prevent the plaque and platelet build-up in the heart and arteries, preventing heart attacks and strokes.
Henna contains substances that might help fight certain infections. There is also some information that henna might decrease the growth of tumors, prevent or reduce spasms, decrease inflammation, and relieve pain.
Henna can also refer to the temporary body art (staining) based on those dyes (see also mehndi). Henna has been used since antiquity to dye skin, hair and fingernails, as well as fabrics including silk, wool and leather.
Whole, unbroken henna leaves will not stain the skin. Henna will not stain skin until the lawsone molecules are made available (released) from the henna leaf. Dried henna leaves will stain the skin if they are mashed into a paste. The lawsone will gradually migrate from the henna paste into the outer layer of the skin and bind to the proteins in it, creating a fast stain.
The paste can be applied with many traditional and innovative tools, starting with a basic stick or twig. In Morocco, a syringe is common. In India, a plastic cone similar to those used to pipe icing onto cakes is used. In the Western world, a cone is common, as is a Jacquard bottle, which is otherwise used to paint silk fabric. A light stain may be achieved within minutes, but the longer the paste is left on the skin, the darker and longer lasting the stain will be, so it needs to be left on as long as possible. To prevent it from drying or falling off the skin, the paste is often sealed down by dabbing a sugar/lemon mix over the dried paste, or simply adding some form of sugar to the paste. After time the dry paste is simply brushed or scraped away.
Henna stains are orange when the paste is first removed, but darkens over the following three days to a deep reddish brown. Soles and palms have the thickest layer of skin and so take up the most lawsone, and take it to the greatest depth, so that hands and feet will have the darkest and most long-lasting stains. Some also believe that steaming or warming the henna pattern will darken the stain, either during the time the paste is still on the skin, or after the paste has been removed. It is debatable whether this adds to the color of the end result as well. After the stain reaches its peak color, it holds for a few days, then gradually wears off by way of exfoliation.
HOW TO APPLY HENNA TO HAIR
Henna is a non-damaging plant-based dye that you can use to stain your hair a reddish-brown color. Applying henna dye to your hair can be quite messy, and you have to take some precautions to make sure you don’t stain your forehead or surroundings. Once henna is on your hair, you have to wrap it in plastic and let it soak in for a few hours before you can rinse it out. The key to dyeing your hair with henna is the preparation, because the powder must be mixed and left to sit for several hours before it can be applied, so make sure you mix the powder in advance.
PREPARING FOR APPLICATION
1. Mix the henna powder. Henna comes in a powdered form, and you must mix this with water before you can apply it to your hair. Mix ½ cup (50 g) of henna with ¼ cup (59 ml) of warm water. Stir to combine. Stir in more water by the tablespoon (15 ml) as necessary, until the henna paste becomes the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- For coloring hair, once you’ve mixed the powder and water, cover the bowl with plastic and let it develop at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.
- When you’re ready to apply the dye, mix in a bit more water until you have a thick but spreadable consistency.
- For conditioning, once you’ve mixed the powder and water, you can immediately apply this paste on clean hair.
2. Shampoo, and then dry your hair. Before applying henna, you’ll want to start with clean hair. In the shower or bath, wash your hair with your regular shampoo to remove dirt, oil, and styling products. Rinse out all of the shampoo. Once out of the shower, towel dry, blow dry, or air dry your hair.
- Do not condition your hair, as the oils in the conditioner can prevent the henna from penetrating your roots properly.
3. Protect your hairline with oil. If you have long hair, gather it up and tie it back so it’s out of your face and off your shoulders and neck. For short hair, put on a headband to keep your hair out of your face. With your fingers, apply some coconut oil, body butter, or petroleum jelly to your hairline, including your forehead, neck, and ears.
- The oil will create a barrier between the henna and your skin, so this will prevent stains around your hairline.
4. Comb and part your hair. Let your hair down and comb it with a wide-toothed comb. This will remove tangles and knots without making your hair frizzy. Part your hair in the center, and let your hair fall evenly to either side of your head.
- You don’t have to section off your hair, because you’ll be dyeing it in layers.
5. Protect your skin. Henna tends to get everywhere, so it’s a good idea to wear old clothes and to protect yourself with a rag or old towel. Drape the towel over your shoulders. Arrange the towel to cover your neck and shoulders, and use a pin or hair clip to keep it together. Because henna can stain the skin, put on a pair of rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands and nails.
- You can also use a plastic sheet, poncho, or a cutting cape.
- Keep a damp rag nearby to wipe drips off your skin immediately.
APPLYING THE HENNA PASTE
1. Apply the paste liberally to a small section of hair. Starting with the topmost layer of hair, grab a thin 2-inch-wide (5-cm-wide) section of hair from the middle back of your head. Comb this section away from the rest of your hair. With a large tint brush or your fingers, apply 1 to 2 teaspoons (2 to 4 g) of henna to the roots of your hair. Spread the henna toward the tips, adding more paste if necessary.
- Henna paste doesn’t spread as easily as conventional dye, so it’s important to ensure that your hair is fully saturated from root to tip.
2. Twist the hair on top of your head. When you’ve fully covered the first section of hair, twist it a few times and then wrap it into a bun on top of your head. The henna paste is quite sticky, so the coil of hair will just sit there.
- For short hair, twist the section and pin it on top of your head to keep it out of the way.
3. Apply paste to the next section. Working with the same topmost layer of hair, take a fresh 2-inch (5-cm) section of hair from beside the original section. Apply henna paste to the roots with your fingers or a tint brush. Work the paste toward the tip, adding more paste if necessary, until the entire section is saturated with henna paste.
4. Twist and wrap the section over the original bun. Twist the dyed section of hair a few times. Wrap it around the original bun that you created with the first section of hair. Because the henna is so sticky, the coil will stay, but you can pin it in place.
- For short hair, twist the section, place it on top of the original section, and pin it in place.
5. Continue applying paste to the rest of your hair. Work in small sections, like before. Work toward the front of your head, applying henna to the hair on both sides of the part. Continue working in thin 2-inch (5-cm) sections to ensure proper coverage. When you’ve dyed the topmost layer of hair, repeat the same process with the layer below until all your hair has been dyed.
- Keep twisting and wrapping each section of hair around the original bun.
6. Touch up around the hairline. When every section of hair has been covered and twisted into the bun, go around your hairline and add more paste to areas where the henna looks sparse or more coverage is needed. Pay particular attention to the hairline line and roots.
SETTING AND RINSING
1. Wrap plastic wrap around your hair. When your hair is fully covered, take a long sheet of plastic wrap and wrap your hair. Wrap the plastic all the way around your hairline and completely cover your hair and the top of your head. Don’t cover your ears.
- Wrapping your hair in plastic will help keep the henna warm and moist, and this will allow it to set.
- If you have to go out while your hair is like this, you can wrap a scarf around the plastic wrap to cover it.
2. Keep the henna warm and let it set. Henna generally takes between two and four hours to set. The longer you leave it on, the deeper and more vibrant the color will be. You can encourage color development by keeping the henna warm. Stay inside if it’s cold out, or wear a hat if you must go out.
- You can leave the henna on for as long as six hours if you want to achieve maximum vibrancy.
3. Rinse with conditioner. When the henna has had enough time to set, put your gloves back on and remove the plastic wrap. Hop in the shower and thoroughly rinse the henna paste from your hair. Rub conditioner into your hair to help loosen the paste.
- Continue conditioning and rinsing until the water runs clear and there’s no paste left in your hair.
4. Wait a few days for the color to develop. Henna takes about 48 hours to develop properly. When your hair first dries, it will look very bright and orange. Over the next couple of days, the color will deepen and become less orange.
5. Touch up roots as they grow out. Henna is a permanent dye, so you don’t have to worry about the color washing out or fading over time. You can reapply to achieve a deeper and more vibrant color, or just apply more paste to your roots as they grow out.
- When touching up roots, leave the henna on for the same amount of time as the original application to achieve a similar color.
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