The Truth About Henna Part 1: What is Henna?

I’m often asked a variety of questions about henna, henna treatments, where to find it, etc.

I have decided to break down this down into 5 parts:

  1. What is henna?
  2. Henna traditional method
  3. Henna gloss
  4. What is Cassia?
  5. What is Indigo?

Jamila HennaHenna, Lawsonia Inermis, is a small bush or shrub grown in Africa, Asia and Australia.  Henna leaves contains a natural dye that stains red/orange called lawson, this dye is stonger in younger leaves and decreases as the leaves age. The leaves of this plant are cultivated and crushed to form a fine green powder.

Henna has been used for ages as a natural dye for hair, skin, clothing, and textiles.  As a dye the lawson molecules bond with the proteins in your hair staining the outerlayer but not permanently.  More than just a hair dye henna also conditions and strengthens the hair.  It is safe to use on natural, relaxed and or color/treated hair because it does not contain traditional chemicals used to bleach or color hair.

Henna only comes truly in one color.  It is green to brown and stains orange to red.  Anything other than that means it is not true henna and it has additives.  These addition of additives is not necessarily a bad thing, often time teas and other herbs are added for conditioning or coloring benefit.  However you do need to beware of heavy metals that are sometimes added to help dye the hair.  Check the ingredients before use.

As henna is sold for many different things you want to but one specific for hair use or body art quality.  Popular henna brands include: Jamila, Earth, LUSH, Surya, and Rainbow.  You can find henna at a natural food store like Whole Foods or Rainbow Blossom, an Indian or Asian grocery or online at, or

While henna is safe and relatively easy to use make no mistake that it is a DYE!  It can an will impart a orange or red tint to everything it touches.  If considering using henna you will want to use non-reactive bowl and utensils for mixing, protect your floors and counter space with newspaper, wear and old t-shirt or something you don’t mind staining and WEAR GLOVES!

So why use henna?  Well apart from giving your hair a cool red tint it is said that it can strengthen, thicken, loosen curl pattern, define curls, soften and add shine to the hair.  Obviously it cannot be everything but those who use it has experienced one of the results.  It all depends on your hair and the method used.

For more information on henna check out the following:


13 thoughts on “The Truth About Henna Part 1: What is Henna?

    • Agreed, anyone doing it expecting anything other than conditioning will probably get their feelings hurt. You cannot count on it to behave any particular way. I’ve only known of 2 instances where is distinctly loosened someones curl pattern.

  1. Pingback: The Truth About Henna Part 3: Henna Gloss | derby city naturals

  2. Pingback: The Truth About Henna Part 5: Indigo | derby city naturals

  3. Pingback: The Truth About Henna Part 4: Cassia | derby city naturals

  4. Pingback: Henna Gloss Treatment | derby city naturals

  5. Pingback: The Trouble with Haircolor and PPD | derby city naturals

  6. When I first started using henna, it loosened my curl pattern. But I was using a lot, and doing it every other week! So It happened pretty fast. Now that I only do it once a month, I haven’t noticed any curl loosening.

  7. Pingback: Guest Blogger: The Truth About Henna | NaturalReview|Natural Hair. Natural Living. - This site is about all things natural…join in the discussion

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