Henna for Hair Growth

Hey beautiful Curlistas

Henna is a plant called “Lawsonia Inermis” that has been used for over 6,000 years by people in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia to dye their hair, hands and fingernails. It has also been part of our culture in Trinidad and Tobago for a very long time. The henna leaves, which is the part of the plant that contains the dye, are ground into powder and packaged for use in the beauty industry. Women have used the power of this natural compound to strengthen, nourish and beautify their hair. Back then they would use the raw henna leaves for their hair treatments. Nowadays, we use the henna in powdered form for our hair therapy.

Henna in a bowl.PNG
Powdered Henna

Real powdered henna has a greenish-brownish colour, however, after you mix it and the Lawsone dye has been released, it has an orange to reddish tint to it. If you use henna by itself in your hair, your medium brown to dark tresses will develop a chestnut-like, reddish tint. Click here for my DIY Henna Mask Recipe 

Henna pic.PNG
Henna after the Lawsone dye has been released

Before we go on, I would just like to clear up a common misconception about henna and its use:

Black Henna/Neutral Henna: There is no such thing. These are marketed by the hair dye industry for persons who want their hair to be dyed a particular colour or don’t want their original hair colour to change. What you must understand is that these mixes contain metallic salts and compounds that react with your hair, especially if you have bleached or coloured hair. These products contain almost no actual henna powder, regardless of what the label says. Usually, the labeling on these products are in a foreign language and even if it is in English, it does not provide accurate information on the product. Using these products can cause you to wind up with bright orange or green brittle hair or, in some cases, cause your hair to melt off your head completely. Stay away from these! When buying henna, make sure it is Body Art Quality Henna. 

But what if you don’t want your original hair colour to change? If you are dark-haired and you don’t want your hair colour to change, you can mix your henna powder with indigo powder. Indigo powder is from the plant Indigofera Tinctoria, and is a natural organic dye that has a blue tint to it that counteracts the reddish tint of the henna. The usual ratio is one part henna powder to two parts indigo powder. Do not bleach your hair after an indigo application because your hair will turn green. You have been warned! LOL

I personally use Amla powder in my henna mixes. Amla, also known as the Indian Gooseberry, is an ayruvedic herb that has a darkening effect on the hair. The ratio I use is one part Amla powder to two parts henna powder. Amla powder can also be used as a facial mask to even out the skin tone, cleanse the pores and exfoliate the skin.

If you are blond (naturally, or chemically induced) or have white hair, you can mix your henna with Cassia and it will give you a strawberry blond finish. Cassia (Cassia Obovata) is a plant with a golden-yellow dye molecule that will only show up in blond or white hair. The usual ratio is one part henna powder to four parts cassia powder.

 If you find the mix of the different ratios to be too iffy, you can purchase the Henna-Indigo mix or the Henna-Cassia mix. Just make sure the ingredients say Lawsonia Inermis and either Cassia Obovata or Indigofera Tinctoria ONLY. If it contains anything else, do not use it.

Ok, so enough of that, let’s get down to why you’re here…. The benefits!


Henna is used for many things hair related but the most popular reason is to strengthen the hair. Henna seals the cuticle and goes all the way through to the cortex of the hair. It attaches to the keratin in the hair, filling in the gaps along the hair strand while still allowing moisture to penetrate the hair from the outside. It is because of this strengthening that you will retain more length.

  • It is great for treating dandruff and scalp infections.
  • It thickens hair over time.
  • Gets rid of grey hairs over time.
  • It repairs damaged hair strands.
  • It restores the acid-alkaline balance of the scalp.
  • It builds a protective layer around your hair strand, locking in nutrients and moisture.
  • It helps with excessive shedding
  • It combats shrinkage

Henna is a really great way to strengthen and condition your hair without using harsh chemicals. Now with that being said, there are some things that you must be mindful of when using henna:

After you have applied the henna mix to your hair and washed it out, be sure to follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner. Please do not skip this step. Henna can strengthen the hair to the point where it gets hard and if you leave it like that it will cause breakage. In order for our hair to regain it’s suppleness, you must deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner.

If you are going to be using henna for the first time ever, I would recommend that you do not do a henna-water mix. Opt instead for a henna gloss mix, where you mix the henna with some oils. This will be a lot gentler on the hair as the oils impede the release of the lawsone dye conditioning part of the henna and so it is not as strong as if you were to do a straight henna-water mixture. The hair will not be as hard after the application and you don’t have to follow up with a deep conditioner. This is the only way you can use henna without following up with a deep conditioner.

Before using henna in your hair for the first time, be sure to do a strand test. Make a little henna mix, take some hair out of a comb or a brush and saturate the hair with the paste. Leave it on for about 2 – 4 hours and rinse it out. This will tell you the colour or tint your hair will have after your henna application.

Henna is not a protein treatment it is a conditioning treatment. If you must use a protein treatment after doing a henna treatment, wait two weeks after the henna application.

If used correctly, henna can make your hair soft, shiny and supple. Henna’s nourishing properties make it perfect to turn dry, damaged, unhealthy hair into soft, shiny and manageable tresses!

I hope this was helpful to you and easy to understand.

If you use henna for your hair or try my DIY Henna Hair Mask Recipe , be sure to post a picture or comment in the comment section below or on Facebook @ CurlyGirls868

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If you have any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions, be sure to leave them in the comment section here or on Facebook.

You can also contact me via Email at: curlygirls868@yahoo.com

My next post would be on : “Mixing a Henna Gloss”, so look out for that.

Bye for now!


Photo Credit: Google


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