Henna

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hey Guys,

I promised a Henna post and here it is. When any Kenyan girl/lady hears henna we automatically think ladies of Asian and North African descent, Somali weddings, mehandi, old Somali men with brazen copper beards, ladies from Mombasa, henna on fingernails and old ladies with henna stained hair. My mother used to treat her hair and nails with henna but I always shunned it. I also used to go to Eastleigh and have my hands and feet adorned with lovely mehandi, little did I know how amazing henna is on natural hair.


Henna lawsonia inermis is a small desert shrub that can grow 2-6m high. It is grown in Africa, southern Asia and northern Australoasia. The actual powder comes from the henna leaves being harvested, dried and powdered. When the powder is mixed with an acidic liquid e.g lemon juice it will stain nails, skin and hair a reddish-orange tint. This comes from the dye molecule in the henna called lawsone. Different types of henna have different dye contents, some may have higher dye content than others. The henna powders with the highest dye contents come from the henna grown in the hottest most arid climates. Henna however only comes in ONE colour...REDDISH ORANGE. Some henna packets claim that they are black henna, brown henna etc...this is false, this henna has synthetic dyes and metallic salts that cause this weird colours. This henna is not pure and I do not advocate the use of such henna. It is best to use pure henna with no additives to avoid allergic reactions.

Henna has been used in the world for a long time and there is evidence that it was used in Egypt to dye hair more than 5000 years ago. It was also used in Europe in the late 1800s and 1900s to cover greys and help the women get thick auburn hair. Europeans used to get the henna from Turkish merchants and it was quite the trend. Henna promoted thick, flaming auburn hair and was thought to be a natural hair dye with no nasty side effects.

My love affair for Henna is well known. I love this fantastic herb. It makes my usually fine hair thick, rich, shiny and gives it a red tint. I am so obsessed with this herb that when I buy it, I do so in bulk so that there is no chance of me running out. I have tried various brands e.g Karishma Henna, Ayurvedic Henna, Hasini Henna, Lush Caca Noir Henna etc. I used to henna once a month but now I do so every two weeks. The benefits of henna on my hair are, Thicker, stronger, shinier hair with a reddish tint which is very noticeable in the sun. One controversial issue of Henna on Natural curly hair is that it can loosen the curl pattern on hair which can be a good thing for 4b and c's but not so much for 3b and c's. My hair has a looser curl pattern especially the front bits and I attribute this to henna.
In my next post I shall describe how I make my henna mix and also how I do it step by step.
Thanks for reading and I hope you are all going to embrace being Henna heads.

pics courtesy of diwali.jp, siegfriedmodola.wordpress.com, www.cqj.dk

6 comments:

sonique said...

What would we do without this beauty guide...you guys are awesome...I'm actually undoing my braids..time for the mew look :) Kalondu

Nyachomba Kariuki said...

Awwww thanks so much Kalondu, thanks a bunch. I shall do a tutorial on how Mary and I do our henna. Yeah give your hair a break from the braids.
Much appreciated
X

Tammi Nyambura Maliti said...

Hi Girl,THANKYOU so much first of all for being proactive with this blog and all you're posts on fb. Second THANK YOU for sharing you're secret of you're fabulously coloured hair. Im so glad to know that its henna. I have so wanted to dye my hair but ive been afraid of the harsh effects dye has on hair(n mine is somewhat delicate)What brand of henna would you reccomend for virgin hair:-)+ how can I tell what my hair type is?..will be looking out for you're next post.

Nyashy Washy said...

Hey Tammi....You are very welcome and we really do appreciate the comments and the support and if you could follow the blog even better...lol Well I have experimented with every colour possible which left my hair so processed, dry and stringy. When you have a little TWA its easy to dye your hair but as your hair grows longer you dont want to risk damaging it. Eh well Henna is a good hair dye and if your virgin hair is slightly brown like mine you will get quite good colour with henna if your hair is abit darker you will have a red tint to the hair.
As for hair typing just google hair types and have a look where you lie but to be honest it can be a bit confusing because someone can have up to 3 hair types on their head. I have 4b in the middle of my head and 4a at the front and sides. I advocate just working with what you have and not necessarily concentrating on the types. There are many more posts to come so follow and look out for more.
X

Nyashy Washy said...

Hey sorry nyambura, I did not recommend the Henna to use...I use Hasina henna and its really good; rinses well, has a high dye content and leaves an amazing colour. its the one pictured at the beginning of the post...its cheap as well Kshs 50-100

Tammi Nyambura Maliti said...

Thanx a bunch!! Will look out for it(hope they hve it in the Indian shops here)+ will most definately be following the blog! Xoxo