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December 2014

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Kass’ Henna Mix Recipe for Natural Hair

Written by , Posted in Hair Knowledge, Tutorials

This is a guest post by Kass - a Ugandan naturalista who is also a chemistry genius.

Henna as a hair treatment has been coming up often so I decided to share my current henna mix recipe for natural hair. Whenever I use henna (about once a month), I do full henna treatments that I will show you below as opposed to what is referred to as a henna gloss (lighter consistency & less drying mix). That being said, a deep conditioning treatment is a requirement after a henna treatment whether gloss or full.

My Henna Goal

My goal is to slowly build a red/maroon/burgundy tint with henna. This is a long-term goal and will only occur after numerous treatments so my recipe takes that goal into consideration. There are ways to mix henna without this goal in mind and I will try to point out places where changes can be made to avoid this colour goal.

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Okay let’s get to mixing.

Dry Ingredients

  1. Two packets of Dulhan Body-Art Henna – It is usually used for body art as shown on the box. “Body-art henna” is the best as it is pure henna with no additives that can be harmful to you and your hair.
  2. Ginger – to counteract the henna smell
  3. Nutmeg – also to counteract the smell and hopefully add some nuttiness that I like
  4. Cinnamon – for scent (I like cinnamon) and it contains compounds that may aid in hair growth (no scientific data) especially since it can induce blood flow in a way similar to cayenne pepper
  5. Cayenne (red) pepper / Red Pepper flakes / Fresh chillies – this is added to help blood flow and increase metabolism due to capsaicin. Increase in metabolism, blood flow and oxygen delivery is good for the roots of your hair follicles increasing growth.

** Be mindful of the amount of cayenne you add to your mixture because too much will burn like a perm (trust me I have tried it). Think how you feel after eating too much hot sauce on food. Now imagine that on your scalp … NOT. GOOD!

Mix all the ingredients together to ensure homogeneity. Set aside.

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Liquid Ingredients

In another container I mix the liquid portion of my henna mixture.

  1. Hibiscus berry loose-leaf tea because I want a deep red color in my henna. These literally look like small flowers.
  2. I had some wine in my hand so I added that to my mixture for a deeper red, you can also use any other deep red liquid however this step is optional. (this is the first time I tried this)
  3. Lemon juice is acidic and acts on the henna to allow for dye release. Be mindful of how much lemon juice you add as too much will dry out your hair and strip away any oils
  4. I filled the measuring cup with boiling water. You can see the hibiscus loose leaf on top of the liquid. I let that brew. I would suggest using warm liquid when you mix it so that when you apply the henna to your head and hair it isn’t cold.

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Henna Mix Process for Natural Hair

When the brew has cooled to a temperature at which I could comfortably hold the measuring cup, I pour this slowly through a strainer into the bowl containing my henna powder mix.

This results in a lumpy mess and I use a hand mixer to whip it nice and smooth. You can mix this by hand but that takes me way too long especially without a masher so… I use a hand mixer. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher.

You should end up with something like this. As you can see it is somewhat thick like cake batter or mashed potatoes.

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I transfer this to a glass bowl and cover with foil then place in the oven at low heat overnight. You can also place in a warm dark corner or sit in another container of hot water for a few hours. This is to help the mixture warm and allow for dye release.

Think high school chemistry – a warm reaction occurs at a faster rate than a cold one

You can also add some oils at this point if you like to get an oil treatment as well as henna treatment. After a night in the oven my henna is significantly darker. I use this liberally right out of the oven and the henna mushiness and warmth is a nice way to start the morning.

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IF colour is NOT your objective:

  1. You can use just warm water or brewed green tea to mix the henna.
  2. You can also use brewed black tea but that induces some colour release from the henna. Tea can be drying when combined with henna.
  3. You can use your henna mixture right away without storing for dye release.

Hope this helps. Feel free to experiment with your henna mixture. This is my basic one and I always mix up or down depending on my mood or what I have in my pantry.

Look out for part 2: Applying Henna on Natural Hair.

Who ever thought [hair] chemistry could be so much fun?

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