Top 10 Henna Hair Dye Myths
Henna hair dye has been used for so many hundreds of years it is hard to give it an exact time frame. Secrets like this were protected by ancient kings and queens, the more they seemed like a God, the more control they had over their followers.
I have tested and tried more than 200 types of henna from all over the world. Let’s face it, today’s internet is a great way to do research, and the truth is almost all of it is false. People speculate and assume before experimenting. A lot of it does make sense, but like the circle story as a kid, the farther you get around the circle the farther you get from the actual word or sentence when you started. It all starts with one word off and another, and well you get the point.
- The first thing I like to separate is henna hair dye and henna tattoos. Mixing the 2 are for totally separate reasons. Another many do not think about is for tanning lotion or painting. (Did you know the main ingredient in selfless tanning lotions are henna?
- Henna hair dye is for the hair, not the skin, so what you put on your skin you might now want on your hair!
Mixing Henna Hair Dye Myth
When you have the best henna hair dye or you are an experienced hair dresser, mixing is a snap! Not knowing can lead to wrong colors or washing out quickly. You really need to follow the instructions from the manufacturer you purchase it from, not from someone on YouTube or a blog. Not all henna hair dye is created equal! If you experience issues, the company you purchase from should have a phone number or contact page to offer support. “99.9% of the time problems can be resolved” Says Rod Harper, founder of EarthDye™. The problem is usually the same and most companies just want to sell the product and not help the customer. “It is extremely important to each person they understand and use the product correctly. It impacts our society and our planet tremendously.” – Rod Harper
The small number of people that do have issues can be easily resolved, however the ones to be persistent are the ones that do not have a choice- like those who have been to hospital because of getting burned by chemical hair dye.
Myth #1 Henna hair dye has many colors–
This is almost true, but more not then is. Henna is basically a red orange. Certain regions of the world, like India, Yemen or Pakistan the color can vary from a light orange to a deeper red orange. On hair, it usually comes out orange on white or light colored hair. Lucille Ball supposedly used henna for years and kept it a natural light red until she passed. Henna hair dyes usually have henna in them, be sure to read the ingredient list before purchasing. You should not have to ask for this list if is listed as “natural”. Chemical free hair dye should be just that, chemical free.
Myth #2 I need to add lemon to my henna hair dye–
False! This is the buck that just keeps getting passed and people get henna tattoos confused with henna hair dye. If you use 100% natural red henna, sure mix some lemon in it, why you do is a mystery, however lemon can lead to dry hair. Try essential oils instead, the red from the henna loves oils and won’t keep it from adhering to the hair follicle. Using lemons and oil in any other color besides pure 100% natural henna can lead to red and more red. Most henna hair colors are natural earth colors, but the only way to get browns, blacks, mahogany and reds is by using clays, indigo, amla and cassia obovata. Lemon will block indigo and other colors as well as oils and essential oils. So, unless you have a professional tell you otherwise, do a strand test first or just follow the instructions provided to you! Sunset Orange (extreme orange) is a perfect example of “when” to use essential oils and fresh squeezed lemon.
Myth #3 Do not go back to chemical hair dye after using henna hair dye.
Myth if in fact you are using “chemical free” henna hair dye. Keep in mind if you are going dark brown or black, using chemicals to get back to blond can be tedious and damaging. Chemical hair dye can be troublesome, however now you are using henna hair dye which coats and protects, so it might take a few attempts, but the odds of your hair exploding or melting off are inconsequential. Some chemical hair dyes clash and can cause a harsh reaction, the odds of this happening are far higher after dying your hair at a salon and then buying an over the counter hair dye.
Myth #4 I must leave my henna out over night after I mix it
Myth! There are 2 types of henna. Fresh henna and old henna. The older the henna you have the more work that is involved. This comes from flat out hands on experience. I have taken the best henna on the planet and let it set out for almost 2 years and documented how well it worked by simply adding water. Super fresh henna will stain you as soon as it is mixed, while older henna can take hours to release if not over night. Some “resellers” do not discard old henna and might even go as far as to say it was just harvested and then the directions say to mix and leave out over night or leave on the head for 2 plus hours. Henna is harvested 1 time a year – October. If it is harvested twice the quality will not be the same because the soil is depleted. Ask to see the directions before purchasing.
Myth #5 Body art quality henna is best
Myth! See myth number 4. Body art quality simply means it is fresh enough to do a henna tattoo. If you are buying henna to do tattoos, then you will want fresh henna. Nothing worse than working a festival and run out doing henna and you must wait 24 hours for the henna to release. When it comes to henna for the hair, less than body art quality will do the hair because it takes less molecules to stain the hair than the arm. The hands are the most porous and if will not stain your hand, more than likely it will not stain your hair. Fresh henna is king!
Myth #6 Wrapping the hair with saran wrap after you apply it
Myth! Back in 2005 I learned a valuable lesson! I was doing a lot of henna tattoos and two girls graduating high school called asking if I could do two matching tattoos for them. I agreed and they scheduled an appointment. When they arrived 1 told me she had to return to school to finish her last exam. Me being as clever as I was decided to leave the stencil on and cover it with saran wrap so she didn’t smear it all over her clothes. The second girl did the exact same two tattoos, however did not have to return to school. On her I left it as I did with so many at festivals and parties. About 7pm that night I got a call from the girl who had to return to school. She had removed the saran wrap and guess what? Yep, nothing! NADA, not even a hint of the heart tattoo was there! In shock, I asked if she could come by again and she did. On the very same exact spot I did a second henna tattoo, this time using no saran wrap. I asked her to call me after it dried and she removed the henna (an hour later). Exactly 1 hour later she called and just by her voice I could tell the second time around hit a home run! Her words “It looks just like my best friends! Thank you! This was absolutely a eureka moment! The fact I had a few people that had poor results using fresh henna that did not work so well and now I knew why. I immediately changed the directions and never had the same issue again. Most of what I had learned previous was from henna renowned “Catherine Cartwright-Jones” Who boast a PhD in henna. While I admire her, she still teaches saran wrap to this day. The only benefit I see using saran wrap is it keeps it from getting all over you. My advice, use a 10-cent shower cap and poke holes in the top. Simple and effective. It is a given fact henna needs the air to release, this was also confirmed after doing numerous other experiments.
Myth #7 Henna hair dye smells
Myth! If “henna hair dye” smells then chemical hair dye smells awesome. We have all been there, in a small bathroom, mixing chemical hair dye and right before you pass out you open the window. Henna for hair or for tattoos smells like hay. Not only have I had thousands of customers tell me this, but I have also worked with it or around it for 15 years. Indigo as well has a smell, more like frozen greens. Funny thing is, also being around animals I can tell you cats and dogs will eat it if you leave it in there reach, even horses get giddy when they are around it. It will not hurt them to eat it, but why waste good hair dye?
Myth #8 Henna dries out your hair
Myth! Henna hair dye does just the opposite. The only time it feels icky is during and directly after you rinse it. If you are using pure henna (natural red) you can shampoo your hair as soon as an hour later and it will be vibrant and soft. I did a simple test, I did blond highlights on my dark brown hair (lots of them) and shortly after I could feel how brittle my poor hair was in the blond areas. I gave it 1 day and pulled out some red henna hair dye and applied it over the blond. Waited an hour and rinsed. Not only did it make my highlights red, when I shampooed it the next day I was amazed how soft and normal it was again! I did this to prove one point which brings me to henna hair dye myth #9. TIP: Your hair will feel dry and icky after you rinse! You just rinsed mud out of your hair! Hang in there and once you shampoo you will enjoy the new soft shiny hair. If you have thick or curly hair, use a cream conditioner to help rinse the henna out, then shampoo 24 hours later.
Myth #9 You must wait 2 weeks or longer to use henna after using chemical hair or beard dye.
Myth! The reason I did blond highlights and use henna the next day was to prove a point. You do not have to wait 2 weeks. Most will tell you to wait because of the fact they are not even sure. Keep in mind if you have used chemical hair dyes for many years, the more you use henna hair dye, the better it will work. Your hair must repair itself, which takes a very long time. This was the second time I had done blond highlights …. And the last. For now, I use my beard to try different things. You can see my beard dye video here: Natural Beard Dye.
Myth #10 Henna on hair is not permanent and it will stain my face
Myth! Henna is extremely permanent and will not stain your face! I see videos all the time with people putting Vaseline around the hair line and ears. Um, henna loves this! The reason it will not stain your face is simple: Your face releases oils all the time keeping the henna from being permanent. That’s why the hands are the feet stain so easy. One they do not produce oil and two, they are extremely porous, your hair is porous as well and will not release oils as fast as your face. When applied to clean hair that has been shampooed (oil free shampoo) it is extremely permanent.