Curly-Centric Jamaica, Contributor
Most women want a little colour now and then to change up their look.
However, for those with fine strands prone to breakage, or who prefer a natural alternative to using chemicals (colour kits, bleach etc), there is henna.
Henna is a plant-based powder which adds colour to the hair and skin when applied. Henna is commonly used in countries such as India, for temporary tattoo art on the hands and feet for soon-to-be brides. Henna adds colour to textured black hair like any other deposit - it just happens to be a natural product rather than a carefully crafted synthetic product that damages the hair.
When henna is applied to the hair, some of its pigments migrate slowly into the hair fibre and bond with the hair's natural protein. Henna's pigments stain the hair fibre red. However, for a vibrant colour, it has to be used regularly. The more regularly henna is applied to the hair, the longer-lasting and more vibrant the colour becomes.
Henna can be used on all types of black hair - natural, relaxed even hair that had previously been colour-treated.
Henna is also great for the overall health of your hair. According to Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair, henna behaves very much like a protein treatment. Because the pigments mostly adhere to the outermost cuticle, henna is able to give the hair a nice gloss, reduce porosity, and helps to protect the cuticle.
Many persons have even noticed
that after a few henna treatments, the curl pattern of their hair becomes elongated and looser. With regular henna use, you should see a difference in how much your hair shrinks. Henna also increases the diameter of individual hair shafts, which gives the illusion of thicker hair.
Henna can also make hair feel stronger, but also a little coarse and dry. To combat this, a moisture treatment and/or a deep conditioning treatment should always follow a henna treatment.
Henna is mixed and soaked with a low-pH liquid (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) to activate its properties. It will produce subtle variations of red or brown, depending on the natural colour of your hair. Other natural colourants include indigo and even coffee!
The most important benefit of using natural colourants is that they are not damaging to your hair.
Curly-Centric Jamaica is a natural-hair community hosting meetups which explore styling, care and maintenance of natural hair, and black hair overall. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/curlycentric! Do you have comments, stories or question on natural hair? Ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us at our next meet up on Saturday, September 21, at Mona Visitors' Lodge, University of the West Indies, beginning at 2 p.m. Under the theme: 'Caring for your Hair Inside and Out', the event is sponsored by Design Essentials Naturals and will feature nutritionist Joy Smith from Healthy Bites. See you there!