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Is henna bad for hair?

June 03, 2022

This is a question that many have in their minds & we get asked that often. Henna does get a bad rap by some hair dressers & on the internet. This is because Henna is sometimes loosely defined & used as a marketing tool. When you see Henna, you expect it to be pure natural Henna leaves with no other additives. But there is Pure Henna & Compound Henna available in the market & often the buyer is left to make the differentiation. 

Pure Henna is 100% dried powdered leaves of the plant Lawsonia Innermis. There are no other additives & it will be a green powder. If the Henna product is a liquid, obviously there is some processing of the Henna leaves & additives used to make the powder transform to a liquid. Henna is not soluble in water or oil, so the additives will have to be a synthetic one. 

There are some pure plant & fruit additives that either nourish or enhance the colour. Some Henna products may have these nourishing or colour enhancing herbs added to it. If there is anything other than Henna, then research it. If there is any other plant or fruit powder, the chances are it may be safe – but research it nevertheless. If you trust the product, go for it. Otherwise source the plant or fruit additives separately, that way you know what is I your Henna 

Pure Henna is 100% Henna Leaves and the only ingredient will be Lawsonia Innermis, its botanical name. Henna has a naturally occurring dye molecule in its leaves, the Lawsone dye, which is the orange-red dye released from the henna leaves when mixed with an acidic liquid like black tea, apple cider vinegar & lemon juice. This orange red dye is what colors the hair. 

On the other hand, some products labelled as Henna contains additives such as para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and metallic salts and often does not contain Lawsonia Innermis. They can mimic the colour of Henna & create shades of brown to black. This is Compound Henna. This is what hairdressers are warning you against using. 

If you have used synthetic dyes to colour your hair & later if you use a Compound Henna, the metallic salts in the Compound Henna will mix with the chemicals in the synthetic dye & you could end up with unpredictable colours.

 If you are guaranteed that the Henna is 100% pure with no other additives, then using pure Henna powder on chemically dyed hair will not have any disastrous colours nor will it damage the hair. 

Compound henna hair dyes containing sometimes undeclared ingredients (depending on the labelling laws of the country of origin) or the declared metallic salts are the source of much of the misinformation about henna, and are the reason that stylists malign henna. Hair dyed with a product containing metallic salts will be brittle. 

Pure henna is actually great for the hair. Pure, natural Henna is a synthetic free hair color, and conditions & protects the hair from UV rays and chlorine. Certified Organic Henna, takes it one step further – the Henna is grown using approved certified organic, chemical free fertilisers. Because they contain nothing but plant powder, it is safe to use Nature Shop-Myee Organics Certified Organic Henna on hair that has been previously chemically dyed. If you chose to revert to synthetic dyes after using Nature Shop-Myee Organics Henna, it is safe to do so.

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