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Henna and Argan Oil : Two gifts from the earth we should all be using

Henna mehndi in Hindi has been an agent used for over 5000 years all over Pakistan, The Middle East, India and Africa. Henna derives from the plant Lawsonia genus. The pigmentation varies from plant to plant, yet usually always giving reddish orange tones, pale or extremely dark and black. Men and women have used its paste form to cool down their bodies from the high and rising temperatures; doing so by applying it to their feet and hands. From this practice, people were inspired by the idea of creating intricate and beautiful designs on the body because the henna temporarily dyed the skin. The dye soon became widely used as an alternative to cosmetics and jewellery in the Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and northern parts of Africa.  In today’s day and age, getting a henna tattoo is seen as a ‘cool’ thing to do when going abroad to places like Morocco. Henna also acts as a sun blocking agent, thus allowing the ability to create fun tan lines on your body.

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Henna has been widely worked into the hair because of it’s many benefits, such as :

  • Glossy, voluminous hair

  • Rebalancing the Keratin found in your hair, thus making it healthier

  • Henna as a conditioner to protect the hair, and build a protective armour that seals the nutrients and moisture.

  • Free of chemicals, ammonia and toxins,

  • Balances the PH levels in your scalp, thus preventing dandruff

  • Boosts hair growth

Loads of us use hair dyes regularly in order to hide our white or grey roots, or to simply switch up our look. Have you ever taken the time to look at all the ingredients in your hair colouring treatments? What you apply on your hair will penetrate from your scalp into your bloodstream. Take a quick look at the harmful agents that you could be applying to your body:

In order to get a permanent dye in your hair, many brands use a combination of ammonia and hydrogen peroxide which bleach out the natural colour, release oxygen and  break down the outer cuticle around the hair shaft. These two chemicals can irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions. Other ingredients to be aware of are : ethanolamine, resorcinol, sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, preservatives, lead acetate (neurotoxin and carcinogen that have long term effects on your health), para-phenylenediamine (PPD), toluene-2,5-diamine, and sulfates.

Why not opt for a more natural, safe and cheaper way? What is so striking about the henna powder is that you can mix it up with pretty much anything you want to mix your look up and play with different effects. You can use, lemon, coffee, tea, honey, bay leaf, coriander, black pepper and other roots. Henna is safe to use for every type of hair, whether it has already been dyed, or bleached, or never touched. Also, think about how you are helping your hair to grow on top of making it look shiny, glossy and healthy.

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Let’s talk about how to prepare your natural, vegan, organic and healthy homemade hair dye.

First you will want to select what shade you want your hair to be. You have to remember that henna is simply coating your hair, rather than replacing your natural color; you will therefore result with a combination of your natural color and the henna. A good tip is to select a shade lighter than the color you are hoping to achieve; this way you can go darker with more applications. If you decide to reapply, allow 72 hours between your applications, to allow the henna to properly oxidize. If you get a henna tattoo, the artist will always tell you that the design will stand out more two days later. It’s the same concept here. Take a look at the color charts below:

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You want to use a non-metallic bowl and a wooden or plastic spoon, and here’s how much powder you should use: For fine, short hair, use 3.5oz. (4 heaping tablespoons) — For shoulder-length hair, use 4.5oz. (6 heaping tablespoons) — For thick, shoulder-length hair, use 9oz. (8 heaping tablespoons) — For very, long, thick hair, use 17oz. (16 heaping tablespoons).

Mix the henna in a bowl with warm water. NOT HOT, OR YOU WILL DISSOLVE THE PROPERTIES of the henna. My Egyptian friend who is a professional henna artist suggests adding lemon juice to the mix in order to enhance the pigmentation. Finish with a teaspoon of argan oil.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit overnight. Do not skip this step or the process will not work to its full potential.

Put on rubber gloves and apply the henna mixture to dry hair. Work henna into hair and then pile it on the top of your head. Wrap hair with aluminium foil to seal natural body heat. I suggest leaving it in for four hours or more. The longer you leave it on, the deeper the color at the end. If you want lighter reddish tones, leave it on for less time.

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Why mix with argan oil :

Argan Oil is packed with vitamin A and vitamin E, Omega-6 unsaturated fats, and linoleic corrosive. The moroccan nut’s oils tames frizz, secure against the warmth of hair dryers, hair irons. The Oil replenishes your hair follicles with everything it needs to stay strong and healthy. The Oil enhances a natural shine. Therefore mixing the henna that makes your hair silky and shiny and smooth with an oil that benefits in the same ways will only ensure incredible results. I suggest adding argan oil to your hair after your have rinsed out the henna. Avoid washing your hair for two-three days after your henna treatment. Let it act as a mask to guarantee beautiful hair.

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Yours truly,

Alicia Douvall

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