Herbal Party Series: HENNA

Hey everyone,

If you're just catching up with us, I've been posting a series on different herbs and powders that were sold and are being sold on the African Naturalistas store. (FYI quite a few are actually sold out now). I thought it would be a great idea for us to learn about the different products, so that we know what we're buying and what they're used for.

We've learned about AmlaShikakaiNeemHibiscus, and Flaxseed. On the line up today, one of the most, if not THE most popular powder in natural hair care - HENNA!!! (still available at the store)
henna flower
Source - Image by J.M. Garg
According to Wikipedia, its scientific name is Lawsonia inermis, and it is a flowering plant. Henna is native to northern Africa, as well as western and southern Asia. As we all know, Henna is VERY VERY popular as a dye used for hair, as well as skin (henna tattoos).

The most common use of henna for natural hair is as a dye. Natural henna will give you a brownish red color or a hint of red (It didn't leave any color when Atilola did it, but Ebun got noticeable color. Now, please note that there are dyes out there called 'neutral henna' or 'black henna.' Neither of these are actually made from henna. Neutral henna (cassia) does not color, and black henna is usually just indigo mixed with other dyes. Additionally, occurrences of serious allergic reactions to black henna have been recorded, so please be careful. If you want to color your hair black, you can mix henna with indigo, or apply henna first, then indigo. But henna on its own will NOT dye your hair black.

Some of the benefits of henna are
  • Stronger hair, which means less breakage and shedding. Henna binds with keratin in hair and makes the hair shaft stronger.
  • Reduces frizz and gives shinier, smoother hair. Henna also fills in spots in the hair's cuticle, and coats the hair. (While henna coats your hair, it doesn't stop moisture from passing through, so you can moisturize your hair.
  • All natural. 

Some people note that their curl patterns are looser after applying henna to their hair, thereby making it easier to detangle. Others may not see a stretched curl pattern as a benefit, hence I'm noting it separately from the list above. 

Another thing to note is that for some, after henna application, their hair gets very dry. It is recommended to follow a henna treatment with a moisturizing/conditioning treatment. 

Honestly, there is no one way to use henna. Some people mix theirs with water, tea and honey. Others may mix it with water, tea and lemon juice. It can be mixed with water, oils, and ACV. Henna can be mixed with a plethora of other ayurvedic powders, depending on what you want to achieve. You can also add in conditioner to your mix.

However you decide to mix it,

  1. The paste should be made to a cake batter consistency. It has to be covered and left at room temperature for up to 8 hours, so that the dyes can be released. In the meantime, remember to prep your hair and condition, so that the henna application won't dry out your hair. 
  2. Henna treatments are usually a long application, so do it on a day when you have nothing to do, or like some people who overnight it. Slather it from root to tip all over your hair, wrap head in a plastic cap and keep on for a minimum of 4 hours (or you can sleep with it). If you're awake, you can also steam for about 30 minutes.
  3. Afterwards, thoroughly rinse it out (this might be hard as some particles may be difficult to remove - so a conditioner with very good slip is recommended to wash it out). When it's all (or majority of it is) rinsed off, follow with moisturizing DC - make sure  it doesn't contain protein or else your hair will just be hard and brittle.  
  4. Rinse out your DC and wash or cowash, and you're good to go. 
ebunite african naturalistas with henna on natural hair
Henna and Hibiscus mix on Ebun

Things to note:
  1. Use plastic gloves when applying henna, or you will end up with red palms for 2 weeks like Atilola did. 
  2. Make sure you cover the area where you're standing with old newspapers, in case the paste drips onto the floor and stains it. In that vein, also make sure to immediately rinse your bathroom sink, tub or shower stall as soon as you're done rinsing it out of your hair. 
  3. If leaving the henna in your hair overnight, make sure your wrap your hair  VERY well to avoid stains on your sheets and pillow cases. Now is the time to use your old t-shirts. 
You can learn more about Henna for Natural Hair in the following video. 

Remember, try new things on a small section of hair first to ensure that you don't have any negative reactions.

Have you used Henna on your hair before? What were the results? Don't forget that you can purchase Henna powder for a low low price at the African Naturalistas store.

Have a nice weekend!


  1. I have had dis henna for abit now, but dis bit about it drying hair out is scareding me

  2. I want to try changing my hair color with henna and lemon juice or maybe hibiscus powder but fear still dey catch me o

  3. Just follow it with a DC. No biggie.

  4. I have 100grams of henna and 3.5 inches of natural hair..pls advise me on d ideal measurement for the length of my hair..its also medium density


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