In traditional medicine, henna is known as an astringent, purgative, and abortifacient. However, it’s also used on hair.
Henna also helps reduce premature graying of hair, because it’s loaded with tannins, a plant compound found in teas that contributes to their rich coloring.
Henna contains vitamin E, which helps to soften hair. The natural leaves of the plant are rich in proteins and antioxidants that support hair health.
Henna has also been used since ancient times as a natural hair dye.
Henna is typically used in a powdered form mixed with water. It’s then applied to dry hair.
To achieve the best results, apply henna and keep it on overnight. Alternatively, you can apply in the morning and wash off after 4 or 5 hours.
Henna causes stains, so, when applying, make sure to cover your shoulders and work area with an old towel or sheet to avoid staining your clothes. However, henna stains on skin are not permanent and tend to come off after a few washes.
To get a rich brown color on the hair, you can brew some coffee or black tea and add it to your henna mix.
The practice of applying henna on skin and hair is rooted in South and Central Asian cultures. Henna’s earliest use dates back to the time of Egyptian pharaohs, where it was used for mummification. In many Muslim countries, men traditionally dye their beards with henna.
Henna’s most common and long-lived traditional use can be seen in wedding ceremonies where women paint their hands and feet with intricate patterns.
During wedding preparations, a day is dedicated to this body art, commonly known as mehndi. The women in the bridal party sing songs and dance together while the bride gets her hand decorated with henna.