Water and Dye Release in Henna and Indigo
Generally, throughout the British Isles water and dye release in henna and indigo are not considered a problem and the water seems to work beautifully for both henna and indigo herbal hair colour. But if you’re in the UK, or outside the UK, and not getting good dye release from your henna and indigo, we suggest you buy distilled bottled water to mix up your henna powder and a high ph / mineral rich alkaline water to mix up your indigo powder, such as bottled mineral water. Just make sure from the information on the label that it really is a mineral rich water and not just labelled “spring water” or “mineral water” as some waters are which don’t originate from anywhere remotely near a spring and don’t contain traces of any minerals. For cassia obovata, the water type shouldn’t make any difference at all.
To understand more about water and dye release in henna and indigo : http://www.drlam.com/A3R_brief_in_doc_format/2002-No5-Water.cfm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water
Watch out for Water and Dye Release in Henna and Indigo in Scandinavia ! ( an Indigo trouble spot)
We advise those living in Scandinavia to use distilled bottled water or tap water to mix your henna, and to buy bottled mineral water (e.g. Evian) to mix your indigo. Alternatively, for indigo, combine bottled mineral water with aloe vera juice which will also helps prevent any irritation from indigo. This is how water and dye release in henna and indigo work best in this region of the earth.Do persevere – if you’ve previously tried henna and indigo and it didn’t work, please change the water and try again.
This is why water works for indigo in some countries and not in others :
The water in most Scandinavian countries, and some European countries, is not chemically treated in the same way as water in other parts of the world such as the UK and USA, with the result that countries like the UK and USA have alkaline rich water. This is because the UK and USA add chemicals such as Fluorine and Chlorine to water to kill bacteria.The UK and USA say the addition of these chemicals is necessary because of pollutants in acid rain, and they advocate health benefits. In Scandinavian countries you generally have purer, more acid, water. But, because it may be not as chemically / alkaline charged as our water, that means, unfortunately, it doesn’t kick start indigo.
Water Temperature for Dye Release in Henna and Indigo
Henna and Indigo, and other herbal hair colour powders, will release dye whatever the water temperature. It’s a matter of personal preference whether you want to use hot or cold water, but this choice determines how long you will have to wait before dye release takes place. Cold henna will colour your hair as well as hot henna provided there is dye release.
The strongest and fastest dye release always happens with the hottest water temperature. Henna batches vary according to seasonal crops, and variations in things like climate and soil will affect how fast even hot water works. Sometimes henna paste may be ready to use within ten minutes with a hot water mix, and other times it may need longer. Pure henna always gives dye release, you just have to work with it and assess how fast or slow it’s releasing dye. If you’re not getting intense dye release after ten minutes, then let it sit up to an hour. If you want to apply warm henna to your hair, gently heat it up on the stove on an extremely low temperature (or double boiler /Dutch oven) until it’s warm enough for you to use.
A cold water henna mix will mean your henna needs longer to dye release so you might want to let it sit overnight and use it the next day. Heating it up before use is optional.
As with henna, indigo dye release is triggered fast, and colours intensely, with hot water. However, not everyone can tolerate a hot water indigo mix as it has a strong smell and you need to be in a well ventilated area to use hot indigo.
The issue of water and dye release in henna and indigo is easily dealt with once you understand what water type works best for each. Soft water for henna and hard water or mineral water for indigo.
Happy henna days !